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.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Shawn Gregory’s 2011 Colorado Trail Race CTR on a singlespeed mountain bike 5d15h44m

The 2011 Colorado Trail Race CTR was the toughest bike race I have done.  I finished in 5 days 15 hours and 44 minutes.  I was honored and inspired to be riding to benefit The NEST. http://www.active.com/donate/nest

I would describe it like this: Epic, humbling, painful, tiring, beat-down, exciting, tough, wet, cold, long, adventurous, difficult, mentally-draining, fun, beautiful, a monumental-experience,…

The race started from a full parking lot just outside of Denver where my wife Dani dropped me off.  Since there were over 75 racers they were released in waves.  I lined up right next to Ethan Passant in the first wave which included racers wanting to finish in five days or under.  The trail was immediately technical and the weather was hot and muggy.  Everyone moved along at a steady pace that felt good.  There was lots of steady climbing up to Bailey but it was mostly ridable and my gearing seemed to be working out well.

In Bailey the gas station that was the typical resupply happened to be closed so racers flocked to a small coffee shop for fuel.  They still had some inventory since I was toward the front of the pack but it was obvious there was not going to be enough Gatorade etc. for the rest of the racers.  On the section around Bailey the racers with gears were making better time than me but I was able to keep them somewhat in my sites especially when we got to the Kenosha Pass climb.  I start to make good time up Georgia Pass where I saw Jeff Kerkove at the top who had to pull out because of illness.  Tough luck because he was a major contender.

Descending toward Breckenridge there was four of us riding together (one was Jerry Oliver) when we came up against a dilemma.  There was a sign diverting trail users around a significant portion of the trail due to a logging operation.  We all discussed our options and I think everyone was thinking of how Ethan was not given a “Finished” status due to missing a 3 mile section of the course in 2009 and this was much more significant than that.  Some spectators camped close by informed us that everyone in front of us had gone on the trail and not taken the detour so we pressed forward on the trail.  Not long after this it turned out that Stefan posted a sign for racers to take the detour which was a bummer since I was passed by a bunch of racers.  Apparently there will be some time adjustment made but in addition to the time and mileage difference the effort was significant.  Not to mention the mental aspect of having a good lead on a competitor then finding out they now have a significant lead on you.

I passed through Breckenridge in the dark then climbed over the pass to Copper Mountain which was extremely rocky and primarily a hike-a-bike.  The stars were amazing! There were false summits and once I got to the initial downhill it was still too rocky to ride so it had to be hiked.  I stopped just outside of Copper Mountain early in the morning for just under two hours of sleep.  I diverted into Copper and grabbed a coffee and some pastries then headed up and over the next big climb to Camp Hale.

Luckily the weather had been cooperating so far.  I don’t like to mess around with lighting while exposed above timberline.  I had Jerry in my sites on most of the pass.  Toward the bottom Jerry lost his GPS.  Huge bummer for him!  The trail was marked well but all the diversions around wilderness areas required navigation.  We ran into some people riding the trail who informed us that the leaders were not far in front of us which was encouraging.

When we hit the Holy Cross / Mount Massive Wilderness Detour which went through Leadville it started to rain pretty hard.  In Leadville I went to the Market to stock up on supplies and ate an entire rotisserie chicken which was great.  I would have rather stocked up in BV and not had to carry all the extra food but I wasn’t sure I could make it to BV before the store closed that night. 

Leaving Leadville the rain subsided and the trail was really nice.  I could have used a harder gear on some of these portions to go faster.  The geared guys were making some serious time on me here.  At Twin Lakes it started to rain hard.  After hours of riding in the dumping rain I came to a huge valley just before dark.  It was beautiful, I had to stop and just take it all in.  The clouds were below me but I could still see the lake down below.  Descending, I went in and out of the clouds.  It was spectacular!  At the bottom of the descent the cheeriness was washed away by the torrential downpour that ensued all the way to BV.  The dirt roads were so soggy it impeded my progress and seemed to take much more effort to plow through the muck.  I was watching the time and it was going to be close to get to BV before everything was closed.  Back by Twin Lakes Zach Guy mentioned eating Spaghetti in BV so that was all I could think about on the way there.  As the clock ticked away my Spaghetti meal hopes slipped away.  I rolled into BV with a guy from Montana just before 10pm and nothing appeared to be open.  I spotted a Pizza place with the front door open but they were obviously cleaning up for the night.  I went in anyway just to see if they had anything.  It turned out they had a “mistake pizza” that had been sitting there for the evening and they gave it to us.  Tasted great, thanks guys!

