Todd Wells was born December 25, 1975 in Kingston, N.Y. He fell in love with the bicycle at an early age starting with BMX from the age of five through sixteen. After graduating high school he picked up his first mountain bike and has been on a tear ever since. He found his way out to Durango, CO where he attended Fort Lewis College and began a pursuit of his career in cycling.
Wells won two Cross Country Mountain Bike Collegiate titles for Fort Lewis College and the inaugural Semi Pro NORBA National Series title in 1996 before taking a break from his studies to become a full time professional cyclist with the Specialized Mountain Dew team.
His initial professional career was short lived as he decided to hang up his wheels at the end of the 1998 season and finish his collegiate studies at the University of Arizona. In 2000 he graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Management Information Systems and immediately started working for I.B.M., a company he interned with during his time as a student.
Wells quickly realized that being a bike racer was better then having a “real” job and started training once again with his sights set on returning to the professional ranks. Some good results landed him a contract with the Mongoose Hyundai team and he was back on the circuit full time by the end of 2001.
By 2008 he was back where he started with the Specialized team and his results seem to get better with age. He has won nine National Championship titles across four disciplines. In 2011 he took on some endurance races and racked up wins in both the Leadville 100 and La Ruta de Los Conquistadors.
2012 might have been his best season yet with his third trip to the Olympic Games where he placed a career best 10th. He also managed to win his second PROXCT series title, second Pan American Championship title and stood on the podium at the Windham World Cup.
When Todd isn’t racing all over the world you can find him in one of three places; hanging out with his wife Meg and dog Winston, grinding it out on the golf course or hitting the dirt jump trails around Durango or his winter home of Tucson, AZ.
|2012 Marathon National Champion|
|2012, 2010 PROXCT National Champion|
|2012, 2010 Continental Champion|
|2012, 2010, 2001 Short Track National Champion|
|2012 Olympic Games 10th|
|2012 Windham World Cup 4th|
|2011 US Cyclocross National Champion|
|2011 La Ruta de los Conquistadores Champion|
|2011 Leadville Trail 100 Champion|
|2011 US Cross Coutry Mountain Bike National Champion|
|2011 Sea Otter Classic XC 1st Place|
|2011 World Championships 7th|
|2004, 2008 Olympic Games Team Member|
PROXCT #5 Bump and Grind:June 3, 2013
The PROXCT has been on hiatus since the Sea Otter Classic back in April but started up again this weekend in Birmingham, AL with the 19th running of the Bump and Grind. The past two weeks I had been racing in Europe at the opening rounds of the World Cup. I felt I had pretty good form going over but some bad luck in Albstadt and just a bad day in Nove Mesto made the trip a wash. It was disappointing to make such a big trip and get nothing out of it but that’s racing, some days you have it and some days you don’t.
I traveled back from Europe on Monday and no sooner had I done my laundry and started sleeping past 5 A.M. I was back at the airport with my U-23 teammate Howie Grotts heading to PROXCT #5 in Birmingham. We were set to get in on Thursday afternoon to do some pre-riding of the twenty-eight-mile XC loop but high winds in Denver had us rerouted to Colorardo Springs and sitting on the tarmac while the only flight to Birmingham left Denver with out us. It wasn’t as bad as some of the other flights rerouted to though as a fight broke out on one of the rerouted planes and there were about ten emergency vehicles surrounding it. We managed to make it to Birmingham later that night but not in time to do any riding.
Lucky for us Saturday was the STXC and the less important of the two races. Feeling a bit blocked after a big travel and no riding I was happy just to make the lead group with Bishop and Trebron. I was able to sit on but as soon as I went to the front towards the end of the race they both attacked and I couldn’t respond. I rolled in for third and then Howie and I went out to ride some of the XC course.
Did I mention the two weeks we were in Europe it was about forty degrees and raining? Well when we arrived in the “Dirty South” it was 90 degrees with 90% humidity, quite a shock to the system. Sunday the temps were a bit cooler for the start of the XC though.
The course here in Birmingham is a blast. It is primarily twisty, flowy single track with just a few miles of fire road and a few rocky sections. It consists of one big eighteen-mile loop and one smaller ten-mile loop. There isn’t too much climbing and with so much twisty single track it’s tough to break up the race so we were a pretty big group for much of the race. Towards the middle of the small loop Bishop attacked on the rocky climb and got about five seconds on me. With that surge we dropped the other guys in the group and I chased him at that five-second gap for about twenty minutes before finally closing it down with about three miles to go. Since it was all single track until about five hundred meters to go he wasn’t going to shake me again.
We hit the pavement with five hundred meters to go and I attacked straight away. There was about a twenty second steep dirt climb we raced up, he pulled even with me but I had the inside as we went around a corner and dropped down onto the finishing straight. I kept my head down sprinting for the line and was able to hold him off by a few inches. It was a great fight and an awesome way to win. When I looked down at my heart rate monitor at the finish it was beating at 195! That is a serious effort.
I’m back home now for some recovery and training before the next PROXCT in Missoula a few weeks from now. I increased my lead in the PROXCT series with a win this weekend but it’s still really close with four of the nine races left in the series.
Thanks for your support….
Whiskey 50April 29, 2013
The Whiskey 50 is one heck of an event. I had never raced the Prescott, AZ marathon race until this weekend and I’m really happy I finally made it down there. Prescott is a small old west town located about two hours from Phoenix and nestled in the mountains at 5,200 feet. This was the tenth year anniversary of the event and a growing prize list every year it has been getting more and more attention from the top pros in the North America.
The race weekend kicks off on Friday night with a mandatory fat tire crit in the heart of downtown. It is mandatory in that if you DNS the crit you get an eight-minute penalty in the marathon on Sunday. The eight minutes isn’t tagged onto your finish time either, you are held back eight minutes after the start and then are left to chase all day. That said, everyone starts the crit but not everyone finishes.
The crit course is hard! You are either climbing or descending the entire time. There are tons of spectators lining the course though and the first part of the stair step climb is a tunnel of noise and color with people dressed up in costumes and going bananas. Since the only thing on the line is bragging rights I focused on trying to get some primes. I managed to snag one with two laps to go and took it easy from there hoping to save my legs for the big day.
Saturday is when all the amateurs race and then Sunday the Pros line up for the $40,000 purse. The course starts and finishes on Whisky row in downtown and in between it climbs some seven to eight thousand feet. It is a mix of dusty rough single track, smooth fast fire road and flowy funny trails. We had a perfect weather for the big day with a cloudless sky and temperatures ranging from 60-80 degrees.
We rolled out in mass from downtown and group stayed together for the first four or five miles before we hit the first steep pavement climb and from there the race was on. I led into the first single track and tried to keep the pressure on up the first single track climb. Thirty minutes into the race Kabush and I had a small gap over Bishop and Plaxton. We steadily increased our gap on the long dirt road descent into Skull valley for the turn around and midway point of the race. We worked perfectly together for the twelve-mile climb back up out of Skull Valley and increased our gap even more the whole way up.
Kabush attacked at the top of the climb and put about five to ten seconds into me going into the single track with less then ten miles to go. I held the gap steady until we got to “cramp hill” and I started to feel the twinges. He was able to pull to about 40 seconds but had at least four minutes over Bishop in third.
I kept the pressure on but with about a mile of single-track left before the four-mile road descent back into town I flatted. I fixed the flat and still had second locked up but a few minutes later I flatted again and was out of repair stuff so I had to run/ride the flat rear tire for the rest of the single track and then ride it in the rest of the way on the road. I dropped back to seventh by the time I finally crossed the line. It was a frustrating way to finish off an otherwise great day. I knew it was a risk running light tires but was more worried about the beginning of the course for flats then the end, next year I’ll opt for more protection.
I can’t say enough good things about the Whiskey 50; it is a top-notch event. I think the format where amateurs race the same longish course as the Pros and can compare their times is where MTB is headed in the US. I think that’s why Leadville has become such a big event. It doesn’t hurt being followed all day by a helicopter either.
Thanks for your support….
PROXCT #3 FontanaApril 1, 2013
This past weekend was the third round of the PROXCT. We were back out in the Inland Empire of California for the Fontana XC and STXC. It was also the first and only event that is held in conjunction with the PROGRT, which is the US Downhill National Series. I really miss the days when the Endurance and Gravity disciplines were held together so this weekend was a nice treat.
The weekend didn’t start off so great as I came down with a cold just before we were set to leave. I’ve had some of my best races when I was sick but it sure doesn’t make it much fun. The good part was being able to drive from my Tucson base that is only about six hours away and being able to have Meg and Winston (my dog) with me. We also had the chance to visit Oakely while we were out there which is always fun. I even brought my P bike and got to do some laps on the Dirt Lab pump track.
Fontana is not the prettiest place in California but it has some really fun trails and a great racecourse. Since the race was non-UCI this weekend the lap was longer and we got to ride some terrain I’ve never done there before. The course had two main climbs and plenty of fast and dusty single-track.
Midway through the first lap I found myself in a group with Bishop and Cameron Jette (young Canadian on Scott). We rode together until midway through the second lap when Bishop and put in a sure and dropped Jette. Bishop nailed it again at the beginning of the third of four laps. I couldn’t respond but kept my own tempo. I didn’t want to blow up like two weeks ago so I put my head down and just focused on myself. The gap grew to 30 seconds but I was able to bring it back down to 8 seconds by the start of the last lap. Midway through the forth lap I was still pushing hard when I came around a corner and saw Bishop off his bike working on his chain. I made quick work of his misfortune and took my first PROXCT XC win of the year. He fixed the chain very quick and was able to hold on for second so he retained the series overall.
Fontana usually has one of the best STXCs on the circuit with some fast dirt road, a steep climb and some sketchy descents. This weekend they decided to only use the flat fire road so we literally did a crit on the MTB. I grabbed the hole shot and after a few laps we were down to four, myself, Bishop, Trebron and Keegan Swenson. Midway through we dropped Keegan and it was just three of us. The race was more tactical then selective and on the last lap I attacked and was able to hold of Bishop for my second win of the weekend. Lea also won both the XC and STXC and Specialized went one, two in the Downhill as well. I don’t think we could have asked for a better weekend. Next up is Sea Otter.
Thanks for your support….
PROXCT #1 Bonelli ParkMarch 20, 2013
The second round of the PROXCT took place this weekend in Southern California in Bonelli Park. This is the third year the PROXCT has visited Bonelli Park and it is a great course for racing. It is located just twenty miles from another SoCal PROXCT stop, Fontana that will take place in two weeks time.
The course in Bonelli is a fast 5.5KM loop with lots of short punchy climbs and fast descents. It is one of those courses where you’re either out of the saddle or on the nose of it sprinting up a steep climb or standing up off the back of the saddle ripping a descent. The longest climb is probably two minutes and the longest descent is probably 30 seconds so there isn’t much recovery and virtually no flat as well.
Just about everyone opted for hard tails this weekend in sharp
contrast to the full suspensions used a few weeks ago in Texas. Also, with minimal sharp rocks on the course light tires were in order in as well which helped with the constant accelerations.
I found myself in a group with Bishop, Raphel Gange and Shultz after the first of six laps. On lap two or three Shultz dropped from our group and it was just the three of us. I put in a surge on lap three but never really got much of an advantage and then midway through lap four Bishop attacked and I detonated. I don’t usually blow up but the lights went completely out and I didn’t think I was even going to be able to ride the remaining two laps. Luckily I pulled myself back together towards the end of lap five and was able to hang on for third place.
Sunday saw the first PROXCT STXC of the year and it was a blazing fast course. It was simply the start loop from the day before and I think it was about 1:30 a lap. I was feeling pretty good and attacked quite a bit but could never get anything to stick. I tried one last attempt going into the final the lap but got out positioned going into the single track and ended up taking forth out of our lead group of four.
You would think after racing so many of these I would know better but that’s what makes racing so great, you never know what’s going to happen.
Thanks for your support….
PROXCT 1 Mellow JohnnysMarch 4, 2013
The 2013 U.S. MTB season kicked off in this weekend near Austin, TX with the 4th Annual Mellow Johnny’s Classic. Mellow Johnny’s has supported the PROXCT series for the past few years and this year they again put on the first C1 race of the season in the U.S. The course was very similar to last year and is by far the roughest we see on the domestic circuit. There is a lot of rock and loose corners; nearly everyone rides full suspension bikes as most of the rough sections are on flats that require pedaling. We had cool temperatures for the first time ever in TX and I don’t think it even touched sixty degrees on race day.
This weekend was my first ride on my new S-works Epic and the new SRAM XX1, they both worked awesome and I’m really excited to get some time in on them.
The race consisted of a start lap and five main laps. I found myself in a group of 5-7 riders for the first 3 laps. Heading into lap 4 Dan McConnell attacked and strung out our group of 5. I had a small bobble midway through the lap, had to get off and lost contact with the group. I was back on quick but by the time I bridged to Zanstra, Dan and Bishop had a 10 second gap. We held them at that gap through most of lap five but could never bring it back. I rolled in for 3rd after Zanstra had a bobble with 1 KM to go.
It was great to get the season underway and I’m looking forward to a busy few weeks coming up with a few more PROXCTs, Continental Championships in Argentina and then Sea Otter in mid April.
Thanks for your support….
First-Ever Marathon National Championship - Todd WellsSeptember 16, 2012
This weekend I competed in my first ever Marathon National
Championship. In fact, it was my first one-day marathon event ever. I've raced Leadville but you can hardly compare a 3:35 hr marathon race to a 6+hr event at 10,000 ft. Needless to say I wasn't sure what to expect but things couldn't have gone better.
Bend is a great town and I really enjoyed spending some time there and getting to ride a bunch of the local trails. I had only been there in the dead of winter for CX Nationals in the past so it was great to experience it in the summer. I also usually only get to ride the XC course when I¹m at an event and those tend to be on the worst trails a town has to offer, but a great place for a venue. I flew straight in from XC World Championships in Austria so I had some time to preview the course.
Preparing for a Marathon race is much different then for a modern day XC. The Bend course was 54 miles long consisting of three loops that we did one time. There is no busting out a few laps before the race so I had to ride the course in sections. Luckily some of the locals showed me parts of the course and I figured out how to upload and follow the course on my Garmin. For marathon races they can't always mark the whole course until the day of the event because it often uses forest service land, which has some restrictions.
By the time race day rolled around I had the course dialed in, Joe Devera, aka Spider Monkey (my mechanic) had my new 2013 Epic dialed in and Meg had the feed zones dialed in. We even got some much needed rain the previous night; just enough to clean the smoke out of the air from the nearby forest fire and keep down the dust for the start.
The race started like a XC but we quickly formed a group of about fifteen or twenty rolling out the fire road to the first loop. The group blew apart on the first climb and I found myself in a lead group of five with Craig, Decker, Wicks and Ettinger. Craig gained a 20 second gap 25 miles or so into the race with Decker, Wicks and I chasing. Wickes and I caught Craig going into the second main loop and Decker dropped his chain and got gapped off. About 30 miles into the race Craig and I popped Wicks off on a long single-track climb and we stayed locked together until about 4 miles to go.
I could see Craig was starting to struggle so I put in a surge and was able to get a gap pretty quickly that I held until the finish. Craig totally blew up and Decker also passed him for second inside the last minute of the race. I had no idea Decker was so close and was thinking about how I was going to get away from Craig for the most the race. Both Craig and Decker live in Bend, are great descenders and know those trails like the back of their hands.
I am really happy to win the National title at my first attempt at the marathon distance. I've figured out some things for the future too, like I need to eat and drink more during the race because I was running in on fumes at the finish. It's amazing how much more tired a 3:30 hr race makes me then a normal XC. I¹m going to need a few days to recover from that one. Next up is the MTB Tour of Langkawi and then La Ruta.
Thanks for your support
8/12/12 Olympic GamesAugust 17, 2012
The Great Britain Olympic Games Mountain Bike XC event was the best one I've ever been too. This past weekend I competed in my third Olympic Games race at Hadleigh Farms in Essex.
The Olympics is always such a special event to take part in and as a Mountain Bike racer it is the grandest stage we get to compete on. It was amazing to be selected to the team again and able to represent the USA, all my sponsors and my family and friends at the Games again. There are so many amazing things that go along with the Olympics but I¹ll keep it short and stick to the race. The organizers put more work into the course then any event I've ever competed in from previous Olympics, to World Cups and World Championships. It was approximately a 5 KM loop set on an open hillside with plenty or man made rock obstacles, fast single and double track trails and short punchy climbs. I've never seen so many cameras on one course and I've never seen video footage of an XC race that actually captured the demands of the course like this event.
I had a great start position and wound up lining up on the front row after positioning myself well on my second row call up. You see international MTB racing requires picking a good slot on which ever
row you are called up on and then cramming yourself as close to the riders in front of you as possible. I usually have a pedal centimeters from my front wheel on either side before the gun goes off. I didn't get that good of a pull off the line and found myself in the middle of the pack after just a few minutes of racing. I found my legs quickly though and started moving up towards the end of the first of seven laps. By the middle of the race I had bridged up to the second chase group and riding in eighth place, just thirty seconds out of the medals. I gave everything but started to fade on the fifth lap. I dropped back a bit but dug deep and held on for tenth at the finish.
Now tenth isn't in the medals but it is about ten places better then my best pervious Olympics and the best place of any US man in the past (19th). So it looks like I'm moving in the right direction and the U.S. is as well. It was very inspiring watching my Olympic Teammate, Georgia Gould take bronze the previous day. Some athletes call it a year after the Olympics but mountain bikers keep it rolling. I've got the PROXCT finals this weekend in Wisconsin and then it¹s off to World Championships in Austria in a few more weeks.
Thanks for your support.
National MTB ChampionshipsJuly 9, 2012
Sun Valley is a great town; if you’ve never been there I highly recommend it. This weekend was the second year in a row the US National MTB Championships has been held in Sun Valley, UT. The town is situated at 6,000 ft so the altitude is definitely a factor and the course basically climbs straight up the mountain so that doesn’t make things any easier. The descent has plenty of switch back turns but not much passing so the climb is where everything happens.
I had a great start in the XC and found myself off the front with Sam Shultz by midway up the climb on the first for six laps. Sam and I rode together for five of six laps. I would try to surge and drop him on the climb but he was glued to my wheel. He would sprint me each lap for the descent to make sure I didn’t get a gap on him. Bad luck hit me heading into the last lap as I flatted just after the start finish in the down hill rock garden. Lucky for me the tech zone was just a few minutes away and Joe and Jordi did a lightening fast wheel change.
That little gap was all Sam needed though as I couldn’t make contact after the change. He rolled in for his first National title and I had to settle for second.
Sunday brought another chance for a jersey though with the STXC. The STXC course wound it’s way around the base village of Dollar ski mountain and had a good mix of trail, pavement and a small climb. I was on a mission from the start, took the Hole Shot and never relinquished the lead all the way to the finish. I felt great and was able to steadily increase my gap over the thirty-minute race. It felt to stand on the top step of the podium after a near miss the day before.
The weekend was a success and similar to the previous year with a gold and silver, just in opposite events this time around. Now I have a little rest before building towards the Olympics in five weeks time.
Thanks for your support….
World Cup #6 Windham NYJuly 2, 2012
What an amazing weekend! This season has been rough to say the least thus far but this weekend made all the hard work and sacrifice worth it. I landed on the World Cup podium for only my second time ever with a forth place finish.
I always like racing in Windham because I grew up about fifty miles south of the ski resort in Ulster Park, N.Y. I learned to ride on the rocks and roots of the Hudson Valley and I get great support whenever we go back to the Empire state.
Windham was devastated last year by Hurricane Irina but you would never know it by how great the town and the course look. We rode the traditional course, which has more climbing then any other venue on the World Cup circuit. We also started down in town on the bridge over the river that was ground zero for the hurricane destruction.
I didn’t have a very good start and probably went over the top of the first climb around 30th position. I had five more laps to move up though and I was on a mission from that point forward. I picked off group after group and by the time we went into the last lap I was only a few seconds behind Fontana who was in third. I caught him on the last downhill but couldn’t get around him before the finish. We sprinted for third but he handedly took it and I took my best ever World Cup result.
If you would have told me in La Bresse I would be standing on the podium in Windham I would have told you that was crazy. That is exactly what makes sport so great, anything can happen on any given day, that’s why we line up. Burry won the race and Specialized won the team competition so it was just about a perfect day. My S-Works Epic 29er worked amazing and the team gave us perfect support.
Now we’re off to Sun Valley for the National Championships and then Montana for the PROXCT.
Thanks for your support….
WC #5 Mont Sainte AnnJune 25, 2012
I don’t know how many times I’ve been to MSA but I can assure you it’s been a lot. This year was one of the only times I’ve ever ridden the course when it has been dusty. Keeping with history though it was only a matter of time before it rained and that happened on Friday evening before the race. It rained some more during both the men and women’s races as well.
The course hasn’t changed too much over the years; it is a very “real” MTB course. There are short climbs, tons of rocks and roots and usually no shortage of mud. This year they added a few rock sections and ran a portion of the course backwards but all and all it was pretty similar to previous years.
The race started under sunny skys after a downpour before the start of the women’s race. The course was dry and fast by the time we lined up and things looked promising. I had a descent start and continued to move up for the first half of the race. I made it as high as 18th before the rain came on the last lap and I started to give up some the positions I gained. The course in MSA doesn’t relent and if you start to lose your rhythm it’s very hard to get it back. I lost some concentration at the end and paid for it with a few places.
I was happy to make through the race with out any big crashes, though I did have a close call the last time through the rock garden. Once it starts raining you can’t really use your brakes on the most technical feature of the course, which isn’t a problem until you have to make a 180-degree turn at the bottom. I managed to blow through/over the berm on the last lap but didn’t go down so that was good. Twenty-second is not where I want to finish but it does seem to be moving in the correct direction after my last few World Cups. Next weekend we’re off to Windham for the only remaining World Cup in U.S..
Thanks for your support….
Colorado Springs PROXCTJune 18, 2012
The PROXCT resumed this weekend in Colorado Springs after a few month hiatus. The Friday before the PROXCT however was an even bigger day with the announcement of the US Olympic MTB Team. I was honored to be named to my third Olympic Team, this time based purely on coach’s selection. Right after the announcement I had to attend an Olympic Ambassador program at the OTC in preparation for the Games, needless to say it was an exciting day.
Saturday it was back to business with the third round of the PRO XCT right in the heart of Colorado Springs. The course was made up of fast swooping trails with short rock sections. The girls had a thunderstorm douse the course during their race turning the dirt into peanut butter. By the time we raced it had dried up perfectly and the track was like a ribbon of Velcro and the temperature was in the low 70s.
Right from the gun we broke up into a group of five riders, Trebon, Craig, JHK, Shultz and myself. Everyone took a dig one time or another but Trebon put in a big attack on the third lap. We brought him back and I tried my luck on the forth of five laps. I blew a corner towards the end of the lap and Trebon hit it again and we couldn’t catch him on the last lap. We then started fighting for second with Criag sprinting to the front of the group before a very slippery bridge about 400 meters from the finish. He managed to fly through the slick corner with out crashing and got a 10-meter gap on the rest of the group. He held that to the finish for second with me taking the sprint for third.
I have been doing a lot of high altitude training in preparation for our National Championships so I was happy with how the form is coming.
Next weekend the World Cup starts up again in Quebec before returning to Windham, N.Y. I’m really looking forward to the next few months and representing the U.S. in London!
Thanks for your support….
World Cup #3 Nove Mesto, CZMay 16, 2012
The World Cup returned to action this past weekend in Nove Mesto, Czech Rebulic. Nove Mesto was a new venue for me having skipped that round of the World Cup last year to focus on another event. Czech is an amazing country and Nove Mesto is an awesome venue.
The course was around 4.4 KM with five short climbs per lap and as many downhills. There were a few rock gardens, steep drops and plenty of loamy single-track. I think it was the most fun track to ride so far this year. Most times the WC racecourses are great to race but not much fun to ride, this was both. The spectators were awesome as well, there were even more fans then in Houffalize and with Jaroslav being the hometown favorite we could barely get to the trailer through all the people.
My start position wasn’t so great after missing the SA round and having a poor race in Houffalize. The start was very fast and wide open but after about 150 meters there was a huge crash that I managed to get held up by a little bit. Luckily I didn’t go down but it looked like a crash on the road in the final meters before a sprint, there were bikes and bodies everywhere. I managed to move up steadily during the race and ended up in 32nd, about 30 places higher then I started. I still have a ways to go but at least it seems I’m heading in the right direction.
We are now in La Bresse getting ready for the next round of the World Cup and the final race in the Olympic selection. The U.S. team is still wide open, as no one has hit any of the automatic qualifiers yet. The only way left to qualify automatically is with a top five this weekend; otherwise it’s up to the coach’s selection. Right now it is pouring outside and they’re calling for possible snow overnight. The course is very steep with one main climb and descent, old school MTB style. I’m hoping for a great result this weekend and another shot at the Olympics, we’ll see what happens.
Thanks for your support….
2012 Continental Championship Race ReportApril 9, 2012
The Pan American Continental Championships took place this past weekend in Puebla, Mexico. Puebla is a small (one million people) suburb of Mexico City located about eighty miles from the heart of Mexico City. The town sits at 7,500 ft and has a very arid climate.
I was suppose to be in South Africa recovering from the Cape Epic this past weekend but a crash at the first World Cup sidelined me for a few weeks. I injured my ankle training on the course at the first World Cup and had to skip both events. After some serious rehab at home for two weeks I thought it was ready for a test and luckily the US team still had a slot left for me on the team. We headed south of the border on Thursday morning for what always proves to be an adventure.
The flights went smooth, everyone got their luggage but then the fun started trying to locate our lodging, Mexico Institute of Sport. After spending four hours to go eighty Ks we arrived to our 8-person room full of bunk beds and proceeded to pass out.
The course was open, dry and dusty. It consisted of some stair step climbs, a few technical descents, lots of sharp rocks and rain ruts. I opted for my Epic 29er since my ankle isn’t 100% and I needed all the shock absorption I could get.
The temperatures were in the low eighties for most of the time we were there which isn’t exceptionally hot but with no trees and high altitude it felt like an oven.
The U-23s went first on Sunday with USA taking gold and bronze; the elites went in the heat of the day at 2:30pm. Luckily some clouds rolled in at the start of the race and kept the temperatures in check.
The race started like a World Cup as all the central and south
American races I have ever done do. I had a bad start and found myself pretty far back but managed to bridge up to Soto by the end of the first of five laps. We rode together for the next lap and a half before I was able to surge ahead at the bottom of the climb on the third lap. I kept it full gas but only managed to put a handful of seconds on him by the end of the lap.
Luckily he finally started to crack on the last lap and I was able to
ride in with over a minute’s gap. It feels great to win my second Continental Championship. It doesn’t seem to be that important in the U.S. but to those other countries it seems as important as the World Championships. Columbia picked their Olympic team off the event and battling with Argentina’s Olympic rider, Soto was a great fight.
I’m now off to Belgium for round two of the World Cup in Houffalize this weekend. It will be my first World Cup of the year since I didn’t get to race in South Africa and I’m hoping for some good form to move up on the grid.
Thanks for the support….
PROXCT #1 Mellow JohnnysMarch 5, 2012
The 2012 U.S. MTB season kicked off in this weekend near Austin, TX with the 3rd Annual Mellow Johnny’s Classic. The event was first held in May 2010, with temperatures topping 100 degrees, last year they moved it to April, also 100 degrees, this year they finally got it right and it was a much more enjoyable 65 degrees for the first weekend in March.
The course changed venues this year as well, moving from Lance
Armstrong’s ranch to the Flat Creek Ranch about 10 miles away. The new venue was a nice change with less dust, lots of trees and plenty of super fast single-track. It was about 5.5 KM long with 2 short climbs, a few creek crossings and lots of pebbly corners. The race consisted of 1 start loop (1 mile) and 5 laps. I opted to run my new S-works 29er Epic with the new Fast Track Control tires. The course had lots of rocks so the full suspension was a big benefit and the thicker sidewall Control casing tires held up great.
