Tag Archives: mountain bike

A new kind of Enduro for me.

We all know what a motorcycle enduro is.  You know, timed sections and transfer sections, you have to arrive before your start time etc…  That same format has been brought over to MTB.  There are transfer sections, which are mostly uphill, and then timed sections which are mostly downhill.  The transfer sections are a chore and the ripping fun DH sections are what the payout is.  Just like the moto format, they are really relaxed.  Not chill-axing easy, because you do have to get up the hill before your start time, but not like an XC puke your guts out up the hill intense either.

To start with, you are probably riding a bike that has more travel and is more laid back than your average XC rig.  I like that, because I am not really an XC head.  I like the more relaxed angle and fun focus of a full suspension bike that is made for going faster.  Gives me big grins per mile.

Enduro time.

Enduro time.

My friend Hansi has been trying to get me to come up to Duluth to ride for some time.  He has been telling me that it is really great.  I knew he wasn’t lying, it was just that there are so many options for riding.  Duluth seemed like it was probably good riding, but I really didn’t see how it could be worth 6 hours of drive time and past so many other riding areas.  How wrong I was.

So I signed up for the enduro at Spirit Mountain.  Spirit Mountain is a ski area just outside of Duluth.  Like a lot of ski areas, they have made their mountain into a summer attraction for MTB riders.  If you want to check it out, you can find a bunch of info about the riding at the area here and here.

I hopped in my truck early from Hayward and headed up for a 8am arrival and a 9am start.  Now, understand I was driving away from about 100 miles of single track riding right out the back door of the cabin.  This had better be good.

Duluth is a former sleepy little town on the edge of the biggest freshwater lake in the world (Lake Superior).  Duluth was a bustling city in the early 19th century that had a huge mining and forestry, shipping and ship building industry.  In the early 19th century it boasted more millionaires per capita than any city in America.  But, that was a long time ago.  It has always felt just a bit rundown to me now.  Boy was that POV outdated.

It is still run down feeling on the west side, and even worse across the border in Wisconsin.  But, the city has recently been voted the best outdoor city in America and there is a ton of money pouring in to the city revitalizing it.  It is boasting 100 miles of single track being built inside the city limits.  It has the lake, ice climbing, kayaking, snow biking in the winter, running the biggest ski areas in the upper midwest, XC ski trails in town.  It is a great place.

But, the enduro is what I was here to experience.  Let me just tell you now, Tracy Mosely is completely right.  Enduro is the most fun you can possibly have on a MTB.  period.

some of the trails had man made feature like this.

some of the trails had man made feature like this.

Hard to describe how steep rocky and multi-lined this was.  It was huge fun.

Hard to describe how steep rocky and multi-lined this was. It was huge fun.

My steed after the race.  I cannot grin enough about my new Slash.

My steed after the race. I cannot grin enough about my new Slash.

lines lines everywhere.

lines lines everywhere.

The little enduro at the Duluth MTB festival was just 3 transfer sections and 3 timed sections.  The first was a flowing trail called Candyland.  Great fun, with small berms and jumps.  The second was called Knowelton Creek and had a lot of rake and ride virgin trail.  The 3rd was something called Smorgasboard, and completely rocked.  It was pouring down rain from the middle of my 2nd run, but the event was the most fun I have ever had on a MTB.

Wow.

Joe – Out.

I just could not stop talking about how much fun I had afterward.  "And then I went rawrrrr."  Hansi Johnson photo.

I just could not stop talking about how much fun I had afterward. “And then I went rawrrrr.” Hansi Johnson photo.

 

 

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My Racing and a Thermos!!!

An early start, and a lot of driving.  But in the end, it is worth it.  Oh, and of course there is Pearl Jam.

An early start, and a lot of driving. But in the end, it is worth it. Oh, and of course there is Pearl Jam.

Have you ever contemplated how a thermos works? I mean seriously, it keeps things both hot and cold.   I do not know about you, but I have been both hot and cold. They are not the same. One is painful immediately, and one is painful over time. One works very well for some things (hot chocolate) and not well for others (hot orange juice). One works very well for many things in the other way – Ice cream comes to mind. But, really only Pizza can go both ways and it works out. (This brings up a serious challenge to my Burrito is a better food than Pizza stance. One worth rehashing and reconsidering… Some serious research will be needed.)

That is me chasing Pete in the middle of the race.  As Noah says "I shouldn't follow so closely - gets my number plate dirty."

That is me chasing Pete in the middle of the race. As Noah says “I shouldn’t follow so closely – gets my number plate dirty.”

This gets me back to the Thermos noted in the title (sometimes you may need to do one of those walls that you put pictures up and connect strings from one topic to the other just to follow along, but hey you are the one that chose to read this). Just how does the Thermos know? Are all Thermos’s connected like the dinosaurs were back in that Jurassic Park movie or something? Pour in hot stuff, and it is still hot later. Pour in cold stuff and it is still cold later. That pretty much qualifies as awesome if you are following along at home.

As for how this might relate to my race stories that I post here, you will just have to bear with me, I hope to bring it around at the end.

So, I am 4 races into my season. (3 WIXC races and 1 D16 race). My results don’t really tell the story though. If you look at the results it will show 2 second placings and 2 first placings. Not bad if you just stop there. But, if you dig deeper and reread the previous blog entry you will recognize the thermos that is my racing. It seems to have a mind of it’s own. Hot and cold and I did not seem to have much control over it. It is as if someone had decided what liquid to pour into me before the race has started and it is just my job to maintain that. Oh and maintain I had done for the first 3 races, I started out hot or cold and I just stayed there. But, on the 4th race I decided to do something different (very non thermos like).

 

So Far...

So Far…

This past weekend, I felt like I got past that issue. I got a crap start. Got pushed a few places back in the 1st turn and then even washed my front end out and came to a complete stop with my foot on the ground in the first few hundred meters of the race. Later in the 2nd lap, I smashed my shifter into a stump and it got jammed folded back. That meant I finished that lap stuck in 3rd gear and had to ask someone to help me at the timing tent to pull my shifter out so that I could ride. Meanwhile, Pete had checked out of the front of the bunch and I was about 30 seconds behind him. In the past, I would have resigned myself at that point to 2nd place, reinforcing the point that if I did not get a decent start I was cooked. (or in other words, someone had loaded cold liquid in and I was not capable of changing that.) But this time, I decided that I was not a thermos. I was going to go from cold to hot in the same race. (maybe I should have drawn the comparison to myth of cold fusion instead of a thermos.)

I put my head down and caught Pete after another lap and went to work to try to figure out how to get around him and then to put some space in between us. I am really pleased with my efforts, although that summary is certainly oversimplified. Pete got a great start, but was riding without anyone to chase. It will be good to get a similar start to him at one of these races and then see how we can race together.

Regardless, I think I have kicked the thermos challenge and I can make heat when I need to. I have a special place in my head for the Thermos (much like Steve Martin in The Jerk), but I am not bound by the same physics any more.

IMG_8812

Bring on the races, I got the new thermos.

Out,

Joe

thermos1

 

We are finally racing! – Finally.

