Saturday, November 08, 2008

Dirty Du v3.0

Photos courtesy of Fry Guy, Ken Sherman and Justin Bruce.

Peace dude.

Last weekend, the Central Iowa Trail Association (CITA) hosted the 3rd Annual Des Moines Dirty Duathlon over at the old Science Center of Iowa trails. At last years Dirty Du, Kristy Feldman and I teamed up and took the relay title by less than a minute over the team of the Mighty Bison and Marc Hollander. I’m coming off of the best year that I’ve ever had on the bike and Kristy is also having a great season, so we both felt pretty good about defending our title! Julie had originally planned to do the solo category, however after we spent the last couple of days riding the Hillside and Rollercoaster, she decided that 2 laps of running along with 4 laps of riding might be a bit much. So she enlisted the running services of our good friend Jan Mohs who happens to have a diesel engine when it comes to running.
While getting warmed up, I ran into local pro triathlete TJ Tollakson. He had borrowed a buddies old Trek Y frame mountain bike and decided to partake in the festivities with running studette, Ashley Tousley, who was fresh off of a stellar sub 3 hour marathon at the Des Moines Marathon a few weeks ago. I took TJ out for a short recon of the Rollercoaster section where he quickly discovered the differences between mountain biking and riding a tri bike. Thankfully he was cautious enough to avoid any altercations with trees, rocks and the man eating ditches that lined the trail.
The race started with a 2+ mile run and nearly 100 participants took off up the short initial climb. As the group began to thin, Kristy had slotted herself near the front of the line and maintained a comfortable pace and finished the run leg in around 5th overall. I took the baton and within 30 seconds I had my HR into the red zone in pursuit of the leaders. I reeled in all of the leaders and eventually caught and passed the leader, Louis DeWild, who was crazy enough to do the ride on a cross bike as we approached the trailhead to the Hillside.

K-Dawg and Ashley fixin' to put the hurt on most of the field.

K-Dawg takin' charge of the situation.

For the first lap, I had nothing but clear trail ahead of me and I was able to focus on taking clean lines through the freshly raked trails. I was already hitting lapped traffic about midway through the 2nd of 4 laps and never encountered any real problems in getting by people. There were a few that didn’t seem to understand mountain biking etiquette, however that was to be expected as there were a lot of folks taking part that were new to the scene. I am totally fine with all of that, it’s a lot more important to me to see a bunch of new cats taking part in the mountain biking scene. Working through traffic is always going to be a part of mountain bike racing and I enjoy the challenge of getting by lapped traffic as quickly as possible without forcing somebody into a lasting relationship with a tree.

Cresting the creek crossing climb.

My bro Wade Thompson sporting a sweet jersey.

Cruisin' down a hill next to one of those man eating ditches.

Displacing a little water.

Julie was going fast, can you see the plume of smoke comin' off her wheel?

I finished the bike leg and provided Kristy with about a 7 minute cushion between her and 2nd place. She was able to put it into cruise control and bring home another win to the tune of about 13 minutes over team Sea Biscuit. After I finished the bike leg, I went back out on course to cheer on Kristy and Julie. Julie was still in the middle of the bike leg and she was riding the wheels off of the bike! As she began her last lap, I rolled down to the water crossing on the Rollercoaster. The water crossing consists of a small, shallow creek crossing laced with small rocks that like to knock unsuspecting riders off line and into the drink. After the creek comes a small, technical, twisty climb to the top of the hill. The section is technical enough that it has tested the will of even some of the more experienced riders in the area. Julie and I had spent a little time going through the section over the last couple of days, however she’s never been able to clean the section. As she approached the section on her last lap, I could see the look of determination on her face. She rolled through the creek like a veteran and then powered her way to the top of the climb like it was second nature! My excitement for her so much that I even had a few other spectators cheering for her as well! Saweet!

Julie maintaining her focus near the top of the creek crossing section.

