Monday, May 22, 2006

The Race Of Truth

Cam Kirkpatrick

In road cycling they call the time trial the race of truth. There’s no hiding in the peloton and no drafting. The rider with the highest level of fitness and the best aerodynamics is most likely going to be the one the wins the race. In mountain bike racing I like to think of racing in the mud as the race of truth. Mountain bike racing is a little less about fitness and more about efficient bike handling. Racing in the mud is all about efficient bike handling and in most cases, the best bike handlers are the top finishers.
Training for the week leading up to this weekends race was pretty minimal because it was an active recovery week. My body was pretty beat up from the marathon race last weekend for first half of the week. Sunday was an easy mountain bike ride with me mum, See-door, Webb Page, tPod and his nephew Chris (right name?). tPod claims that his nephew is going to be the second coming Paulo Bettini. If his nephew is as smart as I think he is, I think he’ll be the next Ned Overend. We rode for about two hours over at the SC. Me mum said it was one of the best mother’s day gifts that I could have given to her. Made my day to hear her say that. Took Monday completely off the bike and went to the gym to throw some weights around. The upper body was still feeling the effects from the woopin’ on Saturday. Showed up for the TNWC, my legs were still pretty cooked from Saturday so I took it pretty easy and did a recovery ride with my MSM mates for about two hours. Wednesday I hit the SC for a lap of base effort, legs felt a lot better. Thursday, tPod and I rode around town for about 90 minutes, did a few short, fairly hard efforts to get the blood flowin’ in the legs. We ended up down at Water Works park to watch the All Nine Yards criterium series race and do some BS’n with the roadies. Bassonova was there and I think he had a pretty good race in the ‘A’ race, not sure what the finishing order was. I think Bassonova is slowly transitioning into a roadie, he’s going down the same dark path to the dark side that Chia Chad took. Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering…. Hmmm, OK, um Friday… did an easy 90 minute recovery ride with the Jedi Master.
Saturday morning, two boiled eggs, a few cups of joe and back on the road. The weather forecast called for about a 30% chance of rain showers over in the Omahole area. Before I left I took a look at the radar and there were light showers drifting south along the Missouri river. I talked to Shim on Friday night and he said the course was bone dry, like concrete. So the course could definitely use a little moisture.
I decided this time around that I would step out of my box a little and share a ride with the Jedi Master. Most of you already know this, for those that don’t, Jedi is my coaching project. I suppose that kind of makes me the master of the Jedi Master, eh? So I guess that makes me Yoda or something? Sooo, I stopped by the Rebel Base, loaded up Jedi’s bike and gear and we were off.
About halfway to Council Bluffs, it started to sprinkle a little but I wasn’t too worried about it. Shortly after that Shim called me and told me the streets in Omahole were wet and that it was misting out. We got to Council Bluffs and it started to rain a little, but it wasn’t raining at the race course. Weird weather. So we got ourselves registered, did a little BS’n with some of the bro’s then got suited up and went out for some recon. I did the recon lap on the Orbea. The night before I put the Nanoraptor tires on the Orbea because it is pretty much the best tire for Midwest hardpack. The bike, the tires and my legs felt great during the recon. About midway through the lap it started to rain lightly. As the ride went on the rain gradually picked up. By the time we finished it had evolved into a steady light rain. It continued like that for about an hour… Crap. So the race director and the series director decided to ask the racers what we thought they should do. It was finally decided that the race would go on, but that the expert race would be shortened by one lap.
So now it was decision time for me. From my experience, the Nanoraptor is a lousy tire in the mud. I had my hardtail with me and I had the Michelin XCR A.T. tires on it. The tread pattern consists of widely spaced lugs that look like they would shed mud well. It was too close to race time to swap rubber. So I went back to the car, loaded up the Orbea and busted out the hardtail. I really hated to do this because my preference would have been to ride the Orbea, but tire selection is a pretty critical item for me, especially when it’s muddy. Too bad it wasn’t an Orbea hardtail!