After the longest winter known in the history of the universe, we are finally racing.  Seriously, the winter was at least 710 and 1/2 days long.  It is still not exactly warm out, but at least there is no snow on the ground.  Bonus though, no mozzies.  (So we have that going for us.)

100% Nouget

100% Nougat

I have tried to get after some racing by getting in the truck and driving somewhere, but it just was not working.  I went down to NC to maybe do the GNCC race, but decided against it because of the mud.  A long time ago, after many a horrible GNCC mud race, I had said that if I got to the parking lot of a GNCC and it was a gong show – I was going to turn around and go home.  So, I did. I know, what a wuss.  Yep.  I am.  Tired of trashing my gear, so you know.

It was a gong show, so I did not.

It was a gong show, so I did not.

WIXC race – Hillpoint. Ugh.  I have been fighting off a bad head/chest cold.  I kinda felt like I had kicked  it, but when race time came I could not breathe.  Physically I felt ok, trained and prepared, but breathing is pretty necessary.  I was ok for the first lap, but when I tumbled and had to get myself going again I just could not calm my heart rate down and make myself go.  Took me a long long time to be able to focus and breathe and ride hard. On top of that, I was kinda not able to focus on the trail.  I would not say my vision was blurred, but I would say my balance was awkward.  So, Pete got away from me right away in the race and I never really was able to put much of a charge together to try to track him down.  He deserved to win.  He rode well and has battled to come back this fast from some pretty serious health problems.  I am glad he did well.

10015011_615726905186643_553652272664160654_o

I think this was probably in the first lap or 2, before it rained in earnest and when I was still riding decently. (That will end – ha.)

After the race, there was a lot of cleanup.  Although the video doesn’t really do the muck justice.  Trust me, it was pretty bad. Chain is gone.  Tires are gone. Grips are gone.  Graphics are gone.  Brake pads are gone.  Clutch is gone.  Ugh…

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/91879541″>Cleanup after Hillpoint</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user2916719″>joe vadeboncoeur</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p> At least we are racing! Joe Out

Round and Round we go – Rhinelander 2 – The HS thing.

The Double Weekend.  Yip.  Gotta love those.

Overnight it had rained and the dirt was just primo.  The place is mostly sand, so having some moisture in the ground made it all good.  But, before we talk about my race, let me tell you about Hank.

Hank

Hank was a little guy on his bike.  He rode his 50cc race, then never stopped.  He just kept shredding the parking lot.  He went round and round for about 2 hours after his race.  His mom finally had to come and get him to tell him that he had to stop and eat.  It was beautiful.

We got to the race early.  It was really nice staying just a few miles away and getting there when the grass was still wet and lotsa moisture in the air.  It is always kinda nice to see the air you are breathing.

Love my new trailer. It is really cool to be able to have all my stuff there, inside and able to stand up in the trailer. Woot.

Our race started at 11, so getting Scott’s front end problem sorted was the first order of the day.

Once we were all sorted out, it was quickly time to get signed up and check to see if the course had changed any from the day before.  The WIXC races start at 11 on the nose.  Rick prides himself on starting on time.  I like that about these races.

In warm up my bike was not running well, but I assumed that was just the warm up.  I got myself to the line, and was all ready to go at 5 mins till.  My bike started on the first kick, but I did not get a great jump from the line.  I managed to quickly move into 2nd after leaving the MX track, and then into the lead shortly after that.  But, my bike was running like poop.  It was ok for the 1st lap, and some of the 2nd, but it went quickly downhill for the rest of the race.  Eventually, towards the end of the race I could only use about 1/8 throttle.  Anything more than that, and the bike would bog and not run.  Rick told me at the timing tent that I could slow way down as I had a huge lead after the 2nd lap.

The day became an exercise in corner speed.  I could not use the gas, so I did my best to not use the brakes.  It is amazing how fast you can actually take corners if you just do not have any brakes.  I found that I was actually way faster in the woods riding a bike without any power, than normal.  Follow the arc of the turn, squeeze the brakes, squeeze the throttle, carry momentum.

I still won, but in the end I was just ahead of the 2nd place guy.

Unfortunately, Scott did not have such a great race.  He had a big get off in the woods, and ended up with a broken toe and a badly swollen hip. It ended his day early.

Below is a short video of about 1/2 of the 1st lap.  Enjoy.  Joe

It’s Not Just Riding, But It’s Awesome!

IT, is being out of Wisco when it is cold there and snowing.

It finally turned to winter at home. I saw it coming, so I got the hell out of there. Cannot really say I have anything good to say about winter these days. Everyone out there should realize that snow and ice are actually water in a few of its various frozen states. I don’t want to go all science on everyone, but in order for water to get into that state the temperature has to be below freezing. WTF?

We are going to dominate this trail.

So Arizona it was. Pretty much certain that it wasn’t going to freezing water and slapping that stuff down on me there. Loaded up the family, mountain bike stuff and supercross watching paraphernalia and headed to the frequent flyer website. Cashed it all in and beat it to AZ.

Before you go all J. Alfred Prufrock on me, just remember…it’s cold in Wisconsin. Damn cold. Freeze your boogers cold. Humans just were not meant for that kind of cold. If we were, we would have a lot more hair. And don’t start with the “where’s your hair dude jokes”. If I could grow a mullet again I would. Dang that was a hairstyle for the ages. In fact, I saw a chick with the most spectacular mullet, maybe ever, just yesterday. Yep, kinda makes you want to go and listen to some Journey or old Metallica right now. (not that newer shaved head Metallica either).

So, Arizona. Sunshine, cactus, girls with less clothes on, MTB riding, burritos, more riding, sunshine and burritos. Yes, I did put up burritos twice. I just put it up twice, because putting it up 5 times would be really redundant.

We really didn’t have a huge plan when we left, but we did have MTB shoes , sunscreen and a credit card along for the ride. So here is the summary.
Wednesday – MTB ride, Mexican food
Thursday- MTB ride, Mexican food
Friday – MTB ride, Mexican food (I think it is a law or something there)
Saturday – MTB ride, Mexican food, Supercross race.
It was nearly the perfect few days. Almost, but there wasn’t any Moto riding.

I think it is a law there or something.

The Supercross race always delivers also. Lots of great people watching, immaculate bikes etc… Saw some old friends there Shane Nalley from Suzuki (@suzukishane) etc… Oh, and Dungey won. He rides a KTM and a Trek, just like I do. Hmmm… a pattern?

Supercross view from our seats. Pretty cool

There is always a light show.

Ready for a good time

Looking forward to doing it again.

Now off to Brussels Belgium for work for the week. Back home for the weekend next Saturday. I pick up my new 250F and have just a few days to prep it to be ready to head to Randy Hawkins to shake it down and race it at the first National Enduro at Sumter. Ugh…, can you say 4 hours of sand whoops? (of course you can, right…you just said it to yourself.)

Out,
Joe

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Hixton double double!!!

Hixton.

A storied place.  I have had a lot of good races here.  But, the trail has gotten a bit beat.  This year, Mat Herrington (@matty_racer414) and Brian Terry (@Bterry15) took it upon themselves to make a new trail on the CMJ raceway.  It rocked.

