Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pontiac Lake "XC" Classic - New and Improved!

One of my favorite races and places to ride year after year has been Pontiac Lake. In the past this opener to the Tailwind USAC XC series has been traditionally a time trial. But this year we jumped right in with some heart in the throat, balls out, man to man XC racing! And I think it worked out very well. My hats off to Tailwind for making some nice changes and pulling off a flawless day. And to boot they had a HUGE turnout. Hope that means more good things for MTB racing in the state!

As for me, I had a good day overall. And it went something like this. There were a lot of new faces on the line this year, and they all proved to be very fast. We hit full gas as soon as the word go entered our ears! Roger took the hole shot and wasnt looking back. Brad followed, then Alex then me. Gus Hemingway was in the mix along with Jon Dub-9 as well. We rolled at a blistering pace. And Roger and Brad were getting a gap as we went into 2 mile hill. I felt like crap! HR was not feeling in control, and legs heavy. But I was able to put out a nice consistent power. Just could not attack or react to digs. We rolled around in the woods a bit on Alex's wheel. Brad and Roger were no longer in site. About 6 miles in, Mike Wissink caught my group. I was sensing Alex was past his limit, as his climbing was beginning to slow down. Gus appeared to be content with hanging on. As Mike called out to pass, we all pulled over, braked and let him go. I was on the back of the group and as Mike went by, I jumped on knowing this would be my chance to try and break the group. We went into one of the faster sections on the race, and around the 8th mile, Were treated to monster mud hole! Mike slammed on the brakes and we all stacked up. We tried to cut through the muddy woods, but it wasn't much better. Mike made it through but I lost his wheel as I was stopped dead in my tracks. Then I heard a big sploosh!!!!!! It was Dub-9 going right through the middle of the mud and carrying all his speed thus hooking up onto the back of the Wissink train. I made my move to get away from the chaos as soon as I could to get a gap, and try to not let Dub-9 go. I made it with about 15-20 yards, but just could not latch on. During the process, I was able to grow my gap over Alex and Gus to the point that I could not see them in the woods any longer. I pushed as hard as I could through lap 2 but just really could not get it going like I wanted. I crossed the line and took 4th. A good result, but hoping for better in the coming weeks.

Congrats to Brad Lako for taking his first ever UASC Cat 1 Expert XC Mountain Bike Win! He tore some shit up today, and I am very proud of you brother!

Also congrats to Jeff Payn for 1st in the single speed class, Pat Russell for 2nd.
Mike Wissink - 1st in Expert 40-49
Rob Selle - 2nd Expert 40-49
Shawn Schaffert - 3rd Expert 40-49
Jordan Wakely for taking back to back wins in Elite this weekend (Rust Shaker and PLRA XC)!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Yankee Spring TT

You know its spring when the Yankee Springs Time Trial is upon us. Even if mother nature doesn't think so. This race is always a good test to see how the plan is going, and to see how everyone else is going as well. In all I had a great race and hit my goal of a top 10 or higher in the Elite/Expert Single speed class with 6th place. This year had a stacked field, so I felt very fortunate to be mixed in with such a fast crowd.

I ended up getting caught by Steve Blake which ate up my 10 second gap. But we rode wheel to wheel for the entire race after that. This was a good test for me, as Steve is usually on the Single Speed podium, and I was able to hang. At several times during the race, I thought he was going to rip my legs off a few times when he threw in a few digs. Luckily I was able to match them. But in the end It was great to have someone push my limits the entire time. NO REST! And I even took 1 second back that I lost.

Congrats to the KLM boys for some more fine racing! Brad snagged a 3rd and Joe took the top step honors in the Elite/Expert Single speed class. JTP had a great ride as well. So needless to say, all your hard work has already been paying off boys, and I am very proud of you!

The season is in full bloom, Pontiac Lake XC is next!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mike's Mix Sports Nutrition - Coming to a Race Near You!

I want to thank Mike's Mix Sports Nutrition for offering their racing support to me this year! This is going to be sweet!

