Month: June 2013

Raid on Sherwood Peak

Sunday’s Raid on Sherwood Peak was a good endurance race put on by Murphy Mack, unfortunately the turnout wasn’t huge because tamarancho was scheduled for the same day but that didn’t stop me from showing up and getting in a long solid effort in up in Fort Bragg. It was overcast and cool which wasn’t too bad for 50 mile mountain bike ride. We started at 9 or just a little after and rode and rode until finally a ways inland we found some sun, it didn’t last too long though cause as we looped back it disappeared.  After just over 50 miles and 6200 ft of climbing I crossed the finish line. I was the first one through and I had felt better than the year before and had also bettered my time from the year before. You can’t ask for more than that. After getting cleaned up we were treated to another of Murphy Mack’s post race smorgasbords! Seriously, I haven’t ever been to a mountain bike race that he’s put on and not gotten amazing food (and lots of it!) This guy Dave he has cater, grows this stuff right in his own garden and it’s so good and fresh. Some times while I’m racing I try to go just a little harder so that at the end I’m just a little hungrier just so I can fit more of this great food in my stomach! Thanks again Dave! Thanks also to all the volunteers out there and to the Mendocino coast cyclist for all there hard work along with the land owners and Murph for putting it all together for another great race day!

Brian podiums at SoNoMas

This past Saturday’s race at SoNoMas was a good one. I am pleased to say I made it onto the podium! I got to the race about an hr before and got a 15 min warm up in after waiting forever at the porter potty line. That always seems to happen. No matter how ahead of schedule you think you are, you really aren’t if you haven’t factored in that bathroom line.
The race starts and we charge. The start was pretty quick and I was happy to say I was able to hang onto the lead group into the single track. It took quite a while to recover after that though. I’ve been working hard this season to slowly get faster every race and I’m really pleased to say it’s been working. There are a few things I need to do to get completely dialed and nutrition is one. I’m pretty close though. The sonomas course is all about staying smooth, and having a little bit of luck on your side. There were lots of flats, mechanicals and crashes out there and luckily I was able to stay away from all of that. I was holding on at the end, legs starting to get crampy. I had some strong riders coming up on me fast and I was determined not to loose any ground. I finished, taking a 5th place spot and just squeezing onto the last corner of the podium. I love SoNoMas, it’s such a good one, thanks to all the folks at Bike Monkey that put it on along with all my rad sponsors including Marin Bikes, Lost Coast Brewery, Smith Optics, Kali Helmets and Gu for getting me through the race with no mechanicals, with out running out of energy and in sexy fashion! See you out there.

Bend Oregon Enduro!

This past weekend was the second stop for the Oregon EnduroSeries in Bend, Oregon.  After a mechanical at the first race in Hood River, I was ready to come back strong on trails I’ve been riding and racing for years.  After a late night arrival the Thursday before the race, I woke up excited to get my roost on in the infamous high desert dust.  The race consisted of 4 stages this year, all of which were raced last year, but this year it was going to be a single day event.  I was feeling awesome and comfortable as can be, the dirt was better than the years prior, and the trails were linking together much better after a lot of trail work from the COTA crew.  I managed to make a lot of the shots from the practice video found here they put together on Friday having a great time, can you spy the beautiful new Marin?  After a good night’s sleep and a relaxed morning thanks to the reverse start order, I eventually made my way up to the venue at Wanoga Snowpark.  After a few hours of hiding from the sun and hydrating, I got my things ready and started my pedal to stage one and my 2pm start.

With a stacked pro field as usual, I kept real cool at the start line with a quick warm-up and stretch and was ready to pin it.  I had hometown hero and Giant factory racer Carl Decker starting right behind me, so I had extra motivation to get on the gas for stage one.  Stage one was one of the longer stages, about 7-8 minutes with a good mix of flat pedaling and technical rock drops and shoots.  I made it through clean and had the finish line in sight when I hit the deck on the last duffy corner only feet from the finish.  I stood up fast and sprinted across the finish line on foot, shaking my head as some buddy’s complemented me on my excellent dirt-noming style.  I was bummed but hadn’t lost much time, still finishing 16th on the stage, and still had three more stages to make it up.  From stage one; it was a short pedal to the shuttle that took you back to the venue, where you had another 2-3 mile transition to stage two.  Stage two was the shortest of the day at less than three minutes, and consisted of sick wooded singletrack that opened up into a white-knuckle swooping jumpline that weaved back and forth with huge bmx-style berms.  I nailed all my gaps and pumped my heart out to finish within seconds of the stage winner, 15th for stage two.  It was a quick transition to stage three, easily the longest and most physically demanding stage.  I was feeling strong and on point until about ¾ through the stage I clipped a tree with my handlebar and got sent tumbling right onto my head.  Still seeing stars, I got up quick, straightened my saddle and finished as quickly as possible.  My crash put me down at 31st for that stage which was heartbreaking, but the worse news was my throbbing headache and blurred vision.  I took a good, long break between stages to collect myself and decided to finish, but the 4thstage was a struggle.  Stage 4 had the most pedaling and least technical of all the stages, which didn’t help my already growing headache and stomachache.

