Just some thoughts and experiences from a mountain bike endurance racer who likes to ride and race his single speed mountain bike a long long way on remote single track in the mountains and desert.

Monday, December 13, 2010

1st place Singlespeed at the Mcdowell 60

Just finished 1st place on a Singlespeed in the McDowell 60 which is part of the Arizona endurance series http://rockyroad5050.wordpress.com/aes-results/.  53 miles and 8000 ft of elevation gain.

I led most of the race then one block from the finish I took a wrong turn and road 3 miles in the wrong direction on a road.  I thought that a racer had passed me for first while I blew a huge lead.  I noticed that they still put me in first place so I let them know that I thought someone had passed me at the finish.

The jagged pancake sized rocks on the steep mountain climbs and descents are tough on the tires but they held up great!

Excellent race!  I was glad to win it even though I'm in my off season and just riding for fun.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

1st Place Singlespeed Marathon, Dust Devil Race

Just ended up 1st in the single speed USAC marathon category at the Dust Devil race in Phoenix AZ http://www.dcbadventures.com/ .  The 1st place finish isn’t huge since I was the only one in my class so I raced against myself and somehow all the other single speeders ended up in the geared class.  However, overall I ended up beating all the geared Cat 1 marathon racers except one which got my by about 4 minutes so I was happy about that.  The race was 40 miles long and my finish time was right at 3 hours. 

Since it was cold and snowy in Colorado I had headed down to Phoenix to do some riding over Thanksgiving.  I was out doing a 30 mile ride and I noticed there was a race there the next day.  So in the morning I waited till it got light out and road 8 miles over to the race venue since my wife needed our only vehicle for the day.  After the race and awards I rode the 8 miles back with my swag.

Also,  I decided to apply for the USAC pro license upgrade for  Endurance/XC mountain biking after the Moab finish and just got notification that they approved it.  I don’t see how this actually changes anything I’ve been doing since I have already been racing in the highest level categories at the races but it seemed like a cool thing to have.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mountain Bike / Bicycling Magazine article on Phil's World

Check out this article in Mountain Bike /  Bicycling Magazine.  Nice Phil's World coverage and I got a mention for helping layout and built it.  Great for the area!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2nd place SS solo, USAC National Championship 24 hours of Moab 2010

Finished 2nd in the Solo Singlespeed USAC national championship category at the 24 Hours of Moab.  Also, had the 5th fastest time out of all the solo categories which included all the geared bikes.  Both myself and the 1st place finisher completed 16 laps which was a record amount of laps for the singlespeed category.  Stats: Road 26 1/2 hours without resting, 16 laps, 238.56 miles and 21,760’ of elevation gain.  Glad to have moved up from the 4th place ranking to the 2nd place USA Cycling national ranking.

This is an especially tough race on a singlespeed.  The gearing choice if challenging due to the wide variety of terrain so there really isn’t a happy medium.  You just have to suffer through a large portion of the course in the wrong gear.  The course has huge ledge drops and climbs, miles of bumpy uphill and downhill slickrock, lots of sand and extremely technical sections.  The Schwalbe Racing Ralph's 2.4s were perfect for this race.  They handled great in the sandy sections, gripped the slickrock and withstood the extreme abuse without any issues.  On a singlespeed the traction is even more important since we are standing up a majority of the time when climbing

Lots of press on the race although they had some incorrect lap quantities for myself and the 2nd place geared finisher.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Townie Champs, 24 hours of COS

Just did the 24 hour race in Colorado Springs at the US Air Force Academy www.24hoursofcos.com.  Great course and excellent race!  Three of us raced single speed townie bikes (one guy had a 3 speed townie bike) in the 4 person geared category under the name “townie champs”.  We ended up 8th overall and also 8th in the 4 person geared category.  Not bad out of the over 100 racers.  Compared to the solo category I usually race in it was great to have a break in between laps.  At the awards they did bring us all up at the beginning to recognize our efforts for riding the townies all night, so that was cool.

We built my bike from used parts I found in the basement of the local bike shop with a total investment of under $200 after bolting on new fenders and converting it to a single speed.  My bike shoes retailed for more than that.  I did feel slightly bad when I was passing people decked out in sponsor gear on $5000 full suspension geared bikes with my heavy rigid townie that had fenders, a rear rack (with an emergency beer that blew up my last lap duct taped to it) and Hawaiian duds.  The fastest lap time was 1:03 which was set by the winning team which is the only person that passed me the entire race.  I had a 1:18, 1:22 (night), 1:25 (night) and 1:19 for lap times which I was happy with.

The most memorable thing that happened at this event was when we were waiting for our first rider Eddie.  Eddie had the 3-speed townie and was just getting over being sick so we were not sure about what his lap times would be but he is normally pretty fast.  I knew Eddie reasonably well having camped next to him at other events and spent most of the morning talking to him before the race.  We had been waiting for him to come in when suddenly his wife points out that his mom just rolled in from her lap at the check-in tent.  I had to ask again if I heard correctly.  It was true, Eddie’s 57 year old mom put the hurt on him!  None of us on the team knew his mom even road mountain bikes let alone was racing at the event until that moment.  That was a big surprise!

