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,