Monthly Archives: June 2014

By the numbers

Two Feet, Ten toes, contemplation.

Two Feet, Ten toes, contemplation.

We are 6 races in to the WIXC series this year.  Not quite halfway on the season as there are 13 races this year.  (How time flies)  The races have been epic so far.  Rain, mud, dust etc…  all the usual suspects.  Basically, all the stuff that I love so much about the sport, and at the same time the things that make it so difficult.

On the season so far, if you glance at the results, I have 5 first place finishes and 1  second place.  Woohoo, you might say.  On the surface, it looks like a dominating performance.  But, in reality most of those are really hard fought.  Basically, Pete is pretty much riding the same pace that I am.  I have been able to best him at times and pull away, but never very far.

Hillpoint – Pete beat me fair and square.  In fact, he put a whole bunch of time into me.  I like to think that my eyesight was really bad without any goggle inserts and correction, and it was, but regardless it was pissing down rain and he put it to me.

Mountain – He holeshot the race and led for the 1st half.  It took a huge effort for me to get past him and then to go hard enough to put time into him.

Sugar Camp – Pete holeshot again and led for almost half the race.  I finally got my act together in the middle and tracked him down for the pass and the win.

Kewaunee – My least favorite course, and the same course that Pete seems to like and beat me on last year.  He led me for half the laps, then I got tired of eating dust and decided to back it down and let him go.  In reality, he should have won. Unfortunately for him, he flatted and I went on for the win.

Lakewood – It was a good straight up race and I beat him by just 20seconds though.  This was a new course for me, and I felt like once I got in the groove I was pretty fast, but obviously not as fast as I thought.

Navarino – this past weekends race is where the tale really comes to a head.  Pete and I battled from the start – I holeshot and led him into the woods, and then we proceeded to trade the lead and bang into each other in turns for 2 solid hours.  We literally were never more than a handful of seconds apart and entered the timing tent together almost ever single lap.  During the race, I figured out where he was fast, and I suspect he figured out where I was fast.  I passed him in one of the spots that I felt I was fast and then worked the rest of the lap to hold him behind me.  We finished just 2 seconds apart at the line.  I had just one drink from my Camelbak the entire race, Pete said he had zero.  I was/am still completely destroyed from the effort.

Last year at Navarino, I was at 91.1% of the pace of Zach Herfindahl – winner of the race.  I was at an average of 29.79mph.  This year, Zach was 2nd to Brandon Houts (who was not there last year), I was an average of 31.33mph or 90.99 of Zach’s pace.  In effect, I was the same ratio as last year to Zach.  But last year Pete was just at an average of 27.58mph last year.

Do I think I could have been faster without the breathing problem I was suffering? Maybe!  But that is not the point.  Pete is way way faster this year than last, and the rest of the season is going to be a battle each race.  Our pace is pretty much the same and we are always right on top of each other.

I cannot wait for the next race together.

The picture does not tell the story.

The picture does not tell the story.


Video taken by Monty Griffin of the 1st lap at Navarino



Tinnnn Roof….Rusted!

This is not a story about Lions or Totem Poles, after all – I like a good fist fight as well as the next Fella. This is racin! It is normally the heat that makes you hot, not the lack of cold. Leave me alone, I’m pedaling as fast as I can… What exactly does any of this have to do with the air speed velocity of a unladen swallow?  I do not know, but I know if the last few races I have felt a bit large.

Can I have exactly nothing for $1000?

Meanwhile our hero does not believe that any of this should stop the continued pursuit of the two wheeled nirvana known as riding. A simple word with many meanings all of which actually say the same thing in 37.2 languages. Surrender Dorothy!

First, there was the 6 hour MTB race.  Upon canceling our plan to go to Copper Harbor for 2 days of bigger mountain riding and a MTB Enduro event, we decided (at the last minute I might add) to participate and clip on a number at the local 6 hour MTB race.  I could have done 12, but it was hard to get motivated for a 7am start when knowledge of the event was happening at only 9pm previous.  Oh well, 6 it is, a noon start sounds far more achievable.

The steeds all loaded.  303 Offroad goes MTB XC racing.  Woot!

The steeds all loaded. 303 Offroad goes MTB XC racing. Woot!  A Fuel EX 29 trail bike will do just nicely, thank you.

The Southern Kettle Moraine have some really nice singletrack (I am told not to refer to it any longer as just single).  It is tight and twisty, and quite a blast – but when you stuff a bunch of riders down the trail, it gets really hard to pass.

The race started out with a little jog to spread us out, and not send us all into the singletrack all at once.  As you will see from the video, it really didn’t work.  We bunched all up and you really could not pass but about 4 places the entire lap.  It was frustrating, but it is a 6 hour long race so it really did not matter.  Oh well, it was really fun to see all the different riders and abilities.

We ended up having a really good time and a pretty good race.  Liz was a hero and really enjoyed her loops.  She is always faster and tougher than she lets on.  I think we will go back and do another this fall.

It did not hurt that it was a great spring Wisconsin day.

Kewaunee WIXC race

Any day racing your motorcycle is better than a day not.  I have said that before, and I will always feel that way.  In fact, I spent some time trying to explain that here.  But, some days are definitely better than others.  Last weekend was not my day.  I’ll say right up front, that I ended up winning – but I really did not deserve to win.  My friend Pete was way better than me on the day, but he ended up not able to finish and therefore, I inherited the win.  Sometimes that is the way it goes in racing, I am always happy to win – but I am way happier if I feel like I rode at the level it takes to win.  Let me explain.

Dust.  I used to really dislike mud.  But after a lot of years of racing I have come around to realizing that dust is what I really dislike.  It is scary stuff.  I really do not like going along in 6th gear with 50ft of visibility.  I just have to much of a self preservation gene for that to be something I enjoy.

The start was the typical affaire.  I got a good start, but Pete and his 350 can usually pull me on the line.  Especially on a long start without any twists and turns.  Kewaunee was a crazy long top gear straightaway to the first turn.  Pete came around me in the first little kink and I was forced to eat his dust for next few laps.   For about 45 minutes I toyed with trying to pass him, I was clearly faster in a couple of sections and I kept trying to line myself up to be able to get by him in those sections.  But, I found that I had to try so hard in the really dusty sections to be close enough that I was just scaring myself.  After a while, I decided I was taking too many chances and I backed it down to 9/10 pace.  Pete kept the gas on and a couple of laps later I was told that he had about 20 secs on me.

Normally someone telling me that is enough to make me chase, but today with all the dust, I just said nope not going to do it.  Somewhere along in there, Pete flatted and I must have gone right by him on the track.  I did not see it, so just kept on cruising at about 90% pace.  It wasn’t until I was back at the trailer and Pete came and told me that he had had to pull off.  I am really bummed for him, as he deserved to win – but I guess that is why it is called racing and they run the race all the way to the finish.  I cannot wait until this weekends race.  It is an all singletrack affaire and I am sure I will like that much better.

I am the egg man.

Watch the first minute or 2 of this video and you will see how I had a great off the line start, but Pete pulled past me going down the long straight.  You can watch the rest of the lap, but I think you will find it pretty boring.  I love WIXC races, but Kewaunee is not my favorite course.

No l-o-i-t-e-r-i-n-g allowed.