I struggled through the stage and finished 24th on the last stage of the day.  Overall I finished 23rd, solid midpack and better than I had expected, but wasn’t where I should have been.  In the end, this is bike racing and learning how to avoid trees with your bar ends is something that hopefully comes with some more experience.  I’ll unfortunately be sitting out the the 3rd round of the enduro series, the Ashland Mountain Challenge in hopes of making a solid and healthy recovery and will be looking forward to the 4thstop of the Oregon Enduro Series in Camas, Washington!  Big thanks to Mark at Marin Bikes for the instant bike support, GU for keeping me fueled up 100%, Camelbak for keeping me hydrated so efficiently in those transition stages, Smith for keeping my eyes safe and my looks sharp, and of course Lost Coast Brewery for the continued support! Also thanks to Devon Lyons the race coordinator, for an amazing race series and an amazing cot to sleep on! Thank you!

T Pratt aka Dirt Sample Extraordinaire.

Ashland Spring Thaw 2013

The weekend of May 18th was the Ashland Spring Thaw with a XC race Saturday and an enduro style downhill on Sunday. Bekah and I drove the 5 hrs up from Davis Friday night and stayed with some friends that live in the town of Ashland. The next morning we were excited to find out that the start was only a short bike ride from the house, so we wouldn’t even have to drive (a rareity it would seem these days. The course for the XC essentially all up, then all down for two laps. The climb is mostly fireroad of a moderate pitch of around 5% with a short bit of singletrack thrown in. The long fireroad section was especially nice on the first lap allowing things to spread out before the descent. Unlike the ascent, the descent was mostly singletrack: fast, swoopy, and loamy at the top which transformed to more loose kitty litter over hard pack at the bottom. Despite the tedious climb, this is easily one of the most fun XC race courses I’ve done. 
Danny hanging out after the XC finish on staurday
The race began midmorning in cool weather under overcast skies with a field of over 60 including the cat 1 and pros.  The first climb was uneventful as the field gradually spread out. I hit the first descent in a high position and settled in to learn these trails I hadn’t ridden before. About this time it started raining lightly which made the already good trail conditions super tacky. It was quickly apparent that I was going more slowly than I should when my friend I was staying with (who knew the trails very well) passed me about half way down. Fortunately I was able to stick on his wheel for the rest of the descent. We hit the fireroad climb for the second time and I was feeling pretty good. That is until one of the other racers, one who I had been back and forth with at the boggs 8-hr two weeks before, catches up and passes me. He’s going at a good clip and opens up a gap. I know that if I’m close by the top that I’ll be able to pass him and hold him off on the descent. I dig deep and slowly reel him back to about 5 seconds by the top. As I predicted, a minute or so into the descent I’m back on his wheel, and he graciously lets me pass. The race certainly wasn’t tied up at this point, as I was having trouble trying to shake the other racer after taking the lead. I got to BTI (a classic tight swoopy trail) and found myself stuck behind a race traffic jam and lost any ground I had gained. Other racers began to pile up behind me as I couldn’t pass the two ahead blocking the trail. A frustrated Mark Wier, unsatisfied with waiting, pulled a classic move sketchily sliding through on the inside line on a switchback successfully making the pass. This made things clear to the slow rider who finally pulled over. I was able to hold off the other racer with a sprint to the line for a 4th place for the day (in cat 1), which I was happy about.
The second day was the enduro style downhill. I had ridden most of the course the day before, but the new sections threw me off quite a bit. In retrospect, I really should have pre-ridden the course. In enduro style the race was in two sections, a 4 minute section, a transfer, then a 3 minute section. The 4 minute was fast, swoopy, and generally devoid of pedaling. The rockgarden section at the top was unexpected, as I thought we followed the same path as the XC. I ended up picking my way down that, and going more slow than necessary down the “freeway” having not pre-ridden that either. The rest of the course was the same as the XC, but I didn’t really have a good idea of where the finish was. I was under the impression that there wouldn’t be a long transfer, so when I came up on the finish a mile before I expected to see it, I was a little disappointed. I had hoped to make up some time in the following pedaly sections, but apparently, that was not to be included.

The second section of the DH was the infamous “BTI”. This was also not very pedally. It has a lot of groomed berms, with small doubles, and tight turns with the soil conditions being kitty litter over hardpack. The rain from the day before and dried up, and things were slidey out on the course. It was unfortunate that I was stuck behind a slow rider in the XC on this section as it felt like I hadn’t ridden the trail before, as I hadn’t really ridden it at speed. In all, I ended up with some disappointing times finishing near the back of the pack for the two combined. Time to go work on the descending skills in Tahoe so I’ll be ready for the DH at Downieville.


I want to give a quick shout out to Incrediwear for making some kick butt products! I have been using the incredibrace for compression/recovery from hard rides and races for the past three weeks. They are super comfy, thermo-regulating and leave my legs feeling great the next day! I especially like wearing them on all those long car rides home from races, and to bed after brutal Tuesday night rides (when I need to be back on my bike at 5:30am weds morning). Thanks for hooking us up with such great products!