Here is a little video of most of the 1st lap of the +40 class.  This is from Saturday.  I did ok on Saturday.

The course was way more up hill and down hill than the video leads on.  But, it was super fun.  I had a good race and finished 2nd.  But, John got away right away in the first lap, while I struggled to get up to that speed.

Scott and I stayed at Black River Falls on Saturday night, and had dinner in Black River Falls at Rozario’s Italian in BRF.  I was ok.  Kinda cool to stay overnight in a small Wisco town.  I love summer here.

Sicily. really?

Here is a shot of Scott doing some bike surgery.  Seems like these things always need this.  This is just before Sunday’s race.

Time to go racing.

As always, there seems to be a hillclimb going on while we are racing there.  It is whacky stuff.  Here is a shot of what I thought the best dedicated hillclimb rig was there.

Nothing.

Out,

Joe

Perry Mountain Challenge video

If you have not seen this short video, give it a viewing.  This is the best Perry Mountain video I have found.  From this you can see the dust etc…  I wish our lights had been that good (or maybe that my eyes would have been as good as this camera showed).

 

 

There is also a second good video I found.  this is Brad Brackens chest cam video.  He was on the #1 pro team.

http://vimeo.com/24780044

 

Enjoy

The definitive post on my Perry Mountain Challenge – 2011 version

Ready to go.

There is hot, and there is “Alabama Hot”

If you missed my first shorter post on the race and the effect of the heat there, you can read about it here.  If you do not want to go and read that, just know this.  There is hot, and then there is “Alabama Hot”.  Holy crap.  I do not think that you can get any hotter than what it was there.  In the shade it was 100 degrees, and it was fleeking crazy high humidity.  Like 90% or something like that.

Imagine this, put on your winter clothes – sweatshirt, blue jeans, socks, boots, ski hat, gloves, goggles etc…  then, put on your camelbak and go into the sauna.  Turn the heat up to about 120 (remember it was 100 in the shade, so who knows how hot it was in the sun).  Don’t forget to bring a kettle ball in there with you.  Now, while you are in there – workout with the kettle ball.  Oh, while you are at it, have a friend throw shovels full of powdery dirt and sand at you, covering your whole body in a film of it.  Do that for 1 1/2 hours.  Rest for another 1 1/2 hours, but the rest is done in a 2nd sauna that is only 100.  Then do that all over again for 24 consecutive hours.  You get the picture.  Yep, it was like that and it was harder than anything you can ever imagine doing.

I have done a lot of difficult things in my life,  GNCC races, National Enduro races, 10 hour road rides in the French Alps, 200 mile road bicycle races, 12 hour solo mountain bike races etc…  None of that compares to the Perry Mountain Challenge.

We are planners.

2 old guys from Wisconsin

Yep, that would be Scott and I.  We started planning to do this race almost 1 year ago.  I can remember reading about the Perry Mountain Challenge race last year.  I can remember thinking “Damn, that sounds like fun!”  Boy do I have a warped sense of fun or what?

So we planned.  We started having meetings about the race way back in December.  When the registration for the race first opened up, we were the 2nd duo team to sign up.  We built workout plans all targeted at being prepared for the race.  We organized a crew to go to the race with us and help support us.  We set up our bikes specifically for the race.  We drove our families crazy.

I can remember my wife laughing at me.  “You guys are such dorks.  You are having meetings about the race and it is 6 months away”.  There was a lot to organize.  We had a pit area that had to have lights so that it could function all night, it needed fans as it was going to be hot, it needed a separate generator etc…  We needed a mechanic, so we could focus on the riding and the hydration.  We also had to organize a camp area, away from the pit across the river.  It needed a full kitchen set up, it needed its own generator, it needed to provide an area for us to lie down away from the rest of the crew…  It was complicated.

We also planned our ride schedule.  We had intended to go for 2 hours each, and then do a long 3 hour stint each during the night.  Of course that did not really work out, and we changed the plan before we even got started.  We ended up riding for 1.5 hours each, or 3 laps each.

We planned when the lights would go on, we planned how we would drive down there, we planned what we would eat and how much we would need to hydrate.

Of course, none of the plans really worked out.

We had a fantastic crew.

Hanna doing her thing.

Hanna Vadeboncoeur – documentarian and back up chef. She ran all the cameras and got a ton of great video and photos.

Liz in the middle of battle.

Liz Vadeboncoeur – chef. She stayed up all night, she kept food coming for the crew and riders. She kept the camelbaks full of cold beverage. She made dinner at breakfast time, breakfast 4 different times during the night, peanut butter and jelly when that was all we would eat etc…  Liz and Hanna are family, so they kinda had to do the crew thing.  But, they did not just do it – they really did it up right.

Matt is in charge

Matt Pickersgill – logistics. He ran the big white board that kept track of all the riders lap times, how many laps done, when the rider was due back in, when the next rider had to be back to the pits, ran the sign board for the rider etc…  It was always comforting to see Matt on the side of the trail or at the start finish area, with the sign board and a smile and encouragement.

Chris taking over.

Chris Garrison – crew chief. She did everything. A little mechanic work, handled keeping the riders cool, handled my dirty snotty sweaty helmet and goggles, disgusting slobbered on chest protector, Scott throwing up etc… She was a saint through it all.  Chris has handled the crew chief for a bunch of mountain bike races, and it shows.  Chris and Matt are from the UK, and they actually spent vacation time to come over to the race.  I owe them a lot of fun times somewhere else for all they did for us.

Noah with his hands in the belly of the beast.

Noah Mitchell – mechanic. Noah was the man. He did not sleep, he cleaned bikes, he never missed a beat and our bikes were perfect every time. He cleaned carburetors, mounted and dismounted lights, changed tires, changed oil etc… Scott and I only touched the bikes to ride them. Indispensable.  Noah found our website add looking for a mechanic for the race.  I cannot tell you how glad we were to have him.

We could not have done it without them – all.  If we go back to do it again, I will be bribing them all to be part of our crew again.

Alabama was surprising.

People are really friendly in Alabama.  I guess I really didn’t expect them to be UN-friendly, but they surprised me at just how friendly everyone was.  Sure the accents sound funny to me, and at times are even hard for me to understand.  But, they genuinely wanted to help at all points along the way.

In addition, Alabama is hilly.  I am not talking rolling hills of Wisconsin either.  I am talking HILLY.  Like as in Pennsylvania hilly.  Bordering on mountainous.  I already mentioned it was hot.

It is really interesting how people view Alabama.  Actually, it is really hard to find information about Alabama.  If you watch the national news, and watch the national weather presentation, look closely.  There is never a mention of Alabama.  There is not even a city noted.  If I tell people here that we did a race in Alabama, they usually look at you with their head cocked sort of to the side.  Like, “Hmmmm…  I hear what you said, but I cannot imagine what it is telling me.”

The course.

