Monday, October 15, 2012

WORS Wrap

So this year has exceeded my expectations by a lot. Going into the season I didn't know where I was at and had no idea if I was going to meet the expectations of a PRO. I think that I lived up to the challenge.

Part of the challenge most cyclist struggle with is consistency, the season is long and can really dig you in a hole if you aren't careful. I started the season strong (minus Iola where I broke my chain) and ended strong, consistantly staying in the top ten. Last year (and still do) I would look up to guys like Darrin, Mike, Brian, Tristan and Chris and wonder how every race, all year long, they could get on the podium, well this year I was one of those guys and it feels pretty good.

Since I didn't write about Bear Paw I will just give a quick shot at the race if I can remember what happened. I had a great start, hit the climb hard and got into the single track somewhere around the top 5. Held there for the first lap and came around into the second lap in 3rd place, but my handle bars were a little loose and would move every hard hit that I took. I hit the climb again, maybe a little to hard, but still stayed in position. Once we hit the second section of 1 track Darrin and Mike got ahead of me and slowly pulled away while I was riding with my loose bars. Somewhere around here Nathan passed me too. I had a tool with me but didn't know if stopping to fix it or if riding it out would be faster - I did the latter. I held my ground and came in 6th place.

Yesterday was Sheboygan - The muddiest race I have ever been in. I like to race in the mud, but this was just crazy. Water that was over the hubs and everything else was thick mud, some sections I swear were a foot deep, roots exposed everywhere, and climbs there were unclimbable. It was a skills race, I think that my skills were pretty decent but the down hills were sketchy and I tried to take it kind of easy on them but my brakes were gone after a lap into the 3 lap race. I battled with Mike Philips again who is a mad man on the downhills. We were back and forth for quite awhile, I actually got away and thought there was no way that he would be coming back, but guess what? He was back and was killing it, he dropped me while I was laying on the ground and that was it. I rode  through solo in 7th place.


So much mud in my eyes I could barley open them, let alone see anything.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Two Week Recap

As the end of the MTB season nears, I find myself wondering where the year went. Sometimes time really does get away from you.

Ill go back to Treadfest, which was last weekend. I am still working on my starts and this race I got to the top of the start climb just outside of the top 5, although I was all by myself. Eventually I caught Issac and we were slowly getting gained up on by Corey and Kevin. Once they latched on we had a good pace going and Issac eventually faded off.

I felt strong on the hills so I tried to open up any gap I could but apparently Corey and Kevin were also feeling good. We rode the whole race together until Corey threw in an attack and open up an instant gap then Kevin went around me and got away as well. I rolled through the finish line in 8th place.

Now on the Chequamegon Fat Tire 40. This race always draws a huge crowd, including some big names. Once again I find myself struggling to stay in position at the start but this race is even harder to stay up front because you are at really high speeds, on black top about 10 people wide. Its something that experience will defiantly help with.

I stayed near the front until Rosies field but exiting the field I could just hear the four wheeler pulling away and was by myself again! I pushed hard trying to get up to the next group that I could see off in the distance but it was no good, I ended up sitting up a bit to be caught by the group behind so that we could work together. Although not many people wanted to work in that group.

It wasn't the smartest or most tactical race I've ever been in but most of us stayed together until the Fire Tower hills. Me and one other guy attacked the hills and got away and eventually started slowly picking off a few guys that must of popped of one of the leading groups. It was a struggle in the last roller coaster section, they seemed to never end!

I kept pushing with what I had left in the tank and rolled through the finish in 24th place. A little outside my goals, but overall Im happy with my time. Races like this will get me the confidence at the starts that I need to make that lead group and stay there.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Subaru Cup PRO XCT

I was looking forward to this race all year and can't believe its here and gone. In a way I wish I could have a redue.

I went to the course on Wednesday and rode all the technical stuff a few times to find the right lines. I thought that I would be able to get some air over the Trek Firelane rock but found out that wasn't gonna work and crashed pretty hard.

For the XC race everyone gets call ups based on your UCI points then after that it is a random draw. I didn't have any UCI points and got picked last! So I started dead last.... On the parade lap we all got piled up right away and I just stood there and watched the leaders ride away. Once we got going again I started hammering to make up as many places as I could. I was moving up really fast and on lap 3 I was pretty happy with my position. Thats when I blew... I never really felt like myself out there but really started going backwards on lap 4 and 5. Then I just barely hit the 80% rule and got pulled... I think that if I wouldn't of killed myself that first lap I might of had the energy to maintain my pace and finish on the lead lap.

Short Track was much the same, I got caught up in a crash when JHK went down in the first corner and stood there watching the leaders ride away. I was feeling sluggish out on the course but it seemed like I was moving up each lap. With all the fans going crazy I dug deep but just couldn't turn the pedals any harder and slowly started to go backwards again and got pulled with 3 laps to go.

In the Super D race I just decided to have fun, go down the hill fast without killing myself and don't worry about the results and that exactly what I did.

All in all this race was a big learning experience for me, my first year as a pro I am privileged to have this race in my home state and have all the fans on my side. Racing against some of the best racers in the country, including both Olympic men is crazy. I have a lot of years of racing in me yet and it is just beginning....

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ore To Shore

Ore to Shore always has a good turn out. Its not as high profile as Cheq 40 or Iceman but the fast guys still show up. I had big goals... stay with the lead group for as long as possible and to race smart.

