Friday, July 28, 2006

A few photos from Durango

Chowin' down on some strawberries after an epic mountain bike ride at Telegraph

Coffee run at 6am, yeah it's Starbucks, but my sister works there and they take good care of her so it's all good.

Worfing down a sandwich at Bread, the best bakery ever.

My delirious look after an epic mountain bike ride.

My Dad ran into some dude on Dry Fork who was hangin' out with some lamas. The dude said that he was up in the mountains camping with them for a few days... No further details are necessary, thank you.

My Dad's varmint, Jake, back at the ranch in Texas. He's mostly border collie and he's cool as a cucumber.

A view of the inside of our cabin.

Gudy's Rest, a nice spot for a break along the Colorado Trail.

Me layin' the wood to my old man.

The outside of our cabin.

T-Bonen' Trees

I'm back in Dead Moines, tryin' to get back into the groove. I feel like I'm living in the Amazon. Went for a ride at the SC today and it was pretty tropical, felt like I was riding my bike under water. In Denmans, a lot of the corners were pretty greasy. I greased off of one corner and t-boned a tree. Somehow, I managed to hurdle off of my bike and come to a running stop with my bike layin' on the ground. Would have been a cool video, I felt like I looked cool when it happened.
T-boned another tree going through the rhythm section going about mach 4. Stopped me dead in my tracks and somehow managed to keep it rubber side down. Would have been a pretty funny video also. Came out of the woods without a single dry spot on me. Damn hot and muggy. It's gonna be even worse this weekend at the Ft. Dodge race, 98 and humid, I guess the heat index is supposed to be something like 149 degrees? Oh well, lookin' forward to racin' again, it might even be dry this time!

See y'all this weekend,


Friday, July 21, 2006

Durango - Days 6 - 11

Cam Kirkpatrick

Day 6 – Sunday, July 16

Woke up in the morning, the wrist was still a little sore so I decided to do another road ride, same as yesterday. Legs felt really good and finished the ride a little quicker than I did yesterday. HR monitor is still on vacation so I have no idea what my efforts were, other than hard when going uphill, a little less hard on the flats and as easy as possible on the descents. So some redneck that was totin’ a trailer full of four wheelers passed me as I was going up the backside of Coal Bank Pass. I passed by the summit and headed back down the front side. A little ways down I caught back up to Billy Bob haulin’ the four wheelers. The road was somewhat ‘surpentine’, so I decided not to pass. On one of the straights I caught a little bit of a draft off of Billy Bob. I took a look at my speedometer and it said I was going 57+ mph, saweet! It was a pretty cool rush, but I figured I better back it off before the dude brake checked me. Didn’t want to end up on his trailer with his redneck vehicles.
Got back to the cabin and a buddy of mine, Shim, from Omaha was throwin’ down a few cold ones with my old man. I hit the showers then we went out for some grub. I watched Shim and my Dad drink more beer. I told Shim that he was going to be payin’ more than cash for all the beer he drank the next day…

Day 7 – Monday, July 17

Woke up, got out of bed and discovered that my wrist felt like it was back to normal. Saweet! My Dad decided to drive up to the Hermosa Creek trailhead while Shim and I went out to do some dirt lovin’ ourselves. After throwin’ down some grub and coffee, we headed up to the Dry Fork trailhead, about three miles from our cabin. We took Dry Fork up to the Colorado trail and rode down into town. I was leading as I knew the trial pretty well. On the way down some of the descents, I ran through some cow crap and kicked it up all over Shim. Surprisingly enough, cow crap brown went well with his red and yellow kit.
We rolled through town over to the Telegraph trails and pretty much did the same loop that I did the other day. Shim called the ride ‘Kirkpatrick’s Durango death march’. We did lot’s of climbing and most of the trail was out in the open so we were backing in the sun. Shim’s computer said it got up to 102. All you cats in Iowa aren’t the only ones suffering like dogs in the heat. Though I gotta say, the weather here is so much better than there, dry, nice and cool at night, pretty near perfect for camping.

