Saturday, October 13, 2007


The last race of the season has come and gone and winter is just around the corner. In some ways, I kind of looking forward to the winter, riding in the snow, riding the Science Center when the dirt is frozen with a bunch of my bro’s, pork producer’s breakfast at the Machine Shed (lot’s of bacon and sausage), homemade chili and soup and a little to no structure when it comes to riding. The road bike will be put into hibernation and it will be nothing but dirty goodness for the next several months!
I hit the road Thursday night to visit me Mum, sister (Scooter) and niece (Kennan). I always have a great time visiting with the fam, never get to do it enough because I’m always off racing my bike somewhere. Got there early enough to eat some homemade stew and most of Scooter’s banana shake from Whitey’s.

Scooter, Kennan and Uncle Cam

Being the good uncle that I am!

Hit the road once again Friday morning for the Land of Oz. Made it to Terri’s in Madison by late morning, unloaded my junk and went out for a ride in search of some metro dirt. I was looking for a place called Quarry Park, I read some reviews online, ‘if you can ride your bike for five minutes without dismounting, you’re doing good’. Sounds great! I took it as a challenge expecting to have a little fun. I never did find the park, looking at a map afterwards I figured out that I had rode a complete loop around it, coming within one block a couple of times. I did get a nice urban ‘explore Madison’ ride in. If you ever get a chance to check out Madison, do it, awesome city!
Saturday morning I made the 2 hour drive up to Sheboygan to recon the course for WORS #12, the season finale of the biggest mountain bike racing series in America. As I was rolling out onto the course, Mikey and Heavy D were cruising by so I hopped onto the back of their train and rode a lap with them. I ended up doing three laps, in an attempt to get the course dialed in and also because it was a lot of fun! The course had a crap load of roots, think Sugarbottom on steroids, and no, I’m not exaggerating! Also had some short, steep climbs, a water crossing, a little mud and some sweet, flowing singletrack. All of the necessary ingredients for a great race course.
I stayed the night down in Milwaukee at Tyrines, had a great dinner with some great friends, Tyrine, Tony G, Ulla, little Stanky, Gregasaurus and Mikey. Felt like the good ‘ole days when I used to go up there every other weekend. We sat around afterwards, ate some primo cookies, drank a little wine and bs’d about anything and everything.
The next morning I had my usual excess of coffee and a box of cereal on the way up to Sheboygan. Got to the course and the place was completely flooded with cars, enough to transport around 750 total participants! I found my old Alterra teammates and set up shop with them, they had five cases of Lakefront beer so I knew that I’d be covered for my last race post race nutrition.

Scoring some grub at Tyrines

With the huge payouts, $1700 for the winner, the Elite field was sure to be stacked, Chequamegon style. Swanson, the brothers Lalonde, Schouten, Mikey, Charcoal, Matter and a few others that had a legitimate shot at winning. The race started and I went as hard as I could without blowing my wad. My start was mediocre at best and ended up mid-pack. As we approached the singletrack I got stuck in the usual mid-pack bottleneck. After a few seconds we started rolling again and as the race progressed, I settled into my own pace and started picking off all of the cats that blew themselves up at the start. Sometime during the 2nd lap, I caught up to John Lirette, who at the time was the first 40+ rider. We rode together for a while and once we hit a flat, open section I passed him and told him to hang on. I dropped it down a gear and drilled it until I caught up to the next guy ahead of me who happened to be Ryan Grayer, the same dude that pipped me at the finish at Blockhouse. I looked back and Lirette was gone. Ryan and I rode together until the fifth and final lap. We caught and passed a few others, including Ray Nelson. Ray managed to stay with us and the three of us rode together for a while. About midway through the last lap, Ryan, Ray and another cat passed me going up a hill and kept right on goin’. A few seconds later all that I could see was a plume of dust coming off of their back tires in the distance. One of two things happened to me at that point, I was either completely tapped, or I simply didn’t feel the need to subject myself to more pain than I was already experiencing. I had nothing significant to gain, I was sitting first in my age and was a long way out of the money, so I took the easy road. I took a quick look behind me and saw nobody, so I put it cruise control and maintained my position to the finish.

Flyin' through the drink, the locale where a lot of races were deflated.

Catchin' some air time off of the mother of all roots

Sweet arm warmers

Check out Gregasaurus, he's so tall that they couldn't fit his melon into the picture.

I ended up finishing 19th overall and 1st in 40+, my ever elusive goal of a top ten overall in WORS race has once again eluded me. Doug Swanson won with a time of 1:52:04, I finished a humbling 9 minutes back in 2:01:08. I was hoping to do a little better overall, knowing that the field was going to be stacked, I knew that a top ten was going to be a long shot for me. I still had a great time, I love racing my mountain bike, even when I have mediocre days. I’ll definitely be back next season to do a few more WORS races.

The crusty old man's podium

The final men's podium

On the way back to Dead Moines I had plenty of time to assess. My average HR was a relatively low 174. Over the last couple of months, it seemed as though my legs had a hard time keeping up with my cardio. My initial thought is that I missed the mark on my peak, and maybe spent a little too much time doing active recovery rides over the last couple of weeks. Despite all of that, I still had a great season, especially the second half!