Here is a link to some pics a Colorado Springs newspaper reporter took.  I also did a TV interview, not sure if that will show up but it was cool to do.  I received more media attention at this race than when I get first riding a single speed 260 miles for 24 hours.  I may need to rethink my attire.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

5th place (Shared) Singlespeed, Vapor trail 125 2010

Finished the Vapor 125 last weekend in 5th (Shared, we actually had a mini race for 100' at the finish and I won) against the single speeds and 21st overall.  Here is the link to my stats http://connect.garmin.com/activity/49232863 and spot adventure http://www.spotadventures.com/trip/view?trip_id=225743

50 racers started at 10:00PM in Salida Colorado when normal people are going to bed.  There is a two hour hike-a-bike topping out just under 13,000' at around 4:00AM with temps at 11 degrees.  I got frostbite on the tips of my fingers.  Better gloves next time.  Riding a singlespeed was another kick in the teeth as well but worth it.  I toasted my fork seals sometime in the night as well and had a pretty good crash.  The people at the aid stations were great.  It was pretty cool having Dave Wiens lube my chain at one.  Great race!  No problem with the tires, they performed excellent.  There was a section that has gashed a bunch of tires which we road right through, even passing someone up who had slashed their tire on a rock.  It was tough doing this two weeks after my last 24 hour effort.  I would definitely do it again.  It was great racing with such a high caliber of riders, everyone was tough and 1/3rd still dropped out.  I remember passing the “Outside magazine” athlete of the year somewhere in the night, he ended up a few spots in front of me overall at the end.  I road with a Jeff Hemperly most of the race.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

1st Place Singlespeed solo, 24 Hours in the Sage

Just finished 1st in the “24 Hours in the Sage” solo single speed class, and 2nd out of all solo categories including gears.  Total time = 23:30:56 and never rested, Distance = 229.64 miles, Elevation Gain = 24,723 ft.  This is the second year in a row I won this race.  My support/wife was unable to go so I didn’t have any support again this year but I have my pit pretty dialed in so I never get off my bike and everything is easily accessible.  The one challenge is always hot food at night so I bought a crockpot and filled it with McDonalds cheeseburgers before the race started which worked out pretty good.  Last year I prepayed to have a Pizza delivered and left in my pit. 

I started out in 2nd behind a Jeff Hemplerly from the Big Wheel race team.  We had a good lead on 3rd so I just kept him in my sights for the first 10 hours.  The race promoter was announcing I was “stalking him”.  I took over first sometime after dark with a comfortable lead.  In the morning I found out that the Trek team rider in 2nd was up to 20 minutes behind me so I spun out some pretty fast laps and ended up beating 2nd and 3rd by a lap.  The tires really performed great and I had no issues.  I actually used the same tires I have had on for the last two months worth of races.  The course is technical with a lot of potential for pinch flats.  This is a great race, really tough competition at all levels!  Dave Wiens was riding the course the last lap handing out burgers to riders (I had enough burgers by then).   Here is a link to my stats http://connect.garmin.com/activity/46121840 and to the race website http://www.24hoursinthesage.com 


Friday, August 20, 2010

New gate at Boggy Draw

I built this gate crossing for Boggy Draw and Jimbo and I installed it.  Looks intimidating but if flows nice, just don't try if it you can't commit all the way.  The cows better not get through this one!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

1st place overall on a singlespeed, CT Classic 2010

Last weekend I finished 1st place overall (Geared and Single Speed all ages) in the CT Classic mountain bike race on my single speed.  Time: 10:42:17, Distance: 73.29 mi, Elevation Gain: 11,146 ft.  This is a great race and is a fundraiser for MS.  There is also a two day event that takes place at the same time.  The weather was a huge factor.  Over half the entrants didn’t even start and some who did had to bail out which made the actual finishers a pretty slim amount.  The majority of the race is above 10,000 feet on arguably some of the best single track in Colorado.  The race is brutal with extreme weather (I have had 6 inches of snow fall in an hour with lighting in the middle of August on it), highly technical sections, jagged rocks in long tallis fields, huge exposure on ridges and long rocky downhills.  I felt good, because of the moisture it took more effort to pedal but aside from the hike-a-bike sections it was mostly ridable.  About a half mile from the finish I went over the side of a steep 50 foot slide down heading down to the river below but somehow I caught the trail with my left arm and my rear tire with my right hand which prevented me from a big fall.  Just ended up with some big scrapes down my left side.  It would have probably taken 30 minutes just to get down to my bike which would have for sure been damage if I hadn’t caught it and who knows what would have happened to me!  Here is a link to an article in the Durango paper //www.durangoherald.com/article/20100726/SPORTS/707269965/CT-for-MS.  Here is a link to my garmin tracking http://connect.garmin.com/activity/42041825?sms_ss=email.  I wish I could have taken some pictures of the harsh tarrain that the tires had to withstand.  I cant do it justice just in writing.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Kokopelli Trail Race Redo 2010, Singlespeed

Finished the Kokopelli Trail Race last weekend, better late than never but had to keep up the tradition.  We ended up having to do it as a time trial two weeks later because of the weather on the actual race weekend which was mud, rain and snow.  This is a non-sanctioned renegade race (These are popular in Colorado and the southwest) which is acceptable to be done as a time trial but is preferred to do on the same date every year.  There are a number of races like this in the southwest.  Because of the logistics and the fact that there are not a lot of people who can finish them (or dumb enough to put themselves through such misery) they have no entry fee or trophies and consequently no permits required.  This is actually one of my favorite races of the year so I didn’t want to miss out.