I stopped at the 7-11 and grabbed a couple of supplies and took off out of town right behind Jarral Ryter.  I rode through the night to north of the Princeton Hot springs and stayed right by Jarral.  I set the timer on my watch but woke up late four hours later.  I looked up just in time to see Andrew Carney ride by.  I must have passed him during the night.  I was pissed!  How did I not hear my watch?  It turns out the timer only goes off for about ten seconds then shuts off unlike an alarm.  I quickly ate some grub loaded up and went to chase Andrew down; I estimated he was 30-40 minutes in front of me.  I felt okay on the huge hike-a-bike section but my stomach was a little upset, like I had eaten too much. 

In the afternoon I finally saw Andrew and Steve Carney at the bottom of Fooses trail and went by them.  This was a brutal climb.  I was still feeling pretty good and happy with my progress.  At the top of Fooses I hit the Monarch Crest trail.  The views were spectacular.  I stopped just before Marshall Pass and fixed some dinner.  Afterwards I felt like I ate too much again but pressed on toward Sargents Mesa.  It was dark and the weather was starting to look bad.  There was lighting in the distance.  The trail was really rough.  It was obviously ridden by ATVs and motorcycles which kicked up rocks everywhere so it was technical and slow going with no good lines.  Even the descent was brutal.  Andrew went by me in an effort to get to a water source to bivvy for a bit.  A storm was obviously coming and I decided to stop before I got drenched.  As soon as my tarp was set up it started to rain.  I slept for a couple of hours then packed up and headed to the small creek where Andrew was snoozing and fixed some food.

I then rode ahead.  The trail was very rough and slow going.  Mid-day Andrew and John Fulton passed me just before arriving at the “Trail Magic”.  This was a super nice retired guy who spent the summer hanging out at this remote location providing free sodas, chips, cookies, etc. to Colorado Trail hikers and bikers.  I drank a Coke ate some cookies and a bag of Cheetos then grabbed a Gatorade and hit the road with Steve who quickly pulled away with his gears.

Midday I started the La Garita Wilderness Detour which was a tone of miles.  Shortly after starting this section it started to dump rain.  The route dropped to a lower elevation but I was totally exposed on the dirt road and there was lighting in the distance.  Unknowingly I passed Andrew and Steve who were hanging out in an abandon barn to get out of the rain.  I kept riding.  I probably rode four miles with one eye shut to avoid the pounding rain and hail.  The rain subsided and Andrew and Steve rode by me up the climb over Los Pinos Pass.  After dropping into a canyon on the road my Spot quit working for the second time.  I continued riding in the dark up to Slumgullion pass where I slept for a couple of hours.  I was freezing and woke up several times shivering.  In the early morning I rode to Spring Creek pass and got back on the Colorado Trail.  At dusk I ran into Jerry Oliver again who was bushwhacking to find the trail over Jarosa Mesa.  I was happy to see he was still able to navigate without his GPS.  I stopped and fixed some grub and Jerry surged ahead.

This section to Carson saddle was particularly brutal for me.  The hike-a-bike started to take its toll on my feet.  On one of the largest climbs up to Coney Summit (over 13,000’) I had to stop and tape my foot.  Pushing and carrying the bike up the rocks was really becoming painful.  After cresting the first climb I started to run out of water.  I was sipping it sparingly and looking for water sources but there were not any.  Andrew and Steve passed me just before Carson Saddle.  I stopped several places to investigate possible water sources but there just were not any.  I pressed on and finally found a stream.  While I was getting water Cat Morrison road up.  I knew Cat from the Kokopelli trail race and other endurance races.  Super tough!  I rode closely behind her for a majority of the way through the next section.  I had no food left and between that and my aching feet I was moving slow.

This section through to Stony Pass was the toughest for me.  I kept cresting huge climbs hoping to see Stony pass only to see the trail descend way down into a valley then climb all the way back up another mountain on the opposite side.  This was a mental blow each time.  It must have happened five times.  I was really getting drained and barely moving.  My stomach was aching and my feet were killing me.  I hadn't eaten anything for 14 hours.  Finally I arrived at Stony Pass, on the opposite side of the pass of course!  I climbed up over the pass and did the long descent down to Silverton.  This was the start of the Weminuche Wilderness Detour.

In Silverton I went directly to the Market where I saw Cat.  I drank a Coke, half a naked protein drink and ate a donut.  It was amazing how much better I felt.  Up till Silverton I felt I had all the wrong food so I stocked up on totally different fuel.  I purchased Nutilla and spread it on tortillas, some gu shots, Cinnamon Bears, a premade sandwich and a breakfast sandwich.  I then went to the Silverton Brewery and ordered a hamburger and fries as fast as they could get them.  It showed up quick!  I mowed it down and took off up Molas Pass.