I grabbed the hole-shot and quickly a group of 4 formed with the
Canadian trio of Kabush, Plaxton and Zanstra. Kabush came around me heading into the first full lap and he was pushing it through the fast single track. Eventually we dropped Zanstra and heading out onto the 2nd lap it was the three of us. I hung onto to the back of Plaxton and Kabush until Max attacked up the main climb on the forth lap. I couldn’t match the speed and was quickly riding alone with Plaxton and Kabush riding out of sight. I spent the next lap and a half on my own before crossing the finish line for 3rd place.
I knew the Canadians were going to be going fast this weekend since they had a few federation training camps this month in Palm Springs. I thought my training was far enough along but they proved too fast on the new Texas course. I’m excited about this new season and am looking forward to the first World Cup in South Africa in 2 weeks time and my first crack at the Cape Epic the following week.
Thanks for your support….
La Ruta De Los ConquistadorsNovember 7, 2011
La Ruta could be the best adventure I’ve had on a bike and the hardest race as well. I had never been to Costa Rica before this trip and never experienced anything like La Ruta, it was truly an amazing event. If you don’t know what La Ruta is, it’s a 4-day Mountain Bike stage race that starts at the Pacific Ocean in Jaco and ends at the Caribbean in Limon. Most days are between 70-120 kilometers and vary between 3,000 to 12,000 feet of the steepest climbing you will ever see, and it’s mostly in the jungle.
I had heard a lot of stories going into the race but didn’t know what exactly to expect. Luckily I had an incredible support crew that consisted of my wife Meg, Team Manger/ World’s best mechanic Benno, his girlfriend Manuela, the Specialized Costa Rica distributor Carlos Campos and his friend Roberto. We had two 4 Wheel drive Toyota Land Cruisers equipped with bike racks and boxes. I had both my Stumpjumper 29er and Epic 29er, sets of wheels and enough spare parts for an entire team. I raced the Stumpjumper the first two days and the Epic the last two days.
You might wonder why I needed so much support but if you do the race you will understand it’s impossible to win with out the best equipment and support crew. There were generally four tech/feedzones per day located in some of the most remote areas in Costa Rica. If you don’t have a 4-wheel drive with high clearance you couldn’t access most of them. If you don’t have a local to tell you have to get there while racing through small villages at breakneck speed you would never find them in time. Lucky for me I had both.
Day 1 went from Jaco to San Jose and that was the day I won the race. I put ten minutes into the second place rider and thirteen into Rom Atkinson, a Specialized Costa Rica rider that I would battle with over the next three days. I didn’t know how I would recover in a MTB stage race having never competed in one before so I figured I would give everything the first day, try to at least get a stage win and the jersey for one day. The bike worked perfect and I felt good until around hour five when I started to get some cramps. Luckily I was able to keep it rolling and take the jersey.
Day 2 had a bit less climbing, only 11,000 ft and did a big lap in the mountains around San Jose. I was watching Milton and Rom, the two riders in second and third on G.C.. We let the Colombian, Mejia go up the road since he had lost half an hour the first day. Halfway through the stage I got a puncture and lost contact with Rom and Lico. Rom was only thirteen minutes down on me so I was worried. I changed the tire in a few minutes but had messed up the wheel as well. Luckily the next techzone was only 7 kilometers away and Benno had a quick wheel change for me. I chased hard for the next 2 hours but ended up giving Rom back 6:30 minutes so now my lead was down to 6:30, with two stages to go.
Day 3 went from San Jose to Turriaiba. This stage was up and over a 10,000 ft high volcano. We started with a steep one hour long dirt road climb where Mija again attacked but was still over 20 minutes down in the G.C. Rom also put in an attack early on but I was able to bring him back after a couple of kilometers. When we hit the 5,000 ft climb up to the volcano Rom launched again and I couldn’t bring him back. For the next hour I chased him with his gap growing to one minute by the top of the climb. Luckily the downhill was pretty rough off the volcano and I was able to close the gap to him. We hit the last 10 kilometers of paved downhill together but I was able to gap him and gain just over 3 minutes by the time we hit the finish line.
We never saw Mija but he had only gained about 2 minutes so he was still far down on the G.C.b
Day 4 is the longest stage, 120 kilometers but only has about
forty-five minutes of climbing and the rest is flat dirt road,
pavement and peach road. This time it was the Costa Rican Hernandez that would start the fireworks on the first climb. Again he was very far down on G.C. so we didn’t have to chase. On the second of the two main climbs Mija, Lico and Alex Grant got away but we quickly caught them on the long descent. We were a group of eight for most of the day with the Costa Rican Specialized rider “Aliman” riding on the front for me all day. We would never see Fernandez again but Rom and I rolled in together with me sealing the victory and winning my first
ever La Ruta!!!
The race was one of the coolest I have ever done. It was also the
hardest by far. I have never seen such steep climbs; I spent most of the days in my 24/36 for what seemed like hours on end. The heat wasn’t too bad but not knowing when the climbs would end or what was coming next was daunting. There are so many riders in Latin America you’ve never heard of because they don’t have the means to travel to the World Cups but they are FAST! And they go uphill like they’re on the flats. I would encourage anyone that is thinking about doing this race to do it, it’s a real adventure.
CO CX Classic/Boulder CupOctober 31, 2011
I was back on the CX circuit this weekend as it made its annual stop in my home state of Colorado. It’s so nice to drive to a race instead of fly, even if it is six hours away. Before the races kicked off we had a nice party at the Specialized Cycleton Bike shop in Denver on Friday night, what a great shop and group of people.
Saturday’s race was the traditional COCX Classic UCI C2 out at the Boulder Reservoir. The snow earlier in the week made it look like we might be in for a muddy race but by the time 4pm rolled around on Saturday and the 50 mph winds kicked up the course was just about perfect for our race. I thought the course was the best one yet at the reservoir with plenty of turns, quite a bit of sand and a few log/railroad tie barriers thrown in for good measure.
I had a great start and quickly found myself in a group with Trebon, Summerhill, Berden and Kabush. Kabush hit the deck midway through the first lap and Trebon attacked going into the 2nd lap. I managed to bridge across to him and we rode together for a lap or two before I got tangled with some course tape and had to change bikes. I lost contact with him and rode by myself in 2nd place for the rest of the race. It was a great way to start the weekend and I had high hopes going into Sunday.
Sunday was the Boulder Cup UCI C1 race and the one everyone wanted to win because it had 4 times as much prize money and points at the previous day’s C2. The Boulder Cup also draws a great crowd which is probably only bettered by Nationals and Cross Vegas. This year it was held in the new Valmont Bike Park in the middle of Boulder. The Boulder Cup course was 50% on a hill, 50% on the flats. The hill was dry and tacky but the flatter sections were boggy mud from the snow earlier in the week. There were multiple sand pits and a HUGE stair section.
I had another great start and found myself 2nd wheel behind Trebon around the first corner. Trebon rode off course towards the end of the 1st lap and I was in the lead. The race stayed together much more then the previous day and after two laps we were a lead group of about 15. The group got whittled down to about 10 by the midway point and that’s right when I crashed on a gravel road section before the mud pit. I was up quick but lost contact with the group and spent the next lap and a half chasing. I finally got back on when the group sat up and was able to grab a clean bike with 2 laps go.
I found myself off the front of the group by a few seconds going into the last lap with everyone watching each other. By the top of the climb I had been reeled back in and was clinging to fifth position in the group right behind Johnson. Berden and Kabush had a few seconds on the Trebon, Johnson and myself going into the bottom mud pit when I got bogged down, lost contact with them and was caught by Shouten.
Shouten out sprinted me and I settled for 6th.
The Boulder Cup was such a fun race with attacks going all the time, huge crowds and a blue bird day with temperatures in the low 60s. I’m hoping it was just what I needed to jump start the form as I’m in route to Costa Rica for the La Ruta MTB stage race right now. If the scrapes from my crash heal before I start hiking through the Jungle Rivers of tropical Costa Rica that would be even better. From La Ruta I’ll be back on the CX bike for the next round of the USGP in Louisville, KY.
Thanks for your support….
Cross Vegas/ Star Crossed/ Rapha Foucs GPSeptember 19, 2011
I had exactly ten days between the end of the mountain bike season and the start of cyclocross. The U.S. cyclocross season kicked off with Cross Vegas at Interbike, one week earlier then last year and it was quite a shock to the system.
Cross Vegas is the most competitive cyclocross race we have in the U.S. all year. It has the deepest international field with probably eight different nations represented this year. It has great crowds, which are second only to our national championships, and is blazing fast. I think the rare rain we had leading up to the race might have even made the course faster if that’s possible.
The race played out the way it usually does again this year, a few
guys got off the front but it all came back together at the finish for
a group sprint. I managed to make the front group and stayed there until three laps to go when I couldn’t respond to a surge in the group. I rode solo for the last three laps in between the lead group and the chase group and held on for tenth. I always struggle at Cross Vegas coming off the mountain bike season straight onto the cyclocross bike.
Two days after Vegas I was racing Star Crossed in Seattle. Star
Crossed is usually also at night but this year it was just late in the
day at a new venue. There was a star-studded field for Star Crossed with former World Champion Bart Wellens and his Telnet Fidea teammate Rob Peeters sticking around for the UCI weekend. Also in attendance were Trebon , Page and host of other Belgians and Italians. Cyclocross is really becoming an international affair here in the U.S.
I was much better at Star Crossed then Vegas and even put in a few attacks. We were a big lead group of eight for most of the race. I crashed while on the attack in the sand pit and went from the front to the back of the group. I damaged my bike and limped to the pit for a new one but by the time I got going again the group was gone. I chased hard for the last two laps and managed to get back up to seventh. The result wasn’t great but I was riding light years better then Vegas.
The next day was the Rapha Focus GP and it was held at the same venue with the same players present. It rained a bit overnight but it has been so dry in Seattle it didn’t do much to the course. Some of the corners were a little slick but up until right before the start it was dry enough I was considering running the file tread on the back. People were starting to get tired after three days of racing and we broke up to a group of five on the first lap. Rob Peeters went off the front and I found myself alone chasing him with Wellens on my wheel.
He wasn’t going to help me chase his teammate down and right before the main sand pit he attacked. The two hundred meter sand pit was the decisive part of the course on Sunday because the moisture made it more ride able. Whoever rode it would gain five to ten seconds and it was very hard to close that on such a fast course. Wellens rode it and I had to run, he bridged to his teammate and dropped him pretty soon after. Page caught me from behind and we chased hard but couldn’t catch the fading Peeters. The last time through the sand pit Page rode it perfect, I dabbed and couldn’t get back to his wheel and rode in for forth. It was my best CX so far this season and again the result wasn’t great but it was within a few seconds of second place to one of
the best guys in the world.
I’m home for a day and then off to St Louis for the Gateway Cup CX night race. It should be another super powered field and then the first round of the USGP is two days after that. I love racing a lot, it’s the closest thing to a stage race I get to do all year. I wish
would could do big mountain bike races every few days in the U.S. with a top international field.
Thanks for your support…..
MTB World ChampionshipsSeptember 7, 2011
Champery Switzerland with the 21st UCI sanctioned World Championships.
If you could think of the quintessential Swiss town Champery is it. Huge mountains, sweeping valleys, hillside chalets and cows with huge bells surround the venue.
The team spent the two weeks between Val di Sole and Worlds in Champery preparing for the Worlds. We raced a Swiss Racer Bike Night race in the city of Bern the week before Worlds. It took place in downtown and we raced though a torrential rainstorm on one of the craziest courses I’ve ever seen. It was just a prelude though for the World Champs a week later.
Champery is known to have one of the most technical courses on the circuit when it’s dry. When it’s wet it’s down right treacherous and that’s just what we got last weekend. It rained on and off leading up to the event but was relatively dry for the start of the Elite men’s race. The 4.5 K course probably saw at least 10,000 laps during the week of the race but was designed very well and held up great. The only thing that deteriorated was the traction on the roots since all the bark got ridden off.
We started under grey skies but most people I spoke with were optimistic the rain would hold off for our race. I ran a fairly aggressive tire, the Fast Track LK since I felt like I need the traction on the roots even in dry conditions. The gun went, I missed my pedal and found myself in 40th place by the end of the start lap. That was not where I had wanted to be and set out on the next seven laps in an effort to crack the top ten and qualify for our Olympic team this year.
I moved up steadily and managed to stay on my bike for most of the race. The course was one that saw everyone crash or dab at least a few times. I had moved up to about 20th by midway through the race when the rains came.
I hate riding in the rain but for some reason it seems to benefit me and as soon as it started, I really started picking guys off. I
managed to catch Vogel right on the finish straight and sprint for 6th place! He held me off and I came in for seventh place, bettering my previous top Worlds result by one place.
The team had a great day with Jaro winning and Susi coming in 8th. Burry was bridging to the lead group when it started to rain and he crashed out on a medal bridge right after the start/finish. We all rode our Epic 29ers and the bike worked like it was built specifically for the Champery course. With all the technical flat pedaling sections I could just sit down and go. Now it’s time for me to switch gears to cyclocross with Cross Vegas just about a week away. It’s been an awesome MTB season!!
Thanks for your support….
ChamperyAugust 25, 2011
So we have been hanging out in Champery all week since Val di Sole. Val di Sole was right below the Passo Tonale.
We had an awesome authentic Italian dinner our last night there. We got invited to one of Benno's friend's hotel. It was some of the best pasta I've ever had.
Since getting to Champery we have been logging in some serious laps on the World Champs course. It is a short 4 KM technical circuit that has 1, 2 minute climb and 1, 1 minute climb, the rest either downhill or flat with tons of roots. It is 1 of our best courses.
It is somewhat of a "Couples Retreat" here in Switzerland with Burry having Cherise here and Lene having Sondra. I do have Sandy "AKA Dirty Dog" and Jonny though. Cherise has been working over Burry on her roadbike.
I also got a new Epic when we got here. It is definitely going to be my race bike of choice for World Champs. The big wheels and plush suspension soak up all the roots and rocks. The Brain locks everything out though for the steep climbs, couldn't think of any other bike I would rather race.
And finally, this one is for Meg, Swiss Recycling!
Today we're off to Bern for a Racer Bike Cup night race. The race is a UCI C1 event in the middle of the city of Bern. It's a 1 hr crit through the city with some stairs and jumps put in so a MTB is must. We're not in Leadville anymore. No time for musettes, only water bottles.
1 last leadville pic, warping through the thin air.
I wonder what Meg and Winston are doing right now.....
World Cup Final, Val di SoleAugust 23, 2011
Val di Sole is one tough World Cup course. You would expect a track that is tucked into the middle of the Dolomites to have some tough climbing but with the short courses these days that isn’t always the case. Val di Sole while only being a fourteen-minute lap seems to have more steep climbing then anyplace else we race all year.
I arrived in Italy just a few days after the Leadville 100 and
although I recovered well from the effort, the big travel and change in climates was hard on me. The weather this year in Italy has been hot and sunny with temperatures in the low 90s but not too much humidity, although any place is humid compared to 10,200 ft Leadville.
I was unsure of my World Cup form after skipping the last WC and focusing on longer high altitude training. The race started great for me and I was inside the top five for the first half of the day. I slowly started to drop back through the field and wound up in seventeenth by the finish. There was no big explosion or any problems, just a small loss of power over the second part of the day. Not a great result but I was happy that I was able to be part of the race for the first halve and hopefully with some good sea level interval training over the next two weeks I’ll be ready to compete for the entire distance in Switzerland.
The team rode awesome as usual with Jaro taking his fifth win this season on the Epic 29er, which I believe is a record. We won the best team again like we have all year long thanks to everyone’s strong performances. It’s hard to believe the 2011 World Cup is over already, it seems like we were just in South Africa for the first round a few weeks ago.
Although the World Cup is done, the biggest race of the year is still to come in Champery, Switzerland in two weeks time, the World Championships. The World Cup crowns the most consistent rider over the entire season but the race everyone wants to win is the one day World Championships. It should be a great battle.
Thanks for your support….
Leadville 100August 15, 2011
Last year I swore I would never do the Leadville 100 again, this
weekend I lined up again for another crack at the 100-mile mountain bike monument. Last year I was involved in a crash 10 miles into the race and finished a distant third, this year I had a flawless race and won by over four minutes.
Leadville is a completely different animal then any other event I do all year. Most of my XC races are under two hours, CX races are one hour and STXCs are about twenty-five minutes. The training required for these events is much shorter and intense then that for a six plus hour MTB race that has 3,500 ft climbs that rise up to 12,500 ft. Last year I went straight from the World Cups to Leadville with out any specific training and suffered like a dog. This year I committed three weeks of specific training to the event and that made all the difference.
My build up for the race consisted of weeks of 22, 30 and 20 hours of training at ultra high elevation (9,300-11,000ft). I was able to get quite a few long rides with hours and hours of long climbs up to almost 13,000 ft. I also dropped 8 lbs from my race weight for 2010 and knew what I was in for. I chose the 29 S-works Stumpjumper HT as my weapon of choice based on the smooth dirt roads that make up the majority of the course dropping my overall weight another 2 lbs. With an overall drop in weight of 10 lbs and three-week ultra high altitude acclimation phase I was in perfect shape for the event.
The race started out much differently this year then last with Alban Lakata and myself rolling off the front of the group on the first climb. Less then twenty minutes into the race and we were alone where as last year the speed was higher and our group was much larger with almost ten to fifteen riders. Alban flatted on the first descent and that left me alone off the front with about 85 miles to go. I sat up and waited for the next group that contained three riders. We kept the group together over the next climb and on the rolling section out to the base of Columbine.
Once we hit Columbine I upped the tempo rode off the front of the
group but a charging Lakata managed to make up nearly the entire deficit he incurred because of his flat. He caught me on the downhill and we were together with about forty miles to go. We worked together for about five miles before I managed to pull a small gap on him on a section of uphill single track. We then rode for about twelve miles with a gap that hovered between twenty five to forty five seconds. I finally cracked the gap open on the Powerline climb, which is the steepest and the hardest coming after 80 miles of racing. I continued to open the gap on the way into the finish finally crossing the line in 6:23:38, over four minutes clear of Alban and the second fastest time ever recorded for the event.
I had the best support out there with Specialized staff in every feed zone along with my wife Meg and her family on course providing me splits through out the race. My bike worked flawlessly and was probably the biggest bike at the front of the race and certainly the lightest. It was so light and fast it felt like I was on a road bike floating along the dirt trails.
Now I switch gears back to World Cup racing and hope that a three week taper along with some lung searing intervals is enough to have me in top XC form for the World Championships.
Thanks for your support….
National ChampionshipsJuly 19, 2011
Sun Valley, ID hadn’t hosted a National level MTB race since back in the late 90s. This past weekend they played host to the MTB National Championships. I had a lot to live up to after winning both the XC and STXC title in 2010. It had been an honor to race the World Cups in the US National Champion jersey all year and I didn’t want to loose that privilege.
I traveled straight from the World Cup in Windham, N.Y. to Sun Valley to rest up and prepare for the race. Sun Valley sits at six thousand feet so I wanted to get back up to altitude as soon as possible after being at sea level on the east coast for nearly two weeks. When I arrived I couldn’t believe how beautiful the town was and how friendly and excited all the locals were to host the event.
The course was pretty much what I was expecting but exactly what I was hoping it wouldn’t be, a climb straight up the mountain. When I say we climbed straight up the mountain, I’m not exaggerating; we went straight up the dirt access road with sustained grades of 25 percent. The climb lasted about seven minutes, was loose and dusty and I was in my 27/36 for most of it. From there we did a series of gradual switchbacks down the mountain before entering a kilometer long flat section that consisted of a man made rock garden and some loose turns.
The first lap was brutal and I spent the entire climb staring at Sam
Shultz’s wheel. We rode together on the descent and I moved to the front the second time up the climb. By the time I reached the top and grabbed my bottle from Meg I had a small fifteen-second gap. I maintained a gap of fifteen to thirty seconds for the remaining four laps before finally crossing the line fifty seconds in the lead and locking up my second XC National Championship title in a row. Where as last year I rode my S-Works Epic 29er on the rough freshly cut new trails, this year I opted for my other weapon, the S-works Stumpjumper 29er that was like a rocket up the climb. My XL bike weighed in at just 8.4 KG on race day and was the advantage I needed to lock up my second title.
Sunday was the STXC and I was feeling great after my victory on
Saturday. I led for nearly the entire race and managed to whittle the field down to just myself, Trebon and JHK by midway through the race. The course was very technical and I chose to lead in an effort to push the pace and hopefully force a mistake by one of the other two. The plan nearly worked until JHK was able to jump around me in the last two hundred meters to take the win while I rolled in for second. I wasn’t too disappointed though as the XC was my big goal and it feels great to retain the jersey for another year.
I’m now switching gears to prepare for Leadville so I’ll be logging in some serious miles in the high country dodging summer thunderstorms and going through tubes of chamois cream.
Thanks for your support….
World Cup #4, WindhamJuly 13, 2011
World Cup #4, Windham 7/9:
It’s always nice to race a World Cup in the U.S. and it’s even better when it’s forty miles from where you grew up. I was lucky enough to do this weekend in Windham, NY. This was the second year the World Cup made a stop in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.
Windham is what I would consider a traditional mountain bike course. It takes place at a ski area and goes straight up and down the mountain. There is a lot of sustained climbing and some rocky descents that seem to get you to the bottom really fast. All and all it’s a great course for the World Cup.
I had a good start position for Saturday’s race but got caught up
behind Ralph Naef around the second gravel corner, had to hit the brakes and dropped back to the fifties less then a minute into the race. It was not the start I was hoping for but I was able to keep it together and pick guys off through out the six-lap race. Going into the last lap I had made it up to ninth and was battling with the Fluckiger brothers for the spot. Mathias attacked part way up the climb and got a small gap on Lukas and I. We sprinted for the single track at the top but Lukas got the better of me and I had to settle for eleventh on the line.
It was a great weekend of racing for the team and myself. We won the team competition again; Jaro won the race with Susi 3rd and Burry 4th. Half the team rode the Stumpjumper 29er and the other half rode the Epic 29er but with those results it seems like both bikes were perfect for the course.
Now it’s off to Sun Valley for our National Championships.
Thanks for your support….
World Cup #4 Mt St AnneJuly 5, 2011
World Cup #4 Mt St Anne Race Report 7/2/11:
The first time I went to Mont Sainte Anne was as a semi-pro way back in 1996. I managed to contract the stomach flu and didn’t get a chance to race. Ever since that first trip I have been trying to change my luck at Sainte Anne but I haven’t had much luck.
The weather leading up to the race this weekend was rain. The course is the most technical we face on the circuit and when it rains it becomes even more treacherous. I was hoping for a slippery, muddy race but by the time Saturday afternoon rolled around most of the track had dried up. There were still a few muddy sections and a lot of the course was slick.
I had a decent start but on lap two of six it all went wrong. As I was entering the rock garden known as “Beatrice” my front wheel slid out on a rock and I flipped over the bars. I was a bit jaded but my biggest problem was that I managed to snap off my front brake lever in the crash. I shook it off after a short time and got myself to the pit with out sticking the lever in the front wheel. The Specialized mechanics were awesome and managed to zip tie/duct tape the lever back on the bar and I was able to finish the race. I dropped all the way back to the fifties or sixties but managed to make it back up to eighteenth. More importantly I didn’t have any more crashes in the rock garden and salvaged a result that will keep me up there for the start next weekend in Windham.
My teammate Jaroslav won the race and took over the World Cup leader jersey. Specialized won the team competition as well so I got to stand on the podium which is always an amazing feeling at a World Cup.
Thanks for your support….
Rest WeekJune 7, 2011
I have to give a big "Thank You" to Johnny Muller for updating the look of my site. I think it looks great
I've been on a nice rest week since I got back from Europe last week. The first few days were spent walking around in a haze of jet lag. Coming back to Durango from sea level my eyes and lips are always super dry because there is 0 humidity here. That seems to intensify the jet lag feeling.
Anyway, that only lasts a few days and the weather here has been awesome!! Upper 70s to mid 80s all week and plenty of sunshine. We have been getting a bit of smoke from the forest fire burning on the AZ/NM border but other then that it's been blue sky.
Yesterday Rude and I knocked out 24 holes, it was a marathon. I also started riding again yesterday, just easy though. I have another easy day and then it's back to some bigger volume.
I branched out with my dirt jumping as well, now I've been hitting the trails in Overend Mt Park, behind the recycling center. There are some giant jumps back there but I haven't stepped it up to those yet. It doesn't look like anyone has ridden back there in a long time but they did some serious work to build all the jumps, they're huge!
Meg, Winston and I went hiking the other day. We had hoped to hike up to Engineer but when we got to the parking lot it was still covered in snow and there was no trail beat in at all. We turned around and hiked up from the bottom instead(only 9,300) instead of 10,600 ft up top. I think it's gonna be a while before the high country trails are good this year. There are some sweet aspen forests up there.
While I was in Germany racing the World Cup Ned was in Durango winning his 5th Iron Horse road race. The last time he won it was 19 years ago, that's a big gap! Here he is coming into the finish in Silverton last weekend.
I finally got an Iphone and it's awesome, the only problem is I deleted all my contacts while loading them on. The problem started when I loaded on all my contacts and realized they needed to be cleaned up. I cleaned them all up on my Gmail and reloaded them but then I had tons of duplicates. I then wiped them all out on my address book so it would wipe them out on my phone as well. That worked perfect but it also wiped them out on my Gmail so now I have a really cleaned up contact list.
World Cup #2, Dalby ForestMay 24, 2011
The World Cup picked up again this past weekend in the back woods of jolly old England. This is the second year the UCI have had a WC in the Dalby Forest of Northern York. The race was one month later this year then last and there was no ash cloud to interrupt the travel of riders coming to the event. The ash cloud is threatening again though so we’ll have to watch it and see.
The Dalby Forest is a beautiful place to visit with it’s lush hillsides, ancient little houses and picturesque town. It also has an awesome MTB course that is approximately six K long, has two main climbs, a few technical drops and even a BMX track. This course has the highest average speed for any World Cup we race all year which means you never get to let up, even for a second.
The start at Dalby is always nervous with a long road section there is plenty of bumping elbows since the front row doesn’t go flat out but is fanned out across the entire road. I was happy to make it into the single track in the top fifteen and not get balled up in any crashes. From there I settled in as much as possible. I spent the first half of the race yo-yoing on and off the lead chase group for third through eleventh. On the fifth lap I started to fade and cramp a bit but kept it together for the most part. I sprinted with Gujan for fifteenth but couldn’t come around him at the line and rolled in sixteenth.
I was hoping for another top ten and was very close but just a little bit off. I am now in 13th overall so I still have a good start
position for Offenburg, which is this weekend. The Specialized team won the team competition again thanks in large part to Jaroslav winning the race so we all got to go up on the podium for that award including the staff. Our staff works so hard it’s awesome to see them get a little recognition; with out them none of our results would be possible.
Thanks for your support….
Mellow JohnnysMay 2, 2011
I made it home from South Africa on Tuesday, just in time to turn around and go to the next round of the PROXCT in Austin, TX this weekend. The Mellow Johnnys PROXCT was upgraded to a UCI C1 event this year and moved one month earlier in hopes of cooler weather. It was in the low 90s when we started but by the finish the thermometer in the car said 100 degrees. Add to that some Texas humidity and we had one hot race.
The course at Mellow Johnnys is on Lance’s ranch and winds around the property with lots of rocky, loose single track. Texas is in the middle of a drought so the course was really dry and dusty. The wind was also pumping all weekend so everything and everyone at the course was covered in a nice layer of dirt.
We had a good turnout for the pro race and quite a few spectators lining the two main climbs on the course. I had a good start and by the end of the first of five laps I had a small gap. I increased my lead until the start of the forth lap when my teammate, Max Plaxton started to come across the gap. He caught me at the end of the forth lap and I was starting to wither in the oppressive heat. I quickly fell off the pace of Max on the last lap and was happy to make it to the finish and hang on to second place. I usually like racing in the heat but it really got to me this weekend.
