Sunday, May 31, 2009

I had the pleasure of heading on over to the Bozone this weekend to recon the SSMT course.  On Saturday myself and the Mule Crew (Cory, Eric, and Julie) headed up to trail which will be used for SSMT, as well as the Muleterro race.  We wanted to make sure the trail was in good shape, try to figure out how many laps racers would do, and try to determine where the start finish area would go.  As seems to be par for the course up here in the Big Sky, the trail is a solid climb, with a few steep sections followed by a solid descent on a DH style trail.  No real flat spots to allow for that recovery thing, which I'm a little bummed out over.  Below you can see Cory who stopped during the climb to soak in the view of the Bozeman Valley.  

Once we got to the top of the trail, Eric, Julie, and self headed off to try to find a proper area to have a staging area.  Lady luck must have joined up on the ride because after riding up the dirt road for a bit we came to a perfect area for the staging area.  Plenty of room for parking, several camping spots, and some fire pits were right off the road, making this the spot.  So with that if you do choose to make the trip to SSMT from afar, you can camp out at the race site.  Camping will be primitive so bring everything you might need, but I'm willing to bet the night before there will be some folks up there having a good time.  The view aint that bad either.

Some other stuff I determined was that aside from the standard cross country race, the second portion of the bike race will be a hill climb.  I'm leaning towards making it a Les Mans start, where racers will have to run to their bikes with their front wheel in hand, put the wheel on the bike, then start the climb.  The cross country race will also include a "choose your own adventure" section.  At the end of the descent there is a fork in the trail, racers can go either way they want.  I wont disclose which route is faster, that will just be part of the fun.  There is also an old beat down cabin on the route, where beverages and treats will be stashed, who knows there might even be some sort of reward for stopping and enjoying a drink.    

Choose your own adventure, which trail will be faster?

Will this be a part of the hill climb?

So in the end it was a good weekend to go check out the course/venue, the weather was great, and the trail was in good condition.  Sunday was my "divide day", where I only road trails that had the word divide in their name.  After watching the final stage of the Giro with Horan, I headed up and road the Bangtail Divide, which still had a fair chunk of snow at certain points.  On the drive home through Butte, I stopped at the top of Homestake Pass to ride a quality section of the Continental Divide Trail.  Both trails had good switchback climbs, which reward your efforts with great views and even better singletrack.  I just hope the trails in the Saphires are as good, when I head to ride there at the end of the week.  

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Giving a Little Something Back to the Singletrack Gods

About two years ago, through the pipes that make up the internets I became aware of the Montana Mountain Bike Alliance.  They were fighting the good fight to keep many many miles of singletrack open in Montana to mountain biking, especially in the Beaverhead Deerlodge Forest (that hit home for me because I think the singletrack in the Pioneers is TOP NOTCH).  Anywho, I had an email in the Inbox from these fine folks telling me about some trail work days and a seminar this coming weekend down in Bozeman.  The seminar is on Monday June 1, 2009 at MSU, no word if punch and pie will be provided.  Trail work will be done for the next three Sundays (5/31, 6/6, and 6/13) at the Leverich Trail in Bozeman.  So if you have some free time this Sunday, and won’t be doing that Cow Country Race up here in Big Sky Country, give some time back to the trail gods.  I'll be making the trip, and plan to recon the SSMT course on Saturday with the Mules.     

On a similar note, the fine folks down in the AZ are trying to pull together some scratch for the AZ trail.  For those who arent aware, the AZ Trail is 800 miles of singletrack which runs the length of Arizona (north to south).  I had the pleasure to both ride and work on the sections of the trail down by Tucson when I was living in those parts, and let me tell you it is primo desert singletrack.  So if you feel like helping out fellow mountain bikers, go vote, it wont take you too long.  

Finally big ups to Wicki for getting a big solo win at the 24 Hrs of Finale across the pond.  Also looks like the rest of the Niner gang went gang busters on the field.  Fuzzy says they won the overall by the largest margin of victory in the history of the race.  Not bad for a motley crew rocking the singlespeeds.  

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Training Day

The email from Bill read something like this, ”I plan on doing a nine hour ride on Saturday, riding a three hour loop and practicing on pits.”  With the next race on the docket being my first 24-hour solo attempt, I figured I should tag along to try to get ready.  I loaded up a backpack with all the water bottles I own, snickers bars, fig newtons, and potato chips, and made my way up to the trailhead.  I got up the trailhead and met Garland who is trying to prep for the Creampuff and Leadville, but Bill was nowhere to be seen.  As it turns out, Bill had planned to do the ride on Sunday, but neither Garland nor I wanted to put off the miles for another day.  We figured that instead of just riding a loop, we would go off and ride trails in the Rattlesnake, stopping every now and again to get more water and eat some food.  So in the end all that matters was we got our 9 hours of riding in, rode a ton of singletrack, and my legs feel pretty decent today.  Got an email from toby of me on the podium below.       