I managed to stick with them for somewhere around 10 miles in. A few mishaps caused them to get away, but it was probably for the best otherwise I might have blown up to early.... After riding by myself, fighting the strong winds Darrin Braun and a group of guys caught me and I got in their train, that lasted for only a few mins and Darrin and I broke away and were gaining on Issac Neft. 

Then out of no where some other dude was in our draft. Darrin, Issac and myself were working together really well, but the other guy didn't seem to be doing much work....

Issac eventually dropped off and it was left to the 3 of us. I could tell that Darrin and that other guy were feeling better than I was, I tried to hide it but it was not easy. About 5 miles left Darrin throws in an attack up a hill to test the waters, I could not respond but they slowed back down and I bridged back up only for them to do it again. Thats when I decided that I was blown, I rode as hard as I could making sure that no one was gaining on me. I crossed the line in 12th position. 

I am very happy with my result, if only I could of hung in a little longer and had a shot for that 10th place... maybe next year. 


Monday, July 16, 2012

Alterra

After a pre ride with teammate Corey on Saturday I was unsure how I was going to feel on race day. This weekend was tough with the heat, but I knew that everyone was going to struggle a little bit so I just let that pass and focused on getting a solid race. My start was pretty good, I stuck with the lead group the first lap, and it seemed to be a manageable pace for me. Once the group started splitting up the pace picked up and then my memory got a little fuzy from here, but sometime after that (maybe mid second lap?, or third) things split up and I found myself with Mark, Kevin, and Matt. Darrin came out of know where and was drilling the single track, I hung on for a little bit but just didn't have the legs to hang so I backed off and rode my pace. It was a struggle to the finish without getting passed. That didn't happen, Ben koneig and Ben Senkerik both got me. I caught back up to Ben K and passed him on the finish climb for 12th (sorry Ben!) It was a mental battle for me this weekend, but I hope to be back to normal next weekend.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Week full of Adventures

I started of my week by driving to Chicago Monday morning with my Mom and Girlfriend to watch the live taping of the Conan Obrien show. It was pretty cool seeing how that works and it was my first time watching him since he was kicked off NBC (nbc is the only channel that comes in at my house). So after the show we got in the car and made our trek to Colorado Springs. 16 hours later straight through the night we arrived at our hotel where we checked in and made ourselves at home. My mom and I went out for an easy spin around some trails in the Garden of the Gods park and it was awesome to be riding in the mountains!

The week wasn't only about me and riding so we did touristy stuff too. We walked around the Garden of the Gods, went shopping in those little downtown stores, rode the Cog rail up to Pikes Peak at 14,110ft (it is hard to breath up there wow!) and did some more hiking in the parks. Each day I rode the course and thought I had it dialed in pretty good.

The main reason I was out there was for the PRO XCT at Ute Valley. I knew that I was in over my head with some of the fastest people in the Country/World but now is the best time to get my feet wet and gain some experience so I went for it.

Just before the Pro Womens race is down poured so everyone was sitting undercover hoping it would stop, luckily it did and the course dried up super fast.

The course started out on a gravel running track. My call up was 34th which was pretty far back... we did one lap on the running track and then exited through a small opening in a chain link fence. I got squeezed out right away and was sitting pretty far back.

The course had a few major climbs and some awesome rocky super fast descents. Each lap was about 15 mins for the leaders and I think mine were about 16.5 mins. I got with a group that I thought I could hang with but we got to the second major climb and most of them pulled away. I didn't feel to much affect from the altitude (6500ft) but it was hard for me to catch my breath. I hung with the few stragglers that fell of the group for lap 2 and 3 and then started to come around. Lap 4 I pulled away from the guys I was with and then got reeled in by another guy who was hammering. I didn't want him to get away because I didn't know if there were more so I stepped on it and finished the race with him for 32nd place. It was a pretty uneventful race to write about expect for a wooden bridge that was still wet from the rain, it was so slippery that I crashed on it twice! The first time I smashed my collar bone on one of the poles the went up the edge the the second time I smashed my hip.

All in all I am really glad that I made the trip out there and got some experience and had a decent finish. But this isn't the end of my weekend.

As soon as the race finished I changed, ate, stretched (didn't shower) and hopped in the car hoping to make in back in time for WORS #4 Cam Rock. We drove straight through the night, luckily I got to sleep and my mom and Girlfriend did did most of the driving. We got there at noon, just in time to put my kit back on and get on my bike for a good warm up.


My legs surprising didn't feel to bad on the warm up, but I forgot we had that nasty climb at the start and I could feel it. I spun out going up the last gravel climb before the single track and didn't have very good position. I hooked up with Matt Gehling who knew the course pretty well and he was tearing up the single track. He was pushing the hills hard to and I was doing all I could to hang on but managed. He used up a little bit to much the first 2 laps and slowly dropped off my wheel when we entered the single track on the 3rd lap. So I rode by myself for a while and could see Kevin McConnel up ahead and eventually caught him. I basically sat on his wheel the rest of the race and fought threw the lapped traffic for a 10th place finish.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ute Valley PRO XCT | Course Recon


video

Here is a preview of the course. The course is nothing like Wisconsin dirt. Most is sand, sand stone and some roots. The downhill sections are a blast to fly down and the climbs will tear the legs right off you. Sorry for the low resolution...