Month: September 2009

Washington Tripple Header

Today was the first two races of the three race weekend my friend from Olympia put together for my annual visit up north. This weekend consisted of a super-d race Sat morning in Capitol Forest followed by Star Crossed, in the pm. Sunday would be the Rad Racing Grand Prix. I came into the weekend amped for a good time, good food, and good company. Friday we prerode the super-d with some great California like dry conditions, and warm weather. I woke up Sat morning to a surprise, rain… The course changed drastically, the once dry bermed corners turned into something greasier than a 50’s hairstyle! We ditched the riders meeting in favor of getting to the top with time for a warm up. Definitely a good idea, primed and pumped I hit the course 9th down the mtn. The trails were nothing like the day before, and I was lucky to keep it upright! I am not a good mud racer, I blame California, and all of our amazing weather. So cruising in 10 seconds from my buddy Luke, who is a local was enough to put a smile on my face. As soon as we were across the line it was time to pack up and head to Seattle for our next challenge Star Crossed.

Cyclocross is a new thing for me. The first challenge of the night came after registration, where I was handed four numbers, and no zip ties… I felt like a redneck at a 5 star resteraunt asking what are all the forks for? After getting the jersey figured out, came the warmup, which was going great, my legs felt solid, my bike was good, and the rain was falling hard. Perfect for cross. Then it came, the one thing that i was trying to avoid, there is a section of the course that transitions from slick mud, to the tarmac of the veledrome, back to mud, which happens to be on a corner. The last lap of warmup i hit this section hard, and it hit back. Boom! I was on the ground. Shooting back up I noticed my shifter was busted in half, great the race was over before it began. Wait! Neutral support! Sram had set up a sweet little tent with some brand new, zipp equiped bikes. They set me up with a new bike, and off I rode. Missing callups was a bit of a disappointment, starting last place is never good. However it is better than not racing at all. The gun went off, and off we went. It was a stacked field, Barry, Ryan, Swiss national champion, Adam Craig, they were all there, and charging hard. My only wish was to remain on the lead lap, With 3 to go, Barry came past me, my day was over. That said, I have never had more fun at an event, racing at 820 pm, under the lights, beer garden, screaming fans. There is only one word to describe this event AMAZING! Tomorrow is only 30 minutes away, it is time for sleep, and recovery for tomorrows event. See you guys tomorrow for another day in the saddle!


Marin Summer Rally and Occidental Dirt Ride

A couple of weekends ago, some riders from Team LCB gathered in the Bay Area to celebrate the end of summer with the Marin bikes crew at their “Summer Rally” in Novato, Ca. The rally was held in the back warehouse of the Marin Bikes complex and included a delicious BBQ, kegs of yummy brews (including a keg of Great White graciously supplied by Lost Coast Brewery), a jump house for the wee ones, and hot new 2010 bikes on display. I was excited to see the sexy new carbon Marin road bike in flashy “team” white and blue colors. This bike is a true road race bike decked out with Durace, Ksyriums, FSA carbon, and all the other top of the line bling. It looks like it would be swift and steady on the pavement and I know that as soon as I’m ready to get a new road bike, it will be at the top of my wish list. The President also made an appear ace at the rally and Dave from Vanderkitten and I were honored to sneak a quick photo with him. He’s taller in person than I expected, and very thin! We gave him props on the battle for healthcare and told him to keep on truckin‘. The gathering was a nice opportunity to hang out with the wonderful employees of Marin bikes and all of the great people linked to the company. Cheers to an awesome summer Marin bikes, and thanks for all of your support!
The next day, Mo, Brian, Amon and I were treated to a sweet ride in Occidental led by Gabe and his awesome girlfriend Heather. I’d heard rumors about tons of sweet, backwoods singletrack in the Occidental area and I was stoked to have a local escort us around the mecca of unknown trails. It was a brutally hot late-summer day, but we still got to explore a big chunk of the riding out there, including some super new trails that had just been cut months ago. The riding was almost entirely singletrack and very challenging- tight, twisty, low-cut, and steep up and down. And man were the climbs steep! After we reached the bottom of the descent we grunted up the climb, following Gabe’s willowy shadow. There were incredible views on the ride though, it was amazing how remote it seemed at times, even knowing how close we were to the North Bay. In all, we probably rode for about 4 solid hours and ended the ride all smiles, despite the heat. Thanks again to Gabe and Heather for showing us the sweet dirt in Occidental, you guys were awesome escorts! I hope we can do some more epic riding again soon 🙂