It was amazing how much better I felt.  I was now thinking that I would press through the night without any sleep.  At the top of Molas I got back on the Colorado Trail.  Immediately I noticed a problem with my wrist.  I have had issues in the past because I broke it.  Now I couldn’t believe how bad it suddenly hurt.  I could hardly hold onto the handlebars or squeeze the brakes.  The only cause I could think of was squeezing the brake all the way down Stony Pass had irritated it but it didn’t seem to bother me in Silverton.  I continued riding anyway.  The sleep deprivation was causing me to see things like faces and shapes which for some reason didn’t seem to bother me.  At about ¾ of the way up to Rolling pass I made the decision to stop and rest.  I couldn’t hold onto the handlebar and the lack of sleep was causing me not to steer straight and I felt if I hit a rock wrong I would crash.  I was frozen again shivering the whole time.  I remember wondering how I could possibly be benefiting from it.  I set my watch but didn’t hear my alarm so I ended up oversleeping by a couple of hours.  I was bummed but my wrist did feel slightly better.  I ate the breakfast sandwich which I think had been sitting on the shelf for some time.

I continued over Rolling Pass in the early morning light.  The descent was extremely painful but at least I could hold on now and see where I was going.  My legs actually felt pretty good.  My feet hurt so bad that I needed to ride as much as possible to make it through so I was powering up many of the hills and felt I was making good time.  This was also my home turf and I knew the whole section well.

I was feeling good over Blackhawk but the hike-a-bike sections would suddenly slow me to a crawl and the downhill really hurt but I just slowed down and dealt with the pain.  When I got to the Highline trail the foot pain from the hike-a-bike was excruciating.  I was moving so slow.  The only consolation was this was the last huge climb.  Somewhere above timberline I realized my spot quit working.  I messed with it three different times but nothing worked.  Just after starting the drop down to La Plata canyon John Ross and Joey Ernst passed me.  I knew from riding this section many times that anyone with gears was going to make some tracks on me plus I couldn’t go very fast with my wrist pain.  I stopped at the top of Kennebec to call my wife Dani to let her know when I thought I may finish.  I then descended as fast as my wrist could handle the pain.

Just before Durango there is a climb that is the last “kick in the teeth” before the finish.  I had to hike sections of it and my feet were killing me.  I felt a blister bust open on the back of my foot so I stopped and put a patch on it but it obviously didn’t help so I stuffed a gauze pad between it and my sock and continued on.   It was bleeding but I didn’t care at that point.

The last section I did in the dark.  It seemed to be taking forever.  I was thinking I somehow missed turns but finally I arrived at the end to a cheering crowd (My wife Dani, daughter Ava, Jeff Hemperley, Laura and some others waiting for racers.  Cat was there, John and Joey had pulled in just in front of me as well.  It felt great to be done and see my family again!   

WHAT AN ADVENTURE, AWESOME!  Great job to everyone else in the race!

Please donate to The NEST if you haven't yet at http://www.active.com/donate/nest
The NEST provides a safe, child-friendly environment that eases the emotional trauma experienced by children during the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases.
This is a great organization!

My bike performed great.  I used Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires with snakeskin front and rear which were flawless.  The gearing on my Trek 29r was 32x22 which overall I think was the best option.
Big thanks to everyone who supported me!  My wife Dani especially and all the friend and family who were cheering me on throughout the race.  It was very motivating!  Thanks to Kiviok Hight and Lynda Wallenfels for their great training, gear and strategy advice.  Also, big thanks to Jimbo, Pete and Scott at Kokopelli Bike & Board in Cortez Colorado.  You guys rock!
The start, ready to go!
The pain begins
Copper Mountain
Searle Pass
Night riding after BV
Top of Fooses, tough climb
Early morning on Sargents Mesa
Start of the big climb to over 13,000' after Spring Creek Pass.  I though that was a lake but after the sun fully rose it was clouds
The finish, Glad to see my little girl!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Finished at 10:24pm!  Glad to be done.  Toughest race I have aver done by far.  Not sure where I ended up placing because it is not correct on the site right now.  My spot quit working toward the end and they were also going to edit times for the additional miles I rode by not taking the bipass by Breck.  I need some rest but I will make a detailed post about my race experience in the next couple of days.  Thanks for all the support!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Brutal climb

Came from way down there. Lots of tough climbing! I'm tired but things are going good still.
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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Rode in rain most of the afternoon and evening today. Cold!
Showed up in BV at 10pm and managed to score an old pizza they had sitting around. Then headed back out in the rain.
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3am, Fully nocturnal

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nice view!