Thursday, May 21, 2009

RIP Steve Larsen

Sad news passed through the American cycling community on Tuesday and Wednesday, when people learned of Steve Larsen’s passing. According to reports he collapsed while running in Bend, OR and the exact cause of death has yet to be determined. My main memory of Steve, was back in 2000, when OLN actually showed mountain bike races, just dominating a mountain bike race. I don’t remember anything specific expect for Steve working his competition over like a load of laundry, and winning the National Championship. After watching the race I also remember reading something in a mountain biking magazine to the extent of “Steve Larsen was pissed that he wasn’t selected for the US Olympic Team, so he shaved his head and went out and won a bunch of races.” I’m a big fan of anyone doing anything with a giant chip on their shoulder, so that immediately made me a fan of him. He also had his name grace a line of Maxxis tires, which is no small feat.

After that I remember reading something that he made the switch over to Ironman Triathalons. Surprise surprise he would go on and to smoke the bike section and post impressive results. That was all I knew until the other day when reading the article about his passing where it said that he may have been the only American to compete at World Championships for road, cross, mountain biking, and track. Talk about a “jack of all trades,” if that doesn’t impress you, then get off my planet. Turns out he also raced across the pond for Motorola on the road, raced the Giro, the first edition of the Tour of Georgia, and you couldn’t find a fellow racer who could say an unkind word about him. More importantly he was a father of five children, which is probably more rewarding than any race result he achieved. With that, I will offer my thoughts to Steve’s family, and hope that they know that they are being thought of and prayed for by many people.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Long Way Home

With the racing in Boise all wrapped up, I chose to take the long way home through the Sawtooths back to Missoula.  I figured I’d wake up early Sunday morning, hit the road, stop in Hailey/Ketchum to ride, stop to soak in some hot springs, then head on home up the Bitterroot.  Once I made the turn off the freeway towards Hailey, I hit my only snag of the day; a sheep herd was being moved.  A line of cars moved along at about 5 miles an hour while the local “citizens on patrol” honked their horns to keep the sheep moving along the road.  It’s good to see that in the Wild Wild West the cowboy and his trusty sheep dogs have been replaced by a Ford pickup truck constantly honking a car horn.  I felt bad for the one old looking sheep which had been left behind the herd, but seemed content to just move along at their own pace, and even stopping to sit on multiple occasions.  After crawling along for about 40 minutes, the herd was moved off the road, and I was back to speeding along the road. 


Those white dots are all the sheep

This was the old sheep bringing up the rear

            By 10 I had made it to Hailey, and stopped at the first bike shop I saw to double check about what trails to ride.  My new main daime Chopper had told me a new trail, which had just been cut, but according to the local folk, it wasn’t kosher to ride on Sunday.  Instead a local who I now know as “Santa”, and I agreed to go out for a ride on the trails just outside of Hailey.  We changed, and in no time were heading out to ride the fine trails around Hailey.  If you have never had a chance to ride in this neck of the woods, make it a priority.  The trails are buff, the climbs are challenging, and the scenery is spectacular.  I was also impressed by the fact that Santa kept telling me that a lot of the trails had been cut by local cyclists.  We rode some really good “girlfriend” trails that left right from town, and despite the fact that they lacked solid climbs and descents, they were still extremely challenging.  After a good two hours of riding we called it quits, and before heading out of town I chatted with one of the locals about coming down for the Galena Grinder, and possibly getting an Idaho crew to come up for SSMT. 


Trail outside of Haily, some of the best

            With a giant smile on my face I hit the road, heading over the Galena summit, then along the Salmon River through Stanley and Challis.  South of Salmon I stopped along 93, threw my towel in a bag and headed a mile up a trail to go soak in some primo hot springs.  It had been six years since I last went to these hot springs, but it seemed like nothing had changed.  I got to the end of the trail, and had the hot springs all to myself.  The soaking was cut short due to all of the bees, which seemed to be content buzzing around my head.  I made the hike back to the car, drank the last of my lukewarm coffee, and got in my “Missoula or bust” mentality.  Three hours later, and one stop for huckleberry ice cream later I was back in Missoula.  So just recap, the drive back when off without a hitch, I never saw a cloud in the sky, got to ride primo trail, soaked in hot springs, and had ice cream for dinner.  The low point of my day was being behind the sheep herd, which when I think about it in retrospect puts a smile on my face.  It reminds me of the 2004 RATPOD, when during the descent of Badger Pass the cyclist were forced to negotiate their way through a cattle drive.  Now I all I have to look forward to is another week of work, and paying some bills.     