So the race started in light rain and my plan was to follow the local knowledge into the singeltrack and ride some wheels that knew the lines until we got to about a ½ lap to go. I figured this would be my best tactic because the course is pretty technical and local knowledge has a huge advantage. I also knew that my mud skills weren’t my strong suit so I didn’t want to blow my wad trying to lead the way in not so familiar territory. We hit the singeltrack and I was sitting fourth wheel behind Kent McNeill, some cat I’d never seen before and Shim. As expected, most of the trail was like riding on grease. The logs were all wet and it was like they had a thick layer of snot on them. The hard pack trails had a layer of dust that turned to slime and made the descents pretty treacherous. We hit the first descent and we were pretty much sliding all the way down. The cat with no name ended up going down about halfway down the descent in front of me. I managed to slide by him without going down myself. It slowed me down enough that Kent and Shim were able to get a pretty descent gap on me. I wasn’t too worried about it, I was feelin’ pretty good and I knew that at the bottom of the descent, there was a flat, fast section of trail that was probably about two miles long. They weren’t that far ahead of me and I figured that I could close the gap up by droppin’ the hammer on the flat.
So I got to the bottom without too much trouble, dumped the clutch and punched it. About a mile later I had closed the gap to Kent and Shim. In the process somebody had latched onto my wheel, wasn’t sure who it was. I was too busy tryin’ to keep it rubber side down to look back. So it was the four of us that had established a big enough gap that we couldn’t see or hear anybody behind us. We hit another descent that was pretty greasy and full of snot laden roots. Shim was ahead of me and we were flyin’. I could tell about halfway down that Shim was starting to loose control of his rig, and sure enough he went down. I was too close to avoid him without going down myself, so I laid it down to avoid a pile up. The cat behind me managed to get around us and I was surprised to see that it was WWJ’s teammate, Sam Johnson. Shim and I both got back up pretty quickly and caught back up to Sam. Kent rolled down the descent with no problem and had a pretty good gap on us. At some point Shim passed Sam and he seemed like he was runnin’ out of gas. I asked him how he was doin’ and he didn’t reply so I figured he was in the hurt box. I told him to pick it up otherwise Kent was going to run away from us. We continued in this order until we hit Mt. Neverest, the last climb of the lap. In years past I’ve always had to drop it into the granny gear to get up this bad boy. It’s like riding up a wall and it will push you into a state of delirium by the time you reach the top. We started the climb, I dropped it into my granny gear and started to motor up the hill. I was following Sam and Shim pretty closely and I could see Kent about 25 yards ahead of us. My legs felt good and I was spinning pretty easily so I dropped it down a couple of cogs and passed Sam and Shim. By the time I got to the top I had caught up to Kent. Sam got by Shim also and was a little ways back. When I passed Shim I could tell that he was craving beer and brats because his tongue was hangin’ out again… or maybe it was because he was in that place we call the purgatory of pain?
We started lap two with Kent leading the way, followed by myself with Sam in third. I think Shim popped on the hill because that was the last that we would see of him. The trail conditions were much better this time around and the speeds picked up considerably. Kent and Sam were riding really well through the tight, technical sections. Kent could gap me on the technical stuff and Sam didn’t appear to have any trouble hanging onto my wheel. I could close the gap back up pretty easily on the flats and the climbs. The three of us rode together throughout the second lap without too much trouble. We hit Neverest, I went to dump my chain into the granny and it wouldn’t drop. Crap. I thought I was screwed. So I positioned my shifter back into the middle ring index and managed to make it to the top without putting myself into too much pain. It actually felt surprisingly good and it gave me somewhat of an indication of how the race was probably going to be won.