I have a few weeks off now before heading back across the pond for the next round of the World Cup in the U.K.
Thanks for your support….
World Cup #1, South Africa 4/23:April 26, 2011
The World Cup season kicked off this weekend in Pietemaritzburg, South Africa, which is about as far away from the U.S. as you can get with out a space shuttle.
The course has undergone quite a few changes since the last time we were there in 2009 and has morphed into a modern day XC course.
I arrived in Pietemaritzburg on Tuesday missing the torrential rains that pounded the course just a few days before. As a result of all the moisture the course had been closed to training for a few days to help preserve it. As the weekend neared, the weather was perfect with temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s and minimal moisture. By the time Saturday afternoon rolled around the track was perfect and so hard packed there were black marks all around it from the tires.
I started in 19th position or third row based on my World Cup overall finish from last year. When the gun went off and I was able to hold and improve my position on the start straight so I knew I was on a good day. It’s crazy that you can tell how an endurance race is going to go in the first thirty seconds of the event. The group blew apart the first time up the climb and I was able to close the gaps as riders started to crack. It’s an awesome feeling being able to jump past guys like Vogel and Naef when they open a gap. By midway through the race I found myself in a group racing for 6-8.
I tried to save a little for the end since I usually come unglued toward the latter part of the race. When you’re competing with the best in the World though if you hold back, you go back so there wasn’t much I could do but try to hang on. On lap 5 of 6 I started to pop a bit and by the end of the last lap I was racing to hang on to 10th.
I had set a goal of achieving a top ten finish for the weekend and I nailed it, that’s a great feeling. The World Cup didn’t go very well for me last year so to get a good result at the first race of the season is great. It’s very hard to describe the intensity and focus required to race around a mountain bike track with the best in the World so when I have a good day I really appreciate it. Specialized even won the team competition for Kulhavy, myself, Burry and Susi all got to go up on the podium for the number one team.
Thanks for your support….
Sea Otter Classic PROXCTApril 19, 2011
I finally won the Sea Otter Classic Cross Country race this weekend! I first raced the Sea Otter back in 1998 and have won the short track a few times in the past but never the XC.
The weekend started off with the classic short track course on the dual slalom hill. With close to one hundred riders on the short 1:30 lap it was critical to get a good start. I held second wheel after the first corner to none other then former Four Cross World Champion Brian Lopes. He pulled off on the second lap and a group of three of us quickly went clear, myself, Max and Sid. I tried to attack a few times but I wasn’t going anywhere but when Max went he opened up a good gap. I tried to jump across but he was too strong and I just marked Sid until the finish. I was hoping to jump him on the climb on the last lap but he upped his tempo and we fought for the last corner before the finish, he led in and with less then 50 meters from the corner to the finish line I couldn’t come around him and settled for third.
I was a little disappointed with my Short track performance on Friday but that only gave me extra motivation for the XC on Saturday. I lead into the single track at the start and by the top of the single-track climb there were only four of us, the three from the previous day and Bishop. No one wanted to work on the long pavement section and our group swelled to about thirty by the time we hit the single track for the second time of the eight laps. This time only Bishop and Sid followed and we quickly dropped Sid so it was just Bishop and myself at the front. We worked well together until the last quarter of the race when Max decided to come across solo. I attacked Bishop on the dirt and he had to pull on the pavement since I had a free ride with Max just a few seconds back. Max finally caught on with 2 laps to go and we attacked Bishop a few more times. By the time we hit the dirt on the sixth lap I had established a small gap that I would open up to the finish. Bishop crashed while chasing and Max was left alone in second with Bishop dropping to third. That last lap and a half I went flat out and felt a huge sense of accomplishment to cross that finish line first.
I have been riding consistently so far this year but have been lacking a percent or two that it takes to win so I was happy to finally get a “W”. Since Susi won two years ago and Burry last year I was feeling the pressure to keep the Specialized winning streak alive. Having Max there as a teammate made my life much easier and helped catapult me to the victory. With mountain bike racing becoming more tactical having a strong teammate is a must and I have a handful of them.
Next up is the World Cup in South Africa five days from now and winning the Sea Otter is a big boost to my moral. Now if I can just make it through these twenty-four hours of flight time I’ll be all set.
Thanks for your support….
Continental Championships Bogotá, ColombiaApril 4, 2011
Bogota, Colombia is a one high city but you wouldn’t know it from the landscape. Dense forest and jungle like plants surrounded the 5 K XC course, which was on an estate with a castle that served as the anti doping, awards and Oakley safe house. The course was one of the best we’ve had for the Pan American Championships with a long climb with lots of steep pitches, rock filled descents and a cyclocross like venue area. It has been exceptionally dry this week for the time of year and the rains held off until an hour after the elite men’s race. The base of the course was around 8,400 feet and it only went up from there.
I was the defending champ from 2010 so I had the number one plate and was the first guy on the grid that was only six wide. I got the hole-shot and traded off with a few guys for the start lap but by the top of the climb on the first lap I had the lead with a small gap. Hector Paiz of Colombia had a bad call up since he hasn’t raced much on the MTB since switching to the Pro Tour a few years ago but by the start of the second lap he had caught and attacked me in the first feed zone. I reeled him back in by the top of the climb and managed to gain some time on him on the descent. He caught and attacked me again in the bottom feed zone but this time I was able to hang with him almost to the top of the climb before he gapped me. I again closed it down on the descent but the forth time up the climb the elastic snapped and he was gone.
I rode alone in second until the start of the fifth lap when I was engaged in battle with another Colombian and came through the start finish with one lap to go in third place, 20 seconds down. By the top of the last climb Jeremiah Bishop and I had come together and were battling for the bronze metal. Bishop got around me at the start of the descent with 2 K to go and with we passed the Colombian guy just after that. Coming into the infield area we were now battling for silver and bronze and I was trying to figure out how I was going to win the sprint. Just then we caught a lapped rider, Bishop got around him and I hit him. My bars twisted and that was my shot at silver down the tubes and I settled for bronze.
The awards ceremony was amazing and I’ve never seen so many people for a podium presentation, there were thousands of people crushing around the box. I was hoping to defend my title and get another Pan American jersey but it wasn’t to be. I left it all out on the course though so that’s all I can ask, the fans were incredible and it was an exciting race to be a part of. Back to the US tomorrow and weekend at home before the Sea Otter.
Thanks for your support…..
Fontana PRO XCT RaceMarch 28, 2011
The second round of the PRO XCT stopped in Fontana, CA this past weekend. It was a big weekend in Fontana as both the PRO XCT and NASCAR were in town. It was also a strange weekend with temperatures in the low sixties, lots of clouds and even a little rain, which is a big contrast to the usual ninety-degree temperatures and relentless wind and dust.
The course was similar to the past but the main climb was doubled in length. That made the steep grunt tough but the perfect course conditions from the rain helped even things out. There was zero dust and perfect traction on the normally dusty, sandy course and the normal braking bumps and ruts were nonexistent.
There was a big group at the end of the first of five laps but it was quickly whittled down to six or seven when Kabush attacked on the second lap. He was brought back by the start of the third lap and we were a group of five when Plaxton went to the front at the top of the main climb and launched his race-winning move. Bishop managed to hang with him for a bit but eventually faded and that left me in a sandwich with the Trek guys. I tried to attack on the last lap but Sam Shultz countered on the steepest part of the climb and I had to settle for forth. It was a great day though with my teammate Max Plaxton taking the win.
The short track was on Sunday and I was looking for some redemption from the day before. The course was super fast with no real climb and tons of drafting. I attacked a few times but we were still a big group of seven or eight going into the last lap. I tangled with Kabush a little going into a 180-degree corner and lost my momentum right when the race winning attack went. Plaxton squeaked by JHK right before the single track and rode in for his second victory in two days. I was stuck behind Kabush who was riding a flat tire and just squeaked by him at the finish for fifth place. It was an exciting STXC with lots of tactics and group racing.
I’m excited the season is finally getting into full swing and looking forward to trying to defend my title at the Continental Championships next weekend in the thin air Bogota, Colombia.
Thanks for your support….
Bonelli Park Race Report:March 15, 2011
The 2011 Mountain Bike season kicked off this weekend in Bonelli Park, CA with the PRO XCT. This is the second year for Bonelli park but the first time it was a UCI event and part of the PRO XCT series.
Ty Kady and the ShoAir crew did a lot of work since last year to improve the course and make it a real MTB experience. The UCI has specific rules for the MTB course set up and this event was spot on. We did seven laps of a 4.5 K loop that wound up and down the one large hill in the park. The only flat section of the course was the start/finish. There were new rock gardens, log jumps and steep rocky climbs. The weather was perfect for racing with temperatures in the upper sixties and overcast sky.
I had a great start and lead for the first lap. Sid Taberly attacked on the first climb of the second lap and instantly opened a gap. I chased for the second lap with Bishop, Kabush, Plaxton and my brother Troy but Sid maintained a fifteen second gap. On the third lap Bishop and I were alone chasing and towards the end of that lap Bishop came off with chain suck. I was by myself in second until the start of the sixth lap when Bishop, Kabush and Plaxton rejoined me briefly. Bishop went straight to the front and we were once again together in pursuit of Sid. Bishop attacked towards the end of the lap and had gapped me going through the start/finish.
The last lap was the most exciting with Bishop overtaking Sid with 3K to go. I passed Sid with about 2K left and thought I had second sewn up and a shot at the win. Bishop never faded though and Plaxton caught back on to me with 400 meters to go and I couldn’t hold his wheel. I hung on for third a few seconds back from Max and about 20 back from Bishop.
The first race of the season is always exciting because I haven’t tested myself in a few months. I wasn’t surprised at all by the fact Bishop won since I raced with him a few times last year and he was always very competitive. Sid and Max are also always good in the early season so the race went as expected. I was very happy with my form and glad to get on the podium in first race of the year. It was such an exciting race to be a part of with so many lead changes and racing full on all the way to the line.
Next up is the PRO XCT event in Fontana at the end of March. I’m back at my home in Durango leading up to Fontana and the Pan Am Championships in Colombia the following weekend to get some altitude training in. I think the lowest elevation in Colombia is 9,000 ft so I’m hoping three weeks in Colorado is enough to get ready for it.
Thanks for your support…..
2011March 2, 2011
Every year I swear I'm going to change my off season training(ie
mid Jan- early March) during my big volume phase which I call base. I love to ride big miles but after weeks and weeks of ever increasing volume my mind and body go numb and I swear not to torture myself like this again the following year. The problem is I have done this 2 month big volume block ever since I started racing seriously so I don't know now I would race with out it. One year I tried to combine some high intensity with it and collapsed by mid-season, hence my reluctance to deviate from a known system.
During this phase I dig a big hole, everything hurts and I sleep less and less. By my last week when I'm riding 6-7 hours a day, I'm up at 6am, out the door around 9 and sometimes not back until the streets are getting crowded with people coming home from work. I seem to become immune to caffeine as well. Matte, espresso and Monster don't even phase me. I consume more Chocodiles, cookies and brownies then anyone should with out any increase in stimulation. But now that is all behind me.
Now that I'm taking a rest after all this training I'm going crazy. I've been rushing around for the past 2 months trying to get all this training done before the sun goes down and now I'm just sitting around. Meg, Winston and I have been doing a little running and hiking though.
I've been working on my swing again and logging in a few rounds up at Starr Pass golf club. Mostly though I've been trying not to eat too much since my metabolism is humming now that I've got some big miles in. The caffeine is finally starting to work again and I've been weaning myself off the high sugar treats(slowly).
I am missing sights like this though on the Reddigton Road loop. How did they get those dirt bike tires up there on that saguaro anyway?
I found some new sights though thanks to guys at Fairwheel Bikes. I'm looking forward to my new P1 and hitting up these jumps a few blocks behind the shop.
The weather is getting better again too. We had a really warm week in the beginning of February and then it got a little cool. This week it's all 80s so Meg and I are hitting the pool here and even started playing some tennis. Winston doesn't like the heat though since he is always wearing his winter coat.
We're looking forward to heading back to Durango for a few weeks after Bonelli and I'm hoping the snow will be melted and the trails will be rideable. If not, we'll be back down to Tucson for a few weeks shortly after that and the next time we go back they should be ready to go
I wonder what the Dart is doing right now.....
Cyclocross National ChampionshipDecember 14, 2010
My season ended this weekend in Bend, OR with a National Championship Hat Trick. 2010 has been a dream season for me with wins in both the Cross Country and Short Track Mountain Bike National Championships but until this weekend my cyclocross campaign had left a little to be desired. I had been close to winning a few times this year during cross but hadn’t been able to put it together until this weekend.
I had planned to only race the first day of the USGP in Portland last weekend but after a bad first day I realized I needed some more racing and training at sea level. I decided at the last minute to stay in Bend all week rather then go back home to Durango between the two West Coast races.
The weather in Oregon was pretty good all week and even though there was some rain, it was much warmer then last year and I was able to ride outside everyday. When I arrived in Bend on Tuesday there was still quite a bit of snow on the ground and the course had only a single track mud trail through the snow. There were also some giant puddles on the track earlier in the week.
By the time Sunday rolled around the course had dried out quite a bit and the promoter pumped a good portion of the lakes/puddles out of the low-lying areas. The thin mud had turned thick though and the second half of the course was very slow and boggy. There were a lot of exposed rocks and plenty of places to flat. The temperatures had also climbed into the mid-fifties, which is about thirty degrees warmer then it was last year.
I chose to ride the new Specialized Terra tubular tires since the course was so rough and they have an extra flat protector built in between the tread and the casing. I was bottoming out the tire at least five times per lap but paired with the bomber Zipp 303s I didn’t have any worries of flatting.
The race started fast and I managed to come out of the first corner in about tenth place. By midway through the first lap I had moved up to about sixth place and by the second lap I was off the front with Powers. People were crashing all over the course but I was riding smooth and keeping it upright. A few laps later Powers went into a corner to hot, laid it down and I had no where to go but over his bike. My foot got stuck in his front wheel and it took us a bit to get untangled. I finally got his wheel unclipped from my shoe and I was off on my own. Trebon had closed a bit though with five laps to go I had fifteen seconds on him.
I buried myself for the rest of the race and was able to keep the gap around ten seconds by taking some risks in the corners and giving it everything in the muddy bogs. I hit the finish straight with a good gap and was able to really enjoy my ride to the line.
It was my third Cyclocross National title with my last one coming in 2005 that everyone had been reminding me was a long time ago.
Now I’m really going to enjoy my vacation.
Thanks for your support and making 2010 a great year…..
Jingle Cross CX Race Report:November 30, 2010
This past weekend was the three-day UCI cyclocross race known as Jingle Cross. This was my forth year traveling to Iowa City for the event and it just gets better and better. The event consists of a C2 event under the lights on Friday night, a C2 Saturday afternoon and a C1 to close the weekend on Sunday. After my crash in Ft. Collins a few weeks ago I was worried I might have to miss it this year but luckily I healed up just in time.
I decided to spend Thanksgiving at home this year instead of in the hotel which meant not getting to Iowa until Friday afternoon and not having much time to check out the course before the race that night. Jingle Cross features a huge climb/descent called Mt. Krumpet and it probably one of the most technical features we see all year in U.S. cyclocross. The subfreezing temperatures turned the steep descent off Mt Krumpet into a solid sheet of shiny ice. I was still riding pretty tentative after my crash a few weeks ago and couldn’t convince myself to take many risks on the descent. I managed only sixth place on Friday night and although I was happy to be back on my bike and racing, I was disappointed in my lack of form and confidence.
Lucky for me I only had about eighteen hours to dwell on Friday night’s race before it was time to go again on Saturday. The course had thawed a bit by the afternoon and there were a few changes to the previous days track, namely a giant steep muddy run up. Saturday was much better for and midway though the race I found myself in a three-man group with Chris Jones and Trebon. Trebon was killing me on the run up each lap and I was spending the majority of the lap closing the gap he created on the run. With a lap and half to go Jones slid out and Trebon attacked for a final time on the run up. I rode in for second and though it wasn’t a win, it was much better then the previous day.
Sunday was the big race with C1 money, almost five times as much as a C2 and big points up for grabs it was the day everyone wanted to do well. I had a poor start and found myself outside of the top ten after just a few minutes of racing. I was able to claw my way back and made contact with my brother and Trebron about a third of the way through but Driscoll was off the front and clear by almost forty seconds. Trebron and I traded blows and I was opening small gaps on him in the technical sections. We were also starting to bring back Driscoll and by the end I rolled in solo for second about twenty seconds down. I usually die at the end of races but I was getting stronger and stronger which was encouraging after three days of racing.
Jingle Cross is my favorite CX event of the year, the course is awesome and very selective with its big climb, the people are awesome and the conditions are always challenging. It’s a good test a few weeks before Nationals of both form and skills. It is also the longest stage race I do all year with three days of racing in a row.
Next up is the USGP Final in Portland and then the National Championships in Bend.
Thanks for your support…..
Fort Collins USGPNovember 16, 2010
The USGP series resumed this weekend with a first ever stop in Fort Collins, Colorado. It was also the first time this year we had wet and cold weather for a USGP race. The course was laid out on a freshly cut field with a gradually sloping hill, featured a fly over, barriers and quite a bit of climbing for a cyclocross race. A snowstorm on Thursday evening had melted and turned the course into slick mud for Saturday’s race.
I have been moving up the grid all season after a slow start and found myself with number six on the front row for the start. I managed to hold my position during the first lap and not make many mistakes. Halfway through the race Driscoll and Kabush had gap with Trebon, Johnson and myself chasing. I was gaining some time on Trebon in the corners and Johnson was starting to drift off the back of us with one lap to go. I crashed in a slick corner halfway through the last lap, lost contact with Trebon but was able to hold off Johnson for forth. Everyone crashed at least once on Saturday since we were racing in the slickest conditions of the year.
By Sunday, the course had started to dry out and the corners were getting somewhat tacky. Where you had to tripod around the day before, Sunday you could stay clipped in and even lean the bike a little. I had another decent start and found myself in a lead group with Johnson and Trebon early in the race. I decked it in a corner and Trebon slid out before the pit on the same lap giving Johnson a small gap and he was gone. I caught Trebon on the next lap and Powers joined me as well, we were able to drop Trebon shortly after.
Two thirds of the way through the race everything went wrong. I had been bunny hopping the barriers all race but had usually led into them. Powers hit them first on one lap and I had to alter my line because I was coming up on him too fast. I swung into the boggy center of the barriers instead of hugging the fencing where the ground was hard. I lost most of my speed between the first and second barrier but was committed and tried to muscle through it. I came up short and somehow managed to pile drive my left leg into the top of the barrier. I got up but couldn’t bend my leg and had to take a trip to the hospital in the ambulance. Turned out nothing was broken but I have a bad bruise and walking is pretty tough. I’m hoping I heal fast and will be back in time for Jingle Cross. Needless to say I was unable to finish the race and I think it’s the first cyclocross race I’ve ever had to pull out of.
Fort Collins put on a great event, the spectators were awesome and the course was really cool. I was looking forward to checking out the title sponsor, New Belgium Brewery facilities for the party on Sunday night but never made it so I’m hoping they have it again next year.
Here is a link to my race ending crash: here
Thanks for your support.
Iceman ComethNovember 8, 2010
I don’t think I’ve ever raced my mountain bike in November before this weekend. The Iceman Cometh Mountain Bike race in Traverse City, Michigan has been going on for twenty-one years and took place this past weekend. With a name like “Iceman” you never know what you’re going to get and this edition definitely lived up to its name.
For starters, forty five hundred people lined up this year to tackle the Iceman course, which is a twenty-eight mile point to point race on mostly flat, sandy double track trail. The amateurs go in the morning and the pros are in the afternoon. Friday afternoon saw the trail get a few inches of fresh snow and pre-riding was really slick and cold. By the time we raced on
Saturday afternoon the snow had stopped and most of the trail was hard packed sand. There were a few sections in the woods though where the dirt had turned to greasy mud.
Since the course is pretty flat and wide open there is a lot of drafting and quite a big group sticks together. This year saw a bunch of the BMC and Bissell road guys show up in addition to all the normal mountain bikers so at the halfway point in the race the lead group still had twenty to thirty guys in it. Luckily once we got to some of the muddy single-track sections the group got whittled down to about twelve and by the last mud section we were a group of five with four miles to go.
Brian Matter attacked with about three miles to go and everyone in the group looked at each other to chase. No one wanted to do the brunt of the work to bring him back and we ended up coming to the finish in a group of four, seventeen seconds behind Matter racing for second place. I won the sprint for second but wished I had the chance to sprint for the victory. It was my first time doing the Iceman race and I hope to come back and win it one day.
I’ll hang up the mountain bike for the rest of the season now and focus one hundred percent on cyclocross. Nationals are only five weeks away and next weekend I’ll be racing back in Colorado at the Fort Collins USGPs.
Thanks for your support.
Colorado Cyclocross Classic/ Boulder CupNovember 2, 2010
My favorite weekend of cross racing happened this past weekend in Boulder, CO. Boulder has been hosting a double weekend of UCI racing for at least five years now and they always put on a great show.
Saturday was a C2 event held at the Boulder reservoir. The race was nearly canceled when a wildfire sparked up on Friday morning and many homes had to be evacuated. The reservoir is a staging area for the fire fighters but luckily the fire was put out quickly, the smoke dissipated and the race was great.
The reservoir course is known for all it’s sand and this year was no exception. There isn’t much elevation gain out there but the sand pits and pebbly turns make the course quite a challenge. I had a great start and found myself chasing Powers with TJ on my wheel by the end of the first lap. After sitting on my wheel for the first half of the race TJ jumped me but never made it across to Powers. I rolled in solo for third place and was looking forward to the big C1 on Sunday.
Sunday's C1 saw a new venue, The Flatiron’s Mall. When I think of a cyclocross race venue the mall doesn’t pop into my mind but leave to legendary race promoter Chris Grealish to make it great. Grealish puts on some the best races in the world and he turned the Flatiron Mall into a great cross-venue and huge expo area.
The course was set mostly on an off camber hill, which dropped from the mall parking lot down to the narrow park below. I think the only flat sections of the course were the pavement and everything else you were riding the edges of the tire. There were lots of tight turns, a few steep climbs and a set of bunny-hopable barriers.
I had a great start again and this time was chasing down Powers straight away. I caught him on the first lap and then he flatted halfway through the second lap, which left me off the front with TJ and Jaime Driscoll chasing about ten seconds back. I pulled the entire time since TJ wouldn’t work because his teammate was just behind. Three quarters of the way through the race TJ attacked and I couldn’t respond. I lost some steam towards the end and Driscoll caught me but I was able to hang on for second using the barriers to springboard me to the finish.
It was another great weekend of cross racing and it looks like the fitness is starting to come around. I switch gears this weekend and head to the Iceman Mountain Bike race in Traverse City, Michigan. That will be my last MTB event of the season and then it’s back on the cross bike for the next round of USGPs in Fort Collins.
Thanks for your support……
USGP of Cyclocross 3,4October 26, 2010
This weekend the USGP of Cyclocross returned to action in Louisville, KY, home of the 2013 Elite World Cyclocross Championships. The race was held at a new venue this year and it was designated by the city as a cyclocross specific course. The venue is two miles for the heart of downtown on the Ohio River and same one that will be used for the World Championships in a few years.
The weekend saw perfect weather with unseasonably warm temperatures pushing into the eighties and very dry, dusty conditions. It felt more like a high altitude mountain bike race then an October cyclocross race. It was also my first race since Madison after a nice break and a few base miles in my push to be good for the National Championships in mid-December.
Saturday’s race was fast from the gun and with a poor start position as a result of the reduced early schedule I had I was suffering from the start. I moved my way up from the mid twenties and by the end of the race had caught Powers in a battle for third place. He punched it on the second half of the last lap and I was unable to respond and had to settle for forth place. I was able to make up most of my time on the barrier section since they were far enough apart to bunny hop at high speed but couldn’t quite regain contact.
Sunday’s race started much better for me and I was in the top ten by the first corner. Sometimes you get good starts and Sunday I had a great one. I managed to ride in a group for forth through sixth place for most of the race. This time Tim Johnson was in front of our group but we couldn’t manage to real him in. On the last lap my two companions for the day, Tristan Schouten and Davide Frattini managed to crash each other in the corner after the pits giving me an easy ride in for another forth place. I was suffering very badly at the end so I was happy for the little gift.
Sunday night a bunch of the Zipp athletes headed up to Indianapolis for a company visit and clinic on Monday. The new building (they just moved in 2 weeks ago) was great and it was nice to see how some of the fastest wheels in the world are made. The clinic was a great chance to meet some new people and hang out with old friends.
My cyclocross season is really starting in earnest now as I leave on Friday for two more days of racing up in Boulder Colorado. I’m hoping the thinner air of the Rocky Mountains will give me a slight advantage.
World Championships Race Report:September 7, 2010
The mountain bike season wrapped up this weekend with the 20th edition of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. The race took place at longest running venue in North America, Mt St Anne just outside of Quebec. MSA has been an annual stop on the World Cup circuit since I started racing and the North American racers always receive great support there.
MSA is situated right on the St Lawrence Seaway and has always been one of the most technical stops on the circuit. Over the years the course has been shortened (16 mins per lap) to make for better viewing and specific technical sections have been added. Ride any trail in the area and it’s probably going to me more rooty and rocky then anything you’ll ride all year unless you live in the northeast. Add the rain that always falls on top of that and you have a great venue for a World Championships.
The week leading up to the race we had surprisingly warm and dry weather for early September with new high temperature records being set daily and the newly installed A/C units running nonstop. Hurricane Earl was threatening to douse the festivities all week but by the time Saturday rolled around the temperatures were back into the low seventies and only a little rain had fallen leaving the dirt tacky and the roots and rocks slippery.
I had a great start number since I was ranked 12th in UCI points heading into the weekend. I started 12th on the grid, which is second row at a normal race but at International races with one minute to go a field size of one hundred occupies the space of about forty so I was
about six inches from the start line. I got a good start and managed to squeak by a crash about one minute into the race and completed the first start loop in thirteenth position. I managed to stay in the mid-teens for the first half of the race but eventually the power
faded and I dropped to twenty first position by the finish after giving up five positions on the last half lap. I did manage to ride all the technical sections with out crashing even during the
rainsquall that came in during the middle of the race and made things slick.
I rode the new S-Works Epic 29er with LK tires and it handled the technical stuff like a dream. MSA is a very rough course and the new bike soaked up the bumps. My teammate Burry rode the new S-Works Stumpjumper HT 29er to a bronze medal and was leading during the middle of the race. Susi had some rough luck in the beginning with a flat tire on the first full lap. I tried to give him my Big Air but managed to pierce the can when I ripped it off and dropped it for him. By the time the traffic eased up in the trail and he was able to get to it, all the gas was gone so he had to run a bit.
Jose Hermida from Spain is our new Elite Men’s XC World Champion and probably the most liked and entertaining guy on the circuit. I think he’ll do the jersey proud.
The weekend was packed with fun events and we got a chance to watch the “Legends Race” on Friday evening where Myles Rockwell won a Short Track style event, Lopes second, Frishi third and Ned coming in for fifth. Saturday evening I got to participate in my first ever pump
track race. I was destroyed from the XC race earlier but a few of the XC riders signed up for the 4 lap timed event. I managed to come in first for the XC guys but pretty far down on the list with the Four Cross stars.
This season has been one of my most enjoyable ever. The team is amazing, the equipment rocks and the support is incredible. I have had a mediocre World Cup run but my best domestic campaign ever. Now I have a few days to switch gears and get ready to put the new Crux to the test at Cross Vegas.
Thanks for your support….
The Weight of LeadvilleAugust 17, 2010
Picture's worth 1,000 words.
Leadville 100August 16, 2010
That is one long race! This past weekend was my first mountain bike hundred miler and maybe my last. It was unlike any race I have ever done before. The Leadville 100 is a one hundred mile out and back mountain bike race that takes place mostly between 10,000 and 12,600 feet.
