Hammer Nutrition XCT Missoula MT

Another XCT in the books! This race was at an old ski resort outside Missoula called Marshall Mountain. Flying in at midnight on Friday meant I had to preride the course about an hour before the start of my race. The course was a 5 mile lap that wound it’s way up the slopes of the ski resort and then sent you straight down through some sick singletrack in the trees. There was even a big gap jump labeled the A-line which I heard some of the girls in my race hit. Spectators could watch the racers hit the A-line on a big screen down at the finish area,  and there were people cheering all over the course which made it feel a bit like Valle di Sol.
The start was fast as ever, but spending the first few miles on steep climbs meant I was able to move up a bit during the first 2 laps. I dropped my chain while shifting into the granny once on each of the first two laps, but managed to move from the back to 13th by lap 3. Despite a serious pre race hydration effort though, that’s when the terrible cramping started. My plan of attack had been to keep my head down and push the climbs harder and harder each lap, but the calf cramps slowed me down a bit. To make matters worst I dropped the bottle I grabbed in the feed zone about 500 meters after I got it on the 5th and final lap. The final climb was torture, winding around steep switchbacks and suffering up loose fireroads. Everyone else must have been hurting as well because I was able to move up one more place and the group on my wheel fell back quite a bit. I crossed the finish line in 12th place out of 36 women, which wasn’t too disappointing.
Post race was the best because there was a bbq fundraiser for the local food bank and I got to watch the pro men hit the A-line during their race.
The low light lenses on my Smith piv lock v2 sunglasses made it so easy to dive into and out of dense trees during the race and I am sure the GU inhaled on lap 3 kept me from dropping out from cramping. I do have some work to do to figure out a nutrition plan that works during races, and thankfully GU has my back!
Special thanks also goes to my hot mechanic Brendan Connors who packed and unpacked/finetuned my bike and who hands off bottles in the pits like a pro.

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!

Boggs 8hr Enduro – by Bekah Rottenberg
The Boggs 8hr enduro held a lot of firsts for me: It was going to be the first time Bike Monkey was trying out an enduro race format, it was my first race with a hill climb, and my first 8hr event.  The hill climb was hot, hard, and dusty. There were only four pros and four experts and we all started together. I normally approach any type of climbing with trepidation and anticipate my legs seizing as I watch the competition slowly fade out of view. This climb proved to be different as I pushed myself to ignore my chalk dry mouth and burning lungs and climbed my way to second place overall for the hill climb, first in expert! 

The next day was Saturday and the start of the 8hr race. I felt pretty relaxed as I was going to treat my first lap as a warm-up, and shoot for my second lap to be my fastest. The format for the enduro was such that the winner would have the fastest combined times from all three events:  hill climb, fastest lap during the 8hr, and super D.  I had never participated in any type of 8 hr race before and I wasn’t sure what to expect; from both the race and my body. My goal was to get in one fast lap and complete at least 6 laps. Thanks to the phenomenal support from Marin bikes, encouragement from teammates, and a spectacular race course I completed 8 laps and I had the 2ndfastest lap time for the solo expert women!

Saturday night I was completely destroyed and it was all I could do to stuff my face with food and climb into my tent. Sunday morning was grey and chilly. I woke up early because I wanted to pre-ride the super D course. I put on all the clothing I had and pedaled up to the top. By the time the race was about to start I was feeling really nervous but also excited. Based on the hill climb and the 8hr lap time I was four minutes ahead of the second place woman, so I knew I just needed a clean run for the win. After all the pro men were sent off it was finally my turn. The descent was smooth and fast with a mid- run climb that left my lungs gasping for air and my legs burning with pain. But all the hard work paid off and I finished first for women’s expert in the first ever Boggs 8hr enduro!

 I want to send a huge shout out to Marin Bikes for their stellar support, Smith for their pivlock shades, and camelback for their clever bottle lids that don’t require you to pull the spout open – I’d never appreciated that feature so much as in this past race! Also Lost Coast Brewery – best carbo load beverage Blisworks Bikes for their support and GU for their constant supply of energy.

Boggs- 8hrs of true grit!