Day 8 – Tuesday, July 18

My Dad took off for Texas yesterday and another buddy, Mike McGrath, showed up from Colorado Springs. Today we decided to do the grand daddy of Durango mountain bike rides, the Kennebec Pass loop. In the past, it’s taken me about 5 ½ hours to do the loop, so we headed out early to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms that usually start brewin’ around high noon.
We hot the road at about 8:30. The first part of the ride is all uphill, going west on highway 160. We hit a side road that heads north out of Hesperus. It’s a flat asphalt road that went on for about 30 minutes. That road eventually turned to gravel and also turned uphill. From that point it was 2 solid hours of climbing on gravel and very rough, very steep, technical jeep roads. There were a lot of spots where I had to dump it into my granny gear.
After about 3 hours of climbing, we finally arrived at Kennebec Pass. Kennebec Pass is notorious for its’ breathtaking 360° views of the mountains of southwest Colorado. Words cannot describe it. After marveling at the views, we hit the trail for 28 miles of sweet Colorado singletrack, mostly downhill. I felt fantastic the entire ride, legs felt good, wrist felt good, and most importantly, my back and my arse felt pretty good. This was the first trip that I’d brought a full suspension bike to Colorado and I will never ride a hard tail here again. It’s like night and day.
So after about 6 hours in the saddle, we arrived back at the cabin. I felt pretty good and wanted to continue my ride down the Colorado trail into town. I had two pinch flats over the last couple of hours and had already bummed a tube off of Mike. Shim flatted also, so we were out of tubes so I figured I’d better head back with Shim and Mike. Didn’t want to flat in the middle of nowhere and reward myself with a long, beautiful walk home.
The last segment of singletrack to the cabin is Dry Fork. As I had mentioned earlier, there is a lot of cow dung on the trail, which means there are a lot of cows runnin’ around in this neck of the woods. So were flyin’ down the Dry Fork, I round a fast corner, and there sits a bunch of cows hangin’ in the sunshine, BS’n with each other, or whatever it is that cows do when they hang out. One of them started buckin’ like a bronco and went after Shim, damn near T-boned him. I’m guessing it was a heifer because she goin’ after Shim like a cow in heat.

Day 9 – Wednesday, July 19

Shim and Mike were pretty cooked from yesterdays ride, especially the upper body region. So we decided to head out for a road ride and that meant only one thing, to Silverton and back. Again, we got a pretty early start in hopes of avoiding the afternoon t-storms. After about a 20 minute warm-up, I turned up the throttle to base/tempo effort. After about an hour of flats, we hit the first series of climbs that led up to Durango Mountain Resort (DMR, formerly known as Purgatory, home of the first MTB world championships in 1990, won by Ned). Most of the climbs at this point average around 5-6% and were enough to knock me into my 25 in order to maintain a decent cadence. I could here Mike behind me panting like a steam engine, he was working pretty hard. Shim was working pretty hard to, I think he only had a 23 and he was kinda payin’ for it. Shim was going throw some cramps and dropped off in an attempt to alleviate them. Mike stuck with me until just before DMR. He pulled off to get water and I thought he was planning to turn around at this point so I kept motorin’.
Again, I felt really good and was pushin’ my 25 up a lot of Coal Bank Pass, which varies between 6 and 8%. I was making good time and rolled into Silverton about 5 minutes faster than I ever have before. On the way back, I saw a semi truck that was pulling a flat bed trailer laying in the ditch on the outside of a switchback corner. Dumbass overcooked the corner and rolled his rig.
As I was riding back, the clouds were once again gathering for a little pow-wow. I made it back to DMR and sure enough, the skies opened up a can of whoop ass on me. I rode in pretty heavy rain for about 20 minutes and the eventually hit dry pavement again. I made it back to the cabin, Shim and Mike were hangin’ at the pool, shootin’ the shite with some geriatrics from Texas. I made it back in about 5 hours and 45 minutes, my fastest time by about 5, saweet!

Day 10 – Thursday, July 20

Mike had to hit the road at sunrise, work was callin’. Work sucks. Always getting’ in the way of fun. Shim and I decided to take it ‘easy’ today. So we headed up Dry Fork as easy as possible and then rode over to Durango Mountain Park, also known as ‘Test Tracks’. It wasn’t much of an easy ride, lot’s of climbing in the granny gear, but also lot’s of fun. Rode some pretty crazy stuff, that had my knees knockin’ the first time I rode it a couple of years ago. Didn’t seem as bad this time. Flatted again, rolled over a piece of glass. Kinda pissed me off because tubes are freakin’ expensive here.
After the ride we rolled over to Bread, ate one of the best sandwiches ever. Bought two loaves of bread and ate those also. Didn’t have much of an appetite at supper time, so we went to the local sushi house and had a light supper, followed by more bread, some ice cream, some chocolate chink cookies and a couple of glasses of wine… I think I also ate a peach and some grapes in there somewhere. Yep, I’m a pig.