The course is made up mostly of fire-road, asphalt road and less then one mile of single track. It rolls most of the time but has five major climbs that are pretty long but all ride able. The downhills have a few rocks but are mostly wide open and fast. There isn’t that much
shelter on the course so a lot of the time you’re exposed to the wind whipping up the valleys.
The race starts at 6:30 AM in downtown Leadville. All 1,400 competitors start together and do a neutral downhill start for four miles. It’s pretty scary rolling downhill while it’s still partially
dark and forty degrees with all the racers of different ability levels going about thirty five miles an hour bar to bar. After the neutral start we hit the dirt road and the race started to string out. We had to dodge a few cows before hit the first climb.
I thought we would take it easy in the beginning but I was breathing hard after just ten minutes into the race and we went over the first climb with a group of just six riders. The group swelled a bit on the road descent and by the time we started the next climb we were a group of maybe twelve. The second climb was only about twenty-five minutes and when we reached the top we were a group of only five and Ned was in there along with JHK, Levi and Shriver. That was when my day took a turn for the worse.
We were rolling across the top and I was on Levi’s wheel when he suddenly slammed on his brakes and turned off course while going about twenty miles an hour. I didn’t have time to react and slammed into him crashing hard and ripping out the spokes in my front wheel and
flatting. I was dazed but by the time I got up Ned was giving me his front wheel and I was off again and caught the group going down the Powerline descent.
We rode together in a group of about ten until the 3,000 ft Columbine climb at the forty-two mile mark. I couldn’t follow the pace of JHK and Levi and had to let go after about fifteen minutes of climbing. I rode with Bishop to the top and was hoping to keep the gap small and
close it on the descent. That didn’t happen though and I was two minutes behind JHK and Levi going through the aid station at the bottom of the climb and had dropped Bishop so I was on my own. After dodging racers coming the opposite direction for about fifteen miles
and having some very close calls I rode the rest of the race by myself. I had about fifteen miles of rolling head wind before the climbs started again and I would have given anything to have someone to swap pulls with.
I was pretty much done by the time I hit the last two climbs and couldn’t believe I made it up them because I was riding so slowly. I also ran out of water and had the dehydration white mouth thing going but I think everyone did. I managed to hang on for third and was pretty happy to get off my bike after 6:30 of riding. First thing I did was chug a few bottles of water, press conference and then off for more pain of cleaning out my wounds.
I’ll take the pain of an XC or CX race anytime where you don’t have time to think about how much pain you’re in until after the event. This race was a notch lower so you could fully take in the state you were in the entire time. I couldn’t believe how many citizen riders finished in the twelve hour cut off time and how many had really fast times. I hope I don’t have to do that race again for a long time.
Thanks for your support….
MorningsAugust 7, 2010
This guys is king of the castle.
I did my favorite high country ride yesterday, Molas to Cascade. The trail was in awesome shape even with all the rain, velcro out there. I wanted to make it a little longer but the problem is once you get over the 4 hour range on the trails you need to take a camel back and I prefer to not use them. I will if I have to but given the choice I'll carry 3 bottles.
Carbon Ti is an awesome sponsor. They make super light weight skewers, seat clamps and stem caps. Check out my new seat clamp on the Epic 29er, everything has our names on it.
Well here is a cover I was very happy to see:
Willow has been killing it since last year and never seems to get the credit she deserves. Bronze medal at Worlds, leading the World Cup this year, those aren't some small races, thats the pinnacle of our sport. I'm glad to see her getting some well deserved press and the article is good as well. Congrats Willow and keep up the good work.
While on the topic of covers, I saw this one in the airport on the way to Europe a few weeks ago.
First Tomac defines mountain bike racing for a decade or more and now his son is set to be the next Bubba Stewart or pretty damn good at the very least. I'd say that family has some skills when it comes two wheels. The Durango area is all over the magazine stands this month.
I'm hoping they have coverage of World Marathon Championships tomorrow somewhere on the web. I haven't heard of anyone covering the race so if you know something I don't please let me know. Good luck to the Dart and Susi, I'm sure they're gonna do awesome.
It's looking like it might rain again today so I'm heading out into the Gulch before the sky opens up. If it stays dry, Rude and I might go play some golf down in Farmington.
I wonder how many jars of Nutella the Dart has gone through in Germany this week waiting for Worlds....
DumpingAugust 5, 2010
It has been raining here in Durango like crazy lately. The past few years my yard was completely brown by now, I get a sprinkler system this year and now it's raining all the time. At least the trails are like velcro a few hours after it stops.
So I made it back home and it is good to be back. I don't know what it is about flying back home to the U.S. but it always takes me much longer to get adjusted to the time then going over to Europe. These grey mornings don't help either, although yesterday was sunny. Last night our neighbors house across the street got hit by lightning and it was super loud. The hairs on my arms were standing up.
I have taken the past few days off, was finally ready to get up in the high country today and now it doesn't look like it's going to happen. Oh well. I'm not staying up at DMR for Leadville either, too much time away from home. I feel like I haven't been able to really prepare for Leadville so I'm just going to keep my focus on WC finals and World Champs and just see how it works out. I did do some filming the past few days for the Leadville movie though so I'm hoping I don't suck there.
My golf game is coming back around too the past few days. Rude, Barthel and I have been tearing up the links. I was hoping to get out tonight but this rain might push my ride back into my golf time.
The Dart and Susi are in Germany getting ready for Marathon Worlds. The Dart is going to race the 29er Stumpjumper. He says the course is super smooth and fast.
I managed to not gain much weight on my Euro trip. I usually pack on the pounds pretty quickly at sea level, especially while spending most of the day in bed with a Nutella jar and tablespoon. This trip must have been short enough though to not pile in too many calories.
Meg left the day I got back to go to a Power Balance party in Hollywood with Willow and her friend Heather. They flew out to L.A. just for the party and Meg said it was awesome. They got to see Flo Rider perform and meet him along with some other celebs.
I avoid doing real world chores at all costs but with this rain I'm thinking about taking care of some actual business. Usually I can find an excuse to put it off but it seems like the perfect time right now and Winston thinks it's a good idea.
I wonder what the Darts' up to right now.....
World Cup 5 Val di SoleAugust 2, 2010
World Cup #5 Val di Sole 8/1
The last time I was in Val di Sole was 2008 for the World Championships. The town is nestled in the Dolomites and the Giro had a mountain top finish on the Passo Tonale this year about 20 K from the race venue. We travel and race in quite a few beautiful places but this region with it’s huge peaks, raging rivers, hillside vineyards and old castles might be the most picturesque of all.
The trip started out a little rough, we were rear ended in Susi’s brand new Multi Van on the drive over from Champery less then 10 K from Val di Sole on Monday. Luckily no one was seriously injured and we all just had some sore necks. We did get to spend some time at the
Carabinier (Italian Police Staion) while Susi filled out a bunch of paper work.
The week went quite a bit smoother from there and our only problem was sneaking the bikes into the hotel room. We had great weather and only one day of partial rain. Burry and I did a big ride in the mountains one day and other then that we were in recovery mode getting ready for the race.
The course changed a bit from 2008, they added a few more short climbs, which broke up the rhythm of the track. It seems this year whoever I start behind inevitably has a mishap of the line. This weekend I was on the second row right behind Lukas Fluckinger and he slipped a pedal right when the gun went off. I lost a few places at the start but managed to work my way up into a group racing for fourteenth by the middle of the race. I have been fading at the end lately and dropped back to nineteenth by the finish. Not my best result but I felt pretty good on the steep climbs considering that I’m a pretty big guy and they are usually not my specialty.
I rode the 29er Stumpjumper hardtail since the course was pretty smooth. I also used the new Renegade tires with the lower volume and larger knobs which hooked up great on the dusty course.
I have a week or two at home before I head to Leadville to line up for the longest and highest MTB race I have ever attempted. I am looking forward to a non-lung searing World Cup start where hopefully I can ease into the race more like on the road. I’m not looking forward to 6
am start time though.)
Thanks for your support….
SWATJuly 29, 2010
This morning I had the craziest drug test experience ever. Before today the most interesting thing that ever happened to me at a drug test was at Continental Champs they gave us beer to help pee in Ecuador. Today we got a SWAT style wake up.
You are required to list 1 hour each day when you will definitely be at your location. I always chose 6-7am because that's when I'm still home and sleeping. I usually get tested after this time but if you're not home during your stated time you can get a missed test.
Anyway, 6:30am this morning the Dart and I were awakened to the hotel manager and the testing agent who simultaneously knocked on the locked door, opened it, turned on all the lights and opened the metal shutters before I could even open my eyes or take out my ear plugs. Then the hotel manager went on to berate us because we aren't allowed to have bikes in the rooms. These bikes are cleaner then the ones you will find in a shop on the showroom floor mind you and much cleaner then the bottom of my shoes.
The test went pretty normal after that other then the fact are rooms are tiny and packed with stuff so he had to stand to fill out all the paper work. I peed right away and he left, we tried to go back to sleep but 10 minutes later there was a knock on the door and it was him again. He had filled out the wrong form so we had to fill out all the paper work again. On the plus side, this was the first time I got tested and the Dart didn't. Usually it's his tester waking me up.
My internet time is running out so no pictures today. And it just started to rain.
I wonder what Winstons' doing right now.....
CrashJuly 27, 2010
Yesterday we got rear ended driving to Val di Sole in Susi's brand new Mulitvan. We were only 20 Ks from the hotel when we were stopped on a hill and this ran into us.
It didn't damage the car very much but I was in the backseat with out a seat belt on and my head hit the seat in front of us. Check out the back of Susi's new/beat up van.
The back up camera and sensors still work but the rear door doesn't open anymore. We spent an hour at the police station while Susi filled out paper work afterward. It made a long drive even longer.
Now that we're in Val di Sole it's pretty relaxing. The food is much better at our new hotel then in Switzerland but the supermarkets here aren't open as often. They close from noon to four everyday. I also missed breakfast this morning because I woke up at 10 and it closed at 9:40. What kind of time is 9:40 to close something. Shouldn't it be 9:30 or 10? Come on.
I did a good ride today with the Dart tagging along for half of it. I'm trying to keep my volume up so I can finish the Leadville race. We only race for an 1:50 at the WCs so I need to get some endurance someplace. The problem is that's it's so hard for that time it feels like I rode my bike for 12 hours. The elevation isn't helping me much here either, only 900 meters which is less then 3,000 ft. I could go stay at the Passo Tonale which is almost 2,000 meters which is the same as Durango but I don't have a car to go up and back.
The weather here was awesome today, sunny with some clouds and warm in the sun. The course is a little different then the last time we were here and completely different from Champery. There are no flat sections, no roots, a few rocks and no drops. It's like a road race compared to last week.
This is right after the crash happened.
I guess the thing you do in Italy when you get in an accident is to open every door on your car, roof, trunk, drivers, passengers, etc....
Well the new UCI rankings just came out and I moved up to 12th. That's the highest I've ever been ranked in the World. It's funny too because this year my World Cups haven't been great but I've scored a lot of points domestically. I hope I can move up a few more places before Worlds so I can start on the front row. That would be sweet.
I wonder how cold the river is going to be tonight....
World Cup 4 Champery, Switzerland:July 27, 2010
I finally had a good World Cup this weekend. I have been having a great year on the U.S. side of the Atlantic but had yet to get any result on the others side of the pond until this weekend. Last year Champery was my worst World Cup and so far this year it has been my best.
I traveled to Champery on Tuesday after having spent the past five weeks at altitude and just having claimed the U.S. National Championship. I knew my form was good but that doesn’t always translate to results internationally. The fields are so deep and the competition so intense that you can’t afford any mistakes. The course this year was littered with steep rocky and rooty descents and heinously steep climbs. The course was tough to ride in the dry but
when the rain came it made the toughest course we face all year simply treacherous. The organizers decided the track wasn’t tricky enough and threw in a big gap/drop jump to keep us on our toes.
We raced on Sunday and the rains had stopped by Friday night so the course was starting to dry up a bit by the time we raced. They also trucked in a bunch of stones to put down on the new climb so it was ride able. There were still some boggy sections in the woods but all
and all the course was in great shape. I had a descent start and by the end of the first lap I had moved up to about twentieth place. I continued to pick people off on the flats and downhill’s while dying on the steep climbs. By the middle of the race I had moved up to ninth
place and was feeling pretty comfortable, other then on the climb. Heading into the last lap I had dropped to eleventh but managed to catch and pass Hermida for tenth by the middle of the last lap. He stayed on my wheel though and I knew he would drop me on the climb the
last time up. It was only four minutes from the base of the climb to the finish but I couldn’t hold him when he came by and one more rider passed me as well on the last steep pitch. I managed to hold on for twelfth place. I was shooting for top ten and nearly had it so I have
to be happy with that.
Next weekend we are off to Val di Sole Italy where the 2008 World Championships took place. That means I only have six more days in Europe before I head back to Durango and start getting ready for Leadville. It should be an interesting transition from racing nearly at sea level flat out for two hours to competing at 10,500 ft for almost seven hours.
Thanks for your support…..
Jet LagJuly 22, 2010
Last weekend couldn't have gone any better for me. I've won National titles before in Cross and Short Track but never the XC and the Short Track title came a long time ago. I had Meg and Winston there and both my parents and Meg's parents. I was so pumped after winning the XC that to get the Short Track win also was amazing. It was one of those times when I felt in control the whole time and was never worried about cracking. I guess I'm going to have to play golf the day before all my important races now.
The new Carbon Epic 29er was the perfect tool to get the job done. It is a huge advantage having a super light full suspension 29er that weighs less and works better then most 26ers out there.
I had a picture of a bunch of the Durango locals in their Stars and Bars jerseys but I can't seem to upload photos from the Hotel Suisse. There were so many jerseys that went back to Durango though it's hard to keep them all straight.
I went back to Vail with the family on Sunday night and before I could get settled I was packing to fly out to Switzerland on Tuesday morning for the next round of the WC. The trip went relatively smoothly, I flew out of DIA, I had a ticket waiting for me at the airport and didn't have to scramble to try and buy one last minute. My upgrades went through at the last second and I I got to sleep most of the way from DC to Zurich. Benno and Dylan collected me once Lene arrived and we came up to Champery yesterday.
Champery has to be one of the most beautiful venues we visit all year. It is like staying in a Swiss postcard. The course is the most demanding of the year I think. They have changed it a bit for this year and it has seen quite a bit of racing since they had the WC here last year and the Swiss Cup here already this year. The lap it very short, less then 15 minutes so it gets plenty of use. There are two main climbs, 1, two or three minutes and the other closer to a minute. They are super steep and I'm pinned to the nose of the saddle trying to get traction. They are also the only smooth parts of the course. The rest of the time is spent on gnarly roots and the tires don't see the dirt much, just wood and rocks.
The new descent they added is super steep and I can barely make the sharp corner halfway down. I only made it once yesterday with out taking a foot out. After that it's a big drop to a steep descent that I fear I'm boing to burp my tires off the rims every time I hit it. It's a real bike handlers course and will be super technical if it rains.
It is good to be back together with the team again. Burry is stuck in SA right now though and will only get in on Friday since his Visa expired yesterday and Claire lost her passport and just found it again after her flight already departed. She is in route today though. Scmooz and Lene made it yesterday though along with the rest of the staff and our in house team guy Geoff who has been to the Tour, some World Cup triathlon with 400,000 spectators and now the MTB World Cup before heading back to Morgan Hill.
I'm running a little late today since I was wide awake from 4am-7am last night and just woke up in time to miss breakfast. The shutters here in Europe are awesome for sleeping let in zero light. The river in town is great for ice baths too. I get some funny looks from the school kids and the guys that work at the auto repair shop came out to laugh at me for a while too. The things we do to get faster.
Time for me to get going so I can get on the course before it starts to rain. It would also be nice to get back in time to watch the Tour, today should be a great day. To watch, probably not much fun to race except for about 5 guys.
I wonder what Winston and Meg and doing right now.....
U.S. National ChampionshipJuly 19, 2010
This is definitely one of the best race reports I have ever written. I have always had bad luck at the National Championship races for some reason but this weekend was just about perfect. I managed to win the cross-country title for the first time and the short track title in the same weekend on the brand new Specialized S-Works Epic 29er. My wife, parents, parents-in-law, and dog Winston were all there to share it with too. It was just awesome.
Saturday was the XC and the second year in a row Nationals was contested at nine thousand feet in Sol Vista, Colorado. It was a hot day with temperatures in the eighties, minimal shade and rough, dusty trails. This year I had a good block of almost five weeks to prepare at home and I knew I needed to train higher then even the sixty five hundred feet of Durango if I wanted to be competitive. I spent two of the three weeks prior to the event driving up to nine thousand feet to sleep in a friends condo at Durango Mountain Resort ski area to acclimate to the altitude and the last week in Vail. I don’t get much time at home during the summer so it was a sacrifice to spend the little time I had there not sleeping in my own bed but it paid off
Ryan Trebon led out the first lap and by the top of the climb we were a group of three with me, JHK, and Trebon. I went to the front on the downhill and JHK and I opened a gap. I rode with JHK for the first lap and a half of the five and half lap race before leaving him for good.
I knew I was on a good day right away and just wanted to make sure I didn’t give too much early on but once I got the gap it just kept growing. The new Epic 29er was perfect for the course and I increased my lead through every rough pedaling section. By the end I had over a
minute gap and could enjoy cruising in for my first ever XC National Championship.
Sunday was the short track and I was already satisfied with my weekend having taken the XC jersey but when I line up the adrenaline kicks in and I wanted another jersey. This time I got away very early in the race and just kept opening up the gap. I spent most of the race on my
own and again the new bike was gobbling up the bumpy course. I built up enough of a lead to take it easy on the last lap and grab my second jersey of the weekend.
It was really satisfying to set a goal, train specifically for it and achieve what I set out to do. I have been trying to win the cross-country jersey for so long I thought it was never going to
happen. I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later I’m just glad it was sooner. I don’t have much time to celebrate though as I leave for Europe tomorrow for the next round of the World Cup in Champery, Switzerland.
Thanks for your support.
Yeah!July 17, 2010
Winston is stoked too
U-23 DayJuly 16, 2010
The U-23s battled it out for the National Championship XC title today. It was a great race too. It was a group of 6 initially but quickly broke up into a group of 3, Tad, Rob and Russell. Tad and Rob dropped Russell about 2/3s of the way through the race and then it was a 2 man race. Going into the last lap Tad got a small gap on Squire and eventually won by almost a minute at the end. It was exciting to watch. And it was HOT! When I got in the car to go home after the race it said 88 on my thermometer, there wasn't a cloud in the sky and there isn't much shade on the course. The feed zone is fast and on some really bumpy grass, I saw plenty of dropped bottles in there which isn't good on a day like today. It's rare the temperature is almost 90 degrees at 9,000 ft, good sunburn weather. Oh yea, the top 3 guys were all on full suspension bikes I think but the Epic prevailed.
Here is the S-Works Epic Carbon 29er I'm racing tomorrow.
And another view. Notice those center cut new Renegador tires.
The rear end on this bike is incredibly stiff. I think it's stiffer then my hardtail. The 142+ is beefy.
Look how thick the stays are.
Finally, Miron is making sure it's all dialed in. This weekend he has to take care of the Captain too, he's racing the single speed race tomorrow. Early. I didn't think the guy ever woke up before 10 am, the Captain, not Miron.
Meg and Winston have been telling me about this moose they have seen hanging out at the lake just down the road from the condo. They've been telling me he's there every time they go there. Today I went to see for myself and he was gone. Great.
My parents got into town yesterday. They haven't been out to Colorado for a while and have never been to this area. Today they went to the Coors brewery and after the weekend we're all going to Vail for a few days to visit with Meg's parents. Winston loves it in Vail since he has 2 dogs to play with, no leash and a cat that doesn't take any crap from him.
I can't believe Roel Paulissen tested positive for clomiphene, the same thing Rory Sutherland got busted for a while ago. I always thought he was very against doping and he was one of the only Euros that would talk to me when I first started going to Europe to race World Cups. He claims he didn't do it but so does everyone, it sucks either way.
Tomorrow is Elite National Championships and it should be a good race. I think it's going to be hot, dusty and lots of lung burn. I can't wait!!!
I wonder what the Darts' doing right now....
GrandbyJuly 14, 2010
So I locked up the Number 1 plate this past weekend in Colorado Springs. After a flat in the TT, a OK XC I finally won the last day in the Super STXC. The race was just over an hour where it usually is only 20 minutes. I got away with 2 laps to go and gained some time back but not the 3 minutes I needed to jump up from 3rd in the G.C..
I spent the past two days in Vail hanging out at Meg's family's house. Yesterday I spent the day at the Specialized Launch for all there 2011 product in Keystone. The new stuff coming out is incredible and I might even ride the new S-Works 29er Epic this weekend. The trails over in Keystone are a blast too and I put my Stumpjumper through the paces on a few of the lift accessed trails. I needed to get some time in on it since I'll be using that bike in the Super D this weekend.
Meg, Winston and I had a great time in Vail too. I rode the bike path on Monday, it's one of my favorite bike paths anywhere and it runs right through the village. I also spent some time sitting in the river there while Winston and Ava played ball. Bob's place kept us fueled up and I hit some balls at the Eagle Vail golf course. Not a bad couple of days.
Today we drove over to Grandby/Winter Park for the National Championships this weekend. I was surprised by how many people are here already. The course is new this year for the Pro race and it's pretty good for the most part. It's a lot of new trail so it's pretty bumpy and I'll probably be riding an Epic of some sort, either 26 or 29.
They had a good 15 minute ish lap but I heard they wanted to make it longer for some reason, I have no idea why. 15 minutes is what a WC lap is and I think next weekend's race in Champery is right at 15 minutes. They added a really sketchy fire road descent when they changed the course since you just bomb down some loose rock road. I hope they change it back.
I'm going to boohoo about the numbers too. Somehow I had number 113. Now I work my ass off traveling all over the World trying to get World Ranking points not only for myself but for the USA. The least they could do is give us numbers based on our ranking. They talk about getting the number 1 plate in the PRO XCT and UCI race gives out numbers based on rankings, how hard is it to give us a little respect. Don't you think it would be funny to see Jonathan Page with number 238 at CX Nationals? It just doesn't make sense.
OK, I'm done complaining, other then that I think things are great over here. The weather is awesome right now, the new trails they cut for the course are good and Meg set us up with a great condo this year. We have killer internet, Comcast so I can waste the days watching the Tour and the British Open and we can walk to the center of town in about five minutes. My bikes are working awesome, the form seems to be good and the moral is high.
Tomorrow I have an easy spin on tap, maybe a run of the Super D course and if I'm really lucky a few holes at the Head Waters golf course. I don't want to waste too much energy but I read MJ use to play golf before his Championship games and it seemed to work pretty well for him. I'm also looking forward to checking out my new phone Rude is bringing up from Durango tonight.
I wonder what the Darts' been up to.....
It seems like I was just writing aboutJuly 12, 2010
It seems like I was just writing about the first ever PRO XCT event back in March and this weekend the five race series came to close in Colorado Springs at Cheyenne Mountain Park. In addition to being the final event, it was the first and only stage race of the series consisting of a time trial, cross-country and a super cross-country. I had an eighty-point lead in the series heading into this past weekend and barring any catastrophes I was going to win my first ever PRO XCT/ US Cup/ NORBA series.
The race started at 6:30 pm Friday with a short seventeen-minute time trial. The course was mostly fast rolling single track with a very technical five hundred meter rock garden in the beginning. I had ridden several laps of the course without incidence in training but managed to cut a sidewall one minute into the race. Disaster had struck and I didn’t have time to put a tube in so I hit it with a Big Air but soon was riding on about five psi. I came in three minutes
down and was in thirty-ninth place heading into the cross-country.
I knew it was going to be hard to make up the three minutes I lost to the leaders in the cross-country but I was going to give it my best shot. I worked my way up pretty quick at the start and found myself fifteen seconds behind Kabush and JHK after one of five laps. I made a big push to catch Kabush on the next lap and managed to bridge to him just at the top of the climb but JHK had gotten a gap on him. Kabush was second overall in the series so I figured I would just sit on him and let him do the work.
By the third lap the gap had went up to about thirty five seconds to JHK and it appeared Kabush wasn’t going to chase him.
I went to the front at the bottom of the climb and Kabush did a good turn at the top and we made contact with him on the start of the last lap. At the very top of the climb JHK attacked and Kabush was in front of me in the narrow single track. I couldn’t get around him to chase
and then Kabush crashed in a rock garden and I had to get off and run around him. By then JHK had a good fifteen to twenty second gap and he would keep that to the finish. Kabush got around me on one the corners on the descent and I had to settle for third which was enough to lock up the series overall and move me up to third overall in the stage race.
Sunday was the final event of the weekend and they called it a short track but it was over a mile long course and we raced for about an hour instead of twenty minutes. I tried to attack a bunch in he beginning but it was clear Kabush and JHK weren’t going anywhere. We rode in a group of three for most of the race before Kabush slid out in one of the many slick corners while I was pushing the pace. That left JHK and I alone off the front with Kabush a few seconds back. With two laps to go I attacked when JHK bobbled and managed to open up a twenty second gap to him and over a minute to Kabush by the finish. It wasn’t enough to move up from 3rd in the G.C. but it was nice to grab the stage victory.
With the PRO XCT series in my pocket now the attention turns to Sol Vista for the US National Championships this weekend and then back to the World Cups in Europe after that. I’ve had some good time at home build up my fitness now it’s time to put it to the test.
Thanks for your support….
That was AwesomeJuly 7, 2010
I wish everyday of the Tour was like yesterday. I'm sure most of the riders didn't like it but it was awesome to watch. I guess when you add dirt and rocks to race it makes it more like a mountain bike race. Plus, they weren't just sitting in the group they were racing flat out at the end. The riders needed to use bike handling skills other then just aerobic output. Awesome!
I have been logging in some pretty good mileage the past few weeks along with some intensity. Now I'm starting to cut back the mileage in hopes of tapering for Nationals and next two World Cups. I did one of my last biggish rides for the next three weeks yesterday. I also busted out some hyperoxic intervals at Performance Cardiology. I think I have the record for the most sweat produced in a session. That's no small task either with AC and a wind tunnel type fan blowing cool air three feet from velotron.
Last night was our last sleep over at Cascade. A huge thanks to Kricket and her family for letting Rude and I stay at their condo. I found out that it's at 9,000 ft, not 8,700 so I that makes me feel better about trying to catch my breath all the time. I can't believe how nice it is to have a good solid block of training at home. You would think that racing and recovering is enough to get fast but I always feel so much better training at home for a while. It's much easier to complete work outs in a familiar environment where you know the rides, how long they should take, what it should feel like, etc....
It has also been awesome to hang out with friends in the middle of the summer in Durango. Usually I get a week here or there but this year the schedule has worked out great. Speaking of schedules, I'm excited to Fort Collins has a USGP this year. I enjoyed the course in N.J. and had some great races there but I feel the good races are more a timing of the form thing then a course specific thing. Now I'll be able to drive to two UCI races, the Boulder Cup and the Fort Collins USGP. That is if we don't get a huge snow storm that shuts down the passes.
Tomorrow we're off to Colorado Springs for the last PRO XCT, then to Vail until Nationals. From there I fly out of Denver to Switzerland for the next two World Cups so my summer vacation is about to come to an end. It has been awesome none the less. It was also cool to have Plaxton in town for a few weeks, got to show him some good spots in D-town.
Finally, looking forward to the British Open. In addition to Phil playing well right now and Tiger always good in the Majors, there are tons of young up and coming guys that could make things exciting. Then again, it was sweet to watch legend Tom Watson make it to the weekend at the US Open.
I wonder how cold Cascade creek is going to be today......