We passed the start / finish line in the same order, Kent, myself and Sam. I don’t think that any of us knew who was going to win the race at this point. I felt really good on the climbs so I decided to stick with my original plan of trying an attack with about a half a lap to go. We got to the point where we had about a half of a lap to go and at the base of a small climb I was glued to Kent’s wheel. I dropped it down a couple of cogs and punched it. I passed Kent, looked back shortly thereafter and saw that I had established a small gap. So I kept the hammer down and my gap increased. About that time, the lapped traffic from the sport race was getting pretty thick. Between the traffic and the technical sections, Kent was able to catch back up to me. Sam was still off the back so we kept the pressure on. Towards the end of the lap we started getting into the final series of climbs. I put a little more pressure on the pedals and noticed a small gap opening up between myself and Kent. I pushed a little harder and the gap grew so I punched it once again. I got to the bottom of Neverest and couldn’t see Kent behind me. I didn’t even try to dump it into the granny gear. I kept it in the middle ring and drilled it all the way up the hill. There were all kinds of tifosi on the hill screamin’ at the top of their lungs, including the Amish women (from last weekend) and Bassonova. He made me feel like I was winning the stage of the Le Tour goin’ up l’Alpe du Huez. He was running along side of me screaming at me with a look of complete hysteria on his face. It was pretty sweet and it brought a smile to my face despite the fact that I was suffering like an animal. Thanks buddy!
I ended up winning the race in about 1:15. Kent came in second about 15 or 20 seconds back followed by Sam I Am. Shim came in fourth and WWJ rounded out the top five. Not sure what the time gaps were for places three through five. I gotta give a big atta boy to Sam I Am, the dude was riding really well, especially through all of the slimy, technical sections. He was stuck to my wheel like a fly on a pile of horse poo. He’s a pretty small cat, kind of like WWJ so I was surprised that he popped on the climb when I issued my first uphill attack. Gotta keep my good eye on this guy, I think he’s gonna get faster as the season progresses.
I also need to give a shout out to my brotha from anotha motha Squirrel for winning the sport race on a singlespeed. The man is in his element in the mud. He probably would have won the expert race too if they hadn’t started five minutes behind us. Nice job bro. Looks like you, Dennis and the bro’s from across the river had a good time over the weekend. Some day I’ll realize that a few beers won’t kill me after a race and I’ll join ya.
I think the Jedi Master finished around 10th. He had an issue with his saddle, I guess it rotated back and tried to shoe horn itself up his o-ring. I could see that being somewhat of a distraction… Bassonova has apparently inherited WWJ’s mechanical woes from last season, I’m sure that WWJ was more than happy to hand that off to you. Keep your head up buddy, it can only get better. I’m not sure how the rest of the Iowan’s finished, still waiting on the results.
So my surprising start to the season continues, four wins and two seconds. I have a pretty firm grip on the lead for the Iowa and Psycowpath series overalls and all is good. Looks like I won’t be racing on the dirt for a few weeks, that kinda sucks. I think my next one is the second Psycowpath marathon race over at Ponca State Park. Next weekend is the Snake Alley death march, I hate that race but I kind of like it. It’s a fun atmosphere but I always have a crappy race there. I guess it’s partly because I tend to be a little tentative when I’m in a large pack of roadies on concrete. The last thing that I want to do is get caught up in a wreck on concrete and potentially screw the rest of my season on the dirt. It’s not worth it. So, depending on how I feel, I may just hang back where the pack isn’t so thick and focus on getting myself a nice, high intensity workout in.
A bunch of us are bringing our mountain bikes to Burlington next weekend. Tater Tot, Amanda, Frankenbike and others are going to take us over to Danes Woods for some dirty goodness after the Snake. So if you’re goin’ to the Snake this weekend, bring your dirt rig.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Climbing Mt. Oiz