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25 hrs into the race

Feeling good. Slept for just over 1:30. Super tough hike-a-bike last night! Off to BV today.
Yesterday there was a section of trail with a big climb that everyone upfront did but then they rerouted racers afterwards. I may have got passed there. Not sure but the race director said he was going to edit times for that at the end.
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Friday, July 29, 2011

Colorado Trail Race CTR starts on August 1st, Watch online!

Racing the 470 mile CTR to raise awareness and funds for The NEST:

The Race starts August 1, 2011 at 6:30am!

Watch the race online at http://trackleaders.com/ctr

I will update my blog whenever I have phone reception and I'm not too tired to operate my cell.

Donate to The NEST at http://www.active.com/donate/nest

And yes, All these should work on your smartphone!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Preparations for the 2011 Colorado Trail Race CTR

Well, the training is complete for the 2011 Colorado Trail Race CTR.  No benefits and only negatives from any hard riding efforts now.  Nothing to do except hope that my training was enough to make it through the race and to fine-tune my setup.  Thanks to Kiviok Hight and Lynda Wallenfels for the great preparation and training advice for the CTR!

When it's nice out I want to take everything out of my packs and leave it at home and when it's dumping rain and hail out all I can think is "that would suck to be out in that" and it makes me want to pack a lot more.

Kiviok who has tons of experience in the multi day Adventure racing world (Primal Quest, etc.) has given me great advice on what to bring which is basically nothing except minimalist survival gear.  After going over my setup with him several times he has successfully talked me into eliminating any kind of comfort.  Apparently, if you’re not miserable you have to much stuff, your sleeping too much and you’re eating too much.  I guess it takes a little time to convince myself that I really don't need things that seemed vital at the beginning.
The bike itself is ready to go except for a fork rebuild which I'm waiting on a new fork stanchion.  New Schwalbe Nobby Nic's are mounted.  I switched out a bunch of the light weight components with heavier duty ones to handle the additional weight and punishment during the ride which added 2 pounds to my bike. I picked out the pack I thought would work the best.  I tried a variety of different packs before settling on an Osprey Pack.  Thanks Osprey!

I'm still debating on the water filtration method (Steripen, Filtered water bottle, tablets).  Probably will end up being tablets and maybe one of the other methods.
Now I'm figuring out the ride logistics and making sure I have all the right maps and instructions to navigate the route.

I'm doing this race to help benefit The NEST which helps abused kids.  Please check out http://www.bigloopmaps.com/theme_Racing_for_Charity_01.html for more information.

The clock is ticking.  Can't wait to start! 

Colorado Trail Race (CTR) race preporation press

Got some nice press in the paper for the upcoming Colorado Trail Race CTR http://www.cortezjournal.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=2&ArticleID=16226.  It's nice to have the hometown behind you but it also comes with some additional pressure to finish.  That's always a good motivator!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

5th Place singlespeed in the Breckenridge 100

Just finished 5th place in the singlespeed category at the Breckenridge 100 (Breck 100) in Colorado.  100 miles and 13,000 feet of elevation gain.  It was my first time doing this race and it was a great course.  Lots of epic singletrack with some hike-a-bike through snowfields above timberline.  Numerous people I talked to said this race was significantly tougher than the Leadville 100.  Mostly because it was actually primarily on singletrack trails and not dirt roads.  I ran a 32x20 on my 29r with Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires and felt it worked well.  I might have run a 19 if I hadn't been training so hard for the Colorado Trail Race right up to this race.

The course consisted of three loops that each started and returned at the race venue in Carter Park.  Things started out poorly for me on the first climb.  I tried to hang with the leaders but soon seemed to be getting passed by everyone while I was trying to keep my breakfast from coming back up.  All these years of racing and I still haven’t figured out what works well for breakfast.  I didn't feel very good at all and my legs felt heavy.  I was in about 13th place in the singlespeed category at the top of the first climb.  Once we got above timberline I started to feel better and passed some people back in the hike-a-bike section and crossing the snowfields.  The decent was technical and cold but I continued passing people, mostly geared riders.  I rode with Matt Turgeon most of lap.  At Copper Mountain we hit a section of paved bike path and all the geared riders I just passed flew back by me.  The next section was awesome singletrack and my gearing was perfect for it.  I showed up back in Breckenridge, pitted, and started the 2nd loop in 11th place.