I have no idea what’s coming up next, the Dirty Duathlon is on November 3rd. My good friend Jenny Weber and I are planning to team up again this year in defense of our team title from last year. Both of my wheels are in good working order this year, so, barring any ‘mechanical meltdowns’, I should be able to partake in the le mans style start… man I hate running, it always inflicts a great deal of pain.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Man I love Wisconsin. Lot’s of beautiful trees, rolling hills, great cycling and New Glarus Cherry Ale. Last weekend Andy Lueck and I threw all of our racing junk into my car and made the trip to Platteville, WI to do this pretty cool race they call the Blockhouse Roll. The course is located on private land and doesn’t see a whole lot of traffic, but the trails always seem to be in pretty good shape, nicely groomed for the most part.
The last time that I had done this race was back in 2004 so I didn’t remember too much about the course, a couple of really steep climbs, lot’s of rocks, two water crossings and some pretty sweet singletrack. They had also mentioned in the race flyer that there was going to be a couple of miles of new singletrack… always an adventure!
We arrived at the course about two hours early and had planned to do a quick lap before the race. I asked one of the officials how many laps we were doing and was told that it would be a parade lap and two full laps. So rather than doing a full recon lap and risk getting back too late for the start we opted to do several parade laps as a warm up. Because we weren’t able to do a recon lap, my plan was to ensure that I was 2nd wheel going into the woods.
We lined up for the le mans style start, the gun went off and I charged down the hill towards my bike. I was kinda hangin’ on to the back of my jersey to make sure that all of my crap didn’t fall out of my pockets and was the 2nd person to get to my bike. I hopped on and jumped into 2nd place behind Carlos Haeckel, a regular top finisher in the WORS series. As we were motoring up the hill, some dude with a UW Platteville kit went by both of us like a madman and led the way on the parade lap.
At the end of the parade lap, Carlos passed the dude from UW. Shortly after that I also passed him and sat on Carlos’ wheel going into the woods. We hit some pretty fun, very technical sections of singletrack and though I was struggling a little on some of it, I was having a blast! My lack of familiarity of the course took its toll on some parts, I’d round a corner at full speed and immediately come upon a gnarly section that was anxiously awaiting the chance to devour me and my bike. In my surprised state, I’d be forced to make a clumsy dismount and run over / through whatever it was that activated my pucker mechanism.
Carlos and I worked pretty well together throughout, he’d lead through the technical sections and descents and I’d take the lead on some of the climbs and flats. He would actually leave me in the dust on the descents, he was scary fast going down some of the gnarly, rock laden descents. It was probably better that I couldn’t stay with him on some of the descents because he had a wake of rocks flying in every which direction as he went downhill. When the terrain flattened out or went upward, I’d reel him back in. He did the race last year and was a little more familiar with the course than I was, so I was quite happy to let him lead as much as he wanted.
About midway through the first lap we managed to gap the rest of the field off to the point where we couldn’t see anybody behind us. As we began the 2nd lap, another dude, Ryan Krayer, had managed to close the gap a little. He’d get kinda close, but then fall of the pace a little. This continued until we hit the 2nd water crossing. I chose to dismount because the crossing was wide enough and there were a lot of big rocks that I couldn’t see. Carlos tried to ride through it but stalled out midway through. We both got through it and Carlos was able to get back on his bike and rolling pretty quickly. I got back on my bike and had trouble clipping back in before the next rocky, slime covered technical section. I had to jump back off my bike and run up the hill a ways before I could remount. By this time, Ryan was able to close the gap to me. I gradually closed the gap to Carlos and the three of us rode together for a short while.
We hit the last long, steep climb and Ryan pulled out from behind me and drilled it up the hill. Carlos was also able to gap me a little. I tried to respond, but as soon as I hit the throttle, my legs would not comply with my request. I knew that if I persisted, they’d most likely seize up on me, I’d fall over and most likely roll back down to the bottom of the hill in a heap. As I topped the hill we had about a mile left and I was able to reel Carlos back in. I sat on his wheel for a short while and my legs made a pretty quick recovery from the hill. I passed Carlos and went after Ryan. As we began the approach to the short climb to the finish I locked the rear end out and pushed myself just short of going cross-eyed in attempt to catch Ryan. I was quickly closing the gap but ran out of real estate. He crossed the line with a time of 1:51:58. I came through in 2nd with a time of 1:52:06, 8 seconds back. Carlos came through in 3rd with a time of 1:52:50. What a race! A great job to all that finished and congrats to Ryan for repeating as race winner. It was a very tough, physically demanding course.
After I crossed the finish line, I went over to bs with Carlos and Ryan and then went out for a cool down ride. As I was heading back towards the start / finish area I saw Andy sitting on his bike next to the road. As I approached him he began to roll, so I rolled up to him and we started talking about the race. He sounded like he had a mouth full of food so I figured that he was eating something. Funny thing was, he still sounded like he had a mouth full of something five minutes later. Turns out, as he was flying down a hill during the race and had his tongue hangin’ out of his mouth. A kamikaze bee hit his tongue and stung him. He showed me his tongue and it looked like he had a big ole’ kosher dill hangin’ out of his mouth. I made fun of him.
Overall, I was very happy with the result. Of the top three finishers, I was the least familiar with the course and was at somewhat of a disadvantage in the regard. I also think that I might have done a little too much during the week leading up to the race because my legs still didn’t the snap that I was expecting for this time of the season. My average heart rate of 172 for the race confirmed that my legs were a little off the mark. Peaking is such a black art, I always try to do just enough in the way of workouts during my peak period such that I minimize loss of fitness while also trying to get enough recovery in so that I’m fresh for important races. It’s hard to find that optimal balance. Last year I was able to get it right, this year I’ve been a little off but I’ve still managed to pull of some great results.
Next up is my last race of the season, the WORS season finale up in Sheboygan, WI on October 7. There are always a lot of big guns there, a ton of pros and semi pros. It’ll be a great end of season test for me!

Thanks for reading,