Caspar Classic

If Labor Day weekend is the last hurrah of summer than what better way to spend it than racing in the redwoods on the Northern California coast! Brian and I (Amon) traveled north with first time racers Nicole and Amanda to participate in the Caspar Classic MTB race. The weather was perfect in the high 60’s or low 70’s and the sun was shining. We arrived a little early to get kitted up, registered and give the race day run down to Amanda and Nicole. The race was small as races go but the course was packed with lots of fun. I can see this race really taking off because of the variety of fun terrain and the great promoters! Brian and I signed up in the advanced category and Amanda and Nicole decided to skip the beginner class all together and go straight into the sport category. What guts! All racers lined up together on the starting line for a fast gradually ascending fire road start. With no warning, and a ready – go! start, we were off. After a mile or so of fire road to thin the field we turned onto a double track that was tunneled in by the brush growing around it. After a fun rutted out descent the six of us that were off the front started to spread out a bit as we climbed up a steep anaerobic climb to the top of the course. Brian was off the front and out of site at this point and stayed there the rest of the three lap race, despite a slight dispute with a small tree that reached out and grabbed a hold of the end of his handlebar, abruptly tossing him onto the forest floor. But he had such a gap that this didn’t even bring the rider behind him within site of him, so he motored on and flew through the rest of the race for a decisive win for the second year in a row! Meanwhile back in the field I was up against some strong racers that had come up from the Santa Rosa area. After the steep climb the course goes into some tight twisty singletrack that is challenging to negotiate while trying to go fast but while trying to recover from a seriously anaerobic effort it made it that much more challenging.

I was able to get a gap on the couple of riders that were on my wheel through the twisty singletrack that flowed through the forest. I battled with a very fast teenager on the second lap, then was able to put some time on him on the double track before the steep climb on the final lap.
What I didn’t know was that Gabe from Sebastabol was making up time on me in this section and was rapidly closing the gap. Fortunately he was on a twenty niner bike and was not as quick through the singletrack. I motored on, railing the singletrack, and finished a solid fourth place. What fun!! The girls did great as well with Nicole and Amanda riding very strongly and finishing 1st and 2nd respectively and having a great time too!! Best of all the awards were great with some of the coolest trophies I have ever seen at a race and almost all of us went home with one! I will just have to come back for mine next year!! Until next time, Ride On friends!!!