The course was 10 miles around.  It was much like a GNCC course.  It was ATV wide in places and fast, and had some technical singletrack sections and a super fun outdoor MX course with fun step up jumps and a couple of big table tops.  The biggest problem with the course was the dust.  There were 200 plus bikes on the course, and it had not rained in Alabama in some time.  The dust was so thick that it was hard to see through at times during the day, and hung in the air all the time.  Don’t even ask about how it was at night (more on that one later).

Since it was so hot and dusty, when you finished your riding stint you were just covered in a layer of mud.  The combination of your sweat and the dust equaled being covered in mud.

The Race.

Here is how our race unfolded. We had decided that Scott would ride first.  We knew he would be fast, so we thought that we should see how he could go at the beginning.  The start was a Le Mans style start.  The gun went off, and Scott ran to the bike while I was holding it up.  He then proceeded to kick the bike 6,7,8,9,10 or more times.  It did not start.  He was dead last going into the woods.  At the end of the 1st lap, Matt reported to me that Scott had moved up to 8th place.  Pretty good – 26th to 8th in one lap.

Scott getting ready, me the umbrella girl.

Scott did 4 laps, before he pulled over and let me have the timer.  I went out and did 3 laps after that.  It was 11:30 and it was about 95 degrees.  I could not believe how hot it was.  There was mud flowing inside my goggles.  My arms and skin were completely brown with mud.  After I finished 3, I pulled in for Scott to take over.  Noah and I talked about my back brake feeling bad, but decided that it did not really feel bad and he left it alone.  We were in 3rd place.

Scott giving it all in the morning.

Scott went out at roughly 1:15pm.  It was getting hotter.  He turned 3 laps in about 76 minutes.  He was back at 2:30, and I was not ready.  I did get out at about 2:45, but we were still just in 3rd place.

2nd place getting close to 1st.

I went out at 2:45 and managed to hold onto 3rd place, all the way through my ride.  It was crazy how hot it was, but we were holding up really well.  I am amazed now just how fast things went wrong for us out there when they did go wrong.  Scott went out at about 4:15 and absolutely poured it on.  When he came back in at 5:30 we were leading.

I went out at about 5:45 and I lost the lead.  I fell back to 2nd place during my ride.  I gave it over to Scott at 7:15 and he went out first with lights on the bike.  He did not really need to use the lights, but they were on his bike and running.  It was starting to get dark in the woods when he was finishing though.

Me, looking a bit awkward already

I went out again at about 8:45 and here is where the wheels came off for me.  I did the first set of laps that were completely in the dark.  I needed lights from the get go.  I noticed just how difficult it was to see when I left the pits.  On the very first hill, I was already noting that i could not see anything.  When I really got to racing in the woods, I could not see a thing.  My lights were too white, and they just reflected off the dust.  I got an immediate case of vertigo.  The dust was so bad, that I could not tell if I was going uphill or downhill.  I would find myself speeding up when I did not expect it, I was on a downhill.  I did not know where to put my weight on my bike, I was screwed.  I could not read any of the trail.  I crashed 4 times on one lap.

By the time i had finished 2 laps, the vertigo was bad enough that I was really struggling.  I found the whole thing scary.  I did manage to keep us in the lead, but not by much. I had to get myself back to the pits, and lie down.  I closed my eyes, and Liz was immediately waking me up, although it was an hour later.  I was cooked, and was not sure if I could go back out.

Scott took over from me at about 10pm, but the wheels came off for him as well.  He had been struggling to stay up with his hydration, as he had gotten sick and could not keep things down.  Once you get behind on hydration in an event like this, your really screwed.  Scott managed 3 laps, but he was done after that.  He told Noah, “I cannot do anymore night laps.”

So, while being in the lead and contention for the win, we had to sit down.  It was a shattering realization. We both got a bit of sleep and then I got myself organized to go back out as things were lightening up.

When I went out at 4:45, we were a long way down in 7th place.  I told Matt that we were going to be fast.  I gave it over to Scott at about 6:15 and we were in 5th place, but we were more than a lap down on 4th.  Scott did 3 laps.  I do not know how he managed it, as he was severely dehydrated.

pushing it in the morning hours.

We were 15 minutes down on 4th when he handed it back to me at about 8am.  I did 2 laps and had us to about 5 minutes behind 4th and then handed it back to Scott.  He was spent at that point and could not go nearly as fast as he was the previous day.  But, he still finished the race just 3 minutes down on 4th place.

But, by now the damage was done and Scott was in a bad spot.  As we broke down the pits area, it was crazy how hot it was.  The crew was toast and Scott and I were almost no help.  We tried to help pack the van, but it was just so hot and we were both so toasted there was not much of a sustained effort that we could put out.  We all could tell Scott was in a bad way, so we sat him in the shade in front of the fan and got the van loaded.   When we had it all loaded, we put him in the passenger seat with the AC on high.

Back at the camp, Liz and Hanna had most of the camp broken down.  We sat around the little kiddie pool we had with us with our feet in the water and had lunch.  Scott laid in the shade and was really struggling and that is when we decided he needed an EMT.

The EMT’s loaded him in an ambulance and took him to the local hospital, where they admitted him and kept him overnight.  During the course of the next 24 hours, they pumped 8 liters of fluid into him to kick start his system and get his kidneys functioning again.  Meanwhile, I took the crew to Birmingham and got them on their separate ways home.  Chris and Matt on a plane to London, Liz and Hanna in the truck back to Wisconsin.

Into the ambulance

The Trailer ordeal

At this point you are thinking, “Wow, what else can be added to this adventure?”  Well, the next morning I was on the phone with Scott at the hospital, pulled over to the side of the road.  He was predicting when he would be ready to go.  After the call and a plan was made, I pulled back on the road and looked back to see that the trailer was being drug along behind the van – sideways.  The drivers side leaf spring on the trailer had snapped.

The trailer ordeal

Couple hours later the wrecker truck company picked it up, and to my surprise said “No worries, we can fix that.”  And even more surprising, they said they could fix it that day!  They took the trailer to the shop and told me to come back at the end of the day.  I had my doubts, but after driving back down to Clanton to collect Scott from the hospital we returned at 5:30 to see the trailer sitting level and ready to go.  They were miracle workers.

Off we went to make the 15 hour drive home to Wisconsin.

Closure

Of course that is still the short version of the story.  I am not sure the complete version can ever be told.  It was epic.  Not epic racing, but rather an epic experience.  I can get pretty philosophical about the experience and what you learn about yourself after hours of pushing the limits of your abilities.  I can get pretty philosophical about a 2 old guys and a little offroad racing team.  About all I can tell you that you will almost understand is that putting a big goal down, like this, and then seeing it through is a pretty positive experience – not matter what happens.

I do not know if we have closure on this event though.  I suspect we are both wondering our finish would be if:

– if we solved the lighting thing for Joe

– if we helped to make sure Scott was able to stay ahead of his hydration

Stay tuned, maybe we will go back.  I wonder what our crew would say?

Might have to go back and be here for real next year.

Other stuff

Photos from the weekend here.

My shorter post here.

Scott’s blog post about the event here.

A few other points to note.

1.  I was trying to ride at 80% effort.  I think I was doing that.  I know that there were a few laps that I really pushed and tried to go faster.  If we call those 100% efforts, they only netted a 5% faster lap time.  Interesting how that last 20% is a supreme effort, but in my case it only netted such a small gain.

