Sunday, May 31, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
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
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
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.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
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!
Friday, May 15, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
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.