Day 11 – Friday, July 21, 2006

Can’t believe my vaca is almost over. I figured that two weeks would take a long time… no such luck. Shim’s plan was to hit the dirt for a few hours then hit the road. So we decided to head up Dry Fork again, then head north on the Colorado rather than south into town. This would take us on the same route that we rode when we did the Kennebec loop a couple of days ago. Once again, my legs felt incredible so I rode a pretty hard pace going up the long climb of Dry Fork / Colorado. About 90 minutes into the ride Shim turned around and headed back. I was sorry to see him go, had a great time ridin’ with him. My original plan was to head back with him and then ride into town and do the Log Chutes trails. I was feelin’ good and I was jones’n for another high altitude ride up to Kennebec, so I kept motorin’ north towards Kennebec Pass.
As the ride progressed, the climbs became tougher, to the point where I had to hike-a-bike a few of them. My heart was thumpin’ so hard that I thought it was going to jump out of my throat. I managed to keep it down and eventually arrived at Kennebec Pass in after about 4 hours of climbing. I took a little side trip near the top to this old mining shack that was perched on an outcrop at about 11,000 feet. Ran into some old dude and his wife that were hiking and BS’d with them for a while. I was enjoying the conversation and the view, but the clouds were gatherin’ and I was getting eaten alive by these mutant flies. These things were enormous, looked like flying roaches. They were taking chunks out of my legs so I bid farewell to the old dude and the amazing view and headed back the way that I came.
Ended up getting about 6 hours in today, another epic ride. This will be my last night in Durango. I’ve been coming here for about 6 or 7 years and it gets more crowded every year. The downtown area has a lot of really history with the buildings and all, but it is slowly becoming overwhelmed by a lot of new construction coupled with tourists choking up the streets and sidewalks. Despite the growth and crowds, I still love this town and already can’t wait to come back again next year. It’s pretty easy to escape the masses when I hop on the bike. It’s pretty cool that I can sit here in this coffee shop in the middle of town amongst all of the chaos of tourism, and know that I can achieve total seclusion in a matter of minutes on the bike. I love my bikes.
Not sure what I’m going to do for my last ride of the year in Colorado . I’m sure that I’ll figure it out tomorrow.

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Durango Day 4 & 5

So after three days, long days of riding pretty hard I was due to take it kinda easy. I hadn’t ridden with the old man yet, so we headed out around 10 and went for an easy ride, easy for me, not so easy for him. We hit the bike path that runs through town, about took out a few tourists… no, I’m not a tourist here. This is a training camp so that makes me exempt from the tourist classification. Stopped by the best bakery anywhere, Bread, through down a sandwich and BS’d a little. Hit the road again and watched my Dad slowly slip into bonk mode. Got back to the cabin and fed the old man some Endurox via a catheter. He was all good after a nap and a few beers. Went into town, ate some of the best sushi I ever had, maybe better than Taki. Thought about going somewhere to watch le Tour, but it was supposed to be a flat stage so we opted to head to the cabin instead.
Today I did a little… a lot of road ragin’ again. Rode up to Silverton and back, same deal as Tuesday, only this time I did it 30 minutes quicker than a few days ago. Probably had a little to do with acclimation to the altitude and my body getting used to long hard hours again, been a few weeks since I’ve done a lot of long rides. I made a water stop about 70 miles into the ride at the same gas station that I stopped at when it rained and hailed, passed by the ice cream cooler and got myself hungry for some ice cream. So I thought that I’d commemorate the occasion by treating myself to this ice cream / big ass cookie sandwich lookin’ thing. Damn good it was. Felt great throughout the entire ride, like I had no chain.
So I was sitting down after the ride today, throwin’ down some Endurox and strawberries, when all of a sudden my right wrist started to kinda hurt. I thought to myself, WTF is this all about? It did nothing but get worse. I couldn’t figure out what the hell had happened to it. Didn’t fall on it, didn’t smack it on the bed post, didn’t hit the old man, nothing. It just started hurtin’ for no reason. Piece of crap, probably gonna screw up my plans for another epic day on the dirt tomorrow.
Enough for now,