High Cascades 100

Howdy peeps!!!!! Well I (Geoff) am here to tell ya that my last “A” race for the mtb season is in the books and man what a doozy!..So Anna and I headed up to Bend to spend a couple of days preparing for my first 100 mile mtb race. My good buddy Jeff Dengel (the other half of the “Geoff and Jeff show”) opened his doors for my wife and I (and the dogs of course) for three days of fun in the sun. We arrived in Bend on Friday…those of you who have visited this little gem of a town know just how beautiful it is. The Dechuetes River flows through the middle of town. There is a great park, and TONS of rad trials. We kicked back after the long drive on Friday in anticipation of getting some saddle time in the evening. We headed over to Web Cyclery (where Jeff works) and checked out the new bling. Web Cyclery is a great little shop that just got a bit bigger with a great expansion allowing for more bikes and gear. After hanging out and chatting about the upcoming race we headed for some food and then a ride. Jeff and I have ridden tons of trial together and we always have a blast. We hit up the local trails and chased each other for about an hour as the sun started to set on the distant mountain tops. My legs felt awesome and well rested from my last training cycle. Saturday consisted of more rest and some easy spinning. Anna joined Jeff and I on our last pre race ride and realized she REALLY likes riding in Bend. The ride was great and I really envy riders in Bend for the fact that they can just ride out their front door and hit the trails! We had our mandatory racers meeting at Sunny Side Sports and then hit up the pasta for dinner. I was very anxious for the race and spent a restless night unintentionally abusing my wife with my “gator roll”. This is where I continually roll in a counter clockwise direction…slowly rolling all the blankets off my wife and around me. Needless to say, 4:30 a.m. comes quickly when you can’t sleep. 6:15 was our start time so we headed up to the the base of Mt. Bachelor at 5:30. It was just starting to get light out when the gun went off and then it was 7 miles of double track up to the top of the first climb. We had 89 riders starting in the chilly morning air (30 ish degrees) and they all made it a point to exploit my single gear at the start. I just stuck to my game plan and reeled them in as the climb steepened. At the top of the climb I was sitting in 8th place and feeling good. As we hit the single track I caught several riders and moved closer to the top 5. After about an hour I caught up with my buddy Jeff D and we hammered through the first aid station at mile 25. A quick pit stop and it was off to the start of the second climb. The second climb took us up a very sandy and rocky double track section that left most gasping for air. As I said in the beginning…I had a game plan…and that was to stay aerobic as much as possible. This plan included walking the very steep sections if needed. Matter of fact I passed the 3rd place rider on that very climb while walking my bike. At the bottom of the decent of the second climb I caught up with Fuzzy..(three time single speed National Champion). He had a nasty tear in his tire and looked to be in trouble. See here is where it gets good…and this is why I love bike racing so much. Here was the guy that I needed to beat to win the single speed class and possibly podium overall…standing on the side of the trail with a flat and I STOPPED TO HELP! I offered him a C02 to help try and seal up his tubeless tire but a serious boot or possibly a new tire was the only way he was going to continue. I wanted to help..but I also wanted to win so I headed off after my short attempt at helping a fellow racer. I rolled into aid two (mile 45ish) just after hitting the four hour mark. My wife was there and she yelled “babe you are in THIRD OVERALL” I couldn’t believe it…but before I could start feeling good about myself the rider I passed on the previous climb rolled into the aid station and after a short stop for bottles we headed out together. Now this rider was riding a geared full-sus so there was no way to hold his wheel on the flat downhill double track section that followed the aid station. I kept my cool and was able to keep his dust in sight as I hammered along. A little while later I noticed my rear tire was getting soft so I stopped and used a bit of my second Co2 in hopes of sealing up the tubeless system. I thought it worked but just a bit later I “rimmed” a rock and then…psssssssss…..a real deal flat. I didn’t panic though because I had a tube and Co2. I quickly int stalled the tube and started to fill it with the remainder of my Co2….but…there…was…..only….about…20 lbs of pressure in my last chance Co2. Plus I noticed a tear in my tire so I was double screwed. As the feeling total dis pair started to set in I couldn’t believe my race was over….here I was having one of my best races ever and I was about to start a sad hour long walk back to aid two….THEN…..wait…whats this? NO WAY!!!! Its Fuzzy….and he is STOPPING!!! I asked him if he had any air and….YES…..HE….DID. He didn’t hesitate to pull out another Co2 to pay back the one I had given him earlier and then headed off to try and catch the leaders. Now relieved I collected myself…installed an empty Hammer Gel packet into my tire to act as a boot (great little trick I must say) and raced off down the trail. The course took us through aid two twice and I was able to grab another tube and some much needed confidence. Luckily no other racers passed me in my time of need and I was still fighting for a top five spot overall. I rode alone for the next forty plus miles feeling good. Mile 45 through mile 70 consisted of two laps of one section..I cruised through the first lap and then through the second when……psssssssss…yes…another flat. Now I am a good sport and usually keep my head but everyone has their limits. As I stooped there on the side of the trail to fix another flat I wondered if I would make it through. I fixed the flat and cruised into aid three at mile 82 still in 5Th. As I grabbed more bottles, the aid station mechanic noticed that my chain ring bolts were all loose…my chain was loose….and my rear brake was rubbing. As I sat there waiting for my bike to get fixed…another geared rider stopped and quickly pushed off to start the last 18 mile finishing loop. I was a bit distraught at this point..but headed out couple of minutes later in hopes of catching ‘MY” fifth place spot. I cleared my head and just focused on catching that carrot. About three miles into the finishing loop I caught my guy and quickly passed him. Feeling better now I hammered the rest of the lap and finished the race with a big smile and a second place podium for the single speed class! I really enjoyed myself during this race (even through all the mechanical and suffering) and can’t wait to do another…..I think Leadville has my name on it next year. Fuzzy chatted with my wife and I during most of the post race festivities and we all enjoyed some great BBQ and cold beer. I look forward to next season with great anticipation and take this experience with me into another wet winter of cross racing and training. I have had a fantastic season racing here in California with Team Lost Coast and Marin Bikes this year and can’t wait to get back out there to do it all again…Cheers friends and see you at the races…..Geoff