My view from the hot springs.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Coyote Race Report

Back in Boise, this time for the Coyote Classic mtb race put on the great folks over at the Knobby Tire Series.  Before the race got underway I was lucky enough to see Wild Rockies Toby and Dick.  The two of them kept me honest the last time I was down here to race, and it was good to hear that they had killed it at Sea Otter.  At Barking Spider Toby managed to beat my less than a minute, and I was hoping that with a little bit of elbow grease and luck, we would be able to switch positions on the podium.  I went out to warm up and pre-ride the course, which was especially uneventful.  In due time all gathered at the start line, wished each other good luck, and waited for the word “Go.”

The start was a substantial climb on pavement and gravel, and sure enough myself, Toby, and Dick, were in the lead for the singlespeeders, and right up there with the pros.  I managed to pass Toby and Dick, but that became a mute point when on the first steep descent my water bottles were knocked out due to all the ruts.  Having lived in Tucson for a year I am hesitant to go on a ride without water, so I stopped and picked up my bottles, while Toby and Dick passed me.  I remounted and started off with a renewed sense of aggression, and managed to once again grab the lead of the singlespeeders.  The first section of the course was all doubletrack, and as expected I would put a gap on Dick during the climbs, then he would catch and pass me on the descents.  Turns out Toby had taken a gnarly digger, so it was up to me and Dick to duke it out. 

  We hit the singletrack, and at my first chance I passed Dick, and did my best to put some time into him.  I got behind some geared rider, who eventually let me pass, once he realized I had no gears and that we weren’t in the same class.  I kept riding as hard as I could, trying to put as much time into my lead on the climbs, knowing that I would lose time on the descents.  The doubletrack was in rough condition, and on a few occasions I thought to myself that those folks with dual suspension were onto things.  The descents also had a significant amount of deep ruts, and loose sandy corners, which made descending the course blind a little tricky.  I managed to avoid taking any spills, and even managed to hold off Dick, who was hovering at around 30 seconds behind me.

  I came off the final section of singletrack, and hit the final doubletrack climb.  As with any climb during a race, this one seemed to never end.  I was worried that the heat might finally catch up to me on this last section, and my legs would cramp up shouting “no more!”.  Fortunately lady luck was smiling down on me, and the start finish area came into view.  On the final descent I gave it everything I had, and managed to take the win.  30 seconds after that Dick crossed the line, and we exchanged congratulations.  In time all racers made their way across the finish line, folks chatted, and the keg was tapped.  We hung around for the awards ceremony, where all those who made the podium got necklaces.  Once the awards were finished all said our goodbyes, and went on our merry ways.  Next up on the list is riding in Sun Valley, GIDDY UP!  

Getting up on the podium.

Friday, May 15, 2009


The usual Thursday night "Mangy Crew Ride" ride went down, and as per Mr. MTCX email instructions of bringing a date, the group came out to a solid 21.  Future Marlboro Man Himself and lady made the trip over the divide, and showed up dressed to the nines.  All were impressed with the get ups, and in due time the group made its way to the trailhead.  Despite the gloomy skies and winds, Mother Nature was kind enough to hold off on any major showers. A black bear was spotted, a good time was had by all, and there were no mechanicals until Horan managed to get a flat on the last 40 feet of trail.  Next years tax return will probably show up before I get the tall boy he promised me for lending him some CO2.  

Enjoy the photos below.  There are more, so if you were on the ride and wondered if there are any of you, drop and email to

This gal introduced herself to me, and I forgot her name in no time.  I suck, but she was a quite the pedaler, always riding up in the front.

Firebaugh doing his thing, the sharkies he offered up were tasty.

The Prodigy back from Nationals

Matty Ice and some dude whos name I never got.  

After Thursday comes Friday, which for me means a half day at work, followed by spending several hours in the black mamba driving to a race.  Last weekend it was Northern Utah, for ICUP, this weekend it's Boise for the Coyote Classic.  The drive went off with out a hitch, once I got over Lolo Pass I don't think I saw another cloud in the sky.  Hooked up the I-pod, turned up the volume, and listened to some good tunes.  The CR-V got her little swerve on, and almost made it all the way to Boise on just one tank of the old petrol.  Here's a little taste of what the drive along the Lochsa looked like.


Made it to town, and let myself into T-Sak's place where I get to crash for the weekend.  Despite all the times back at Lafayette I would wake her up at 8 am on a Saturday morning while drinking Mad Dog Number 2, she trusts me to crash out of her place even when she's on the other side of the country.  Guess those 4 years in college were worthwhile after all.  Now time to suck down another Trout Slayer, and double check all the info for Coyote Classic tomorrow.  So far its been two races and two second places, and I'm hoping for some improvement.  Good luck to all you Big Sky folk who only have to travel to Helena to race this weekend.  Spent some portion of the drive thinking that it might be better to stay in Missoula, and just do the Helena race.  Then I remind myself of getting to ride Sun Valley trail, stopping for some hot springs near Salmon, and hitting up Papa T's for some huckleberry ice cream on the way back.  It will be a good weekend.    