I was feeling much stronger and started passing more people on the second loop.  I went by Steve Reiter who was fixing a flat, tough luck!  The second loop is considered the toughest out of the three.  The Climb up Little French Flume was tough; the Colorado Trail section was epic and super fun.  Then you drop down to the golf course and it feels like your close to the venue but just to "kick you in the teeth while your down" the route sends you climbing again on a combination of singletrack and dirt roads.  By the end of that lap I had moved up to 7th place and was feeling great.  In the pit Dani lubed my chain and I loaded my rain jacket on the bike and stocked up on more food and bottles.

The rain started coming down on the climb up Boreas Pass but the way the clouds were moving it seemed like it would pass so I didn't put on the rain jacket.  I continued to pass geared riders up the hill and felt great but didn't see any other singlespeeders.  After cresting the saddle on Boreas pass I started the decent on sweet singletrack toward Como.  I hadn't seen another rider since before the pass.  Finally, just before Como I passed a couple more geared riders and another singlespeeder.  I had to stop and pit in Como to get some water bottles and the singlespeeder passed me back up.  The huge audience of race fans in the thriving metropolis of Como consisted of my Mom and Dad who live right by there and the people at the aid station.  Leaving Como there was a nasty headwind and even though the other singlespeeder was jumping on the tail of the geared riders I finally caught up and passed him.  Then he jumped on my tail and was drafting me for several miles.  Kind of irritating!  I ended up dropping him and then passed more racers and another singlespeeder up the hill.  After cresting the top of Boreas Pass again I didn't see anyone else all the way down back to the finish where I crossed the line in 5th place.  Fun race!

Mark Thompson (The Judge) hammered out the singlespeed win again this year but had much closer competition than in the past.  Michael Scott finished second and there was a battle between Jeffrey Carter and Michael Melley all the way to the finish.  Great race guys!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Racing the 470 mile Colorado Trail Race (CTR) to raise awareness and funds for The NEST

I'm racing the 470 mile Colorado Trail Race (CTR) starting August 1st 2011 and am using the opportunity to increase awareness and raise funds for The NEST in Cortez, Colorado. Donate at http://www.active.com/donate/nest

What is The NEST?

The NEST provides a safe, child-friendly environment that eases the emotional trauma experienced by children during the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases. http://www.nestcac.org

The mission of The NEST is to strengthen our community's response to child abuse and neglect through prevention, intervention, education and advocacy.

The Nest's goals:
  • Minimize trauma suffered by the child due to multiple contacts with different community professionals
  • Provide families with referrals for needed services
  • Maintain open communication and case coordination among the agencies involved in child protection efforts
  • Develop and promote prevention education programs for parents and care givers
  • Make available specialized training to enhance professional skills to effectively respond to child sexual and severe physical abuse
  • Educate mandated reporters of their legal responsibilities under Colorado law
  • Provide an educational component to enhance community awareness and understanding of child sexual and physical abuse
It's surprising and sad that organizations like this are so necessary in communities across the US and these abuses are so prevalent. The NEST facility requires expensive equipment and an experienced staff to function and this takes money.

"Shawn Gregory is a good friend of the Nest and has generously offered a unique and interesting way for people to contribute to the Nest's cause." TG

What is the Colorado Trail Race CTR?

The CTR is 470 miles and 65,000' of elevation gain winding through the Colorado Rocky Mountains from Denver to Durango. Approximately 300+ miles of singletrack at elevations ranging from 5500' to a gasping-for-breath 13,200'. The CTR is a monster! There is no entry fee, no support, no registration, and no prize money. http://www.climbingdreams.net/ctr/ There are strict rules against any kind of help, it must be completely self supported.

There are a small amount of mountain bikers who have finished the race and a very small amount that have completed it on a singlespeed. A lot can happen to a racer and their bike in 470 miles. Any rider with the best equipment, best training and best plan can still not finish, but that's what makes it exciting.

What is my motivation for helping The NEST?

While I was preparing for the CTR I was thinking about how lucky I was to be able to participate in this event. Knowing that there are plenty of kids, through no fault of their own, that may never know the thrill and enjoyment of riding a bike I decided to use the race to benefit kids.  I do this crazy stuff for no particular reason aside from the personal reward of accomplishing a goal, but this time I wanted it to benefit a much more worthy cause.  The obvious choice was The NEST.  It is difficult to talk about the abuses these kids have lived through. You just don't want to believe someone could that to a child. While we deal with tough days in our lives most of those hardships don't compare to what these innocent kids have gone through, and will continue to go through, as a result of these abuses.

Please help out the kids by donating?

100% of all the donations go directly to The NEST. They have setup a special Active account for donations. http://www.active.com/donate/nest Thank you!

Follow the race online?

Most endurance racers carry a GPS tracker call a Spot and progress can be viewed online.
See more details at http://www.bigloopmaps.com/theme_Racing_for_Charity_01.html
    Training with the setup

    The ctr setup

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Bailey Hundo Race, Epic competition!