The race use to alternate directions each year but in 2007 they tried to shut it down in Fruita so it has, and probably will, always start in Moab from now on.  Starting in the town of Moab is a lot less conspicuous than 75 racers in a remote parking lot (closed at night) outside of Fruita at midnight.  Since we were doing the time trial version on our own myself and a friend Jeff Hemperley (Who I got to start running Racing Ralphs) elected to start in Fruita at midnight on 5/30 and ride to Moab. 

I like starting in Fruita better but it is definitely harder with the majority of the climbing at the end.  We had almost a full moon which was really cool shining off the Colorado River and the cliffs.  The first section of the ride is pretty technical and riding in the dark with a 25 pound pack was challenging on a single speed.  The temperature was a bit cold but not to bad in the desert.  When we started the three killer climbs we had already ridden 80 miles of ups and downs with about 4000 feet of elevation gain.  Within about 40 miles we had almost 13,000 feet of elevation gain with a 20 mile downhill at the end into Moab.  I used a cadence sensor this time and as I suspected before it would be better to run an easier gear next time.  My average cadence was 58 where normally I would be in the high 70s for a long ride like this.  Tried a new race fuel as well which was a bunch of McDonald’s cheeseburgers.  I never eat them normally but they actually worked out great even after 12 hours. 

We both ran Racing Ralphs and had no flats or any other issues.  The tires worked great!

 Filling my bottle in the early morning
 Oops, Wrong turn

 We filtered water out of this, no other reasonable choice!
 A long brutal hill
 Me, looking down in the valley we just road uphill from, for a long time
 Jeff cruising down to Moab
 Power food, every 4 hours we had one each
 Me at the top of the Rose Garden
 Home stretch
Finished in about 18 hours without stopping!  Off to the brewery for grub

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

1st Place, SS Solo 12 Hours of Mesa Verde

Just finished 1st place in the Single Speed Solo overall at the 2010 12 hours of Mesa Verde last weekend, 131 Miles, 12,752’ elevation gain.  Finished 2nd out of all 119 solo racers, including all the geared bikes.  Also had the fastest single speed solo lap time for the race.  www.12hoursofmesaverde.com  The race was capped at just over 600 racers and filled up not long after opening registration.  It has been labeled the premier southwest mountain bike endurance race.

The Racing Ralphs performed excellent with no problems.  This trail is a real test for tires.  It has been described as a rollercoaster ride on a bike and there is an advantage for anyone riding on tires that can really stick in the corners and also withstand the jagged rock sections.  I started out in 4th and worked my way up to 1st about 50 miles into the race.  Even though it is a nationally recognized race with bikers from all over the US it was great to win in my hometown.  There was some great competition in other classes as well.  The Trek team battled it out with the “Local Legends” team (John Tomac, Dave Wiens, Travis Brown & Daryl Price) finishing within two minutes at the end. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

1st Place SS Solo, Dawn till Dusk 12 Hour race

The Dawn till Dusk 12 hour race in Gallup NM went well last weekend.  I finished 1st in the single speed solo 0-39 with 10 laps equaling over 124 miles and over 12,000 feet of elevation gain.  There were just under 500 total racers.  This was the first time anyone in the single speed solo category did 10 laps which is the most laps any geared solo racer has historically done as well.  This year 5 single speed solo racers did 10 laps which made it a very competitive and exciting race as we were pushing each other the whole race.  The trail was a bit dusty but overall pretty nice on the sweet spot of the single track but the edges were soft and aggressive cornering was a challenge.  Lap after lap I cornered faster and faster as I became more familiar with the trail and the Schwalbe Racing Ralphs really stuck to the ground well.  My plan was to ride laps consistently and not come out to hard at the beginning.  This put me behind for most of the race but after a hundred miles I passed up my competition with some great lap times.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

1st Place overall on a SS (Shared) Sedona Big Friggin Loop

I was thrilled with the tire performance again in my most recent race, the “Sedona big friggin loop race”, which is part of the Arizona endurance series.  I shared the overall 1st place finish with another racer who recently switched to Racing Ralphs after I told him about how happy I was with them.  Together we managed to survive the 60 mile route which was very technical, had difficult navigational challenges, and dangerous river crossings.

2nd place SS solo, 2010 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

16 Laps.  I recently switched to the Schwalbe Racing Ralphs for the 24 hours in the old Pueblo where I took 2nd and had no problems with the tires for the full 260 miles even considering all the sharp rocks and cactus on the single-track trail.  The tires performed great.