Cam Kirkpatrick

I’ve never done a mountain bike race that’s lasted longer than about three hours. So this whole marathon thing was going to be a new experience for me. I’ve done a lot of training rides of five hours or longer, but nothing at race pace. Wasn’t sure how I was going to feed myself throughout the event so I pretty much fell back on what I would typically eat and drink during a long training ride. Fig Newtons, maybe a gel or two, water and Gatorade.
My new bike, the Orbea Oiz, arrived at the shop on Thursday evening and Sterling had it put together by Friday afternoon. He had almost everything pretty much where I liked it. All I had to do was adjust the saddle height by about ¼”. He’s messed around with enough of my bikes that he has a pretty good idea how I like everything. It’s kinda nice having a mechanic that knows you well enough to know how you like your rig set up. The guy is a bike building machine and I owe him big time for getting it put together so quickly.
My training week leading up to the race was pretty much the same as the previous week. Monday, an easy recovery ride followed by some light weights amongst the meat heads at the gym. Maybe someday I can become a meat head and then maybe I too can lift heavy things… nah, maybe not. Tuesday was the TNWC, I did lot’s of attacking to get the HR up. Wednesday was a three hour base ride with the iPod. Thursday my legs felt like crap so I rode to the SC, did a lap and rode back home. Friday I took the new stead out for a shake down ride with the Jedi Master and JC. She fit me like a glove and nothing fell apart on it, but the front disk rotor kept rubbing on the pads. I took back to the shop and Sterling pulled out a couple of shims, problem solved.
Saturday morning I threw down the usual two or three cups of joe followed by a couple of boiled eggs. A couple of people have asked me why I don’t mention what kind of food I eat. OK, I eat coffee, eggs and cereal… oh, and Fig Newtons and Gatorade… and the chocolate cake at Palmers Deli. Anyway, I grabbed my box of cereal, a to go cup of coffee and hit the road. I got to Platte River State Park about 90 minutes before the start. I was running a little late so I kept the pre-race bs’n to a minimum so that I could get out and do a recon lap. I got suited up and started my recon lap. Got about 15 minutes in, looked at my watch and realized that if I kept going, I was going to be late for the start… crap… I was hoping to hit the rock garden before the race. It’s always pretty tricky but I’ve never had too much trouble with it. I back tracked back to the start area and finished setting up my little pit area. It basically consisted of a lawn chair with a couple of water bottles and some Fig Newtons sitting on it.
The race announcer said that they were going to do a Le Mans style start to the race… crap… I hate running, especially when I have a bunch of my junk in my jersey pockets. So they walked us about 200 yards from the start line, made us stand there for a few minutes, and then said go. I took off into sort of a jog. I was looking around at everybody else, it was pretty funny seeing everybody hanging on to the back of their jerseys, trying to keep all of their crap from falling out.
I got to my bike, hopped on and took off for the hill. I was sitting in about 6th or 7th at the start of the climb, passed a few guys. About halfway up, Cameron Chambers came flyin’ by, dancing on his pedals, kind of like how Lance did in Le Tour. My plan was to grab his wheel and hang on for as long as I could. He was going way too fast and I really didn’t find much appeal in putting myself into the hurt locker this early into the race.
I hit the singletrack sitting 3rd wheel behind Cameron and a cat named Kent McNeil. About three years ago, Kent was the man in the Nebraska mountain bike racing scene. I had no idea what kind of shape he was in so I didn’t try to kill myself to get ahead of him going into the singletrack. I stayed on Kents’ wheel and watched Cameron ride off into the distance. There wasn’t much that I could do but sit on his wheel until the trail opened up a bit. We hit an open section that was pretty fast, I opened the throttle and passed him. I was able to gap him right away because he was riding a single speed, His legs must have been spinnin’ at about 500 rpm when I passed him. By then Cameron was no where to be seen so I settled into my own pace and chilled for a while.
I hit the rock garden section, found a good line around the corner that led to the descent and rolled down without too much trouble. There was the usual ‘tifosi’ hanging out, drinking beer and yelling encouragement. There were even a bunch of Amish looking women there screaming at the top of their lungs. It was pretty sweet. It’s definitely one of the coolest sections of the course.

Making friends with the rocks in the rock garden.

Towards the end of the lap is a screaming fast descent through a gulley. It basically consists of a bunch of bermed corners the wind up and down the sides of the gulley. If you know all of the lines, you can fly down this thing without ever having to touch your brakes. The tricky part of this section is that there are a lot of pretty big rocks strewn about the descent, some of which are at the end of blind corners. I remember the first time that I hit the gulley a few years ago, I went around one of said blind corners, rode over the top of a huge rock only to find out at the last second that this rock was a launch pad that sent me flying through the air for about ten feet. As I was airborne, I remember kind of looking down and seeing all of these rocks below me. It looked like I was about to land in a big ole’ cheese (skin) grater. It scared the crap out of me, I couldn’t believe that pulled the landing off, thought I was a dead man.

Flyin' by the rocks in the gulley.

At the end of the lap is a climb, one of the few climbs that is steep enough to reduce me to my granny gear. Making it up the climb does not go unrewarded however.