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Durango - Day 2 & 3

Cam Kirkpatrick

So yesterday, what did I do, yeah, I hit the dirt for about 4 ½ hours. Rolled out of the campground with the old man up a 4 mile gravel road to the Dry Fork trail head. Once we hit the trail head, I said adios to the old man and settled into a good base pace of about 145 or so. Took the Dry Fork trail up to the Colorado trail, took the Colorado trail into Durango. Rode over to the Telegraph trails and did a big loop over there. Saweet singletrack! Didn’t see any rattlesnakes this time, was hopin’ to show ‘em my new (sort of) Diamondback rig that I was ragin’ on. I think they’d probably dig it. About 45 minutes of the ride was on pavement / gravel with remainder of the ride on some of the sweetest singletrack ever created. At first the legs felt pretty cooked from the day before, but once I hit the dirt all was good. They respond well when they know they get to tear it up on some sweet ‘ole Durango singeltrack.
Today was another epic, spent a little over 6 ½ hours in the saddle, on the dirt. Took off from the cabin, up the 4 mile gravel road and, again, settled into a good mid 140’s pace. Took the Hoffeins Connector trail to the Colorado trail, rode into Durango, Rode the blacktop up to Hermosa Creek Trail. Rode to the end of Hermosa Creek and headed back to town. Lot’s ‘o climbing today, I’m guessing pretty near 10,000 feet or so. Legs were feelin’ good today too. So I got about 3 ½ to 4 hours of some sweet singletrack in. I love passing all of tourists near the beginning of trail heads. I know that we are supposed to yield to hikers and all that crap, but it’s so fun scarin’ the crap out of ‘em when I go flyin’ by at mach 1 with rocks and dust flyin’ everywhere.
So when the riding for the day is done, the old man and I head into town, score some grub and begin our quest for some place that has an idiot box with OLN so we can keep up on le Tour. Not much goin’ on until today. Love watching all of the carnage on the big mountain stages, kinda reminds of what I do to Nooner in a mountain bike race. I shouldn’t give Nooner too much crap ‘cause someday he’s gonna start kicking my arse on a regular basis. That’s OK though, I’m getting’ kind of old so I can use the ‘I’m an old man’ excuse when it happens.

OK, I guess I’m done for now. Sorry about not having any pictures to show. I’m too cheap to buy a camera, too busy buyin’ bike stuff. If you really want to see some pictures, do the Google thing on any of the trails / rides that I mention. I can pretty much guarantee that they’ll be better than any pic I can take.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Durango - Day 1

Cam Kirkpatrick

Man I’ve been lookin’ forward to this day for a long time, oh since about this time last year, day 1 in Durango. Woke up at 6 bells, poured myself a cup of cereal and kept pouring myself a cup of cereal until the box was empty. Fuel. Sat on the porch of my cabin, watched the sun rise over the mountains, did a little reading, ate a banana, some yogurt and a cup of joe. Man what a beautiful morning, something like 60 degrees, not a cloud in the sky… perfecto.
So I figured I’d do my favorite road ride up to Silverton and back today. I figured I better hit the road kinda early because they’ve been getting a lot of rain in the early afternoons. So I got all of my crap together and was on the road by 9. As I was headin’ north I could see in the distance the clouds starting to gather over the mountains for a little powwow. I made it up to Silverton without encountering any rain or problems, except my front shifter is getting ready to crap out on me. Gotta have the 53 tooth ring for the descents, maximum speed is where it’s at. I also didn’t seem to have any trouble with the whole altitude thing either, never have so I suppose that shouldn’t surprise me.
Turned around in Silverton and headed back up the toughest part of the ride, a 7 mile climb up to Molas Pass with a gradient that varies between 6 and 10%, mostly 8-9%. After 50+ miles in the saddle, most of which is spent goin’ uphill, tends to soften the legs a little and makes the climb out of Silverton pretty tough. The clouds continued to gather and I could tell they were gettin’ ready to raise some hell all over my arse. I made it up to Molas Pass without any significant rain, just a couple of sprinkles. Rolled down the backside of Molas and began the 3 mile climb up to Coal Bank Pass, again encountering only light sprinkles.
On the way down Coal Bank I figured I was home free from the rain because the clouds were becoming fewer and the sky was getting bluer… saweet! About this time, my HR monitor decided it was gonna crap out on me too, great, more money to spend when I get back. So I was getting close to this gas station that I usually stop at to refill on agua and it starts to rain kinda steady, nothing heavy, just light stuff. So I get to the station, go inside, get some water, look outside and all hell broke loose. We’re talkin’ sheets of rain and a whole shit pot of hail. Glad I got to the station when I did. Never ridden in hail, I bet it sucks. So I sat there for about 30, waitin’ for the rain/hail to stop.
It stopped, I hit the road and about 1 mile later the road was dry as a bone, never even rained there. Crazy stuff. I got rained on every once in a while on the way back to town, it was all light rain so all was good. Finally made it back to the cabin, my old man was there, sittin’ on the porch throwin’ down a cold one, lookin’ like he was enjoying life. So despite all of the bad crap that happened today, it was still better than any solo road ride in Iowa!
Some stats from the ride, total distance – 107+ miles, 8800+ feet of climbing, average HR around 160, max HR at 178 (a few times), 6:20 of total ride time with an average speed of about 17mph. Max speed of a little over 46mph, would’ve been faster but I got stuck behind some old people in a coffin on wheels.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading,