2.  Guys from Wisconsin, where it is rarely over 85 degrees, really can struggle at 100 degrees and high humidity.

3.  #perrymountainchallenge.  The offroad community is great.  We come from all parts of the country, we talk differently, but we all love the same things.  Challenging ourselves on an extreme offroad condition.

4.  Brave Soldier on the hands – not a single blister.  DZ-nuts chamois creme on the butt – no problems.

5.  They have a rogue saturn rocket along the highway in Alabama.

That's where that old Saturn rocket ended up.

6.  All roads lead to Crawfordsville Indiana for me.

7.  We all drive along the highways, and when we were younger there was a chain of restaurants called Stuckey’s.  They were restaurants in the gaps between cities and towns.  They are long gone, but the buildings are still there.  The natural progression of an old Stuckey’s building is – Stuckey’s to antique mall to fireworks outlet to Adult bookstore.  In most of the south, they have hit the Adult book store phase.

Out

Joe

Whistler Bike Park – I’m Not There!

Whistler Bike Park Is Open!!!!

If this doesn’t make you want yo go ride, nothing will!

Enjoy!

March 13 is coming!

We do a weird thing. “We” would be referring to us humanoids. We futz with our clocks and move them around based on how it makes us feel. We want daylight later in the day, after we are done with work, so we created daylight savings time. I once had a dog, which is no longer with us, but he did not care if it was summer or winter. He was active in the daylight, and sleeping if it was dark out. In the summer he just got less sleep than in the winter, that was how he dealt with it.

You are probably thinking about now, so what. That is a dog, he doesn’t even have opposing thumbs, we change the time because we can. Have you ever seen a dog trying to adjust a clock? I did not think so.

I have looked into this. There are a lot of theories about why we have daylight savings time, most of which are not valid. There have been theories that it saves electricity, or that it made people healthier or a bunch of other theories. Almost all of them have been proven to not be true. (If you do not believe me check Wikipedia, after all we all know that is the source of all wisdom.)

I pulled this right from the Wikipedia entry on Daylight Savings Time “DST was first proposed by the New Zealand entemologist George Vernon Hudson, whose shift working job gave him leisure time to collect insects, and made him aware of the value of after-hours daylight.” Mr. Hudson was from New Zealand, and he proposed this to the New Zealand government in 1898. And go back and reread that quote, he proposed this to allow himself more time to collect and study bugs.

Now I do not really care much about bugs. In fact, my favorite times of the year are those times when the bugs are dead and the weather is warm in the middle of the day. But, I can identify with Mr. Hudson and his desire to have daylight to pursue his passions after work. I have also never been to New Zealand, but the fact that Mr. Hudson was from New Zealand reaffirms for me that it must be a great place.

If you haven’t figured out why I living for March 13 these days, that is the day that the clocks will turn over to DST. That means that on March 13, at my home latitude, the sunset will be at approximately 18:56. For all of us that are challenged by clocks counting beyond 12, that is almost 7PM. 7PM! Just think about that. That is 3 hour more daylight than when we were at the very bottom of that pendulum swing! On December 21, the sun was setting here at about 4pm.

That will allow an afterwork two wheeler ride. A road bike ride, or a ride in the woods on a mountain bike or, on my RMZ if the snow is gone.

Hang on everyone, we are just a bit away from paradise. That thought just gives me a glow today. (It’s the little things)

Joe V.

Red Bull: Gee Atherton vs. David Knight

Found this video on Red Bull.  This is really cool.

Gee Atherton, DH world cup champion

vs.

David Knight, World Enduro and GNCC champion

 

It is amazing to watch the line selections that the 2 vehicles have to choose.  The motorcycle has more pace in the fast sections, but cannot flow the turns as well as the DH bike.  The DH bike seems to be able to hit the slow technical spots with more pace than the motorcycle.  A DH bike can go better on downhills than a motorcycle.  It is purpose built, and can be pointed down easier.

Still, Gee’s lines through the rock field towards the end is impressive.

I could not get the video to embed in the post, so you will have to link out to it.  It is worth it though.

http://video.mpora.com/ep/pRUvdUU8j/

 

Joe

 

 

Kick butt weekend

Sunday evening.  Wow, what a weekend.

1.  Big MTB trail event at work on Friday, dedicated a trail to the memory of Chris Funk, huge bonfire and night time MTB ride.

2.  Saturday, was all about trying to get my bike working after my FAIL at the GNCC race.

3.  Sunday morning, I put together about 15 sponsor packets for the Vesrah Suzuki Offroad team.

4.  Sunday, rode the RMZ 250 at some killer trails, that are just 30 miles from my house.  Yippeee!!!

5.  Sunday evening, washed motorcycles and bicycles.  Yep.

So that pretty much sums up the weekend.  Yes, it is pretty lame that in my book that constitutes a good weekend.  But, alas it does.

On Friday we dedicated a trail at work to Chris Funk.  Chris died last year, after battling brain cancer for years.  We all still miss him.  So, we took the most popular trail at the Trek Trails (Trad) and put up a monument on a rock to Chris and renamed the trail Funk.  We installed the monument and had Chris’s wife Brandi out to show it to her.  Chris’s parents were in town and they came out as well.

It is really apropos as he was one of the most popular people at Trek and that is the most popular trail out there.  Now, every time I blitz down that trail – I can say hello to Chris as I terrorize his trail.

Glad I knew you Chris, we all still miss you.

After that memorial event, we did a fun TT, drank a bunch of beer, burned a bunch of things in a huge bonfire and then did some night riding and then drank some more beer.  It was huge fun.

We even burned a crappy old Schwinn bike after we ghost rode it and tossed it as far as we could.

Burning Bike!

Liz and I were going to camp out at the trails, but we failed that.  No real excuse, other than it was cold.  Oh well, next year.

On Saturday, I worked on my motorcycle and found out that the slide was bad and all gonked up.  I did figure it out, but I am embarrassed that it was so nasty inside that carb.  That will not happen again.

On Sunday, I went riding at some trails on Bob Kau’s land.  In a nutshell.  HOLY SHIT THOSE TRAILS KICK ASS!!!  Me, Brian Terry, John Buechner.  Brian got a new Bike!  He bought a LARGE full size bike.  He says 250’s are for pussys, so he got a 450.  Dang, he is fast on it.

Brian and the new bike! Big, but fun to ride. I think he will be fast on that.

Stack of team updates going to sponsors. Thanks guys.

So, a few more rides, maybe another race or 2 and then old man winter will be here.  It will be just training in the gym and counting the days till the first race.  Ugh…

Oh well, here goes

Out,

Joe

Friday Videos – some great ones here

It has been a while since I put up much on the blog site.  I have been super busy with work.  2 trips to France in July, our worldwide sales meeting etc…  Wow, time have flown by this summer.

I have not done as  many races as I had wanted to.  But, fall is coming and for the months of Sept and Oct, I will be racing almost every weekend.  Looking forward to that.

Anyway, here are a few gems that I have found on the web.