CascadeJuly 5, 2010
The 4th of July was a hit. G.C., The German, Rude and I rode the Kennebec pass loop from town. We met up with Maple, Snoodle and Plaxton at the Kroger Campground and rode the rest of the way together. It was an epic day since we had 4 flat tires(none for me luckily) and G.C. had to answer the call of nature multiple times and not the quick easy one. The ride was sweet though and we saw a bunch of people out on the trail.
I spent the past two nights down in town since I didn't want to get up early to do the 4th of July ride and then we just wanted to hang out at home yesterday. I still got some good high altitude training in on the ride yesterday so I think it's all good. Tonight Winston and I sleeping up here with out his mom who has to give our diabetic cat Maddy, a injection everyday at 9am. First she was really fat and then she got really skinny.
I had a nice rest day today. First Winston and I hit the dog park after watching the Tour de Crash. Then I met up with Barthel at Hillcrest to hit some balls on the range. From there I had a nice spin in the valley and then met up with Snoodle, Plaxton, G.C. and Taylor to tube the river. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and it was in the mid 80s. Just about perfect except for the stiff headwind we had. Not bad when you're dry, but pretty chilly after getting soaked in some rapids. This is us loading up.
Snoodle in the Exploder
Plaxton taking it easy.
This is the whole crew taking off. I couldn't get that great of pictures with my phone but I did manage to not destroy it in the river.
So Snoodle's dad just bought this van and is driving it back to Massachusetts from Durango as we speak. I think the top speed is 50 mph. That is a long trip, at least he has his dog for company.
Tomorrow I blasting out some more sea level training in the lab and then I only have to drive up here two more times and then we're off to Colorado Springs. The races in the Springs are all set to start after 4 pm with the XC currently scheduled for 6 pm. That's pretty late so I'm hoping they change the schedule.
Myron is suppose to be driving the new Specialized truck out to Colorado Springs. I hope he passes his driver's test.
I wonder what T.V. show Snoodle and Meg are watching right now.....
4th of July WeekendJuly 3, 2010
4th of July Weekend
Happy 4th of July to everyone, especially non-Americans. This weekend is reserved in the U.S. for lots of drinking and blowing stuff up. The cycling community in Durango also uses this weekend to ride Kennebec Pass, a 11,500 ft ish mountain right out of town. You ride about 13 miles of pavement up to a dirt road, then climb about 4,000 ft. From there you hop on the Colorado trail and descend almost all the way back to town minus a short 30 minute climb in the middle on awesome single track. Some people ride from town, some people drive to the dirt parking lot and some people drive all the way to the top. Not everyone does the ride this weekend but on a normal day you might see 3 other people and on the 4th you're likely to see close to 100. You might think it's nicer to do it when it's less crowed but I like knowing there are plenty of people around if I crash and get hurt or break my bike. Most of the ride doesn't get cell reception. We are leaving from Starbucks in town at 9am tomorrow for anyone looking to ride from town. Going at a steady clip it will probably take about 4.5 hours. There is one water stop about 1 hour in at the Kroger camp ground.
Meg and I have never ridden the train in Durango together. Meg has ridden it but I haven't This is as close I've come to riding the train.
This is me working in my new office up at Cascade. There's no cell service but there is internet so Skype is the only way to talk to people. I wear my full kit at all times while doing cycling related stuff online, it's like my business suit. Ha.
So this is the machine Crawford has been putting everyone through the paces on. He punches in the resistance and you keep the gears spinning for a certain amount of time.
And this is me doing sea level intervals at 6,500 ft in Durango. Pretty cool.
It's hard to get the same levels in the lab that you can outside at sea level but it's pretty close. It is still way more watts then you can do outside at altitude. The question is, how many times can you do intervals inside on trainer?
Meg and Winston spent the night with me at Cascade with me last night. Winston wasn't doing as bad with the altitude but he also couldn't play ball up there because it was raining when we got there so he didn't get as tired. He was drinking a bunch though last night and LOUD! I think he's the loudest drinker I've ever heard.
Today I'm doing some motor pacing and sleeping low in town so I don't have to get up to early to do the Kennebec ride. I also think I'm getting addicted to coffee because when I don't drink a latte in the morning I feel pretty tired. And I'm interested to see how the body responds to doing intervals up at almost 12,000 ft and then down at sea level. They say you have to keep the body guessing to keep it growing so that seems like it should shake it up a bit. And I feel like Ned getting ready for the Iron Horse driving up to DMR everyday.
I wonder if I'm going to go to Silverton on Sunday to watch the fireworks....
Moloas to CascadeJuly 1, 2010
Rude and I had an action packed day up here at Cascade. To start with, Cascade is pretty dead this time of year. I think there are about ten cars in the entire complex parking lot which probably has over a hundred units. Anyway, I'm enjoying this laid back off time at the resort. It seems like we would have tons of time and get bored but yesterday seemed to fly by.
We got out the door by 10am for our Molas/Cascade ride. Most of the time you're at about 11,000 ft but there are times we were up at 12,000 ft. Thunder storms roll in fast up there so you could start out with clear blue sky but an hour later be pinned down under some rock with your rain jacked pulled over you head. We had great weather all day though. We came down Engine Creek Trail, a way I had never been before. I was wishing I had a 160 rotor on the rear by the bottom but we made it on problems. Here is the loop, notice the elevation on the topo.
Once we got back we were off again to jump the pools here at Cascade. The pools are about 500 feet from where we're staying. First you climb down a steep dirt slope in flip flops to get to the creek. Then you climb some sketchy wet rocks to get to the first pool. The drop is about 10 feet but you have to go down this natural rock slide because if you just jump the pool isn't deep enough. The next pool requires you to scale the side of the canyon up to the next jump point. This is also about a 10 foot jump and you barely touch bottom when you land. The last pool is the biggest and maybe 15 feet to the biggest pool that you don't touch bottom on. The whole creek where you can jump is a big slot canyon so once you do the first pool, the only way to get out is to jump the next ones. The water was pretty cold and there isn't much light in the canyon. The hike out is about 10 more minutes of steep traversing with flip flops flying off for much of the climb. It is a lot of fun but also a bit of work too.
Next up was a nap that didn't take and then we were off to DMR to watch the DEVO short track. The German took a commanding win over Snoodle and GC. They rode together for half the race before the German pulled away. Meg and Winston also came up for the STXC and then we all hit the Sow's Ear for dinner. We had one of the most unfriendly waitresses I've ever had, especially since the place is really expensive. I was pretty disappointed with the dinner but at least I didn't eat too much.
The altitude was hitting winston hard last night because the guy wouldn't stop panting for most of the night. Rude and I are off to ride the Engineer trail now and then back down to civilization.
I wonder if we'll make it on the river today....
Busy DayJune 29, 2010
It seems like when I'm home I never have enough time. I try to cram in all the stuff I miss out on while I'm gone and sure enough the day gets away from me. Rude and I stayed up at Cascade last night and I'm not sure if it's because I know it's high up here or what but I always seem to wake up out of breath when I stay someplace higher then Durango. I can go from sea level up to Durango with no problems. If I go any higher then that though I feel it as soon as I walk up stairs or wake up in the middle of the night.
Tomorrow Rude and I are staying up here all day and not going into town. We're going to do my favorite ride, Molas to Cascade and maybe check out the STXC at Purgh tomorrow night. If we are really ambitious we'll probably jump the Cascade pools. Other then that it's just RandR.
Snoodle did some hyperox intervals with Crawford at Dr. Andrea's office, Performance Cardiology, today. They have got some new technology which allows you to train at sea level here in Durango. You are hooked up to an oxygenated breathing apparatus and can bust out huge numbers. I am doing it next week but I have heard of guys hitting the highest heart rates they have ever seen and big power too. I guess you're muscles quit before you are limited by breathing. I'm really excited to check it out since that is the one thing we have been missing here, a place to work on power. There is no place close by to get to a lower elevation. You can drive 3 hours and only drop 2,000 ft.
Meg's parents are in town tonight on their way back from Mexico. They made it back into the U.S. last night and stayed in Tucson. Winston is enjoying visiting with Chester and Eva while they're here. Bob forgot he had the bikes on the roof of the van when they were driving under a bridge in Bucerias. The Specialized suffered only minor damage but the early 90's Klein busted the tab off the fork where the axle sits in. It was a really cool bike with a neon orange and pink fade.
Well it's time for me to go to bed. I wonder what Winstons' doing right now.....
Still GoingJune 29, 2010
I'm still knocking out these blogs, I feel like I'm closing the gap to Hill. I've even got some photos in this one so here we go.
Meg going to the bachelorette party last week. It was an 80s prom theme. I think she looks more like Punky Brewster though.
In case you haven't been to a news stand lately, here's my Xterra teammate Dan Hugo. The lady's love him and I think he as a better photo on this Tri mag then Lance has with a similar pose on Men's Health. Though Men's Health probably has a wider audience.
Saw this ad in the WORS magazine at Erik's in WI. This ad is a little gay, not that there's anything wrong with that.
Meg and I have been loving our Globe bikes. The belt drive is sick and we can now climb the dirt trail from the River Path to our house with out getting off or possibly blowing the back out. Anyway, we rode them to Dough Works this morning for some B-fast.
Even my coffee mug matches the bike and I didn't even plan that. Also notice the sweet carbon S-works seat post.
For those of you thinking Durango is super bike friendly check out this article. More specifically read the comments at the bottom. When ever there is an article about cycling in the paper there are at least this many negative comments. We have incredible trails and great access here. The roads are awesome to ride but I've ridden all over the world, literally every continent sans Antarctica and I think some of the only place I've ever been hit is here and South Africa. Here it was malicious and SA the guy was just oblivious. So be careful if you're out on the roads here.
This is Meg cruising the sweet river bridge on her cruiser. You can jump off the bridge into the river when it's high enough and there are no people there telling you not to jump off it.
The STXC in WI was HARD! I was suffering quite a bit on Sunday and it was all I could do to get 5th. I'm not sure why it was so painful since I felt great on Saturday. Wisconsin and WORS put on a great event, I hope we go back next year. The courses were fun and challenging, the spectators were awesome and the weather was good. I would say it's the coolest course on the PRO XCT circuit this year. I'm partial though since I grew up on the East Coast and it's very similar to East Coast riding. All the courses have been good though so far.
OK, too much blogging. I have to get dressed and meet up with Rude for some Sports Center like golf up at the Crest.
I wonder if Kricket has internet at her condo up at Cascade....
Subaru Cup PRO XCTJune 28, 2010
The PRO XCT returned to action this weekend at Mt. Morris ski area in Wisconsin. The last time Wisconsin made an appearance on the National calendar was in the beginning of 2000 when we visited Alpine Valley that was an old trash dump turned ski area. The venue this weekend wasmuch nicer and the racing was great.
Mt Morris is located about ninety miles northeast of Madison. The mountain isn’t much but the trails and course rock. It was made up of ninety percent tight, tacky single-track trails with short switch back climbs and tight descents. It rained a bit the night before the race,
which made the traction awesome.
The XC race had a great turn out and the race was on right from the gun. We quickly formed a lead group of four containing, myself, Sam Schultz, Plaxton and JHK. I tried quite a few attacks but with such short climbs it was hard to break up the group. The last time through the top feedzone Schultz attacked and got a few seconds before the descent. I was on Plaxton’s wheel and thought for sure he would close the gap before the bottom of the descent but Shultz still had a few seconds at the bottom before the last climb. I made it around Plaxton but couldn’t bridge up to Schultz. Then just about insight of the finish I bobbled in a rocky corner and knocked my chain off. Plaxton got back around me and I settled for third.
The STXC was one of the fastest I’ve done in a long time. It went right through the venue and had s power sapping grass ski slope climb that felt like I was riding through glue. The lead changed just about every lap but with three to go Adam Craig attacked and we wouldn’t see
him again. I tried to chase but wound up hitting the wall. I dropped pretty far back but made it back up to fifth for the finish.
The fans in Wisconsin were awesome and one of the forested climbs was packed with people and felt a bit like a Euro World Cup. With my third place finish I took back the lead in the PRO XCT series and put a little buffer between Kabush and myself. The final race of the series
is in two weeks in Colorado Springs.
Thanks for your support….
XC WisconsinJune 26, 2010
So of all the Specialized athletes Sam Hill is leading the charge with the most blogs on i-am-specialized.com . I am 18 posts behind him right now and I'm going to try and close the gap. All the posts that are on Toddwells.com are also on i-am-specialized.com and vice versa.
So since there is no way of me beating Sam Hill down a hill, I'm trying to catch up to him in cyberspace. Back to the race today in Wisconsin. For starters, it started late, 3:30pm. It's nice not to have to get up early but I would prefer a 1 or 2 start time. We finished at 5:30ish and didn't leave the awards until 8pm, which wouldn't be a big deal but the restaurants around here stop serving dinner at 9pm. We raced back to the hotel, cleaned up and made it to the Moose Lodge Super Club to meet the ShoAir crew by 8:45. It's always a race. It was pretty hot 85 degrees and quite humid 85 percent today. The rain from last night made the course perfect and the tight switch back climb wooded section was packed with spectators and had a Euro feel. We established a lead group of 4 riders, me, Schutlz, Plaxton and JHK halfway through the first lap. I tried to attack a bunch in the first 2/3s of the race but everyone was pretty evenly matched. Plaxton took a flyer at the start of the last lap. We closed it down in a few minutes and were a group of 4 again going over the top. Schutlz then hit it through the top feed-zone(8 minutes from the finish) and I decided to stay behind Plaxton for the descent since he is usually very quick downhill. We didn't catch Sam by the bottom and he had a few second lead starting the last 2 minute climb. I managed to get past Plaxton but never caught Sam. Then inside a minute to the finish I dropped my chain around the last rocky turn before the finish and Plaxton passed me back so I had to settle for 3rd. I was happy with the race and glad to see Sam Schultz get his first PRO XCT/NORBA/UCI/US Cup win. It was a fun race too battling back and forth. With no sustained climbs or straight sections it was really hard to break up the group and everyone seemed to have a section they were going fastest in.
Tomorrow is the STXC and another chance for a result. I was hoping to do the Super D too but our flight out is at 7pm so we'll have another race to get to the airport. Plus, I'm hoping to get some Chipolte before we fly out. We don't have one in Durango and it's my go to burrito spot on the road. The burritos are twice as big and half the price of similar burritos in D-town. There is a sweet wakeboard lake with zip line and jumps at the venue. I haven't made it there but Ty and Johnny hit it up today between working the feed-zones and drinking pink Mike's Hard Lemonade. My room at the Knight's Inn lights up like a sun room at 6am so I stuffed my bike box in the window so hopefully I won't wake up early tomorrow. I wonder if Winston is behaving himself at Doug's and if our cat Maddy is OK since she is now diabetic and requires insulin shots daily......
Wisconsin PRO XCTJune 25, 2010
Last weekend I Rude and I rode up to Purg. to do the first round of the DMR Triple Crown. The race was the first of the series was a 40 minute short track on a half mile course they built at the base area. The race was fun but the ride home on the Hermosa Creek trail was even better. The best was the pizza break at Mama's Boy in Hermosa. That might even beat the cookie shop at the top of Mt Lemmon. Anyway, here is a shot from the Short Track at DMR.
This is the first weekend in three weeks I had to get on a plane and leave Durango. Durango is such a great place during the summer when it's in the mid 80s everyday, no humidity, sunny and all the trails are open and ripping. Oh yea, the river is perfect for tubing right now, not too low and just cold enough to enjoy warming up at the end of the ride.
So like I said, I had to leave Durango last night for the PRO XCT in Wisconsin this weekend. Meg, Rude, Myron and I flew into Madison last night, Myron and I visited Erik's bike shop this morning then we all drove up to Redgranite for the race. There were cops all over the place and I've never seen so many people driving the speed limit.
The course is pretty far out there at Mt Morris Nordic area but it is awesome. It has short twisty single track climbs and descents with a few open areas for passing. It is so much fun to ride I could have done laps all day. It reminds me of the area where I grew up but a lot smoother and more buffed out. I am racing the Epic 26 with Renegade 2.0 tires if it stays dry. They roll so fast and the traction is perfect out there. They are calling for thunderstorms tomorrow though and we don't race until 3:30pm so it could get wet. It seems like it has a sand base though so it should be pretty good even if it rains. There are a few rock sections but it's just mostly smooth, flowly and tight single track.
The weather here is nice too. It's in the low 80s with quite a bit humidity but it feels cooler then Durango since the sun isn't very intense and it's all in the trees. Today there was a good breeze blowing as well.
With all the training I've been doing lately just getting ready for the race yesterday and today it feels like I'm hardly riding at all. I have the same feeling after I'm done with base and start transitioning into more intensity. Trying to keep the volume high while fitting in intensity is tricky. You don't want to back off the volume too soon but it's easy to over cook it when you start introducing the hard efforts.
It seemed like a cross race today since we saw Trebron right when we got here and rode the last part of a lap with Jonathan Page. Now I'm just trying not to eat too much since I haven't been putting in much volume the past two days but my metabolism is still humming.
My final thoughts are how great it feels to come back to sea level after three full weeks at altitude. It's so nice to be limited more by your muscles then breathing. I'm not sure how it will go this weekend but it feels good to breath thick rich air after the thin dry air of Durango. It's just always a question how the power will be after not making the big watts for a while.
I wonder what Winstons' doing right now.......
Heat WaveJune 7, 2010
It's been scorching here in Durango the past few days. The temperatures were in the upper 90s the other day, it was awesome. Today the temps seem to have come down a bit but it's still suppose to be nice all week.
I have 2 days left on my rest block but I never seem to do too much actual rest on my breaks. I do get away from the training on the bike but end up going hiking, running, golfing, dirtbiking, etc..... Speaking of dirt bikes, I finally got mine back from HB yesterday. I had dropped it off with him in the fall b/c I was having trouble getting it started and haven't really been back sense. He's got it running great and I rode it all the way home from his house. Going 70 mph on knobies with a huge visor on the helmet isn't the most reassuring feeling.
Rude and I tore up Hilcrest yesterday, I actually played pretty well and chipped in on number five for birdie. I think we're going to get in 18 today. First I have to see Luke and check out his new muscle machine. I'm not sure how it works but you do exercises with it hooked up to your body and it makes them 500 times intense then normal. It sounds painful and Rude said it was when he used it but it stimulates muscle growth I guess.
Winston is wanting to go to the Dog Park too since it's cooler outside. He kind of melts in the heat with his black winter coat. I want to shave it off but the vet says he has very sensitive pale skin and will get sunburned with out it.
Flipper did the impossible for me at Offenburg and made it look like I was actually going pretty fast. Well here I think I'm eating a Clif Shot.
But this one I'm just suffering.
I think I've figured out my new Garmin with help from Sager and Rob Squire. It is amazing all the information you get but it's really cool when you download it to the computer and see it all laid out on the computer.
Finally, I just got the new Mountain Bike Action and I'm pumped to have made the cover. I saw some pictures of it on Facebook but now I have it in hard copy. MBA is really the only U.S. magazine that actually covers mountain bike racing. It's a good mix of XC and gravity. They actually have interviews with the riders and reports on our country's biggest races. Keep up the great work MBA.
It's time for me to clean up the garage and take Winston to the park.
I wonder what today will bring.....
Cool RaceJune 5, 2010
This looks like an awesome race. I want to go do this next year. Urban MTBing in Florida.
This site has been seriously neglected lately. I think it's because of Facebook and Twitter. Anyway, I've been taking the week off and resting up. Actually, I haven't been resting so much as golfing and when you play as poorly as I have been lately you get quite a bit of exercise. I can't wait to get back on the bike and start logging in some big miles.
Winston is doing well and went hiking with Rude, Sammy(Dekrey's dog) and I up Engineer the other day. They decided to go swimming right before we got back in the truck and proceeded to cover the inside in mud. I've got most of it out but am still finding clusters here and there.
The trails in Durango are awesome right now and the weather has been great. High 80s during the day and cool at night, perfect for sleeping. My grass is even starting to come back and is turning green again.
I don't have to go anywhere until June 24th when I head to Wisconsin for the next round of the PRO XCT. Hopefully by then the grass will be completely back, my golf game will be coming around and the form will be on the upswing.
I gotta get outside and enjoy this beautiful day. I think Meg and I are going to hit the high country for some hiking.
I wonder how long this good weather is going to last....
Mellow Johnny’s PRO XCTJune 1, 2010
Everything is bigger in Texas! This weekend we raced at Lance Armstrong’s ranch just outside Austin in Dripping Springs, TX. It was round number three of the PRO XCT and I had the number one plate with a slim, five point margin over Geoff Kabush.
The course at Mellow Johnny’s was mostly rocky single track. The volcanic rock was sharp and loose combined with the dusty trail making traction tough. There was a lot of two wheel drifting going on. The track had short punchy climbs that weren’t longer then one minute but
there were plenty of them. The down hills had some small rock drops but nothing most amateur couldn’t handle. The hardest part of the race was the heat. The temperatures hovered near one hundred degrees for the race with no wind, hardly any cloud cover and the only shade coming from the team trailers parked in the pit.
The race started at one thirty P.M for maximum sun tanning opportunities and consisted of one start loop and four big loops. I slipped my pedal at the start but by the time we finished the start loop I had made it up to sixth and what would be come the front group for the first part of the lap. Midway through lap one Sam Schultz attacked on one of the only passing sections and I followed him. That split the group down to four and it was Sam, Plaxton, JHK and I. We got a small gap on JHK shortly after that.
Halfway through the race I was leading but clipped a pedal on a rock and had to get off and run a section. Plaxton got a small gap on Sam and I. He kept the pressure on and by the end of the lap had fifty seconds. I was chasing flat out but couldn’t bring him back. The start
of the final lap I could see Kabush was closing on us but there was nothing I could do. I was barely hanging on to Sam when he decided he couldn’t pull anymore because JHK was chasing just behind us. It was lucky for me because that gave me a clean run at a small technical
section two Ks from the finish. I hit it cleanly and Sam bobbled leaving me a small five-second gap I was able to hold onto to finish third.
I haven’t raced in heat like that in a long time and I was happy to be part of the race. Since Kabush finished one place in front of me he took the number one plate but only by five points so these next two events should be exciting. I have a small break right now and then I’m
off to next Subaru Cup PRO XCT in WI at the end of June.
Thanks for your support….
World Cup 3 Offenburg, Germany Race Report:May 26, 2010
This past weekend I wrapped up a seven-week road trip with the World Cup in Offenburg, Germany. Offenburg is located in the black forest right on the French border next to Strassbourg. It is a stunning venue with rolling hills littered with vineyards and ancient castles.
I had the choice of going back to the U.S. after the World Cup in Hoffalize three weeks ago but I decided to stay in Europe and spend some time at the U.S. MTB development house just outside of Frieburg Germany between the races. My plans changed a little after spending
five days riding in forty-degree rain and fog. The following week had the same forecast so I opted for a quick flight to the cycling Mecca of Mallorca to log in some miles and see the sun again. Meg had just arrived the day before so we both headed south towards the sun.
Our Specialized team mechanic Sandy Gilchrist has been running cycling camps out of Mallorca for many years so he set us up with a place to stay and put us in touch with the right people. I have never ridden such fun twisty roads and seen so many cyclists in one place in my
life. It was a great trip but seemed like it ended before it even got started.
Next up was a HC UCI race in Heubach, Germany the day after we got back. The weather was exactly the same as when we left, cold and rainy. Heubach was like a mini World Cup with a super deep field and tons of spectators. I was a little tired after putting in a big week
The rain lasted until a few days before Offenburg and then the sun finally came out. The course was perfect on Wednesday but then another day of rain turned the course to mud. By the time race day rolled around the course was in perfect condition with dirt like Velcro. I
had my first good start of the World Cup this year but form seems to have cooled off after a great start to the season. The lights went out very early on in the race and I struggled just to get to the finish line. My teammate Christoph Sauser flew the flag for the team though
with a great forth place podium finish.
I have one more race this weekend, the Mellow Johnys Classic PRO XCT in Texas and then I’ve got a much needed break before I start building up for the second half of the season.
Thanks for your support…..
Sleep TrainingMay 19, 2010
I am logging in the ZZZs here in Germany. I don't know what it is but I can't keep my eyes open in the afternoon. Even with the sun shining the past days. I go in to watch the Giro, get about 5-10Ks in and crash out hard until the announcer starts screaming with a few Ks to go before the finish.
It's pretty easy to fall asleep when cycling is on TV and especially so with a commentator speaking another language. Now they have it on again at night so if I can't sleep, I have the perfect alternative to a sleeping pill.
Meg, Fin, Leo and I rode to a waffle shop this afternoon that we went to yesterday but it was closed. I had to settle for a bakery instead. Not as good as the waffles, but not bad either.
We have a cow here at the farm that has been mooing like crazy lately. It wakes me up in the morning sometimes and I can hear it perfect from the computer room. I'm not sure why it's so upset and I can't figure out which one it is because when I go in the barn to find out it stops.
Tomorrow is my last day here at the US compound, Sandy and I are heading to Offenburg to meet up with the Specialized team. Lene won't be making the trip down since she's still suffering with the illness she got in the Dalby forest. I hope she gets better soon and I'm sure she'll be storming at the next few WCs.
The weather has been great here the past 2 days so I'm hoping it stays good for the race this weekend. WIth all the moisture we've had the course will be perfect if it stays dry. It will probably have black marks from the tires for being so packed in and be like riding on rails. On the other hand, if it rains like it has been the course gets really muddy and I don't know whether I'll use the 29er or the Epic.
Meg is also out of here tomorrow morning as long as the ash cloud doesn't appear over Frankfurt tonight. There is a puppy here on the farm I have been getting my pero time with but I'm looking forward to getting back to see "W" soon.
I wonder if will snow the week I get back since it's Iron Horse weekend....
Blue SkyMay 19, 2010
I have finally seen the sun here in Keizgarten. It has taken about 9 days but it's finally snuck out for at least the morning. When Meg and I left for Mallorca it was raining, when we came back it was raining but now it's nice.
This weekend the US team headed to Heubach Germany for "Bike the Rock" HC UCI race. We arrived on Saturday afternoon, about a 3 hour drive and pre rode the course. The course is about a 15-18 minute lap, 4ks straight up and down, lot's of climbing. The U23s had a their own race in the morning which was cool for them to be able to test themselves against their peers with out racing 200 other people too.
The field for the elite race was like a mini WC. The start was awesome and lined with spectators 3 or 4 deep all the way around. We had a BMW convertible for a lead out vehicle and the expo was packed. I wish the races were like that in US.
I had a good start but managed to move backwards the entire race. Not quite sure why, good legs, plenty of suffering but just no power. Hope things turn around quick. At least Bike the Rock and Offenburg are two completely different types of racing. Bike the Rock was like a mountain climb and Offenburg is like a crit.
Sam Schultz had a good ride coming in 11th and Kabush was 13th having ridden as high as 2nd in the beginning of the race. Wolfram was going so fast up the climbs I think he had close to a minute at the top of the first climb but would lose it all and then some on the descent. Amazing.
Meg and I have 2 more days together before she goes back to Durango and I head to Offenburg with Sandy to meet up with the S. team. The staff has been great here keeping our gear and bodies running smooth. The U.S. riders didn't have 1 mechanical yesterday which says a lot since it was really muddy for the U23s and the bikes were destroyed after all 8 of us pre rode on Saturday. Sandy did a great job and the bikes worked flawlessly.
I gotta get off the computer and spend some time with Meg, between 3 hours of the Giro each day and now 2.5 hours of the Tour of Cali live on Eurosport all I do is watch cycling on TV.
I'm hoping this ash cloud doesn't mess up my flight back to Durango on Tuesday, if things go smooth I'll be home in 7 days and I can't wait. Dog park, sunshine, dusty trails, river, friends and golf. I'm looking forward to some sushi and mexican food as well.
I wonder what Winstons' doing right now......
MallorcaMay 10, 2010
I toughed it out in Germany for exactly 4 days.
Kirchzarten is a really cool town located about 9Ks from Freiburg(where the Schumacher doping scandal took place) at the base of the mountains. The mountains are really cool and being so close to Switzerland, it looks a lot like it there.