Pix from Manawa

Some photos from Manawa courtesy of brother CVO

Goin' down the drop

Chasin' down Shim

BS'n with MG

Monday, July 10, 2006

Are we doin' 3 or 4?

Cam Kirkpatrick

Mud is becoming about as common for a mountain bike race as a windy day on the road bike. I woke up Saturday morning, took a look at the radar, sure enough… rain. As luck would have it, it was only raining directly over Lake Manawa… No place else, just over Lake Manawa, no kidding. WTF is up the with the weather this season? It’s been dry as a bone all week, Saturday morning rolls along, rain… I’ve always felt that I needed to practice racing in the mud, so I really shouldn’t complain about it a whole lot.
Training for the week leading up to the race consisted of an easy recovery ride on Monday and Tuesday. Did a few hot laps on the hillside with Jason Alread on Wednesday. Sea-door and Taylor showed up just as I was finishing up, too tired and late to roll with ‘em so I split. Thursday and Friday were also easy recovery days. In retrospect, I probably did too much on the recovery side. Seemed to feel a little flat on the races during the last couple of weeks. Still tryin’ to figure out what works best for me with regard to peaking.
I’m pretty sure that if the Psycowpath series would allow us to drop a race, I would’ve skipped Manawa. When I saw that it was raining, my motivation went straight down the toilet. Especially since I was plannin’ to head out to Durango the next day. Lot’s of driving… I turned the tube on to watch the TT on le Tour to get myself motivated, didn’t work all that well. Something in my melon eventually clicked and I hoped in the car and headed out.
As I got closer to the course, the pavement became more and more wet, and the puddles along side the road became bigger and bigger. I arrived at the course and part of the race course crossed the road that accessed the parking area. The coarse marshals stopped me as some of the beginners were goin’ through. Lot’s of peanut butter cloggin’ up the rotation of the wheels. I had to wait for a couple of people while they stood in the road clearing the poop off their bikes… great, just what I was lookin’ forward to.
I parked, got signed up and spent about an hour BS’n with Shim, WWJ, CVO, JP, MG and anybody else that wanted to shoot the shite. A pre-ride was pretty much out of the question, no sense in gettin’ the stead full of PB&J before the race. I didn’t get around to stoppin’ by the farm implement store to buy a dip tank, so I had to settle for bummin’ the rest of Shims Pam so that I could spray some anti-poop on my frame and drive train.
So there was a rumblin’ going about whether we should race or not. CVO, MG, JP and some of the other peeps from Lincoln said screw it, not worth trashing another drive train over. So the Psycowpath folks decided to gather everybody and have meeting, to discuss our options. In the end, it was decided that we’re racin’, 4 full laps and no start loop, no cuttin’ the race short once the decision was made… right.
So after about a 30 minute delay the race started. My plan was to be second wheel going into the woods. Shim led the way with me on his wheel. The trail was pretty greasy but nothing was sticking to the frame, sweet. I was doin’ OK in the mud in the technical stuff, but Shim would gap me off a little in the tight, twisty stuff. I’d close it back up when the trail opened up. We got to the point on the course where the start went one way and the regular loop went the other. Some dude was standin’ there, tellin’ us to do the start loop, so we did, even though we weren’t supposed to. People were saying, ‘stop and turn around’, but all of us at the front kept goin. At the time I wasn’t sure what part of the course we were on.
A little later we got to one of the open sections and Sir Anthony Wilhelm went flyin’ by Shim and I like a scalded dog. My first thought was to jump on his train, but Shim seemed to respond, so I stuck behind him instead. Wilhelm eventually gapped off Shim and I couldn’t get by Shim to chase him down. Not sure I could’ve anyway, he was ridin’ well in the technical stuff.
Shim eventually gapped me off to a point where he had about a minute on me. I heard somebody behind me while I was strugglin’ through the twisty stuff. I asked who it was and it was WWJ. I let him by hopin’ that he would show me the way because he’d ridden the coarse before. I rode his wheel through a pretty technical section and discovered that I could hook up a lot better than I had thought. So we got to the next open section, passed him and took off after Shim. At the start of the 3rd lap and managed to reel Shim back in, he cussed at me, then I passed him and gave him a tow on an open section. I eventually let him by in the technical stuff with the intention of ridin’ his wheel until we got near the end of the race. On the last open section, I was plannin’ to attack and hopefully dump him.
So we get to the end of the third lap and Shim gets out of the saddle and sprints across the finish line. Once he crossed the line he sat up and I about ran him over. I asked him what he was doin’ he said we were done. I said we still had one more lap to do. He said they called bell lap at the end of the 2nd lap. WTF!!! I didn’t here ‘em say anything to me as I went by… whatever. So I kinda got screwed out of 2nd place. I say kinda because there was no guarantee that my plan would have worked. It all worked out OK in the end, nobody that was still in the points race finished ahead of me so I actually increased my lead in the series points. Also, about a couple of minutes after Shim and I finished, it started pourin’, torrential style. Dodged that bullet!
So I learned a pretty hard lesson, always look at the folks runnin’ the race as you cross the start/finish line, just in case they decide to cut the race short (even if they say they won’t). In the end, it was ultimately my fault for not paying attention. Shim heard ‘em and he beat me fair and square. So now I’m gonna open a can of whoop ass all over him at the next race. Paybacks are hell Bro!
I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Durango as I write this. My plan is to try and do daily updates about what’s goin’ down while I’m here… we’ll see how it goes so check back often if you’re interested. I drove to my sisters in Denver yesterday and drove the rest of the way today. Was hopin’ to get a ride in this afternoon, but it was raining when I got to the campground. I stood around for a while at the campground while it was raining, didn’t really feel like setting my tent up in the rain, so I said screw it and rented a cabin instead. Hell of a deal, it was only 4 bucks more a night than the tent site… no brainer.

