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.

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