For the 4 days I was there it was between 6-9 C with a huge cloud settled in about 300 feet above the house stuck on the mountains. It didn't rain everyday but if you went into the mountains the air was so thick it was like it was raining. Rob and I did a ride one day where we were up around 3,000 ft, it was raining, it was 2c and the wind was howling. I decided to go to Mallorca right then.
Meg flew in on Tuesday to Frankfurt, took the train to Freiburg and I went down and picked her up. It takes 2:30 hours to drive from Frankfurt with no traffic and the train took less then 2 hours with no transfers. I was also able to suck down a Chai tea from Starbucks before she got there since there's one in the train station.
It has been awesome having her here as the last time I saw her was before Pan Am Championships, about a month ago. We haven't got to spend too much time together though because I've been doing some big training up until today. Top that off with the fact she is becoming an insomniac this trip and our schedules are a bit off. Today though we're taking it chill and hopefully going to spend the day on the beach if the sun would stay out.
The U.S. development house in Germany is really cool. It's a huge house that has a bunch of small apartments and is a working farm. There are cows, chickens, mini horses, normal horses, sheep, cats and a new puppy. It's like being on the Simple Life. It's great getting to hang out with all the U-23s, Gully, Sandy, Shultz and the rest of the crew. I forgot my cable for my phone at home so I can't upload any pictures.
The crew in Germany make it cool but the scenery and weather in Mallorca are great too. Sandy set us up with Tolo who is like the Bob of Mallorca. He owns a restaurant on the beach and his girlfriend got us an apartment to stay in for the week. We hung out with Ken Whelpdale last night and his fiance too so we feel like locals here. The riding is incredible, I have never ridden anywhere like this. I would say it's even better then riding in the Alps.
Well Meg is done with her cappuccino and we need to get to the beach. Hopefully the ash cloud will be gone by the time we fly home on Thursday.
I wonder what's going on at the development house today.....
World Cup #1 Dalby Forest UKApril 27, 2010
I am really excited to be contesting the World Cup for 2010. The first race of the season was this past weekend at the Dalby Forest in the U.K. and it was almost as hard getting there as it was to race. The volcano in Iceland made a long trip even longer but I’ll just give you a brief description.
We flew from Sea Otter to Frankfurt with out incident and when we arrived the airport was like a ghost town. All the flights out were canceled so we sat around for five hours trying to make a plan. We decided to rent a car and were out on the road just in time for Frankfurt rush hour traffic at 5 pm. We (Burry, Susi, Lene, Claire and I) made it to the ferry in Calias, France at 12pm in our very tight five seater Picasso Citron with an electronic hand brake that didn’t
want to come off. It was a one-hour ride across to the U.K. and then another eight-hour drive from there to Dalby Forest. Claire drove the entire fifteen hours after flying all the way from San Francisco. Amazing.
The course in the U.K. was an awesome six K loop with lots of rock drops, fast single track, short climbs, decision maker lines and even a BMX track. I was struggling with my knee early in the week from my crash at Pan Ams and the long travel. Thursday I was unsure if I could
even race since the course was pretty rough and my knee was hurting on the track. Great treatment by Claire, Peter and local physical therapist, Ed got me going in time for race day.
The weather was killer all week and then on race day the clouds rolled in and it even rained over night. The course was completely dry for the start of our race and I rolled to the line with my S-Works 29er and new Renegade tires. I managed to avoid the carnage on the start loop but didn’t have my best start and spent most of my day slowly working my way up through the field. I did make a quick stop in the tech-zone to tighten a loose saddle but other then that I didn’t have any problems and my knee really didn’t bother me. I spent the later half of the race with Roel Paulissen and finally crossed the line in 19th position, 3:49 down. Not my best W.C. but not my worst either. My teammate Burry had a great race and came in third after pushing the pace all day.
To give you an idea of how deep the fields are getting that’s five to ten riders finishing each minute. Most national mountain bike races one rider comes in every minute or two. These races are just awesome! We arrived in Houffalize yesterday and even after taking a two and
half hour detour it felt like a breeze after last weeks travel. The weather is supposed to be good all week here and it’s a new shorter course this year so we’ll ride through the historic town center even more.
Thanks for your suppot…
Sea Otter Classic 2010April 20, 2010
The Sea Otter Classic is known for it’s unpredictable spring weather, huge venue and top international field. This year the weather was perfect for racing with temperatures in the upper sixties, blue sky and no wind. The field was stacked with international talent and a new course made the race perfect for spectators.
I don’t usually get to race alongside my teammates; Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser in the U.S. Lucky for me we were all-together at the Sea Otter and could use some team tactics in the races.
The Short Track was the first event of the weekend on Saturday afternoon. The course this year had a big mud bog in the first turn, which resembled a motocross race more, then a bicycle. From there it was a short punchy climb followed by a bumpy traverse and some
downhill grass switchbacks, total time of two minutes per lap.
I had a great start and got off alone on the second lap. I never looked back and midway through the race Burry joined me at the front. He had a bit of a slip up shortly after and I rode the rest of the race alone off the front. It was awesome to win the STXC for the second year in a row.
We had a lot of confidence going into the cross country on Sunday after finishing first, second and forth in the STXC. It was a new course this year that was six kilometers instead of the normal twenty miles and we did five laps instead of two. There was a lot more pavement then in the past as well so it was great to have two strong teammates.
On the first lap we split into a group of ten with Burry, Susi and myself making the selection. We were able to split the group further on the second lap with Burry and myself getting off with only Kabush able to follow. Susi was just behind with Fontana chasing. Burry and I took turns attacking Kabush for the remainder of the race but couldn’t get rid of him. Coming into the finish I made a last ditch attack with Kabush having to chase me down. That left Burry sitting in his draft and allowed him to easily come around him in the sprint and take the win for Specialized. I ended up third in the sprint and Susi came in forth just behind us.
2010 was my best Sea Otter ever and the team did awesome. We are all in route to the first World Cup in the U.K. now. We made it to Frankfurt and are now trying to figure out how to get up to the Dalby Forest since all the flights in Europe are canceled because of the volcano in Iceland. Hopefully we’ll make it and have another great weekend of racing.
Thanks for your support….
Specialized HQApril 15, 2010
Thanks for posting this picture on my Facebook, it could be the coolest picture I've ever had on there. Specialized and the US team jersey.
Every time I got to Specialized I'm totally blown away by how awesome it is there. We were in meetings with every product group you can imagine on Tuesday. Not only did we get the low down on all the stuff but they take any feedback we have. It's so cool to work for a company that appreciates it's riders and uses them to improve their products. You'd be hard pressed to find a company with a broader range of high end race equipment then Specialized. I mean they have the best bikes across all spectrums.
They also had some SBCU classes going on while we were there. If you ever get invited to one of those classes don't miss out on it. It's an amazing office with so many trick bikes, famous gear and just an incredible facility. If you do go though, you gotta make sure you're in shape because they have a daily lunch time ride that is a hammer fest. There isn't much time to eat on the ride since it's short and everyone is looking to get in a good work out. I have to say doing it on a road bike this year instead of an MTB made it a little nicer. The roads around Morgan Hill are sweet for road riding and there are hardly any cars.
We came down to Monterey yesterday and it looks like the weather might hold out for the weekend. It's a little chilly with temps in the low 60s but being right on the coast makes it seem colder. For the time being, the sun is shining, the flowers are popping and it's not too windy.
My knee has been getting better each day. I almost have a full range of motion back in it thanks to Troy and Mark for all the therapy they gave/give me. I have been having a lot of lymph drainage treatments. It's pretty much just split kineseo tape that puts ripples in you skin and allows the lymph to drain better. Lots of ice, massage and elevation have also been in the program.
It's awesome to be back together with the team this year and it's like we just stepped in where we left off last year. Everyone is getting along great and it's a pleasure to be a part of it. It's time for me to suit up and bust out an ez spin along the ocean. Life is good.
I wonder what Winstons' doing right now.....
Continental Championships Race Report:April 12, 2010
I have been to numerous Pan American/ Continental Championships and come close to victory but never sealed the deal. That is until this weekend. I finally took the “W” down in Guatemala this year to grab my first Continental Championship jersey.
Continental Champs are usually a bit of a mystery because there are always one or two fast Central or South American guys you don’t see anywhere but at this race. Most of the time it is very hot and if you accidentally brush your teeth with the water you won’t even make it to
the start line, maybe for the next few races too.
This year the race was held outside of Guatemala City on a great course with some tight single track, steep climbs and fast double track sections. It was at altitude somewhere between 3,500 and 4,500, depending on whom you talked to.
I had a great start, got the hole-shot and 10 minutes into the race was off with a guy from Brazil that I traded blows with all day at worlds in Val di Sol, Italy. I attacked him quite a bit on the first of six laps but crashed on an off camber section on the second lap and spent a good portion of the third lap chasing back. I was finally able to crack him on the forth lap and hold onto a 40 second margin for the remaining two laps to take the victory.
It felt awesome to finally win one these events since I really enjoy racing south of the border and the people are always quite appreciative of the riders. I managed to injure my knee in the crash and after the race it swelled up quite a bit. I’m hoping it will be good to go by Sea Otter though and doesn’t get to much bigger on the plane ride there.
Thanks for your support….
HapsApril 6, 2010
Phil's World trails in Cortez, CO are rocking. I rode them twice last week, once during the week and then again on the weekend. I've never seen so many cars at a trail head for a non competition event. I think everyone that rides MTBs in Durango was over there this weekend. It's for good reason too, the trails are a blast and some of the only dry riding in the area.
Last week I logged in some good hours of training, did a little motor pacing, group ride and a group MTB ride on Sunday. Sager was in town and drove the whole crew over to Phil's. I rode my new SL3 over there and they brought my MTB for me. It was an awesome day of riding followed by an incredible Easter dinner prepared by Meg. She even got Snoodle and I easter baskets while we were out riding so when I got back I had plenty of chocolate bunnies to munch on before dinner. I think it was one of the best days I've had in a while since I also got to watch Tour of Flanders when we got home with out knowing the outcome. It was the perfect day.
Today I went out on the Dan Bowman Hunger ride. The ride is suppose to teach your body to burn fat more efficiently. You basically ride as hard as you can with out eating anything until you blow up. Then you ride/limp home. Lucky for me it was really windy today and when I detonated I had a tailwind most of the way home. If it was a head wind I might have had to walk.
We had a great burger night at the Palace tonight, the best place for burgers in Durango. If you're ever in D-town on a Monday night and looking for a good, cheap, natural local beef burger go to the Palace(next to the train station) and enjoy. From there you can stumble to Falconburgs for pint night, or if you're in training Starbucks for a sweet treat.
I have two days left in Durango before I go on a two month trip. I've almost got all my laundry done but that's about it. Meg finished our taxes and Gretchen got them all done. Now all I have to do is pack. Tomorrow I've got a massage with Elka. I need to toughen up before I get to the Sea Otter so Claire doesn't make fun of me for being such a baby. Susi always wants her to push harder and I'm always asking her to go lighter.
Speaking of Sea Otter, I hear Cannodale is bringing their World Cup team so Roel, Fontana and Fumic will be there. That's awesome for us US guys as they'll not only have to travel all the way to the US, but all the way back less then one week before the first World Cup. The Specialized riders always come because we all go to the company hq in Mogran Hill for the week before the race but I don't know why they are making the Cannondale guys go. Maybe they're going to Connecticut before the race. That doesn't make much sense though b/c they would still need to fly 5 hours across the US to get to the race.
Tomorrow Meg and I are going to Ashley furniture in Durango to argue with them about our couch. We bought the couch one year ago and now they're claiming we never paid for it. They claim we paid the down payment but not the final payment when it was delivered. We paid cash and don't have a receipt but it was delivered C.O.D. so it seems like the couch itself would be the receipt. They called us one week ago out of the blue to tell us we were one year late on our payment. What kind of business is that. On top of that they said none of the people that worked there when we bought the couch work there anymore so no one will verify we paid for it.
The Wells house is pretty tired tonight, even Winston is pooped after a big Dog Park session today.
I wonder if I'm going to finish my latest Jack Reacher novel tonight....
Fontana Pro XCT Race Report:March 29, 2010
This weekend was the opening round for the new Pro XCT series in Fontana, CA. We have been coming to this Southern California venue now for five or six years. The area is best know for it’s down hill race series but it also has some fun XC trails. Add in the Jason Britton
show and the Inn N Out truck and there is something for everyone.
Saturday was the XC and the legendary Santa Anna winds that usually blow in the fall and cause all sorts of fire problems were blowing full force for the race. The course was dry, hard-pack with one steep single-track climb and a shorter paved climb. The rest of the course
was up and down with a high average speed. There was a new rock drop section that was also fun.
The race broke up pretty quickly and by the second lap we were a group of four, Plaxton, Sid , Kabush and I. My plan was to attack early and get away but no matter how many times I hit it I couldn’t hold a gap. We were all together with less then a K to go to the finish. I attacked as hard as I could on the last open section before a short rocky climb. I got to the climb first and held it till the finish. It was definitely a tactical finish. I took my first victory of the year and grabbed a few UCI points in the process on the big-wheeled 29er hard tail.
They have decided to make the short tracks really short this year, fifteen minutes plus one lap. That is about sixteen to seventeen minutes of racing instead of what we usually race which is closer to thirty minutes. They both seem like short races but our new format goes really quickly. I had a mediocore start and by the time I made it to the front of the group Sid and Trebron were gone. I tried to bridge to them but never made it and settled for forth.
I also raced the Super D this weekend after the STXC. The Super D course was basically half of the cross-country and took between ten and fifteen minutes. Super D is pretty fun but the start is everything because there isn’t much passing. We had to run to our bikes for the start and I was towards the back of the group. Lucky for me the course has a short climb in it and I was able to make it up to third by the finish. Mountain bike racing had a really laid back vibe back in the day and the Super D feels the same way, just a bunch of people out to have a good time.
I’m on my way back to my home in Durango for the first time since early January and then it’s off to the Continental Championships in Guatemala in a few weeks.
Thanks for your support…..
CaliforniaMarch 22, 2010
I have a bunch of pictures from this trip. Lets start at the beginning, San Diego. They live large here in Del Mar, even the dogs have their own water fountains.
Winston has been taking some serious pictures this trip. Like I said, Del Mar is nice.
These two were waiting for the bus.
In N Out burger is awesome. They have a walk up window so you can show up with your kit and not have to go inside and stand in line. California has some good stuff.
The beach here in Laguna has some great sunsets. It is a little busy here but the sunsets don't get much better.
They are into the paddle boards out here. I've never done it but I bet it's pretty sweet being out there this time of night.
The other night I made it out on the Rad's ride. This is either the longest or one of the longest running mountain bike clubs in the world. They ride some gnarly descents and go up stuff just as bad. I think we need to start a club like this in Durango. We were lucky enough to go on an "event" night, St Patty's day when a new member got inducted into the club. It was the first daylight savings ride and we finished with the setting sun.
There are a lot of cars here so that means there are a lot of parking meters. 7 days a week 12 to 14 hours a day. You know it's a serious parking meter when you can pay with your credit card.
Meg has been repping the Crankbro's stuff hard this week. And of course the Buck.
The road riding around Laguna isn't the best. Today I went south down through the military base to Oceanside and then inland towards to Temecula to Mt Palomar. The riding out there is way better, no traffic lights, not as much traffic and awesome roads. Mt Palomar is 7 miles at 7% grade. The road is bermed out too so when you come down you can totally rail the corners. It was an awesome ride but the 2 hour car ride home in rush hour traffic wasn't so hot.
That about sums the week up. We are settling in nicely here in Laguna, Lene even put a few miles in on her new 29er.
I wonder if the snows' melting in Durango......
Laguna BeachMarch 16, 2010
I have to say Laguna Beach is pretty sweet. There are a lot of people here but there are quite a few trails right out of town, the beach is awesome and you can walk everywhere. We even saw some homeless guy shopping at the Whole Foods in town. Living large.
Meg, Winston and I busted out of Ontario today and rolled straight down to Laguna with no problems. Last night we saw some guy in the gas station next to the hotel with 4 tear drops tatted on his face, that's 4 kills I think.
I saw three rattle snakes today in my 3 hour MTB ride. One was really mad after I tried to maneuver him off the trail. I had to wait for a few minutes before I could pass. The other two were on the side of the fire road so it wasn't a big deal. Tomorrow I'm going to stick to the roads. Speaking of the roads, town is super pedestrian friendly and cars are always waving you by or stopping to let you cross. That's a nice change from Tucson where you have to sprint across the streets.
Yesterday's short track went pretty well, I sprinted with Sid for the win but had to settle for 2nd. The Super D/TT didn't go so well. I can usually rip the downhills pretty well in the XC race but I was creeping down it in the Super D. That gives me something else to work on and there are plenty of trails here to practice on.
This time change is awesome but it's making me tired tonight.
I wonder how many rattle snakes I"m gonna see tomorrow......
Boneli Park, CA Triple Crown #1 3/13-14 Race Report:March 15, 2010
The 2010 U.S. mountain bike season got underway this weekend in Southern California with the first ever Triple Crown of Mountain Bike. The Triple Crown was held in Boneli Park, which is less then twenty miles from Fontana, which will host the first, round of the PROXCT MTB
series on March 27.
The weather and course were both typical So Cal with temperatures in the low seventies, plenty of sunshine, hard pack fast trails, short climbs/descents and a few technical rock sections thrown in for good measure. Inn N Out Burger was onsite feeding hungry racers and Jason Britton of the Speed Network put on a street bike demo before the start of the XC.
The Triple Crown is a new series this year, which combines your XC, result with either you STXC or Super D, which ever is better. The result is then the combo of the two and puts a premium on being an all around rider since if you win the XC but don’t place well in the STXC
or Super D you aren’t going to be in contention for the win.
The first race is always nice because you get to see your traveling family that you haven’t seen since September. It is also nice to gauge the fitness and see how the winter training paid off.
The XC started with a bang and we were soon off on the fifteen-minute loop in a large group. The group got widdled down to six or seven pretty quickly with guys coming back when the pace would slow and dropping when it would increase. Midway through the hour and half race
Max Plaxton took a flyer and we wouldn’t see him for the rest of the day. Kabush drove the chase group for a lap but Plaxton wasn’t coming back. The last time through the Start/Finish both Kabush and Sid Taberly hit the tech zone for wheel changes because of slow leaks.
That left Sam Shultz and I to try and chase down Plaxton. I was pretty cooked by that point and Kabush and Sid came back to us midway through the lap. I tried one last ditch attempt about a K from the finish but couldn’t hold on and was caught and passed by the group and ended up fifth.
Sunday brought a short STXC race that is usually thirty minutes but was cut down to about eighteen minutes. Since it was so short it was fast from the gun. There were a few attacks but it was a very fast course and stayed mostly strung out in a group of five or six. I came
into the finish in second position and sprinted with Sid for the win but couldn’t come around before the line. I would need to do one better then that to try and improve my position in the Super D.
The Super D was a mix of climbing and descending, more like a time trail then a downhill and we started at thirty-second intervals. The course was a mix of fire road and single track. It was about eight and half minutes long with three hundred or so feet of descending and one
hundred feet of climbing, nothing to technical but plenty of pedaling and places to go fast. I was looking forward to this event most of all as the Super D has been gaining popularity over the years and I had never done one. The race was a blast and I found a new skill set where
I can definitely use some work. I didn’t better my performance from the STXC so I wound up forth overall for the weekend. I am happy with that for the first race of the year and I’m looking forward to lining up again in Fontana in a few weeks.
Thanks for your support.
Adios TucsonMarch 8, 2010
I can't believe I'm out of here already, seems like we just arrived. I had a little bit busier off season then normal with a trip to South Africa and driving all the way back to Durango from Mexico instead of just going straight to Tucson. Oh well, it's been another great winter of training.
This year has been the wettest I have ever spent in Tucson. As I'm writing this it's pouring out again. I can't believe all the water Tucson has received this winter. Everything is turning green, the washes are raging and they claim to be out of their short term drought. I thought the whole meaning of desert was dry area but I guess it's been drier then normal over the past 5 years.
Winston got attacked by another dog a few days ago up at Lower Tanque Verde Falls. We were the only ones there minding our own business when some lady comes down the trail, tells Meg her dog just attacked another dog and by the time she finishes her dog has Winston's neck in it's mouth and submerging him in the water. Luckily he got away but got a bite on his back and bruised his chest trying to escape. The lady just took off. From start to finish the whole experience was less then a minute.
Winston seemed a little shaken up but OK until that night. He started to stiffen up and then at 2am he was panting super loud and we took him to a 24/7 emergency vet. He had a fever and had to get on antibiotics and pain anti inflammatory medicine. It was a bummer but the vet was really nice and we were out of there with in an hour since no one else was there.
He's having a rough week, yesterday he had to go back and found out he's got worms. He's on even more medication now.
I finished up my high volume, low intensity training block last week with out a hitch. That training takes a lot out of me but I feel like it sets me up well for the rest of the year. Since then I took a little break and have been doing some transition rides and hit up the Shoot Out group ride on Saturday.
The Shoot Out has been going on for ever and the ride rolled out of town with 150-200 the other day. We even had like 30 or 40 people do the Madera portion of the ride. The most I've ever seen do that part is about 15. The ride was really windy and I got some good suffering in.
After the ride I had my first USADA test of the year. I've been been tested by the same husband/wife down here for the last 10 years.
Congrats to Tad Elliot for getting 2nd at the Birkebeinder ski race a few weeks ago. It's one of the biggest races in the country and he narrowly got beat by an Italian racer. Dan Bowman also had a good race at Tour of Langkawi where he was 20th on the huge climbing day. Jean-Christophe Peraud had a good Paris Nice prologue yesterday in his first big road race since switching from the MTB. He got the silver medal in Beijing and switched to the road this year after winning the French TT national championships last year.
Meg, Winston and I are heading out to San Diego today. I'm getting my UCI medical tests done at the Chula Vista OTC tomorrow morning. Then we're going to hang out in Del Mar for a few days before going up to Boneli for the first race of the year. It's going to hurt bad but at least I have a month of good racing before the first World Cup. I'm hoping by the time we get to Durango at the end of March the snow is melted or at least starting to.
I wonder how long it's going to take us to drive to San Diego....
BaseFebruary 26, 2010
So I'm in my last week of base training for this year. People have different ways they approach this endurance phase of training. Most do some intensity during this period but I don't do any. I figure racing from March through December is enough intensity and I enjoy not putting it in the red zone during this time of the year. That's not to say I'm not training hard though. This week I'll hopefully log in 35 hours at a very steady pace that is about as hard as I can ride after the 5 weeks leading up to this week. Needless to say I'm pretty tired right now. I only have 2 big days left though and then I'll have a nice 5 day recovery period consisting of ez riding and as much golf as I can take.
The weather has been really wet this year. The washes are still running full blast and it's gonna be an awesome spring with all this water. Should be blooming cactus everywhere. With the cool weather I've managed to ward off the sunburn this entire training period which is usually tough with big hours, no shade and 2,500 ft elevation. These guys haven't been out much but will probably be coming out soon.
I heard a rumor that the upcoming Fontana PROXCT just got down graded from a C1 to a C2. That's a bummer since the US needs all the points we can get for Olympic spots but more importantly I need all the UCI points I can for start position at the World Champs. If you were at the Saint Ann World Cup last year you know the new start is even more crucial then the old one. You have about 2 minutes before you drop into a long single track.
Meg and I have been logging in the Olympic viewing. I'm either out on the bike, at the gym or watching the Olympics. My favorite event so far was that 15K mens skate race. That was the most exciting race I've ever seen on skis.
I have also been crushing the Lee Child books. The Reacher character is awesome and ever since the TM, Booby turned me on to them I have been reading them non stop. You can hit up the Bookman's here and get like 10 books for $40. That's a sweet deal.
Finally, check out this article from Cyclocross Magazine about Cross Nationals. We need to get a CX National Championships in Durango. http://www.cxmagazine.com/cyclocross-nationals-boost-bends-economy-144m?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CyclocrossMagazine+%28Cyclocross+Magazine%29&utm_content=cyclocross&utm_term=cyclocross%2C+cycling%2C+bike+racing%2C+veldrijden%2C+cyclo-cross
I wonder how old Hagen is today.... Happy Birthday.....
Super Bowl SundayFebruary 8, 2010
The training has been going well lately. Our living situation is dialed in and I have more then 1 days worth of groceries in the fridge. Life is good.
I finished up the first phase of my base on Monday and then had 5 days off. While, not quite off but pretty chill, other then getting back to the best gym in Tucson and working myself over. Kettle bells are way better for swings then dumb bells. Jump squats also work way better with the proper equipment.
Meg, Winston and I logged in some running miles too. I have been trying to run twice a week this year for my training. It helps keep the muscles in good shape, builds bone density and keeps the weight off. Plus Winston loves it so it's gotta be good.
I played some golf too. Had my best round going in a while but ran out of daylight the other day. I was crushing the drives though and hit 300, that's big for me.
Meg and I went to the Desert Museum on Friday. That place is so cool. I hate to look at the snakes but can't help myself. They blend in so well, you gotta be careful when you step of your ride in the desert, there are plenty of venomous creatures waiting to get you like this one.
The cactus there are really friendly.
I like this one. Notice my sweet helmet hair.
They even have mountain lions here. If you live in the west you gotta fear the mountain lion. You don't see them often but if you do it could turn out bad. You can kind of see him here, not much zoom on my phone.
Tucson has been really rainy this year. It has already rained more in the last couple weeks then it usually does when I'm here for months. You don't see the washes running too often in the winter.
Luckily when it rains in the desert it doesn't do it all day(usually). This is a classic Tucson picture. That is a lift kit. Meg is 5'6" so that thing has to be close to 10' tall.
Sram just launched a new site for it's XX stuff, check it out at: http://sram2x10.com They have a list of bikes speced with the XX, Specialized has 6 production bikes with it and the closed competitor only has 2. That means they give you 6 super light high end production bikes to chose from. Man I'm lucky to be on the Big S.
Finally, here a classic Flipper shot from our Stellenbosch SA Camp.
I wonder when it's going to be hot and sunny again.....
This is Getting RidiculousJanuary 28, 2010
The bad weather seems to have followed me from Durango to Tucson. It usually rains one time while I'm here in Tucson all winter and today it hasn't stopped since I woke up. Maybe today is the one day but somehow I doubt it.
Made it down here last night and am staying with Hutch right now on the North side of town. DT is going to show me a condo tonight though so as soon as I'm set up with a permanent residence Meg and Winston are going to come down.
So far today all I've been doing is eating and drinking caffeine. I was trying to cut out caffeine for a while but that doesn't seem to be working. What else am I going to do while hanging out at the coffee shop surfing the net?
I had hoped to tough it out through the SnowDown parade this weekend but I'm a total wuss when it comes to cold weather. How I ended up in a mountain town in Colorado I'll never know. I always had dreams of moving to the beach in Florida but somehow I landed in the four
corners. It's so beautiful there 7 months out of the year it's tough to leave. Especially when I can drive 8 hours to (usually) sunny Tucson and so many great people live there.
Hutch(the Fabio looking guy) was one of the main people that helped get me back into racing once I graduated from the UofA. It was great having him on the circuit for a few years and it's always good to catch up with him. Never short on stories.
Meg is having yet another birthday tonight put on by Willow and Co. I'm sure it's going to get out of control and I'm bummed I won't be there to be part of it. If you're out on the town tonight I'm sure you'll run into them.
The rain seemed to have stopped for the moment so I'm going to head back up the hill to Hutch's house in an attempt to get out on the bike or at the very least lace up the shoes for a good run.
In case I'm not back on line in the next few days, doubtful, good luck to the whole US Cyclocross Worlds team and Kit-Kat. Kick ass over there in Tabor and bring back some hardware.
I wonder what Winstons' doing right now.....