That first one is a great little video that I found of a kid who can rip on a no pedal bike.  Impressive.  You can see where the next generation of kids that ride flow courses will come from.

That is my favorite bed intruder cover.

If you were wondering where that came from, this is the original made from the  raw footage from the news story.

Whistler DH this week.  Wish I was there.

One last video to show why we all want to go to Whistler.

That is it for me today.  Racing starts again this weekend, so we are psyched to get back to writing about racing.

Joe

Friday Video post

I have just a small stash today. This was meant to go up on Friday, but it did not make it.  Nonetheless, enjoy.

Here is what the Trek race department does.

Here is another one that shows just how bad it was at the Ohio GNCC.

This is a pretty good Whistler video.  It isn’t  a professional thing, but it does a pretty good job of showing what my week in Whistler next week will look like.  (I am not sure that it is the best Whistler video ever, but the guys that made it think so.)

Hope that makes your “Friday” better.

off to the races.

Joe

Look Ma, no brake pedal!

What the…?

Yep, you see it right.  No rear brake pedal.

The crew at Rekluse make a rear brake lever that replaces the stock clutch lever.  I have been using their magical Rekluse Z-Start Pro auto clutch since last season.  I cannot ride without it.  With my history of MTB racing, and given that I have already moved beyond a clutch lever, it is a natural to move the rear brake up to the handlebars where it is normally on a MTB.  I am psyched to try it.

So, we will see very soon.  In the mean time, here is what it looks like.

Cycling week/weekend #2

Taiwan road bike ride

This past week I was in Taiwan. Working all week, it is halfway around the world and when you have been there a bunch, you tend to want to just get through it. The days get long.

But, I have been planning an extra day lately, just to get out for a ride. So, Friday we planned a big ride in the mountains outside of Taichung.

There was a pretty good group of us.  8 riders.  Mostly expat Americans, but also 2 Taiwan nationals.

We left the hotel in Taichung at 7:30.  The roads were wet, as it had rained overnight.  We looked at the skies and they were ominous, but we decided we really wanted to get a ride in anyway.  It was misting a bit, and we probably should have taken that as a sign.  We didn’t.  I left the hotel without a vest, without a jacket.  It was 70 degrees, afterall.

We had the usual experience getting out of the city.  Taichung is over a million people, and the hotel is pretty much right in the middle of it.  But, unlike American cities, a million is not that big.  People live in apartments, and there really are not any suberbs.  So, there is traffic but getting out of the city doesnt really take that long.  The traffic can be pretty intense.  There are a ton of scooters and cars and bikes and buses and trucks and people everywhere.  The normal laws of traffic do not always apply in Taiwan.  People just tend to do whatever they want to.  It all seems to work, but it makes riding a bike there a bit hairy.

It was misty as I said earlier but it was warm and just as soon as we got to the edge of the city, the traffic fell away.  But, the road also went up pretty much  from the edge of town.  The route for the day included 3 big mountain passes.  The mountains are not super high in  Taiwan, the island is at sea level afterall.  But, the mountains a really really steep.  The second climb was the steepest and the hardest.

After the first climb it started to rain – hard.  I am talking ocean tropical rain.  Big huge rain drops.  The wind picked up and the temperature started to drop.  The temperature dropped not to really cold, but so that when soaked on the 2nd descent, it felt really really cold.  We quickly went up the 3rd climb and that warmed us all up.  But, it was still raining.  In fact it rained the rest of the ride.

3 hours in the rain.  By the time we got back to the hotel, we were all pruned and tired of being in the wet.  I am afraid that I made a huge mess of the hotel lobby with my wet and disgusting bike and gear.  I trashed the hotel room as well.  Sorry.

I had to pack my wet gear in a plastic bag and head to the airport after that.  I can tell you that when I got home, the inside of my suitcase was – ewe.

 

Mountain bike ride on Sunday.

So back at home and we are still enjoying the great fall weather.  Today was about 50 degrees for a high.  It rained just once early in the week, but the cool temperatures and the regular rain has made the dirt completely epic at our trails at work.  The leaves are all down, and the traffic on the trails has made the ribbon of singletrack just perfect.  Wow.

Liz and I went out with our friends Aaron and Kathy Mock.  We rode for almost 3 hours.  It was really incredible.

So, the month has not been much for riding my motorcycle, but the mountain biking and road cycling has been spectacular.  Next weekend is the mountain bike race in Arkansas.  I hope that I do not shred my face again like I did previously.  Eiter way, it will be fun.

After the Arkansas trip, it will be time to get back to specific training for the coming race season.  Time to work with a trainer and set up a program and get after it all.

Joe

Offseason!

That is a funny word.  I have come to loathe that word.  It means that the leaves are off the trees, and the riding trails are closed and my bike sits apart in the shop for much to much time.  It also means that I find myself working on my shop more and on my bike a lopsided number of hours.

The offseason also means that I get to focus on my fitness and figure out where I went right or wrong last season.   Here is a preliminary list of that.

Right
–    Switching to the 4 stroke.  It  is for sure the right bike for me these days.  Rides better, handles better has better power etc…
–    Riding with Pete Laubmeier.  He has been teaching me how to use my back brake properly.
–    My Moose gear.  It is all really good stuff.
–    The graphics on our bikes.  Everybody says they look dynamite.  Even Mike Webb at Suzuki noted how good they look.  Thanks AJ at Victory Circle.
–    Raced more than last year.  The combination of 2 series here in the state, and GNCC and OMA and…  has made for a lot of racing available to us.
–    I won 3 races outright this year.
–    I was 2nd more times than I can remember.
–    I know how to go really fast for the first half of the race.

Wrong
–    I only did 1 GNCC race
–    I only did 1 Enduro
–    I did not get to do the National Enduro in Marquette, and now it is not on the schedule for next season.
–    I have fitness problems.  I go really really fast for the first hour of the race, but then struggle in the 2nd hour.
–    2 series in the state has split up where riders go, and sometimes we do not get the size field that we should.

That is enough of a list to get me started on the offseason.  It means that as we look forward to next year I will be focusing on
1.    A fitness routine that helps me get through to the end of the race as strong as I can go in the beginning of the race.  I have 3 different trainers that I am working with to help me do that.  Scott’s wife Mary Daubert, Mary Grinaker and Kathy Mock.  They all will help me to build a fitness base that we can make work for the whole race.  I will be doing some XC ski racing this winter to help with that also.
2.    I will be laying out a schedule of racing that will allow me to be at enough races to pursue the overall win in the D16 series or the WIXC series.  After that, I am going to focus on doing the big races that I want to flush my season.  OMA winter nationals, National Enduro’s over the winter.  GNCC races in the spring and late summer.  D16/WIXC during the late spring and summer.
Today is an unheard of 70 degrees here in Wisconsin.  That means I will be putting off getting started on working on my shop and my winter bike work, in favor of a big mountain bike ride today.  Duh.

Off to the races.

Joe

Dyracuse World Championships

The Dyracuse World Championship of Wisconsin offroad racing!  That is what Scott and I have been billing it as.