Lookin' up the hill from the bottom.

Climbing, climbing.

Still climbing....

One of my favorite laws of nature, what goes up, must come down. Once you make it to the top you’re treated to one of the sweetest descents in the Midwest. About midway down there is a hump in the trail. On the back side of the hump, the trail drops downward. I usually have enough speed going that it will launch me about three or four feet into the air. I can usually get about 10 or 20 foot of airtime out of it. The landing is on a gradual descent and makes for a pretty soft landing. It always puts a big ole’ smile on my face!

Catchin' some airtime off the hump.

I was able to catch an occasional glimpse of Cameron throughout the race, but the course is one of those types that doubles back on itself a lot. So I never really had any idea how far ahead of me he was. I remember thinking throughout the race, that I didn’t want to get lapped by him. It never happened, nor did I get passed by anybody else. There was a lot of lapped traffic to deal with, but it was a 4+ hour long race so there was never really a huge urgency to get by lapped riders like there would be in a normal XC race.
As the race progressed, my lap times were consistently in the 27 minute range. I could also tell that I was probably going to finish my eighth lap in just under four hours, which meant that I would have to go out for a ninth, which would in turn push my four hour race into about a 4 ½ hour race. Sure enough, I hit the end of the eighth lap at about 3:55. As I crossed the start / finish line, I asked if I needed to do another lap. I was hurtin’ pretty bad and didn’t have much desire to do another. The race official looked at me, laughed and said that he couldn’t tell me… crap…
I had no idea how far behind Cameron I was, nor did I have any idea how far behind me third place was. So I headed out for my ninth lap. I started the climb and realized that my body was transitioning into survival mode. So I turned the intensity way down and took it pretty easy on the last lap.
I ended up finishing the race in 2nd place overall, completing nine laps in a time of 4:30:18. Cameron Chambers came in 1st, also completing nine laps in a time of 4:27:21. I don’t think that it would have mattered had I known that I was that close to him. If I had known and was able to catch up to him, I’m sure that he would have had enough left in the tank to drop me like a bad habit. WWJ ended up in 3rd completing 8 laps. Full results can be found here. I was pretty happy to have finished a mere three minutes behind last years national 24 hour solo champion. It’s too bad that I was gapped off from him at the start, it would have been sweet to ride a few laps with him.

The podium, skakin' the hand of the 24 hour man.

I kind of figured that I would do ok in a race of this type because I do a lot of longer training rides. Probably the biggest surprise for me was that my average heart rate over the 4 ½ hours was 160. The last half hour or so, my heart rate averaged around 147, so it was a little higher over the first four hours. Kind of freaky…
So about the bike, fully built (with Shimano 959 pedals) she weighs in at 24 lbs. 4 oz. Super light for a full suspension rig. I’m used to a 20 ½ lb. hard tail, however going uphill, I really didn’t notice the weight difference. The bike came with full Shimano XTR components, including the XTR hydraulic disc brakes. I’m used to rim brakes and I also have another bike that has the Hayes cable actuated disc brakes. These are all crap compared to the feel of the hydraulic brakes. They offer plenty of modulation, which I didn’t think was really possible with disc brakes.
As I had eluded to earlier, the bike climbs extremely well, there’s plenty of stiffness throughout the frame to counter the power that I put into the pedals. The bike came with a 2006 Rock Shox Sid Team fork with a remote lockout, sweet. It also came with a Manitou S-Type SRL rear shock with remote lockout, sweet. The ability to lock out both shocks furthers the effectiveness of the bike when going uphill, sweet.
The cockpit on the Oiz sits me about 1 ½” higher off of the ground than my hardtail. Initially I thought that the slight increase in the center of gravity would have an adverse effect on the cornering of the bike, especially at high speeds. Any type of cornering, whether it be high speed or slow, is not an issue with the Oiz. When going around high speed corners, both the front and the rear shocks compress, lowering the center of gravity. In some cases it probably sits lower than my hardtail going through high speed corners.
The Oiz is also very tight when navigating tight and twisty singletrack. I used to think of full suspension bikes as being somewhat clumsy, however this bad boy is every bit as nimble as my hardtail.
Descending is where the real fun is. The Oiz has a very unique way of giving me up to 3” of rear travel. It has a rear chainstay that is made of carbon fiber that flexes. Combine that with the rear shock and I get a very plush rear end over rough terrain. The race course at Platte River has a few descents that are littered with chatter bumps and roots. I felt like I was gliding over them compared to any other bike that I’ve ridden there. The suspension on the bike was an absolute life saver for the 4 ½ hours of racing!