    Just finished 4th in the Bailey Hundo 100 mile race in about 8 hours on a rigid singlespeed (and around 27th out of all the geared bikes).  At the finish there was 7 minutes between the top 4 finishers.  Close race!

    Tough competition!  I battled it out with Jeffrey Carter the entire race.  This will definitely be one of the most memorable battles in a race I have had moving around between 2nd and 4th many times throughout the race for 100 miles with a close finish.

    Rode the singlespeed with 32/18 gearing fully rigid (no suspension) and Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires.  Not sure about the rigid fork decision.  It seemed okay but obviously slowed me down on the descents where I usually am strong.  On the singletrack uphills I was catching back up without any problems.  Where I thought it would help me out was on the road but the steep washboard sections were pretty bad.  Next time I would go with a front fork and 32/19.  Not sure if it would be faster but it would definitely be funner!

    All the racers lined up at 6am in Bailey Colorado for the mass start which immediately climbed out of town on a road.  My gearing was tough for the climbs but I was fresh and passing large groups of geared riders.  By the time we hit the Colorado Trail singletrack I was in 3rd place and feeling good.  The singletrack was fast and I continued passing geared racers.  About an hour into the race I spotted another singlespeeder ahead of me on a climb.  They're the ones with a cadence of 40 on the steep climbs.  That turned out to be Jeffrey Carter.  At the rate I caught up to him I thought it wouldn't be long before I had a significant lead on him but he came right back and pass me again.

    We went back and forth like that for the remainder of the race.  Every time I though I had some distance on him he showed back up.  At about 45 miles into the race Jeff was bombing down the hill making time on me while I dropped behind getting pounded with the rigid front fork.  After stopping to empty my bladder which was getting punished at every bump I hesitated at an unmarked turn to make sure I was going the correct direction and Andrew Carney showed up and passed me.  This put me into 4th.  It looked like he had an easier gear than me which worked well for that section.

    When the trail leveled out I ate some food while riding and had to stop twice and pickup a bunch of stuff that flew out of my feedbag.  I caught back up and passed Andrew and Jeff which put me back in 2nd.  I felt great in the next section of singletrack and Jeff was right behind me and Andrew had dropped back out of site.

    After a huge decent on a number of steep switchbacks down to the Sough Platte river at mile 56 there was an aid station with our drop bags.  I almost didn't stop but there was a bottle of Hammer HEED in my bag that sounded much better than all the water at the other aid stations so I stopped to get it which ended up taking more time than it was worth.  Unfortunately for us, during this optional pit, Andrew didn't stop and blew by us (we found out at the end).  Andrew must have really made some time there.  When Jeff and I got started you could see a long distance down the road and Andrew was not in site.  I started to suspect that Andrew didn't pit but I thought we would be able to catch him on the road with our higher gearing.  Jeff and I stayed together on most of the road section.  About a mile before the big climb just after Deckers I noticed Jeff had fallen back and once again I thought I might have dropped him for good and I was in 3rd.

    The climb over Stoney Pass was steep and tough with my gearing.  At the top of the first climb Jeff caught back up to me and passed me once again.  We were together until the next climb where he gained some distance on me.  The remaining 10 miles I could always see him and was able to get closer behind him but then he would pull forward again.  I could see him constantly looking back at me and I was giving everything I had to try and pass him but didn't get the chance the rest of the race.

    I rolled across the finish in 4th just after Jeff and a geared rider and learned that 1st and 2nd were a short distance in front of us.  Andrew had passed Mark Thompson right before the finish.  Mark Thompson had lead the entire race only to be passed at the end.  Tough finish!  Andrew Carney rode a strong race.  Nice finish Andrew!

    They had free food, beer and a band playing along the river at the finish.  Nice!  It was a great race.  The logistics were a little difficult since the pre-race meeting, race start, camping (Friday night only), race parking, and the race finish were all in a different, drive to, locations.  It was all worth it and the fact that the race benefited kids was great!

    Race Start

    I'm chasing Jeff through the burn area on some sweet singletrack

    6am at the start.  A bit chilly

    Nice award
    The bike setup

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Getting ready for the Bailey Hundo this weekend

    Here is my setup for the Bailey Hundo 100 miles mountain bike race starting in Bailey Colorado next weekend  http://www.bailey100.com/ .  Fully stupid rigid singlespeed!  Is this a good idea?  Well see.  I wished I could've pre-ridden the course but looking at the route I'm thinking of running a tougher gear.  http://www.bailey100.com/map.html  Riding on a Schwalbe Racing Ralph rear tire and either a Ralph or Nobby Nic on the front.