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

For Tomke

Before I get to my advice for the one and only Tom Boonen , I want to send some thanks out to the good folk who have been kind enough to mention, link, or post stuff for SSMT.  Mr. MTCX was nice enough to add me to his favorite blogs, Homie Gnomie over at Drunkcyclist put up a post for me, and some dude over at Singlephile has already shown interest.  So to you three a big old fashioned "hip hip huzzah!" for getting some good karma on your side.  
For those of you who follow the world of cycling, you know that Tom Boonen has turned out to be a bigger fan of the booger sugar than we originally thought.  Apparently homeboy tested positive three times in the past couple years, but he never got a full on two year suspension because according to the powers that be, coke is not that bad if you are using it out of competition.  I'm not surprised that a 20 something guy who lives in Europe, has boatloads of dough, rock star status, a pet donkey, and a techno song written about him likes the drugs.  But now Tomke's house of cards is starting to tumble, the man who could rock your socks off in the classics, and duke it out with the best sprinters, has been suspended, and once again isn't welcome in France this July.
Now I'm no drug counselor, and have never used the Colombian BAM BAM, but I feel like I could help Tomke to keep his nose powder free.  He says hes not addicted, just that hes made some mistakes.  For now I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, and just offer some advice that came to me earlier this day.  The first thing Tomke needs to do is rent True Romance with Christian Slater.  If that movie can teach you anything its cocaine will lead to someone being stabbed in the foot with a corkscrew, and someone losing an eye.  I'm just spit ballin here, but I doubt you'll worthwhile in a sprint with only one eye and a hole in your foot.  
Once Tomke's done with True Romance he should read Darryl Stawberry's book.  The Straw talks about how much crack and cocaine ruined his life, and lead him towards jail.  When I was in middle school and The Straw made a comeback with the Yankees, and all I remember hearing about was how drugs ruined his life.  It scared me straight, I was petrified of crack and cocaine, all because I thought if I used them I would wind up like The Straw.  Hopefully the book and the movie will get Tomke to keep his nose clean, if not then maybe he needs his grandmother to give him a good smack upside the head, that always works for me.   

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


The inspiration for SSMT came about from having had the privilege to partake in some phenomenal singlespeed events.  My buddy Dejay has been putting on SSAZ for the past four years, and I have been lucky enough to race in two editions.  SSAZ was all about a group of singlespeeders getting together, riding in the desert (in January), and spending the day riding some 50 miles worth of trails/backroads.  The people who joined in the festivities were top notch, everyone was friendly with everyone, no one talked about gearing, and the booze flowed like a Tucson flash flood.  Since SSAZ takes place in Tucson, and it costs a fair chunk of bills to get to, I figured I might as well try to make something similar to it happen in my backyard.  The Muleterro gang had already secured the date for an XC race that day, and were kind enough to let me tag along and put together my own event.  I figured it might be worthwhile to be a little bit less selfish, and spend some time to try and put together a race that I would enjoy for others. 

The idea to make it a three-part event (with one part being non-cycling) came from SSWC05 and SSUSA.  For those who don’t know SSWX05 was a two-part event, the first being the proper cross-country cycling event, the second being a Go-Cart race.  The fastest singlespeeders and some random lucky folk all started off with a blank slate after the XC race, and whoever won the Go-Cart race was the official winner.  At last years SSUSA, the top riders from an XC race (with a beer a lap minimum), and hill climb challenge, moved onto a jousting contest.  Once again after the cycling events, all those who advanced had a clean slate, and the best jouster earned the title.  For some silly reason, the idea of someone winning a cycling event, by doing the best at a non-cycling event is awesome.  Anyway, the slim skinny is that I’m trying to model an event after some of the great events that I’ve taken part in, or events that I have heard great events about.  With that I came up with SSMT, an event that I'm hoping will be create, and folks will be happy to have taken part in.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The 411

Well here we go, this is the first post for SSMT, which depending on how things work out will either be the greatest or worst mountain bike race in the history of Montana, nay THE WORLD.  Anyway, as of now there are not huge amount of details, but here is what I do know.  Mark August 29, 2009 on your calenders and start figuring out a way to get yourself to Bozeman, MT.  SSMT will be a three part race (two parts bikes, one part not bikes), where winners will walk away with a prize that would make Flava Flav jealous.  I will be trying to post stuff on a regular basis whether it is new race information, things that I think are worthwhile, or anything else that might pass across the smoking crater that is my brain.  If you have any questions, send all emails to