Cyclocross National ChampionshipDecember 15, 2009
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that the Cyclocross National Championships took place this weekend in Bend, OR. This is the first time Bend has hosted a Cyclocross Nationals and it was a huge success. The crowds were estimated at somewhere between seven and ten thousand strong. The venue was downtown and city put on a great show.
I went into Nationals thinking I had a great shot at the jersey after a first and second place last weekend in Portland. I knew my form was good and I had tested myself against all the competition except Jonathan Page. I had a great week in Portland and Bend leading up to
the race, though it was a bit cold. The temperatures were stuck in the twenties for most of the week and Bend got some fresh snow about five days before the race. Slippery conditions are always good for me so that gave me even more confidence.
Sunday came and the temperatures soared to almost forty degrees, the course went from snowy to dirt and mud puddles. It was a little slick in sections but nothing like it had been earlier in the week. About halfway though the first lap I knew I was in trouble. Powers was
driving it on the front and I was slowly slipping back through the field. The legs felt good I just couldn’t get it going. I was suffering like a dog but not going anywhere. Finally towards the end of the race I started to settle in a little and made contact with Page. We would battle the final two laps for third place but when we hit the pavement together for the sprint he was gone.
I have stood on the podium with the same four other guys for the last eight years minus 2008 where I didn’t make the podium. We have almost all stood on that top step a few times and I can say from experience it is a pretty amazing feeling. I have never seen such a huge crowd
for the podium at any race I have done, ever. Cyclocross is blowing up in the U.S. and I feel honored to be a part of it.
I want to thank you all for your support and especially for all the “good luck” wishes this week. Most of you have already seen it but for those that have not, Specialized put together a series of webisodes though Brake Through Media that documents my build up to Nationals this past week from my win in Portland to the finish of the National Championships. I have received some great feedback on it and you can access the videos at: http://iamspecialized.com/xc-mtb
Thanks again and I’ll see you next year……
USGP Finals Portland, OR.December 7, 2009
The USGP Finals took place this weekend in Portland, OR. I have been racing cross in Portland for about seven years now and I have never spent an entire weekend here with out rain until now. What the weather lacked for in moisture it made up for in wind and cold on Sunday.
Saturday was beautiful though so I’ll start there.
With one week left until the National Championship I wanted to have a good race in Portland on Saturday against all the guys (minus Page) that I will be competing with in Bend on December 13th. I wanted to make sure I had my race week lead up dialed, that I would be
completely open and rested as much as possible for the one day event.
I usually race better the second day of a two-race weekend so I was really keying on the first day since there is no second day at Nationals. To add even more pressure we had a film crew here putting together a documentary on my lead up to Nationals, I had to perform.
Saturday went perfect for me. I made the front group with Trebone, Powers and Kabush right from the gun. We dropped Kabush pretty quickly and mid way through the race Trebone dropped after doing all the work in the beginning. I attacked Powers but he came back to me each time and on the last lap I put in one last surge through the technical section. I was able to grab a couple bike lengths lead and hold onto it to the finish. My first USGP win of the year. Phew.
Sunday the temperatures dropped and the slippery course we had on Saturday turned into a highway on Sunday. The corners were like Velcro and the straights like asphalt. I found myself in lead after coming around my brother who had holeshoted right before the first 180 corner. Midway through the first lap I was off with Power and Johnson. I was feeling good and kept the pressure on hoping to crack them but by the mid point in the race we had settled in and that’s when they started attacking me. I was able to cover each move and countered a bunch of them but we were all evenly matched. On the last lap Powers attacked and got in front of me before the technical section. I passed him back a minute later but went wide in one corner and grabbed the lead back with a great inside move. He led through the last few corners and put a few bike lengths on me. I tried to catch him on the pavement but had to settle for second. It was the most fun I’ve had in a race in a long time with all the lead changes and fast conditions.
Also managed to pick up the SRAM most Aggressive Rider award for the second weekend in a row.
We are heading down to Bend on Tuesday to prepare for Nationals. They got fifteen inches of snow this weekend, high temperatures are forecast only in the teens and more snow is in the mix for the next weekend. It should be perfect conditions for me and make for a great race.
Thanks for your support…..
Days LeftDecember 2, 2009
I have 2 days of training in Durango left for the year. Actually, I only have 2 full days left in Durango for the year. I've spent more time here in 09 then I have in any recent years. It's been awesome.
Yesterday I rode the Colorado trail and this was as snowy as it got. The worst part was actually in the canyon about 2 minutes from the parking lot. After that it was great.
Winston has been sharing his food lately with "Cowboy". I don't think he likes "Cowboy" that much though since he always ends up outside.
The temperatures in Durango dropped last night. It's about 10 degrees out right now at 8am. It's always cold at 6,500 feet in December but it hasn't been this cold in a while.
I finished "Running with the Buffaloes" a few days ago. It was a great book. I never ran cross country but it gives you the inside scoop on CU's build up to the NCAA championship in 98 I think. It's amazing how much those runners get hurt. In order to be good you have to run a ton but if you run a lot you are bound to get injured.
Well I have a busy day, dentist, doctor, training, tire gluing, packing, dinner with Gilby and I have to find my really warm gloves.
I wonder what Myrons' doing right now....
Jingle Cross RockNovember 30, 2009
I spent this Thanksgiving in Coralville, Iowa for the Jingle Cross Rock UCI races this weekend. It has only been a two-race weekend in the past but this year they added a Friday night race under the lights. We lucked out with the weather since late November in Iowa can see temperatures stuck below freezing during the day and absolutely frigid at night.
Friday night was a little cold but not too bad. The elite men lined up at 7:30pm under some of the brightest lights I’ve ever seen. Mt. Krumpet was lit up from a mile away and the course was covered in mud since it had rained a lot earlier in the week. Jingle Cross is known
for Mt Krumpet, which is a giant climb (for cross) we go all the way to the top of and rip down. Steep muddy climbs and cantilever brakes don’t mix too well.
The race went well and I was able to take my first cross win of the season and gain some valuable UCI points for my Nationals start position.
The races on Saturday and Sunday went well also. I was able to gather three wins this weekend and managed to get off the front after about one lap each day. The course dried up as the weekend went on and by Sunday only the climb was muddy. Myron and Richard were working hard on Friday as I was swapping bikes every lap. Saturday wasn’t quite as bad and Sunday I didn’t do one bike change.
We zig zaged all through the Johnson County Fairgrounds stables, barns and grounds. There was Christmas lights and music going all through the course and the Grinch even made an appearance on Saturday afternoon. The race promoter raised 30K for the local children’s
hospital with the event and it was even bigger then last year. On the run up people were hanging over the tape handing out meat and beer.
You gotta love cross.
Google ItNovember 24, 2009
Durango is turning into a cyclocross town. I would say it's still a mountain bike town but there is a lot of momentum behind cyclocross right now. When I was racing cross back in 2002 it was myself, Maple and Barthel. Now every ride has 40+ people, FLC has a 7 race series
that goes from Durango to Dolores, Cortez, Aztec and back to Durango. This weekend there was a race in Aztec and one at Santa Rita park in Durango. The courses are rad, there's a good turn out and the temperatures have been in the mid 50s for most of the events. It doesn't get much better then that.
I opted to skip the NACT finals in Long Island this weekend after coming down with a cold in N.J.. I think it was the right decision since I was able to get healthy and do some good training here in town. It's so nice to actually spend a few weeks in a row here. Usually I don't get more then 2 or 3 weeks at a time in town but this fall I feel like I really live here.
Every night we have to google at least one thing. We're usually sitting around talking, Meg, Snoodle, Winston and I. We always come up with some question about something we're talking about or watching on TV. Here is what we checked out last night.
1. Taylor Shift's height: 5'8" to 5'11"
2. The forth person's name in the Black Eyes Peas: Forgot already, maybe Tabu
3. Mary J. Bliege's age: 38 (Meg thought she looked good for being
like 50 but not for being 38)
Monday night football is always a must watch too. We have to Tivo CSI Miami though and if it's a bad game like last week we just bag it. We watched the AMAs in about 20 minutes last night after we got back from dinner at The Office. They always have live music, mostly country, 1
man band, covers, etc. Last night we heard an original from cousin Eric of Cowboy Rap. It was pretty good. He even borrowed Meg's sunglasses for the song.
Congrats to the FLC soccer team for making it to the Final Four for D2. They play in Florida on December 3 and if they win, the championship game is 2 days later. FLC has awesome soccer and cycling programs.
Meg and I just got a new tent for our Mexico trip. We're planning on camping in San Carlos and maybe Mazatlan. We already checked out the campgrounds and need a little bigger tent to fit Winston.
Bowman and I are going to tear up the Aztec trails tomorrow morning. I hope my bike starts.
I wonder how cold it's going to be in Iowa this weekend.....
USGP 5/6 Mercer Cup N.J.November 16, 2009
I didn’t think my cyclocross season was ever going to start this year but I finally made it to my first race this weekend. I had planned on beginning my build up for CX nationals a few weeks ago at the Boulder Cup but a freak infection landed me in the hospital for surgery just a
few days before the event. My recovery took longer then expected so that’s why I haven’t been out there mixing it up. Things seem to be going smoothly now though so hopefully I still have time to build up my form for nationals.
I hadn’t been on a plane for almost two months before this weekend and I have to say it’s been awesome spending so much time with Meg and Winston. I’m really excited to race now though and couldn’t wait to get back out there.
Hurricane Ida nailed N.J. on Thursday and Friday with strong winds and rain. After 600 people rode the course before we raced on Saturday it turned it into a sea of peanut butter. I wasn’t expecting much since I missed a bunch of training with my surgery but managed to make it up
to 8th place by the last lap before fading to 10th at the finish. Not where I want to be but good considering I had so much time off the bike the week before.
By Sunday the hurricane was gone and the sun was out in force. The temperatures were pushing 70 degrees and all the riders had dried up the course substantially. There were a few more turns then the previous day, berms were forming you actually had to use your breaks
coming into some of the corners rather then pedaling flat out just to keep moving forward. I had much better legs after having a good race effort the day before and found myself flying past guys the entire race. I made it up to 3rd place by the end of the day, which was also
good enough to grab the “Sram Most Aggressive Rider” award, something I had never won before.
I knew the first race back was going to be hard so I was very happy about how it went. I hadn’t worked with Myron, my mechanic during cross yet except for at Cross Vegas that is more like a road crit and doesn’t require any pitting unless you have very bad luck. I had hoped we would have some easy pit work to start out but I was swapping bikes every half lap on Saturday so he was basically thrown right into the fire and didn’t miss a beat. The bikes worked awesome, the new Zipp wheels were great and the TRP brakes are the so easy to adjust it’s incredible. I can’t wait for the Jingle Cross Triple header in two weeks.
Thanks for your support…..
Tire TestingNovember 10, 2009
I've been back on the bike the last 2 days. I'm not sure how it's going though. I have been using a normal saddle that's much softer then my normal one. I don't have the side cut out it so my left leg doesn't get a lot sorer then my right one like it did with the modified one. I find out on Thursday morning if I can go to N.J. this weekend. I'm finally off antibiotics today. Woohooo.
Rude took me motor pacing yesterday and I was suffering. I haven't been behind the scooter in a while. He was suffering too since it was pretty windy and cool. Well, I was wearing shorts but it's cold when you're just sitting in the wind.
We had a good burger night last night. Every Monday night is "Burger Night" at the Palace in town. They have pretty cheap burgers that are made with meat from the local Sunny Side farms beef. The guy who is the chef there use to cook for Oprah and now runs the Palace. Big
The Specialized crew is in town for tire testing today and tomorrow. I missed the last tire test session in South Africa this winter. We're testing some 29er and cyclocross tires. It's going to be a full two days of testing but it's so cool the company does stuff like this. They are so thorough and it's no wonder they make the best products.
I was finally able to book a hotel for free with my Hilton Honors card. I have had it forever and my points never seem to get put on it. Last night I had enough to book a hotel for Meg.
I'm still recovering from my running race this weekend. My hamstrings are worked. Who knew running worked your hamstrings to much. As a bike racer, I find my hamstrings are the weakest part of my leg. I have been doing a lot of weight stuff over the past few years to try and get them stronger but they are still pretty weak.
This past weekend was the local race in Dolores. It had a great turn out, a beautiful day and plenty of good racing. Rude narrowly out sprinted Shriver for the "W". Grant and Howes had a good battle as well as Travis and Ned. There was some action in the pits and I even
grabbed a wheel for Mapel. I think he was the only guy to do the running race on Saturday and the CX race on Sunday. Looks like he's back in training mode.
I wonder if the Gulch is dry yet......
Weekend....November 10, 2009
So today is my 4th day being off the bike. It sucks no being able to ride and feeling fine. I have been logging in the miles with the running shoes. I ran for over an hour and half the other day with Winston and Tad. Winston couldn't even walk all the way into the house after the run before collapsing on the floor. My calves were worked after the run too.
I did some speed work yesterday to get ready for my 1st 5K race in 9 years today. It's only my 2nd 5K ever. It was a benefit for a local high school girl who was paralyzed during a track event in a town about 20 miles from Durango. A goal post fell on her and she was paralyzed. That sucks. She seems to be in good spirits though.
I started a little slow and a group of high school guys got away from me. I spent most of the race running with Lee-ro. I managed to catch the 2nd place guy inside the last 100 meters and we got with in about 15 or 20 seconds of the leader at the finish. The 3rd place guy and
the 2nd place guy I caught on the last climb both out kicked me on the slightly down hill finishing straight. I can't sprint in a running race either I guess. 4th place isn't too bad and it was cool to run in a group for the whole race and jockey for position at the end. I don't
think I'll be able to walk tomorrow. Even Mapel was out there today ripping it up. He finished behind Lee-ro and they were both wearing red shirts.
I hit up the test track for some dirt jumping today also. I rode over there standing up the whole time. The nice thing about dirt jumping is you get to hang out at the top of the run. The weather was awesome, just about 70 degrees with hardly any wind. I hope this weather never
I'm not sure if my butt is ever going to heal. It's like having a inch and half long cut, half an inch deep on your knee. You're always using it so it never seems to heal. Even when it does heal it's still sore for a while and the last thing you want to do is put pressure on it.
Meg and I have been logging in some serious "House Hunters" time on the HGTV channel. I like the international version the best. Either Spain or the Caribbean.
I wonder what Hutch is doing right now.....
No IcemanNovember 5, 2009
So I had the brakes put on the Iceman yesterday from the Dr.. I knew it was going to be a long shot to be able to race this weekend when I was still having trouble sitting on the saddle on Tuesday. After talking with the Dr. I'm taking some time off the bike. I had hoped I'd be able to just train through it but it's not really healing and I'm not able to train that well. Now I'm hoping I'll be able to race N.J. but I'm not holding my breath.
So instead of lining up in MI with 5,000 other MTBers, I'll be doing a 5K running race instead here in Durango. Every race I do gets shorter and shorter. I bet 5K of running will hurt me much more then any MTB race though. I'm fine to run so Winston, Meg and I have been ripping
around the trails here in Durango. They're a little muddy but it's nice to run on soft dirt rather then hard pavement.
Sager came into town last night, him and Snoodle are off to a MTB race in Texas today. I didn't actually see him though because he got here after I was sleeping and left before I was awake. That Sager is quite a go getter.
Last night Meg and I made it to East by Southwest for sushi happy hour. Half the pros in Durango were there. We got to talk to Shonny about here Xterra World Champs, Meg was reading the live updates. Too bad she got sick before the race but 5th isn't bad for being under the weather. It's no rainbow stripes though.
The weather in Durango has been awesome this week. Mid to upper 60s, sunshine and no wind. The no wind thing is pretty amazing because it always blows at least a little here. Barthel and I have been hitting the crest the past few days. It's in great shape but they've been
spraying the tee boxes and greens with some type of fertilizer paint. It's pretty gnarly and I have to remember to wash my hands before I eat anything after playing up there.
Time for some Matte and then I'm off for a run with Winston. He's still a little tired from yesterday so he might only do half today.
I wonder what the Darts' doing right now.....
So things aren't looking too good for meNovember 4, 2009
So things aren't looking too good for me. I went to the doc. yesterday and was hoping he would clear me to go to the Iceman this weekend but he said I have to come back on Wednesday before he could let me know. He also put me back on both antibiotics for another week. I was so hoping to be done with them already. Wether he lets me go or not, the
training isn't going very well. Sitting on only one side of the saddle isn't optimal and it makes me pedal crooked. On top of that all the pressure from my body is on my left sit bone and a double dose of antibiotics makes recovery tough. I hate going to races unprepared and
just riding around.
On the plus side the weather is awesome here in Durango. Yesterday the bank sign said 68, although I think it was closer to 60. The trails are all muddy though and don't seem to be drying too fast. When the sun is low in the fall all the north facing areas seem to stay wet and
icy until the spring. Phil's World though is reported to be completely dry and in great shape. I'm sure the road apple and alien run are also in perfect shape after that moisture.
Winston, Meg and I hit the dog park yesterday for a little while. You have to be out of there by 2:45pm or the sun dips behind Smelter mountain and it gets cold. Winston made some new friends and gave his ball to a husky. Such a nice guy.
Dekrey got reared on Rude's scooter by some 90 year old lady at the stop sign on ninth street by the river trail. He was stopped and turning right when the lady just ran into him from behind. He wasn't hurt but Rude's fender got busted. The old lady was shaking when she
got out of the car. How do you not see someone stopped at a stop sign when you are getting ready to stop at that same sign? It doesn't make any sense.
I'm glad to see that the LA doctor in that road rage case got convicted for crashing those 2 cyclists. At least riders there will getting run off the road by one less person for a while. Also big news that Evans is moving to BMC. That's a big step going to a non pro tour team, hopefully it works out for him and he can do the tour.
I wonder what Megs' doing right now.....
Sunny DaysNovember 2, 2009
A few days ago it snowed here, not it's almost 60 and not a cloud in the sky. Gotta love Colorado. I hope this weather holds out for a while since I need to do some good training now.
My incision is healing slowly but surely. The doc wants it to heal from the inside out so it's still really tender and it's right where I sit on the seat. I got some good advice from Verhuel about cutting the area of the saddle that hits it out. I know it's not the best structurally but at least I can kinda ride. Here's a shot of the modified Phenom.
When I'm not carving up seats this time of year, Meg and I are firing up the Jack-O-Lantern.
Last night we had a record number of trick or treaters, 10. We also went downtown with Ned and Pam to have a drink at Ariano's. I was sticking to Pellegrino since I'm taking 2 different antibiotics for my infection and 1 of them is what they give alcoholics to make them trow
up if they drink. I'm a mess. Ariano's is an Italian resturant that's been in Durango for 25 years. Last night was there last night open. The space is being taken over by East by Southwest Sushi place and turned into a fancy Thai place.
I've been watching the Boulder Cup on cyclingdirt.com today. It sucks not being able to race. Oh well, I'm going to try and do the night race up at FLC tonight. It's at 6:30pm so it's going to be completely dark since the time changed today and probably cold and muddy. I can't
quite jump on my bike correctly so I'm going to be doing some Ned like remounts.
1st US guy to win the NYC marathon in 27 years today, that's pretty cool. It seems like it's been that long since a US rider won an MTB World Cup too.
Meg's parents just arrived in Durango on their way back to Vail from Taos. It's their 40th anniversary tonight and her Mom's 60th birthday soon too. Those are some big milestones.
Rude doesn't look like he's having as good of day today as he did yesterday. Hope he holds on for 10th.
I wonder what the temperature is going to be at the Iceman this weekend....
RainOctober 23, 2009
I got soaked yesterday for the 2nd day in a row. I wasn't quite as lucky as the day before though and had to call in a ride from Meg. I thought the weather would clear up as the day went on so I headed out for a Bayflield/Ignacio loop. I got to the top of Florida and it
started raining but I figured it would clear up once I got to Bayfield but it didn't. It was about 40 degrees and pissing rain by the time I got there. Then I thought for sure it would clear up in Ignacio since it's further south and really dry there. Nope, pouring rain. I pulled into a gas station across from the old casino, drank a huge cup of hot chocolate and tea. Meg came and got me about 1 hour later and the rain didn't let up at all. We get back to Durango and it's not even raining. You kidding me?
Needless to say when I tried to go back out later on it started raining again and I called it a day. Racing in the rain is one thing but training in it on the road is another. I have a few chill days now and I'm heading out to the course today. Might even head down to Farmington to soak up the warmth.
Rude is off Louisville for the next two rounds of the USGP this weekend. I decided to bail on it since I'm racing the Iceman and didn't want to do 4 weeks of racing in a row. I'll start my season at Boulder next weekend. The race on the first day is no longer at the reservoir and is back at that office park where it was the first year.
So who's going to win the GPs this weekend? I think Trebone is fired up for a 'W' but I don't know if he'll get it if it's raining. I also think Kabush will be going good on Sunday. We'll have to see if my predictions are right. I'm hoping Rude has a good race, he has good form but you never know with the Bear which way it will go regardless of form.
Bobby and Susi are doing a 2 person, 5 day team race near Stellenbosch in South Africa this week. Bobby has been cramping up and Susi has been harassing him about riding too slow. You gotta know when you sign up to do a stage race with the former World Champ it's not going to be fun, especially if you're a triathlete. Or actually, a working guy that commutes from SA to Cali for work. That's a lot of plane time.
Winston and I need to get our day started, thinking about hitting the dog park hard.
I wonder how long before I lose my sweet new scarf......
Weather ChangeOctober 23, 2009
I went from riding in just shorts and a jersey to getting caught in a 47 degree thunder and lightning hail/rain storm on the road yesterday. It was freezing. Rude and I had just went out to do a short road loop when the wind came up, the clouds came in and the rain came down. I
guess most people would call it "perfect cyclocross weather".
Earlier in the day it had been pretty nice and I logged in a few hours in Horse Gulch. The thing about Horse Gulch is I have never seen a horse in there. Now on the Colorado trail this weekend we saw about 10 horses. I think they should rename Horse Gulch, Rattle Snake Gulch
since I see those in there all the time.
Anyway, I got this new seat dropper seat post from Specialized the other day and I finally got it set up. The post is awesome. We don't have many stunts or drops on the trails here but it's nice not to have to stop, get off and drop your seat to do a couple foot drop. With
this post I can hit all the stuff with out even slowing down.
Meg has been craving eggplant pizza for the past few weeks so last night we went to Mama's Boy and she satisfied her craving. We never seem to go there because it isn't downtown and we generally gravitate in that direction when we're hungry.
Today is the last of my big rides for the week. I have a three day rest coming up and I'm hoping to play at least 18 holes per day, maybe 36. I might even get a new header up on this site but probably not.
I wonder if it's going to rain again today.....
RoostingOctober 15, 2009
I can't believe how busy I am these days. You would think that with out any races to pack for, travel to and from and prepare for I'd have plenty of time on my hands but that's not the case. I woke up somewhat early this morning and got out in the Gulch just before 10am. The
trails were pretty loamy but were still a little slow from the rain. From there I had to race over to Luke's for some dry needling and laser treatment on my knee. I was TTing down 160 on my MTB and I just barely made it.
The dry needling works well but gives me the biggest "zing" when my muscle grabs the needle and relaxes. Not my favorite treatment. The laser doesn't feel like anything though and I think it is really working. I have to wear goofy glasses though to block what ever ray it emits.
Got home, Winston and I loaded up the CRF, stopped by RGPs for some Southwest fuel and headed out to HB's house to roost. We almost made it there before we got stuck in the middle of a sheep drive.
It's nice to live someplace where this stuff is common place. Could you imagine being 1 mile from LAX and seeing something like this? Durango rocks.
We had a killer session at the ranch, Winston didn't go on any loops but hung out with Rooster and Baxter all day. I don't think he stopped playing the entire time we were there. 1 can of Coke, 1 Snapple and 1 Sobe Power later I was buzzing on the way home. I managed to make it
to the gym after dinner which i was pretty proud of since it' hard to get motivated to leave the house once it gets dark and I settle in.
I just found out Meg and I are getting some sweet new Specialized Globe cruiser bikes. They have 8 speeds and I'm hoping I get the one with the belt drive. Right now we have one speed cruisers that we can barely pedal up the hill in front of our house. You can check them out
at this link: www.globebikes.com I'll get some pictures up when we get them. They have 700C wheels and should cut our ride time down to town to under 8 minutes.
I need to get ready for bed, big day at Pinon Hills golf course tomorrow.
I wonder how Noah's wedding is coming along....
Monday Night Football:October 15, 2009
Here is my first picture from my new camera. Meg took it while I was cutting down the final limb on this damn tree. I can't wait to get it out of my backyard. Notice that sweet ladder I bought a few months ago. It's nice and light since it's aluminum but it sure is flimsy.
I did my first ride in the passes since the spring today. It wasn't too cold but I did bring quite a few clothes with me. I was pretty cooked at the end and it's always a block headwind the whole way back in the valley. Today was no exception. It wasn't my fastest time but it was pretty good. They're putting in some new bridge over in Silverton.
Silverton is the picturesque mountain town. Old victorian mining town architecture, only Main St. is paved and it's surrounded on four sides by mountains. When it dumps big there in the winter you're not getting out of town for days. Pretty cool.
After the ride I met up with Luke for some dry needling and laser work on my knee. I have been having some problems with it all year since screwing it up lifting weights this spring. I think the laser if working wonders.
So I finally cleaned up my bike that I rode for over an hour on the rim and the thing seems totally straight. They sure do make equipment good nowadays.
Meg and I ate at Jean Pierre last night. It was good, we had some good steaks. Then I came home and ate a Reese peanut butter crunch bar. Those things rock.
I talked to the Dart yesterday and he said the Roc is awesome. They have been hanging out on the beach everyday and living it up. I hope I get to go next year, I love beach races.
I wonder if I'll play Pinon or Cortez tomorrow.....
Rough RideOctober 12, 2009
Jeez I got beat up on my ride yesterday. Did the Hermosa Creek loop and about 20 minutes after I got to the good single track I flatted. No problem except for the 29er tire fits tight to the rim with a 26 tube and I pinched it putting it on. An hour and a half later Meg picked me up at the south trailhead. I've never ridden a flat that far before and it rattles the crap out of you. At least I got to get a piece of pizza at Momma's Boy in Hermosa afterward.
I've been logging in some miles lately and feeling like I'm getting physically fit too. I can now do all of the following with out getting sore, or too sore: ride the bike, run, lift weights, play 18 holes walking and dirt bike. This is pretty good since when I try to do any of the above other then riding during the season I am sore for at least a week.
Rude, Gilby, Barthel and I played out at Dalton the other day. It was touch and go weather for most of the day but cleared up at the end. We even had this rainbow at one point.
I have also been playing up at Hilcrest a bit but they are so unfriendly up there. I have never been to a golf course that was less friendly then there. I don't know what the deal is but I guess it's been like that forever there.
Finally got my new camera back from Las Vegas. I had left it someplace and they just sent it back to me. I don't think it works as well as my old one but it's water and dust proof so maybe it will last more then one year.
The whole team wrapped up the season in the south of France at Roc d'Azur this weekend. I wish I could have been there but that's a lot more travel after coming back here for Vegas. It looks and sounds like it is awesome there, maybe next year.
I wonder what the Darts' doing right now......
Training:October 5, 2009
I'm back in training mode, did a good Bayfield/Ignacio loop today. Avoided the rain for the most part but did have to throw the jacket on twice and got some wet feet too. The new cross bikes are awesome. I have to say one of the coolest things on the bike are the TRP brakes.
They are so easy to set and adjust, way better then the Empella frog legs. Especially since the new Zipp rims are much wider then traditional rims so the brakes require adjustment when swapping from race to training wheels.
Today I glued up some new Specialized prototype tubular cross tires. I will probably be racing them at some events so keep your eyes open for a new tread pattern out there. They are on a FMB casing which I like better then the Dugast. It comes pre sealed and the base tape seems to
be stuck on better.
Meg and I had our 6th anniversary today. We were planning a hiking trip up to HB's cabin in La Plata canyon but Meg has been feeling under the weather the last few days. She spent the day in bed and I spent the day on the bike, at the dog park with Winston and cleaning up the garage. It still needs a lot of work.