    The Bailey HUNDO supports three youth biking initiatives in Colorado: Trips For Kids Denver/Boulder, which offers mountain biking opportunities to underserved youth and changes lives “two wheels at a time”! Colorado High School Cycling League, a new resource for high school students around the state to be exposed to the world of mountain bike racing--and developing the racers of tomorrow who will ride YOUR legs off!  Kids On Bikes giving new bikes to children in the Pikes Peak region "through programs that inspire a healthy lifestyle, independence, and achievement”.

    I LOVE RACES THAT BENEFIT KIDS LIKE THIS!  If you have a pile of cash laying around, you can donate on my fund raising account at http://www.prerace.com/registration/donation/7299 or as an alternative just take a kid biking.  Thanks!

    There is some tough competition!  I'm planning, as usual, to do my best and hope to get on the podium.  It looks like an awsome course.  A large portion of the singletrack is on the Colorado Trail which is always rewarding!
    This is a proper parking spot if you consider lack of brain cells used to setup a bike like this to do a 100 mile race

    Monday, May 30, 2011

    224 mile Death ride in a day on the Road bike, Colorado's San Juan Skyway loop by bike

    This is a one day road bike ride (aka the Death Ride version) on Colorado's San Juan Skyway loop. Starting in Dolores Colorado; Dolores > Mancos > Durango > Silverton > Ouray > Ridgeway > Telluride > Dolores.  224 miles and around 20,000 feet of elevation gain in over 19 hours
    Every other day of the year I race and ride a singlespeed mountain bike. Two days prior to the ride a friend talked me into doing the Death Ride again instead of the KTR. I had done it in the past clockwise but this time we would go counterclockwise.  I hadn't ridden the road bike for over two years so I dusted it off, replaced the tires (Same ones from RAAM a few years earlier) and we started at the Dolores River Brewery at 4:30am. Brutal head winds which really slowed down my progress but overall a great route for a road bike ride.

    Due to the high winds forecasted there was some debate whether we should postpone the ride but the following day was the only other option and it was going to be much colder so we started anyway.

    Kiviok and I battled headwinds all the way to Durango but still made good time.  In the crowded metropolis of Durango it took as long to get food and stand in line for the restroom at McDonalds as it would have going to a higher quality establishment which burned a bunch of time.  Then some guy asked me how to get to the airport and then didn't believe me when I told him numerous times in several different explanations which cost more time.  I was happy to get out of town again climbing the popular Iron Horse route over Molas pass to Silverton.  The climb was good and there was some tailwind or headwind depending on which direction the switchbacks were facing.  Downhill was crazy with the wind swirling and switching directions.  I had to slow down because I felt like I might crash.  The views were spectacular.

    Kiviok had to pull out at Silverton which I had never seen happen before.  He was obviously not feeling well on the climb and was totally bummed.  He had a tough week of hard training.  Obviously too much.  He waited there for his wife to pick him up.

    I was feeling good so I resupplied with water and Gatorade ate a lunchable and pressed on over Red Mountain Pass and descended down to Ouray then to Ridgeway.  This section was beautiful and Ouray is a very picturesque town.  In Ridgeway I stopped at a Coffee shop and had a veggie breakfast burrito which was great.

    Leaving Ridgeway I was making great time.  At the Dallas Divide climb things slowed down considerably.  The wind had dramatically picked up at noon just like the forecast predicted.  I was in my lowest gear standing during most of the climb.  Even though this wasn't one of the big mountain passes it worked out to be the toughest climb that day.  There were no trees to block any of the wind.  When I stopped to take a picture the wind was blowing me backwards down the hill.

    There was no reward when I finally reached the crest and started to descend.  The wind was so bad that I had to still pedal with considerable effort down the hill.  I was looking at the elevation graph to make sure I was still going downhill and it showed I was descending but it didn't feel like it. There were broken limbs in the road and an aspen tree.  Looking at the trees getting rocked by the wind I started to worry about one landing on me.  Then it started to rain but there was not a cloud in the sky close to me.  Rough section that day!

    After the turn and climbing toward Telluride the wind was still horrible but was more intermittent.  In Telluride I resupplied and grabbed a pizza slice at the Conoco station and immediately started the climb to Lizard Head pass in an effort to beat the sunset to the summit.  There were a lot of elk alongside the road in this section.  I never could figure out why the grass is so much tastier there as opposed to the millions of acres of nation forest nearby.  I arrived at the top of the pass just after dark.  It was brutally windy and cold.