Pro tri-geek TJ, the beginnings of his transformation from triathlete to full time mountain biker. I'm using The Force on him.

Sea Biscuits team got chicked by my team mate.

Duffy rippin' it up through a water crossing.

Men's solo champ Mountain Man Andy.

Ale' Jet is pretty in pink.

The Dirty Du is quickly becoming one of the more popular off road events in the Des Moines area and the folks of CITA do a stellar job with the event. Of course it also kinda helps when we have a day when the temps are in the mid 70’s in November!

So as I approach the end of the hamburger season, I’ll soon begin my transition into the weight lifting phase in preparation for next season. It’s gonna be pretty difficult weaning myself off of my hamburger and beer diet, however I have a great support group to lean on and I’ll get through it.

2006 Orbea Oiz, this could be yours!

I’m also planning to put together a little garage sale of several items, mostly new stuff, that have been cluttering up my garage. One of the items, my 2006 Orbea Oiz that I raced on for a couple of seasons. I hope to have it all put together by next week, so stay tuned if you’re on the market for a sweet mountain bike or other components.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Women's MTB Clinic

All photos courtesy of my lovely assistant Julie.

Mountain biking chicks are cool.

As I write this, I am deeply immersed in hamburger season and I am thoroughly enjoying it! I decided to take a fairly new approach to the season this year by trying out a couple of greasy spoons in the Des Moines area that have stood the test of time. My latest adventure… George the Chili King baby! A buddy of mine, Greg and Mr. Orbea, Phil Godkin hit up the Chili King and enjoyed a plate of chili cheese fries, a deep fried tenderloin coated with a layer of chili and some home made onion rings. Good stuff and worth an annual visit during hamburger season. The only problem with the place is that they don’t serve beer with food that was meant to be washed down with a cold one.
A few weeks ago I played host to the 2nd Annual Women’s MTB Clinic. This year I teamed up with I.O.W.A. and it paid off as we had a little over 80 women at the event, with around 25 or so participating in the mountain biking portion of the clinic. Last year we were able to use the trails over at Denman’s, the perfect terrain for a beginner level clinic. Not too strenuous, not too technical but with plenty of obstacles such as logs and tight, twisty corners to work on beginner level skills. With all of the rain that we had leading up to the event, we were forced to use the Hillside trails.

Working them Skizllsss among the beautiful fall colors.

Jedi Master John Conlan showing the pupils how a Jedi's strength flows through The Force.

The clinic started out in Greenwood Park, where I had them work on some basic skills, such as cornering, riding over sticks and small logs. Then we rolled over to a pretty steep, somewhat technical, long hill where I taught them how to climb and suffer. I had a great support crew that consisted of John Conlan, Matt Zepeda, Kyle Sedore, Taylor Webb and Dave Mable that helped me out. We lined the hill, offering encouragement and even gave a few a small pushes to help them make it to the top.

Taking a load off after a succesfull hill climb.

Emily Schaapveld showing the others how to get it done.

After that we rolled over to the Hillside trails and took the easiest route to the top. There were a few that had a tough time making it to the top, however I think that all were still enjoying themselves. We rolled through the southern half of the Hillside and practiced riding over some logs and roots. We also worked through some tight, fairly technical turns.
We capped the main portion of the clinic with a drawing for a bunch of schwag that included 6 pairs of women specific Oakley sunglasses, 4 pair of women specific shorts from Louis Garneau and a bunch of stuff from Rasmussen Bike Shop. After the drawing, I took Julie, Elaine and Emily out for another round on the more technical, northern part of the Hillside and we had a ball riding some of the sweetest singletrack that Iowa has to offer! All in all, the clinic was another huge success and I plan to continue with it, making it an annual event! Thanks to everybody that showed and thanks to John Conlan, Matt Zepeda, Dave Mable, Kyle Sedore and Talyor Webb for taking the time to help me out!

Thanks for reading,