Dyracuse is where both the WIXC series and the D16 AMA series was going to come together and race the last race of the season together.  It was held at Dyracuse riding area, on trails that Scott and I knew pretty well.  And, it was not without it’s share of Drama – mostly in the AA class, so I will let you read about that on Scott’s blog.

Dry, Dry, Dry! That was the order of the day.  We knew it was going to be dusty and we knew it was going to be dry and hard to see.  Sure enough, it was.  Huge clouds of dust.  During the week before, it rained cats and dogs in Madison.  Madison is just an hour and a half drive south of Dyracuse.  We were pretty excited during the week, that there could be perfect dirt at Dyracuse.  But, a check of the actual weather in the days before showed less than .5inch of rain during the week before.  Ugh.

The course is long at Dyracuse, so Scott and I decided to leave at 5am so that we would have time to ride the whole course on our mountain bikes before the race.  Scott had brought with him a Gary Fisher 29’er, but all I had at home was a Trek Jack dirt jumping bike.  Scotts bike worked perfectly in the sand, but mine with indoor tires set up left a lot to be desired.  So, Scott made it all the way around and I made it just a little bit.  Oh well.

turned out there was quite a bit of unused trail that they found for the race.

turned out there was quite a bit of unused trail that they found for the race.

Ahhhhh!

Ahhhhh!

There was also quite a bit of virgin trail, and that will play in Scott's story!

There was also quite a bit of virgin trail, and that will play in Scott's story!

Yep!  We are dorks.

Yep! We are dorks.

Turned out to be a huge crowd on the line.  I think for sure the biggest crowd of the year here in Wisconsin.  I guess that is what it is like when we bring both race series together and kind of proves my point that we have enough racers here in the state for 1 series, but not for 2.

There were 18 guys on the line for the +40 race.  Wow.  This was going to be fun.  The gun went off and I did not get a good start.  I knew that I needed to be near the front at the beginning of the race or the dust was going to be impossible.  I pushed really hard to get by people on the track before we headed into the woods.  On the 4th turn, I chose to go under a rider and when I did I must have been too close as he fell over on top of me.  Literally on top of me.  His bike was on mine, and he was on me.  But, my bike was laying there under his – still running.  Damn that Rekluse clutch is amazing.  I got my bike untangled and got going, and when I came off the track, Brian told me that I was 2nd to last.  So, I had my work cut out for me.

I caught up to Rob really quickly, who was on a new 450.  Yow.  That is too much bike for me, but he claims to love it.  But, I knifed through him pretty fast and kept going.  In the woods, just because you are on a 450, that doesn’t mean that a 250F cannot leave you behind.  When we came through after the first lap, I was in 3rd.  I assumed that Jim and John were ahead of me.  I was right on Jim, but it turned out I was wrong on John.  I caught Jim and another guy and worked my way through them on the 2nd lap.

At the end of the 2nd lap, I was in 1st.  Not bad for the start that I had and getting off the Motocross track.  I do really well in the opening laps, especially when I have a deficit to make up.  I rode the next 4 laps in 1st place, and probably got a little bit complacent.  I think I settled into a mellow trail pace, thinking that I had it in the bag.

Unfortunately, Jim and John had a different idea.  They caught me on lap 6 and had a good freight train going.  They went right through me.  Ugh.  How could I let my early part of the race pace, fall off.  I got mad again, and that is when I ride much better.  I decided this wasn’t going to happen and put my head down again.  On the MX track, I came over a rise only to discover Jim on the ground.  I could not see him until to late, and unfortunately I ran right into his back wheel when he was picking his bike up – knocking his bike back down.  I felt really bad for that and apologized like crazy.  But, I did not want to wait for him as I really wanted to see if I could catch John.

On the 7th lap, I completely fell apart – again!  I have problems.  I threw away another race.  Another time that I should have won, but did not.

So, the District 16 series is over.  John won the overall.  He deserved it  He was the most consistent of us all.  I took a credible 2nd overall, but I have some consistency issues that I need to work on for next year.  Fitness and being able to hold that pace for the 2nd hour as well.

That is it for today.  More observations to come.

out!

Joe

Wow – What a weekend!

This was a huge weekend!
Saturday – 12 hour solo MTB race.
Sunday – District 16 Aztalan Harescrambles

Saturday’s MTB race was at Wausau, 9mile forest.
I had originally planned to ride the race with Liz.  But, I could not make up my mind about what I was going to do, and she got tired of waiting for me to make up my mind.  She decided to ride with her friend Kathy, and left me to do it solo.  I have never done a solo 12, so why not?

Liz and I went up on Friday with the trailer.  We met Kathy there, and set up our camp.  I needed to instruct Liz and Kathy about tearing down the trailer at the end of the race, as I would not be staying the 2nd night.

We set up camp and found our friends that were doing the race as well.  We all sat around the campfire drinking beer and telling stories.  Great fun.

Race morning dawned a nice day.  That would stick around for quite some time, but the weather would not stay nice for the whole day.

The course was 14 miles around, with about 2/3 of it being singletrack and the rest double track.  There we really just 3 really technical sections and 4 significant climbs.  On your first lap, the technical sections were not too tough and the climbs were all taken out of the saddle attacking in the middle ring.  Later in the race, the climbs were just something to get through.  Sort of a milestone along the way “one climb down, 3 to go.  Only 2 more rock sections – and so on.”

My first 2 laps were going fine.  I had a good pace and felt like I could keep going at that.  My first lap was a 1”19”, my second was a 1’10”.  But, after my 2nd lap, my camelbak was really low so I decided to pull in and refill.  I ate a cliff bar and a gu pack and went straight back out.

My 3rd lap was still pretty good, but I came across Liz late in the lap so rode with her for the rest of the lap.  She was going well, but complained of falling down and hurting her knee.  I ate a banana at the end of that lap and went back out.  It is now about 4+ hours into the race.  Right away on the 4th lap, my hamstring and quads on both legs began to cramp.  The 4th lap was an effort in not pushing on the pedals.  I made it around, but I was really slow.

Back at the camper, I ate the left over oatmeal from breakfast and drank a bunch and laid down to rest my legs.  After about an hour I went back out and did my 5th lap, I am now in my 6th-7th hour of riding and 8-9hours into the race.  After the food and drink, I felt much better.  I also went back to Cytomax as my drink of choice and the difference was amazing.

That was it for me as it was getting dark at about 10 hours into the race when I finished that lap.  I had hoped to get 6 laps in, but the cramping episode killed that.  So, I loaded up and drove home, leaving Liz and Kathy to stay over night in the camper and then to bring it all home with them.

I am on to the next lap of the weekend.

Sunday – Aztalan Harescrambles race

Earlier in the week I had prepped my new RMZ to race.  I did not truly know how well I would go on that bike, as I had not done any real back to back lap time comparison.  I also had never raced Aztalan, as normally I would set up that course.  It had always looked fun, and now I would finally get a chance to do it.

I loaded up my stuff, along with some really stinky race gas that Mark Junge had given us and headed over  in the morning.  Right away when we got there, I headed out to ride the course.  I knew right away that it was going to be a tough day.  My legs were hurting just walking up the first hill, and it was getting really hot.