Until tomorrow,


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Webb Cam

Yep, Taylor wins photo of the week again. Most of you don't know this, but in his previous life, Taylor was a great warrior. Occasionally, he experiences flashbacks and performs certain acts barbarism from his previous life as a warrior. Very few people have been gifted with the privilege of witnessing these mysterious flashbacks. Kyle was lucky enough to witness (with camera in hand) what appears to be Taylor preparing for battle by doing his warrior dance with his bike, pictured above. He looks pretty mean, which further reinforces my theory that Taylor can beat up Chewbacca.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

More Freakin' Peanut Butter

Cam Kirkpatrick

I kind of like racing in the mud, but I also kind of suck at it. Maybe I’m a little tentative in my old age of 4 decades. None the less, I think it is good that some races go on, rain or shine. Mountain bike racing is all about racing in all conditions, rain, mud, dust, sand, hard pack, gravel, some pavement, earthquake, tornado, forest fires, whatever…yeah. The variety is part of what makes mountain biking such a great sport. So with that in mind, as president of the IMBCS, I will most likely strongly encourage all series race directors to move forward with their races, rain or shine. I realize that in some cases, there will be circumstances where this will not be possible. In a lot of cases, a race day decision will have to be made, such as delaying the start by an hour or more. I’d love to hear everybody’s thoughts on this, so if you have any ideas or thoughts, please leave a comment or talk to me personally. Again, it is only going to be a strong recommendation as I realize there are circumstances that would prevent a mandate.
So leading up to the weekend, I took it easy on Monday. Lit it up at the TNWC. Took it easy on Wednesday. Did some pyramid intervals on Thursday and took it easy on Friday and Saturday. I got a call from Troy Tellinghuesen on Saturday night at about 10pm. He’d just finished riding the trails at Seven Oaks and he said they were bone dry. I took a look at the forecast and it called for 50% chance of rain. Took a look at the radar and sure enough, there was a big ‘ole ugly green blob headin’ towards Seven Oaks. Got a call from See-door the next morning and he said that it had rained throughout the night. He hadn’t had a chance to check the trails yet, but he did say that they had already purchased a lot of food for the event and that they were moving forward… Game on.
I have a pretty wide assortment of tires to choose from. Last weekend, I used some 1.5’s at Webster City and they were a little too squirrely, so I grabbed a pair of 1.8’s, Panaracer Fire Pro’s I think. Arrived at the course while the sport / beginner race was going on. It was a pretty bad scene, people had mud cloggin’ their bikes up, kind of like the last Psycowpath race. I think only 5 people finished the sport / beginner race.
So I got my bike ready and thought I would at least try a partial lap. The initial climb was very rideable, but the descent on the backside of the hill was pretty treacherous. Lot’s of greasy mud that had me dabbing the whole way down. The rest of the ride was even worse and to add to the mud, my bike (the hardtail) was having some issues of it’s own with shifting. At this point I was thinking to myself ‘I’m not doin’ this, all it’s going to do is piss me off’. Racing in the mud is difficult enough, but when your bike isn’t working properly, it adds to it considerably.