I'm switching up my cross schedule a little bit this year and will be racing the Ice Man MTB race in Michigan the first week of November. I'm looking forward to doing another MTB race after having some bad luck at World Cup finals. The race is suppose to be really fast and
fun. This year I think there are 4,500 people doing it. It's no S.A. Cape Argus which has 30,000 people that compete but it's the biggest race I will have ever lined up in.
I saw Tad and Rude tonight, they had just finished up some golf at the Crest. Tad has been getting ready for the nordic season by roller skiing/skating. He roller skates for 3 hours a day, that is brutal. I'm glad I don't do that sport. Maybe he should head over to Silverton because I heard they got 7 inches of snow today. I guess I won't be doing the Molas/Cascade ride this week.
Sundays are the best day to train on the road. There are hardly any cars and no one seems to be in a hurry. I bet that is the day with the least traffic accidents. I know it's the day I get honked at the least.
I wonder if it's going to rain again tomorrow.....
DurangoOctober 5, 2009
It's been so long since I've updated this blog that the posting template has changed. I don't remember what I talked about last but I'll go with Cross Vegas. Cross Vegas was hard, as always. There's a lot of drafting but that thick grass just takes it out of me. There are minimal corners for recovery so it's a lot like racing a crit but with just a few guys. Here's a shot of the new ride.
Usually I bunny hop these barriers but this year I didn't have a chance to practice before the race and didn't want to look like a dork and crash.
I had good form but that didn't translate into a good result, one of these years I'm going to have a good Vegas. The party after the race was good though. I even managed to loose my new camera I bought 2 days before.
I spent some serious time in Sin City because, Meg, Willow, Heather and I went stuck around for the Britney Spears concert on Sunday night. I also got to see my old friend that I went to the UofA with, Dave.
Britney concert was cool, only my 2nd concert ever. There was some guy dressed up like that flight attendant in her "Toxic" video and he was just a fan. Best costume of the night though. Porter from Specialized set us up with Britney's bodyguard and he got us right next to the
stage. Pretty cool.
It was really nice to get back to Durango after being gone for a month and flying around the world. Winston remembered me which is what I was most worried about since I hadn't seen him in so long. We've been hiking and running. He's faster when it's cool out since he doesn't
over heat so fast. I started riding again and have been hitting the gym too. I'm so sore from all my new activities that I have to lower myself down into the chair with my hands.
The golf game has been coming around too, I've been playing with Rude, Barthel and Tad. I even have some idea where the ball is going to go when I hit it. Most of the time.
I wonder when my hamstrings are going to stretch again.....
World Cup Champery SwitzerlandSeptember 14, 2009
This weekend was the second to last World Cup of the season. It was held in Champery, Switzerland, deep in the Alps and less then thirty minutes from the UCI international headquarters. The weather had been great all week but yesterday a big rainstorm soaked the short and technical 4.7 KM loop leaving the trails slick and muddy.
The course consisted of one really steep climb/descent and flattish loop at the bottom. The trails had tons of exposed roots and slippery rocks. The Epic was the perfect bike for gobbling up the rough stuff and helping me keep the rubber side down all day.
I didn’t have a very good start and never really got it going all day. I managed to move up a little as the day progressed but only managed a 25th, my worst World Cup of the year. It’s funny because I had my best race of the year last weekend in Australia at the World Champs.
Sometimes it’s tough to figure things like that out but that’s why we line up every weekend.
On a positive note my teammate and great friend, Burry Stander won the race today and took his first ever World Cup victory, locked up the U-23 World Cup Overall and added some points to his 2nd place overall for the entire World Cup. Great Job.
Another highlight of the day was winning the team competition. Each race they crown the best team for the day, which is composed of a team’s top three finishers. With Burry, Susi and I we managed to take it away from Merida for the first time this year so well all got to stand on the podium. We will also race with yellow number plates next weekend designating that we won the team comp this past weekend. Tomorrow we’re off to Schladming for the final World Cup of the year. It seems like we were just racing in South Africa a few weeks ago. It has been great being part of the Specialized team and enjoying everyone’s success through out the year.
Thanks for your support….
2009 MTB World ChampionshipSeptember 8, 2009
The World Championships is one race that everyone wants to win. It’s a one day race and if you have an amazing day, you can find yourself in the coveted “rainbow jersey” for an entire year. Needless to say, it’s the most important race of the year.
The World Championships took place this year in Canberra, Australia. Canberra is a three-hour drive southwest from Sydney and instead of being tropical and balmy, it’s dry and cool. They are just coming out of winter so the weather was on the cool side but nice and dry.
The course was almost the same as World Cup course from last year but they shortened it a bit so they could add one more lap. It was a fast circuit with plenty of man-made jumps, berms and rock gardens. There were multiple lines so you could take a short harder section or an easier longer one. It had sections of fast, loose single track and few dirt road sections for passing. I think it is the best course we have ridden all year.
The start of the race was very important since after the one-kilometer long dirt road it turned straight into single track. If you don’t get into the single track in the first ten you have to stand around and wait for everyone to funnel in. The further back you are, the longer you wait. I am usually a good starter but found myself standing in line and only managed to make it into the first single track in the mid thirties. By the time I popped out of the first single-track
section I was already one minute down.
Once I settled in I started to move up quickly. The way the course was setup you couldn’t pass in the single track so you had to wait for the dirt road sections. I would sit on a group on the dirt road and then sprint to get into the single track first. I was riding the down hills well and could usually bridge to the next group on the single-track sections and then repeat the process.
I managed to make it into a group of sixth through eighth on the sixth of seven laps. I couldn’t hold the pace of Ravanel and Peraud up the climb on the last lap and had to let go. I almost caught Peraud coming into the finish but had to settle for eighth which is still my best
ever World Championship finish. I was happy with the race and seem to keep improving which is the most satisfying thing. Now I’m off for another around the world trip for the World Cup in Switzerland this weekend.
Thanks for your support…..
US Cup PRO XC Finals Windham, NYAugust 17, 2009
The US Cup PRO XCT is officially in the books for 2009. This time last year there wasn’t even going to be a National series but Scott Tedro stepped in with Sho-Air and Specialized and made it happen.
The past few weeks back east were cool and rainy but summer returned this weekend with temperatures in the nineties with humidity up also. Windham is getting ready for the World Cup finals next year and the PRO XCT was a great chance for them to work out the kinks. The crew did a great job getting the course ready and things ran smoothly. I don’t think I’ve ridden as many bridges all year as I did in one lap of the Windham XC.
The course was shortened from last year. The laps took about sixteen minutes in the sweltering sun and heat. There was plenty of exposed ski slope climbing, fast rocky descents with lots of bridges and some high speed open descending.
We raced at 2 pm and there wasn’t a cloud in site. The race broke up pretty quickly and by the midway point I found myself in the lead group with Sid and Max from the Sho Air team. Kabush, Shultz and JHK were only fifteen to twenty seconds behind. On the forth of six laps
Sid flatted and had to change a wheel in the tech zone. I was by myself at the front with a few seconds on Kabush and Max. I could only hold the pace for a lap though and Kabush came by at the start of the fifth lap. Max and I rode together for most of the lap until I faded near the top and was alone in third. I would ride the rest for the race in that position and maintain my forth overall in the series. Sunday was the short track and I had a pretty commanding points lead for the overall starting the day. The short track course was also a bit shorter then last year with laps taking about 1:30. I like to go hard from the gun but decided to play it safe today and make sure I didn’t do anything stupid to lose the overall. I started conservatively but never really got it going. We rode in a big group until four laps to go when Shultz and Kabush attacked. I was in a group with Sid, Craig and JHK on the bell lap but couldn’t come around them. I rode in for sixth, which was more then enough to wrap up my first short track National series overall title and on the 29er to boot.
I have a two weekends of no racing after six weekends in a row and then it’s off to the World Championship in Australia.
Thanks for your support…..
Mt Snow PRO XCT/STXCAugust 10, 2009
The Mount Snow Festival kicked off this weekend of racing with fire works, a giant slip and slide, a woman’s only triathlon, clown show for the kids and plenty of other fun summer time activities. The Pro XCT and STXC were just part of the action this past weekend in southern Vermont. The festival atmosphere was great but the cool temperatures, lack of any humidity and minimal black flies was even better.
Mount Snow has probably hosted more national and international events in the U.S. then any other race venue. The course is known for steep, technical climbs and treacherous descents covered in rocks and roots. It usually features a big climb to the top of the ski resort but this
year they decided to alter the course to bring it more in line with the twenty-minute lap the UCI is shooting for. That meant we didn’t have to do as much sustained climbing and spent more time in the venue area.
The XC started well for me, I found myself in the lead group of five a few minutes into the race. First it was an on form Sam Shultz driving the pace but he would fall off the group on the second lap along with his teammate JHK. That left Sid, Kabush and I to fight it out over the
next four laps. I threw in a few attacks but lacked a real punch to get away. Kabush also hit it a few times during the first few laps but nothing stuck. Finally halfway through the forth lap Kabush attacked on a steep climb, I fell off the pace first and then Sid. We would stay that way to the finish.
The STXC started even better on Sunday with Sid and I getting off together after a lap or two. He towed me around until five laps to go. I wasn’t feeling great but I was hoping to hold off a hard charging Kabush. It didn’t happen, he caught me with two laps to go. He attacked on the last lap and got a few bike lengths on me at the top of the climb. I tried to bring it back but after two wheel drifting though the slippery descent the lap before I didn’t want to risk it
again and had to settle for second.
I was happy to be on the podium both days this weekend. I have had some bad luck at Mt Snow in the past but the Epic was awesome for the XC on Saturday and the 29er was great for the STXC on Sunday. The bikes worked perfectly, the tires held up well through the sharp rocks and roots and the suspension was awesome.
Next weekend is the final stop on the US Cup Pro XCT circuit for the 2009 season in Windham, NY. It will be nice to check out the course that will be used for the World Cup finals next year.
Thanks for your support……
World Cup #6 Bromont, CanadaAugust 4, 2009
The Canadian World Cups are in the books for 2009. This weekend we wrapped up the sixth round of the World Cup in Bromont, Canada. Bromont hosted a World Cup last year, the World Championships in the late nineties and the Master’s World Championships on numerous occasions.
This year they made a few upgrades to the XC course, rerouted the main climb and added a few rock gardens. The weather was pretty good all week and held up for most of the women’s race earlier in the day that my teammate, Lene Byberg won. It started raining about two hours before our start and only let up for a few minutes in the middle of race. The course had streams running down the middle of it, the roots and rocks were covered in slick mud and climbs had become even harder then earlier in the week.
I had a decent start and found myself riding with Burry and Susi right at the start. Everyone was having trouble with the mud and was randomly shooting from one side of the trail to the other. World Cup starts are always crazy but this one seemed a step above the rest. Could be the fact I was seeing it through my mud-splattered glasses.
I was moving up well on the first lap but burped my tire midway through the technical traverse. I was able to stop and fill it up with my Big Air but lost some valuable spots. I got going again fast and found myself in the top ten by the midway point of the race. I managed to burp my other tire on the fifth of six laps and again hit it with the Big Air and luckily it also sealed. I felt great on the last lap this weekend as opposed to last weekend when I was seeing double. I was chasing down eighth place on the last descent but couldn’t quite real him in and rolled in for ninth.
I was thinking I had a shot at the podium going in but am still very happy to get my first top ten in the World Cup of the year. The race was crazy with all the rain and mud but the mechanics had my bike working perfectly. There was so much carnage on the course with flat tires, broken chains and ripped off derailleurs that it looked like a bike junk yard in some sections. I don’t think anyone had brake pads left at the end of the day since the mud was so thick but everyone was in the same boat.
I want to give a big "Congratulations" to Geoff Kabush for winning his first World Cup, he has been close many times but finally bagged the "W". Sam Shultz was also having a great ride racing in the top five for over half the race before seeing his career day ended by mechanicals. I also want to congratulate Lene for not only winning her first ever World Cup but for also taking the Women's Overall Leaders jersey in the process. It was an exciting weekend all around.
I have the final two US PROXCT races coming up on the east coast the next two weekends. I head back to Durango to dry out for a few weeks after that before heading to the Australian winter for the World Championships. I’m hoping for some dry races and I think my bikes are too.
Thanks for your support……
The World Cup returned.....July 27, 2009
The World Cup returned to action after a two-month hiatus this past weekend in Canada. It was great to hang out with the team again and get back to international racing. Mont Sainte Anne has hosted a World Cup just about every year since I started racing. The course has seen quite a few changes over the years but it still remains one of the best pure mountain bike circuits we race on all year.
The course has two steep climbs, tons of roots, rocks and technical descents. This year it rained quite a bit on Saturday, dried out that night and then poured during race morning. It made one of the most technical courses on the circuit even trickier. Luckily the course holds water really well and just got slippery.
Last year a lot of the top guys skipped the Canadian rounds of the World Cup to focus on the Olympics. This year with Olympics not being a factor, a big lay off in the schedule before the races and the fact that Worlds will be held there next year the turn out was awesome. Just about all the top guys were there and it made for an awesome race.
Things started out pretty well for me. I had a good start and moved into the top twenty in the first few minutes. By the second lap I had moved up to tenth place and by the middle of the third lap I was sitting in fifth place alone. I was feeling pretty comfortable until the middle of the fifth lap when I started coming a little unglued. Burry passed me for fifth but I was still in sixth place alone starting the last six-kilometer lap. With three-k to go the lights went out. I dropped nine places and lost five minutes in those few kilometers and saw my good race go out the window.
I haven’t blown up like that in a long time. I was happy to push myself to that point but I just wish I could have held it together for a few more minutes and scored a good result. Next weekend I have another shot at it in Bromont.
Thanks for your support…..
US National Championships Grandby, COJuly 20, 2009
The US National Championships took place this past weekend in Grandby, CO. This was the first time Sol Vista ski resort had hosted a big race and was nice to go to a new venue. The area up in north central Colorado is beautiful with huge mountains, giant views and endless rivers and valleys.
The cross country was on Saturday afternoon. The weather was warm and dry with temperatures in the low 80s and no humidity. The course was a classic ski resort track that had us climb to the top of the mountain on fire roads and single track and then rip down more of the same. There was a lot of fresh cut trail that was very bumpy and it was perfect for the Epic. With the base of the course starting above 8,000 feet and the top above 9,000 the breathing was tough.
I had a great start and was with JHK and Craig by the end of the first of five laps. JHK and I then rode together until the final lap. I led through the start/finish but he attacked on the feed zone climb right after that. I was chasing hard and hoping to keep him close enough on the climb to catch him on the descent. He was climbing better then me but I was descending faster then him. Halfway up the climb I had a problem with my crank that ended my hopes for what is proving to be a very elusive National Championship jersey. Bummer
Sunday was the short track and I wasn’t very motivated after the previous day. When you pin a number on though the motivation comes back quick. The course was very different to a normal short track. It was just straight up the side of the ski slope and then a few switchbacks on the way back down. Usually short tracks are fast with some drafting but this was just nose of the saddle all the way up and two wheel drifting on the way down. I led for half of the race before Craig bridged up to JHK and I. He attacked straight away and I was already on my limit and couldn’t go with him. He held that lead until the finish and I had to settle for 2nd place. Not a bad result but on a day titles are handed out to the winners not what I was hoping for. Oh well, next year.
I am now off for a month long trip with the two Canadian World Cups and final two US PROXCTs in the next four weeks. It will be nice to get back to sea level for a few week sand breath that thick air.
Thanks for your support……
The Tour has finally started....July 6, 2009
The Tour has finally started and that means I'll be getting some great rest these next 3 weeks. I usually watch in the morning, afternoon and night. It the most time I spend on the couch all year except when I'm sick.
Rude and I did a big week of training this past week. We logged in a bunch of high country rides.
Not too much snow up there. We also did the Molas/Cascade a few days ago.
This ride on the other hand was pretty muddy. You can't tell from this shot but there is quite a bit of snow melt going on up at 11,000 feet right now. Tad started the ride with us but crashed and busted his clavicle. He didn't think it was broken and set out to ride the road back to the car but was in too much pain to ride and just hiked out to the road. I bet he'll be back soon. On our rest week we hit the links with him and Evan.
I also went roosting up in the high country with HB about a week ago. He tried floating his bike down the river on one creek crossing and I couldn't make it over any of the hundred of downed logs. While HB was floating down the river, I was taking this picture of the rig.
I'm not a fan of camelbacks but I've been using the HAWG quite a bit lately since I've been riding the Stumpjumper on all these high country rides and it only has one bottle cage. I try to fill it up as little as possible so it's not too heavy. I've also been using it on the moto.
Tomorrow we're doing a MTB group ride up Junction Creek and down the Colorado trail pretty hard if anyone wants to go. Probably be at the cattle guard around 9:30 if you want to go, should take around 3-3:30 hours.
Town is off the chain right now for the 4th. I can't remember the last time I saw as many people in town as I did yesterday. Everyone from Durango heads out to the lakes and mountains for the weekend and everyone from out of town comes to Durango for the weekend.
Winston has been kicking it at Dog Park lately, leaving his tennis balls in the river for his buddies down in Aztec. We floated the river with Powers and Emily yesterday, Powers was wearing some type of Sheik head ware and had a tube that was 6 inches around on one side and 3 feet on the other. Not optimal for the rapids.
Almost time to go train, I wonder if it's going to rain today......
Teva Games/ Pro XCT #4 Race Report:June 15, 2009
In the past eight days I’ve raced three events and stood on each part of the podium. I’ll start at the beginning though with my late decision to attend the Teva Games in Vail, CO last weekend.
The Teva Games is a huge festival held in Vail, Colorado and consists of everything from a mountain bike race to dog jumping competition to half marathon to freestyle kayaking and everything in between. I was planning on taking the weekend off but with a huge payout on the line and a chance to see my wife’s family (she’s from Vail) I decided to drive and pin on the numbers.
The Vail course is a classic western ski area course with plenty of fire road climbing and awesome single-track descents through aspen tree forests. We actually used part of the course from the 2001 World Championships. The air is pretty thin up there and the base of the course is at 8,200 feet so the breathing is difficult to say the least. I spent most of the day swapping pulls with JHK while we built up a good gap over the chasers. I was hoping to attack on the last sustained climb but he beat me to the punch and I couldn’t up my pace so I had to settle for second place on the day. I was happy with the race and impressed with the turn out for the event, they sure know how to put on a show.
Next up was the forth round of the Pro XCT in Colorado Springs, CO. It sure is nice being able to drive to the races instead of getting on a plane. The Short Track was the first event of the weekend and kicked off on Friday night. I won the first round of the series at the Sea Otter and I was focusing on extending my lead in the four race series. I again found myself off the front with JHK but this time half way through the race I was able to get rid of him and take my second Short |Track victory of the season and extend my lead in the series. I didn’t have much time to savior win since the next day was the XC race.
The XC course at Cheyenne Mountain State Park was a mix of fast twisty crushed gravel hiking path and rock strewn technical single track. It was by far the most technically challenging Pro XCT we have raced this year. I ended up in the lead group of three with JHK and Max Plaxton half way through the race. Towards the end of the third of four laps I lost contact after JHK bobbled and I couldn’t keep my momentum through a rock garden. I chased in vain on the forth lap and never caught the leaders so I had to settle for third place. I was happy to get at least one victory for the weekend.
I’m off to New Jersey for a five day road stage race this week and then it’s back home to Durango to prepare for the National Championships.
Thanks for your support……
US PROXCT Race ReportJune 2, 2009
The US Cup made it third stop this weekend just outside of Birmingham, AL. It was the first time any national XC series event has visited AL, the closest it has ever come before was Helen, Georgia.
If you’ve never been to Georgia and preconceived notions of the South I would say it is worth the trip. The people are some of the nicest I have met in my travels through out the world. The weather was perfect, sunny and warm all weekend with not much humidity (for the east coast). The race was held in beautiful Oak Mountain State Park and was mostly fast, flowy single track with a short asphalt climb and descent.
I had a descent start getting into the single track in the top ten and we formed a group on eight on the first of five laps. By the second lap we were down to six and on the third lap we were only five and it would stay that way until just before the finish. Sid Taberly attacked on the only substantial climb; a minute and half steep pavement climb about 2 K from the finish. I had been feeling great all day but couldn’t match his speed at the end and JHK also went across to him. I chased hard but Plaxton came around me at the end for 3rd and I had to settle for 4th.
The US Cup is doing a great job promoting the National Series. There were a lot of spectators, FOX was there filming and we even did a parade lap before the start for them to film. The US Cup comes to Colorado Springs in two weeks and I’m looking forward to racing fairly close to home.
Thanks for your support.
World Cup #4 Madrid SpainMay 27, 2009
It was back to Europe this past weekend for round number four of the UCI Nissan World Cup. Casa de Campo has hosted the Madrid World Cup for the past eight years and is right in the heart of the city. The Royal Palace is less then a kilometer from the course and the park has to be bigger then Central Park in New York.
My trip over was good and the weather was hot and sticky when we arrived on Thursday afternoon. Burry and I went out for a loop of the course and right when we were getting started we got called for random drug testing by a guy that looked like Maverick in Top Gun complete with Aviator sunglasses. Thirty minutes later we were back on the course.
It rained on and off the next two days and Sunday morning the women had a muddy course to contend with. They dried it out for us though because by the time we went it was in perfect condition. It was super tacky and fast, probably the fastest I have ever seen it.
I didn’t have the best starting position after not finishing Offenburg and not starting Houffalize but I moved up pretty quick. I managed to make it into the main chasing group containing third through tenth at the start of the fifth lap but couldn’t hold the pace. I faded back to sixteenth by the finish but was happy to make it into that lead chase group and take part in the race.
They have been trying to make the World Cups slightly shorter this year shooting for between 1:45 and 2 hours instead of the normal 2 to 2:15. It seems to me that the pace is slightly higher from the start but no one really cracks at the end, everyone is still going full on.
Burry, Susi and I did a ride through the city after the race. We hit the Buck(Starbucks), which it seems is world wide now and hung out for a while people watching. It was a highlight of the trip for me. It was a quick trip and I’m already back home.
I have a few US Cup races, the US National XC, STXC and Marathon championships and a road race to do before the World Cup resumes in Canada at the beginning of August.
Thanks for your support….
World Cup #2, Offenburg Germany 2009April 27, 2009
Offenburg has to be one the best World Cups we do all year. The crowds are second only to Houffalize, maybe. The course has good climbs, steep descents with rocks and roots and spectators everywhere. We wind through the black forest but also the vineyards and sports fields in the area. All and all it’s a great course.
We had some big travel coming from Sea Otter on Monday but the rest of our week was very relaxing. Claire is giving us great rubs, Sandy and Dylan keep the bikes running smooth and Beno keeps it all together.
The week flew by and the race was there before I knew it. I had a third row start but moved up quick and made the lead group right after the start loop. Things were going well for me until midway through lap four of seven. Absalon had attacked on lap three and Burry and Susi were trying to bridge across. I was sitting in what was left of the chase group of forth through ninth when I cut my tire right on the bead. I tried to seal it with the Big Air but that didn’t work and I couldn’t get the tube inflated either. I was about as far from the tech zone as you could get on the course so my race was over.
It felt great to be part of the race again but very frustrating not to be able to finish it off. Susi also had to abandon after crashing on lap five and snapping off both brake levers in a strange crash.
Burry had another great race finishing forth after riding in second for most of the later portion of the race. He even had to come back from a puncture on the first lap that he got only meters from the tech zone. It would have been a really quick change but Dylan was stuck in the tech zone on the opposite side of the course because there was no break in the 220 riders to get to Burry on the other side. He also won the U-23 and built up his lead in the U-23 overall. Next weekend is Houffalize and I’m just hoping for the same legs as this past weekend with a little bit better luck.
Thanks for your support.
Sea Otter Classic 2009April 22, 2009
I never thought they would shorten the Sea Otter cross country because of heat but that’s exactly what happened this year. We arrived back in the U.S. on Tuesday evening after horrendous travel from South Africa back to Northern California. Our first stop was Morgan Hill to tour the Specialized factory and try to hang on to the famous “lunch ride”. The office visit was awesome but the lunch ride hurt. I don’t think there is an easy group ride anywhere in the world.
Thursday was our first ride in Monterey and it was typical Sea Otter weather, super windy and cool but luckily no rain. Friday wasn’t much better but we did get to participate in the Stumpjumper 29er launch. I think that was the day that the wind was pumping so hard Susi got blown over at a traffic light.
By the time the short track rolled around on Saturday the winds died down and the temperature was on the rise. We managed to get Burry, Susi and I all off the front and were just riding a team trial when Susi burped a tire and it was just Burry and I left. Burry pulled most of the race and I was able to gap him at the end to take my first victory of the season in the Specialized colors and on the new 29er that just launched the day before to boot.
Sunday we were told about an hour before the race that we would only be doing one and half laps instead of the traditional two full laps because of the heat. It was warm for Sea Otter, upper eighties but minimal humidity, still much cooler temperature then the previous week in South Africa where we had ninety-degree temps and ninety percent humidity.
Burry rode on the front for most of the first 19 mile loop and whittled our lead group down to seven before he decided he wasn’t feeling well enough to continue. Susi attacked toward the end of the first lap and I waited to see if anyone was going to chase. No one did or could so I tried to punch it across to him just before the track. I couldn’t get any closer then about forty five seconds and managed to flat half way through the shortened second lap. By the time I wasted my Big Air, put a tube in and walked part of the way to the tech zone Conrad came by and gave me another Big Air. I was able to air up the wheel and get riding again and was still in eighth place. I managed to make it back up to sixth by the finish, which was enough to win the overall Sea Otter title and Susi won the XC.
It was a great weekend for the whole Specialized team and made the long travel back from South Africa worth it. As I write this we are already back in Europe for this weekend’s World Cup in Germany.
Thanks for all your support.
2009 SA WC #1April 15, 2009
The 2009 Nissan World Cup season is officially underway. We had the first race of the year this past weekend in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. I started my trip two weeks ago with the first round of the new US Cup MTB series in Fontana. Since this is my first race report of the year I might as well start at the beginning.
The first US Cup race in Fontana was a big success, lots of participants, great fans and even a street bike exhibition filmed for Speed Vision right before the start of the men’s XC. I was hoping for a big result but one hundred meters into the race I had a mechanical that sent me scootering the bike to the tech zone. By the time I got going again the race was way up the road and I spent the rest of the day making up ground. I was able to work my way up to tenth place before I ran out of laps. Not the way I was hoping to kick off the season but the form was good and I was excited for my first trip to South Africa.
My trip had another hiccup as I arrived in Washington Monday afternoon only to find I needed two completely blank Visa pages in my passport to enter the country. I only had one, which meant I had to stay the night in Washington, go to the passport agency (only a few exist in all of the U.S.) and plead my case for an expedited set of extra passport pages and hopefully get on the flight the next day. Amazingly everything worked out and I made it back to the airport the next day with a fresh set of pages in my passport. I was even able to walk by the White House while I was spending the day at the agency.
I spent the past two weeks hanging out at Burry’s house in SA. We did an SA Cup race last weekend that was stacked with World Cup guys looking to preview the course before the big show. I used the race to shake out some jetlag and sweat out about twenty pounds of water. It was hot, humid and everything you would expect South Africa to be at the end of their summer.
This past week I spent most of my time with the team in Pietermaritzburg. It is great getting to know everyone and settling in with the new program. One thing that hasn’t changed is the Dart and I rooming together and watching seasons worth of TV sitcoms at a time. This week we knocked out the past few seasons of Entourage, last year it was all the O.C..
Race day came before I knew it. The heat was on again, temperatures close to 90 and humidity as well. I had a good start and settled in just outside the top 10 with Burry and Susi in the top 5 by the end of the first lap. Second lap I was still hanging in about the same position but then the lights went out. I started dropping like an anchor and finally crossed the line in 23rd place. I’m glad the first race is over with and I’m looking forward to getting back to California for the Sea Otter.
Thanks for all your support.
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