Carbon fiber chainstays, my arse likes this feature.

So as you have probably already guessed, the Orbea Oiz gets a huge thumbs up from me. I’m totally sold on it. Orbea also makes a carbon fiber hardtail called the Alma that I’d love to try someday. Take a look at it, it’s a real work of art which is typical of Orbea bikes.

So my first experience with endurance racing was definitely a good one. I’m looking forward to the next endurance race. I should do even better based in the experienced that I gained from doing this one.

My next race will be IMBCS #4 / Psycowpath #3 this Saturday, May 20 at Lewis and Clark Monument in Council Bluffs, IA. Yep, it’s a joint effort with the Nebraska folks so it’s going to be a great time with some great competition. Hope to see everybody there.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My New Race Rig

Just took delivery of new dualie race rig last Friday, the Orbea Oiz. Couldn't have timed it out any better, the day before my first marathon race.

She sure is purdy ain't she? She rides just as good as she looks. Orbea has always had an outstanding reputation with road bikes, fielding bikes for team Euskaltel-Euskadi, a regular in the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Spana.
After racing on the Oiz I can tell you that the bike is just as solid as their road bikes. This sentiment is backed by a couple of world class mountain bike racing teams, Luna Chix and the factory sponsored World Cup XC Team.

I'll be doin' a full race report and a product review of my new stead within the next couple of days so stay tuned.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Cam Kirkpatrick

Spring time. You gotta love it when the trees start to turn green, the days get warmer and the sun graces us with her presence a little later in the day. I hate rain on the weekends, it can rain all freakin’ day on Monday and I’d love it. But please leave the weekends alone!
Dating back to the weekend of 4/29, I spent Saturday and Sunday on the trainer in tPods basement watching L.A. rip the legs off of the opposition at the ’05 Tour because it rained all weekend, 24 / 7. I did some LT’s on Saturday and my legs felt incredible. Such a waste, I would have had a great race with legs feelin’ that good. Monday was the usual hour of active recovery followed by some easy weights and the usual bs’n with my gym rat and tri-geek buddies. Did the TNWC on Tuesday, flatted about 2 minutes into ride. JJ, Jeremy, Logan and Roller Blade were kind enough to wait for me. It took me the better part of 20 minutes to change the damn thing, felt like a moron. Thanks for waiting for me guys, we got a better workout in with our small group than we would have with the peleton. Wednesday, tPod and I beat the crap out of each other for 3 hours… It was more like tPod beatin’ the crap out of me. Thursday I hit the SC for some dirty goodness for a couple of hours. Legs felt pretty lousy so I took it kind of easy. Friday was a 3 hour base ride with the iPod. Saturday was an easy 2 hour recovery ride at the SC with the Phantom.
Woke up Sunday morning and felt pretty good. I can usually tell how the legs are going to feel when I walk down the stairs in the morning. I made it down the stairs without fallin’ on my arse, so they must have feelin’ good. I threw down some coffee and a couple of boiled eggs, grabbed a box of cereal, hopped in the car and hit the road for Camp Ingawanis up by Waverly. On the way up an interesting string if events occurred. I’m cruising up I-35, goin’ about 75, up the road in the opposite lane, Smokey had some knucklehead pulled over for something. I looked in the rear view and saw this Lincoln ‘coffin on wheels’ Towncar flyin’ up the road. As it passed me, were passing by Smokey. The Lincoln is doin’ at least 90, I took a look inside and there were two old ladies that looked no younger than 90. Ya see I know this because one of ‘em had that pink colored old lady hair. They were chattin’ it up big time, totally oblivious to everything around them. Too damn funny. About five minutes later I come up on this flatbed hauling this pile of twisted metal that sort of resembled a car, I think the flattened tires kind of gave it away. As I passed by I took a look into the drivers window… yep, it’s a redneck alright. When I finished looking at the guy like he was a zoo exhibit, I turned my attention forward. Just as I Looked up the road, I saw a chicken or something run out in front of me.. Bam!!! The stupid thing hit my front bumper, flew up and hit my windshield and left most is brains all over my window. Carma… I guess that was payback for laughing at the redneck.
I made it to Ingawanis, unloaded my stead, got registered and did some bs’n with Buchanandale and some of my greasy mtb bro’s. As I was getting suited up, my Mom walked up with a pretty po’d look on her face. She freakin’ flatted again and I still hadn’t taught her how to fix a flat. I could tell that she was on the brink of either disowning me and saying to hell with this mountain biking thing. Thankfully neither happened and all is good.
I went out to recon the parcours and I wasn’t at all surprised at how sweet the course was. This place rivals Seven Oaks as one of the best courses in the state. While I was rollin’ around the start area I took note of who showed. No Eppen, too bad because my legs felt phenomenal during the recon. Cully and WWJ were there so the competition was still going to be good.
The race started, I blasted up the hill and into the singletrack in first. About five minutes in, I shot passed a corner. Cully and WWJ yelled at me and told that I missed the turn. I got myself turned around and ended up in 6th by the time I got back on course. I caught up to Bassonova and he slowed to let me by. Thanks bro. I caught up to Hairy and he let me by also, thanks dude. I got to the second climb on the course, dumped the clutch and caught up to the leading trio of Cully sitting in 1st, followed by WWJ and Nate. I rode behind Nate for a while, man that dude is squirrely. He was sliding around corners, bouncing off trees. He hit one tree and took about a foot long chunk of bark off of it. We hit the grassy field and just as I was about to pass, Nate overlapped wheels with WWJ and went down. I locked up both brakes and barely avoided goin’ down with him. It kind of ticked me off, and when I got around wreckage I punched it. I passed by WWJ and Cully and led the way into the rock garden. I was somewhat cross eyed going into the garden and dabbed. I got through the garden and gradually began to pull away from Cully.