After several shortcuts, I made it back to the start area and cleaned some of the crap off my stead. I decided to go ahead and race, I was already there and kind of dirty. I sprayed the critical areas of the frame down with cooking spray and rolled to the start. There were a total of 8 experts, I think. Pretty small field, Nate ‘Cline with a C’, WWJ, Andy, Alread, Nooner, don’t remember who the other two were.
The starters whistle blew and we were off. I had a pretty lazy start, didn’t really feel all that motivated. I did eventually work my way to the front and led the way up the hill. I didn’t push the pace that hard, again due to a lack of motivation. Nate was on my wheel, not sure of the order after him. We got to the top of the hill and started the descent. The trail had gotten a little better, but it was still like riding through a jar of Skippy. I was slippin’ and slidin’ all over the place, felt really clumsy, like I was riding with two left arms and two left legs.
About midway through the lap, Nate was still on my wheel. I went down a short, tricky descent (tricky due to the mud) a pretty good rate of speed. It was slippery enough that I was basically a passenger on the way down. I slid off course and T-boned a tree, stopped me dead in my tracks. I managed to unclip and keep it upright. I called the tree an a-hole, turned to Nate and told him to go ahead. Once I got myself back together, I continued on and caught back up to Nate. We hit some more greasy sections and I began to loose contact with him. He was hookin’ up a lot better than I was, oh well. WWJ eventually caught up to me and he didn’t seem to have any trouble hanging on to my sketchy wheel.
Going up a climb, he had a little more momentum than I did and got past me. I rode behind him for a little while, he was able to gap me on the greasy stuff because he was hookin’ up a lot better than I was. We got to about midway through the first lap, going up a steep power climb. I passed him and opened the throttle. The trail was 100% better after that point, a little damp but not greasy.
I opened up a gap and that was pretty the last that I would see of anybody until the end of the race. The second lap was a little better. Like the first half of the lap, it was still pretty greasy in some spots. The second half of the lap was even better than the previous lap. By this time Nate had a pretty substantial gap and it was a little too late for me to reel him back in. On top of that, my legs… pretty much my entire body, was shelled from exerting so much effort on the first lap. My lack of efficiency had taken it’s toll on me and at that point, all that I wanted to do was finish the race.
I finished in 2nd place, not sure what the gap was to Nate ‘Cline with a C’, not sure I want to know. I think Andy came in 3rd, followed by Nooner, then WWJ. Nice job to everyone that finished. My entire body felt like I had just gotten run over by a heard of bison(ova). I still feel pretty wiped out as I write this two days later. Despite all of the ‘hardships’ that I had suffered, I still enjoyed the race. Anytime I’m ridin’ my bike, I’m having a good time!
So needless to say, I’m looking forward to some dry races so that I can redeem myself. Some might think that the last two weekends may have shaken my confidence. I can assure you that my confidence is still intact and is as high as it’s ever been. I’m already looking forward to this weekends race at Manawa, part of the Psycowpath series. After that I’ll be off to my home away from home, Durango, CO for two weeks of a ‘training camp’. I’m looking forward to a much needed break from racing.
So as I had just mentioned, my next race is this Saturday at Lake Manawa, somewhere in Council Bluffs. Hope to see you all there!

Thanks for reading,