The course used most of the Motocross track, but some of it was backwards making the jumps not really work in those backwards sections.  The woods sections were mostly quite tight and had a bunch of really steep up  hills and down hills.  There was one hill in the track walk that I knew was going to be tough.  It left from the MX track right up the side of a huge hill.  It had a stump in the middle and a hump in the hillside halfway up, with a really steep face at the top.

The gun went off on our race, just a few minutes late.  I got a decent start in about 5th, but when we hit that tough hill, the guy in front of me fell over and I had no where to go.  I ended up sliding back down the hill and having to restart my bike…ugh.  Everyone else went around the hill and headed down the trail.  John and Jim (class rivals) were checking out, the rest of the group was around the hill and I was kicking my bike.  Damn…  It was going to be a long effort.

I got going and caught the back markers right away.  There were 13 guys on my line.  I finished the first lap in 6th.  I finished the 2nd lap in 4th.  I finished the 3rd lap in 3rd.  I was now up to Jim who was in 2nd.  It took me 2 laps to get around him.  But I did, when he bobbled in a turn.  I put my head down again and a lap later caught John in the lead.  I battled with John for more than 8 laps.  I could not get by him.  I was faster, but he was riding really smart and covering all the shorter lines and insides of turns, leaving me the long way only.  I tried tons of different lines etc… But just could not get by him.  I tried a different line on the turn into the whoops, but fell over and just had to chase back up to him.

Finally, late in the race he fell over in a turn and I went by.  But, by then I was done.  I just could not get myself back up to the pace that I had used to catch him earlier in the race.  It was like all the fluid in my internal tank had run completely out at that point.  I just could not go.  John got back around me on the entrance to a flat turn that I just did not have the energy to late brake into.  On the next turn I got tangled up with a tree and ended up on the ground.  My bike was wrapped around a tree and it took an unbelievable amount of energy to get it untangled and get going again.  I was not completely cooked and rode around like a fleeb for a lap till the end of the race.  2nd.  Not bad for the weekend.

Some notes.
– The RMZ 250 is incredible.  That is it for me, the RM250 2stroke will get cleaned up now and sold.  It was a great bike, but the chassis is stuck in 2001.  The RMZ handles so much better.
– I can ride the RMZ so much more aggressively than the 2stroke.  It just begs to be ridden hard.  I think the 2stroke has way more power, and that is what makes it harder to ride.  It is much easier to ride a slow bike fast, than it is to ride a fast bike slow.
– The connection of your right wrist to the ground is incredible on this bike.  You just have to kind of telepathy yourself forward and you go.
– The race gas stinks and makes you kind of sick to your stomach to use it, but I think Scott is right that it makes the motor just a bit more responsive.  I mixed it 50/50 with pump and it was very nice.  (Does make the garage stink though.)
– There were a bunch of off camber turns with loose dirt and rocks.  The RMZ will flat track right through that stuff.  Fun.
– The RMZ flies much better than the RM250.  Jumps that are doable for me on this bike are not necessarily doable for me on the 2stroke.
– I had really good pace in the race.  I was much faster than Jim and a bit faster than John.  John would gap me in around a lapper or something and I would have no problem bringing him back.
– The singletrack was very tight.  The course was really fun, because it had 5th gear tapped out straightaways and 1st gear tight woods sections and the toughest uphills and downhills that I have seen since GNCC races last year.
– I am running a 13t countershaft sprocket(stock is a 12) and stock rear gearing.  It was perfect for this weekend.
– I am just running the stock gas tank, but had plenty of gas left after the race.  I think I could have gone another lap or maybe even 2 more.  In a longer race or a race with a really long lap that I could end up much closer to 2.5 hours, I could need to refuel.  At a GNCC, I will need to fuel for sure.

Joe

Thanksgiving – Arkansas – Update

As usual, my brother and his family, my sister and her family and my family all descended upon my mother’s house for Thanksgiving. She lives in Hot Springs Arkansas. My brother and sister live in Texas, so it is sort of a central meeting spot for all of us. We have been doing this since my mother moved there about 13 years ago. We ride mountain bikes, burn things in the back yard (she lives in the woods) and drink our share of beer (not the kids, although some of them are getting old enough). Basically, it is mayhem for 5 days. Kids running everywhere, we have built a little piece of singletrack in the woods by her house, we have built a whole bunch of freeride features there also. We all refer to it as our redneck Thanksgiving.

We rode ourselves silly for the week. Every day we did some riding at either the XC race course in town, or at 2 different trail networks. We also found a freeride area at Burns park in Little Rock and a dirt jump park. We only had XC bikes, but we made due.

All I had was my 69'er SS.  Not the best jump park bike, but we made due!

All I had was my 69'er. Not the best jump park bike, bu we made due!

Hanna reaching for the back side.  Her bike is better, but not really the right gear.

Hanna reaching for the back side. Her bike is better, but not really the right gear.

Ali putting it together with the right bike, and pretty much the right gear.

Ali putting it together with the right bike, and pretty much the right gear.

So, the week before we left for Arkansas, Scott and I met with Mark Junge from Vesrah and discussed our season for next year. Scott and I both need a year of focusing on local races after our adventure this past year. Mark is completely into that. Mark is still working out his overall deal for the Vesrah Suzuki endurance road racing team, so how we fit into that is up in the air a bit. But regardless, Scott and I will still be on Suzuki’s for next year and running our little offroad wing of Vesrah Suzuki.

There is a huge season available to us for next year. 12 or so D16 Harescrambles races, 12 or so races in the new Wisconsin XC series, there are 3-4 OMA races that are close to Wisconsin, 2 National Enduro’s that are in the Upper midwest, 1 National Harescrambles in the upper midwest, 6-8 D16 Enduro races and of course Crawfordsville GNCC. Before I even add mountain bike racees, I could cover my schedule with more than 20 motorcycle races next year.

I hope you like the new look of our website. There are a few more new things that will be coming in the next month or so as well. We have combined the 2 websites from last year into 1 site. For the time being, you can still get here from the old sites, but you should update your saved URL to http://www.vesrahsuzukioffroad.com. We wanted to have one site where all of our sponsors would be represented, our individual blogs could be found, our schedule and results can be found and profiles of our bikes. This year we will be campaigning a few different bikes. Scott is going to be running a 144 project bike, an RM 250 and hopefully and RMZ250. I will be running an RM250 dedicated to Harescrambles and and RM250 set up for Enduro racing. It is going to be a fun year.

We have a new sponsor for both Scott and I for next year. Moose clothing has stepped in to provide us with the best gear for our pursuits. I have always loved their stuff. I am pretty excited to be riding in the best gear for next year.

It is time for buckling down on a training program. Scott’s wife Mary, runs a business called Up and Over Fitness. She was a Olympic level mountain bike racer in a previous life, and knows more about fitness than most anyone. I have stacks of programs here from my prep last season that I need to organize into a program for this season. I don’t really look forward to all the time in the gym, but I know it pays off when hour 2 of a Harescrambles race comes along or that last timed section of an Enduro.

Joe