If you are tired of paying an arm and a leg for sports and recovery drink mixes, but refuse to sacrifice quality, you need to checkout Mike's Mix Sports Nutrition!

And from now through May 17th, you have an opportunity to save an additional 10% off their already unbelievable low prices. Just click on the Mike's Mix logo link on the side of this page and enter the discount code below at the checkout!


Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Lowell 50.... "28 mile version"

I made the decision to do the Lowell 50 last week. After having such a great time at Barry, I was itching to race, and itching to race on the gravel even more. I have had this race on my radar for some time now. So I began to check out the web site to learn a little more about the race. When I seen the course profile, I knew I had to do it. It was set up perfect for me. Short steep hills in the beginning, long power flats through open farm fields, followed by a few more rollers for good measure. I was in! I decided to do the 28 miler to stick with my training for all out XC Mountain bike race distance. And as the week led up to the race, I was getting excited for a new challenge.

Well race day came, and it wasn't a very smooth start. I got to bed late the night before from packing all my racing crap. And then half way to the course, I realized I forgot my computer! UGH! Not only was I not going to know my time, I would be racing on a course I never seen before. Nothing like racing blind. So I was not happy with myself. I get to the race, get my number and then start assembling my bike. Then I find that my front tire is flat. Oh man, this is a very strange day. I swap the tube and found that the old one had a ripped valve stem. How does that happen the day before a race? I take some time to relax and skipped my warm up because I was freezing and not very motivated at this point. With about 15 mins to the start, I roll up to the line since everyone was already trying to get their spot picked out. I chatted with many friends and was now starting to feel the vibe again. I was ready to rock!

The 50 mile racers took off first, and then it was the 28 mile group. We rolled out at a decent pace, and I soon made my way to the first 10-15 spots. We hit the first covered bridge about 1 mile in and made the transition to the gravel. I moved up a few more spots. Another mile in, we were already picking up the the tail of the 50 mile group. And then things began to go up and steep! We hit the first big climb hard. Instantly guys in the 28 mile group began to fall back. I quickly made my way around as many as possible and found myself in the front of the group. We were down to about 10-15 guys. I soon found an allie in the group - Jeff "Slayer" Haney. Jeff was in front of me and putting out a good pace. I pulled up and said "hey Jeff, lets work together". He was very happy to see me and we pushed ahead. We stayed on the front for about 5 miles. The wind was absolutely brutal for most of the course, and no one would offer to help. So Jeff turned up the screws and began to attack every hill. I followed and took my pulls. One by one riders were popping. We got to about the 8 mile mark or so, and were finally able to assess the damage we have done. We now had about a 30 sec to 1 min gap over the chasing group. We both felt strong and agreed to keep the pace as high as we could. By this time, we were getting into the flatter farm land. I told Jeff to hang onto my wheel and I would pull through this section as long as I could to grow the gap. About half way through I asked Jeff a question, but he didn't respond. I looked back and realized I had about a 300yrd gap on him now. But could also see the chase group behind him. I was able to keep the high pace, and felt great. I knew I was at least at the half way point by now but really didn't have a clue as to exactly how close I was. At each corner, I would ask the cops, course marshals, spectators how close I was to the finish. I think they all said "your almost there" or "not too far to go". I just continued to poured it on. I would make sure I was maintaining the gap to Jeff and not blow myself up at the same time. As we rounded out the end of the race. We had to battle the 15 mph head winds again all the way home. I came into the final paved section. Folks were all lined up on the road and at the start/finish area clapping and cheering. I was able to slow down a bit and take it all in because I was all alone and in the front. I raised both arms in the air and crossed the line in 1:29:32. I took the win in the 30-39 men, and I also finished with the fastest overall time for the 28 mile race. I have to say this is a first for me. And one that felt really good.

Thanks to Jeff Haney for working with me and pushing me throughout the race! You are a big reason I was able to pull this off. And congrats on your win in the 40-49 men, and 2nd overall in the race!

Training has been going really well, and now its time to turn to the single track! Next Stop Yankee Springs Time Trial!