Leading the way into the singletrack.

As the race progressed, my lead grew, though I had no idea how big of a lead that I had. My legs felt great, I felt like I had a ton of power so I really kept the hammer down. I felt a little like a pud for dabbing in the rock garden on the first lap, but I redeemed myself by riding through it without too much trouble on every lap thereafter. My best run through it was caught on video by enduro stud Kerkove. I’m the first cat goin’ through it in the video.

Cruisin' down a hill.

On the last lap my legs were starting to get a little tired. It was a long race and I figured that I better turn it down a little so that I didn’t make a mistake that could cost me the W.
Near the end of the last lap I caught up to Bassonova and he looked like he was in his own little purgatory of hell. I’m pretty sure he had no idea where he was at the time. He’d been sick for the past week or so and was payin’ for it. Before the race I dumped some of my cereal on his lap while he was trying to back his car into me. I kind of made a mess in his car so when he got his car parked he ran over and proceeded to fart in the ‘NO FART ZONE’. For those of you who don’t know what the ‘NO FART ZONE’ is, it’s the interior of my Jeep. I don’t even fart in the ‘NO FART ZONE’. I suppose I kind of deserved it, so I let it go.

The race from WWJ's vantage point.

Bagging my 3rd win of the season.

I ended up winning the race in a time of 2:18:33. Cully finished in 2nd a little over 8 minutes back. Nate came in 3rd about 2 minutes behind Cully followed by WWJ in 2:29:50. Andy Lueck rounded out the top 5 in 2:36:40. This was probably the best that I’ve felt for a race thus far this season, the form is coming along nicely. I’m off to an incredible start this season and have every reason to believe that I’m only going to get faster.
Next up is my first foray into marathon racing with the first race of the Psycowpath marathon series. It’ll be a four hour timed suffer fest over at Platte River State Park. Word on the street is that Gary Fisher pro Cameron Chambers will be there. Lookin’ forward to seeing how I might stack up against him. Should be a painfully good time!

Thanks for reading,