    After two elk ran directly in front of me in the dark on top of the pass I became skeptical that I had sufficient light to spot wildlife on the descent.  That became a non-issue on the descent since the wind was blowing so bad I couldn't get going a high speed anyway.  The descent was cold and it rained lightly until I hit Rico.

    After Rico my wife Dani showed up to follow me to Dolores.  How cool is that?  The extra light was great.  I could see the numerous limbs on the road from the wind.  The last section required continued effort even though it was mostly downhill due to the constant wind.

    I arrived in Dolores around midnight.  It was great to be done even though it was an awesome ride!  Just after finishing the rain really started coming down.  Glad I missed that!  Legs still felt pretty good at the end but the neck mussels and hamstrings were a bit sore and I was glad to get off the saddle.

    I would definitely recommend this as a bucket list ride.  If not one day, take your credit card and do it in three or four days which would still be difficult.  It can be done faster than this but I took time to check some things out and was not riding at a race effort.  There is a race on this loop as well and a three day tour also called the Death Ride. http://www.deathridetour.com/about.php
    Overall the ride is not as tough as a 24 hour mountain bike race solo effort in my opinion but it is still very difficult.

    Check out the stats:


    What I took:

    On the bike:
    3 water bottles
    2 tubes
    Adapter to fill tires at a gas station
    Put on my mountain bike seat (since that's what I always use)
    CO2 cartridges
    Tire levers
    Velcro straps
    Light on my bike (Aye-up 6 hour)
    Garmin 705
    Rechargeable external Duracell USB battery for Garmin (Get at Wall Mart)
    Feeder bag by stem for energy food
    Feeder bag by seatpost for trash
    Jando frame bag.  These are sweet!  Take the weight off your back!
    Extra parts: Bolts, cleat and screws, zip ties, duct tape
    Small bottle of chain lube
    Blister pads
    Phone in a waterproof bag
    Driver’s license
    Cash & credit card

    For me:
    Rain jacket (strapped to the bike stem)
    Arm warmers
    Knee warmers
    Wool socks
    Warm gloves
    Summer gloves
    Clear glasses
    Head beanie

    Fuel I started with and consumed throughout the ride:
    3 bottles of HEED
    1Tube of Hammer Gel
    2 Honey Stinger chews
    3 Honey Stinger waffles
    6 Advil
    3 Natural enzymes
    12 Endurolytes

    Fuel I purchased during the ride:
    2 Egg McMuffins, water and some Powerade in Durango
    1 Lunchable, water & Gatorade in Silverton
    1 Veggie breakfast burrito, water & Powerade in Ridgeway
    1 Slice of Pizza, water & Gatorade in Telluride

    4:30 am start in Dolores

    Sunrise just before Mancos
    McDonald's in Durango

    1st pass
    2nd Pass
    View toward Silverton from Molas pass

    Lost of snow still
    3rd pass, Red Mountain

    Motorcycle went over the side on Red Mountain, they just winched it up on the trailer from down below
    Cool shot of Ouray

    Waterfall between Ouray and Ridgeway

    Coffee shop in Ridgeway
    Ralph Lauren's ranch outside of Ridgeway

    Riding to the other side of those mountains

    Not a pass but was tough with the wind that day
    Telluride is in the distance

    4th pass, in the dark


    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Mountain bike ride around McPhee Reservoir in Dolores Colorado

    Did a local 67 mile ride around McPhee reservoir on Sunday.  The recent snow made the singletrack trails to muddy to ride so we stayed on the graded roads except through Sagehen where the normally cool trail dropping down to the river was a mudfest.  The rest of the ride was very scenic and pretty mellow sticking to the graded roads circling the lake.  Kiviok and I started from my house through the town of Dolores on 145 and 184 to the turnoff for the reservoir.  Then through Sagehen down to the lower Dolores river to Bradfield bridge.  Normally we take the trail up along the lake to Dry Fork but that would have been muddy.  A big climb up to Salter Y then past the pump station and onto the Boggy draw trail back to the house.  Lots of wildlife!  Singlespeeds geared 32x18.
    Stats http://connect.garmin.com/activity/87653055 
    Left the house at 9.  I'd fix it up a little but I needed some new parts for my bike
    Riding through Dolores
    Road next to the lake on the way to Sagehen
    Kiviok carrying his bike through the mud

    Mud!!! Kiv's bike standing by itself
    Couldn't even ride downhill, there was to much mud on this normally great section dropping to the river.  I resorted to dragging my bike by the seat for a bit
    Cleaning up

    Washing the bike in the Lower Dolores


    Which way should be go? Bradfield bridge, the 2500' climb up    
    Nice few of the mountains
    Boggy singletrack
    67 Miles