What can I say, it was a great day! I had the privilege of tearing it up on a three man team with 2 super rad dudes Tsering Alleyne and Michael Hosey from the Marin Bikes factory team. I woke up at 3:50 am Saturday morning ready for some caffeine to pop my eyes open for the 3 hr drive to boggs. (at least that is what google maps said) At that period in the morning, it is what I like to call no rule 30, and so… I like to make my own. 2 hrs and 5 minutes later I was jumping out of the car running from the cops. No just kidding, I was jumping out of the car headed over to registration to grab my race number. Some of the first familiar faces I saw were Gravy and Tom over at the Marin Bikes tent doing neutral support for the event and damn did these dudes do a great job. 

After every lap they were on it, going over my(and everyone else’s) bike making sure I was off my feet and helping me out with everything just short of piggy backing me to and from the food cart. Thanks so much again, guys you rock! It was dusty out there (half way through the race it looked like Tom and Gravy had been riding the course, they had a good film of dirt all over them just from being stationed next to the course!). The course was fast fun and as the day went on hot. Our order of execution… Mike went off first at 8 am turning out a ferociously fast lap with Tsering to follow. I took the reins 3rd and handed the mic back to Mike. And so it went… 8 hrs later we were brining home the gold. I couldn’t have asked for a better team, support or sponsors. I had a blast! Thanks so much to the Bike Monkey crew for doing it so well again, Marin Bikes, Lost Coast Brewery, GU, Smith Optics and true grit from all the freakin dust out there!  Peace!

2013 Shasta Lemurian

 The Shasta Lemurian- a super sick, super fun race put on by some really rad promoters had me hurting a couple weeks ago. It was hot and I was apparently not race-ready. One of my first real XC mountain bike efforts had me blowing chunks heading down the back side of the first gnarly decent. I thought I had eaten early enough an felt ready to go when the gun went off but my gut said other wise! I got a great warm up in and went off with the leaders and it wasn’t until about half way up the first long climb that I realized it wasn’t happening. There was no way I was going to hang the whole way to the top. By 3/4 of the way up my stomach was churning and just as I picked up speed on the way down the first decent the eruption happened. I tried to turn my head fast enough but because of the wind and sheer projectile force, all I was able to do was spray my whole right arm and handle bar. This was like college party, vein in the fore head popping, projectile vomit! Luckily no one was behind me. I made up some time on the decent and regrouped with a few other riders, I apologized for smelling like sour milk and raced on. I pedaled to the best of my ability through out the rest of the course which if you haven’t ridden it you need to check it out! It’s a true mountain bikers mountain bike course. Finally about 3/4 of the way through about 1/2 way up the last climb I was able to get down some race fuel and keep it down. Thank you GU for helping me salvage my race. I was able to pick the pace up a bit and finish strong. It was really good to see all the Team Lost Coast Brewery crew there, thanks Marin Bikes once again for the super support and the sick CXR 29er race rig (which when operated properly destroys everything in it’s path!) See you out there!

Other Team Lost Coast results of the day: Bekah took 2nd in Expert women, Danny was 4th in expert men, Ethan 8th in his category, Trevor 15th (after barely making it to the race to start on time!) and Emma 6th in hers. The 2013 Lemurian had a record turnout of racers and it was awesome to see so many Lost Coast riders out there racing hard in the heat!

Sea Otter was a BLAST!

I have avoided the Sea Otter cross country race like the plague since I switched from racing skinny tire bikes on the road to knobbys on the dirt. I always heard about all the sand, the fire roads and the general “terribleness” of it all. Well, there was a lot of sand, tons of fire roads, but instead of terrible I experienced a whole lot of awesome, fast, crazy fun!
Before the race I got to hang out with all the cool people in the Marin Bikes tent, which is always a good time. Tsering was an angel and offered to feed me during the race, and I even picked up a legit trucker hat that looks like it says “suffer and stroke” 🙂 Then I went to warm up on the Laguna seca race track and got to chat up some awesome fast women like Emily Batty, Erin Alders and Vanessa Humic to name a few. The highlight of the race was the call ups for me because I was standing right behind Marianne Vos while the Olympians and national champions were called to the line ( well until she was called up which was pretty soon after the call ups started). I was already having a blast when the announcer yelled “go”, and rode right to the front of the group of about 45 women for the paved section of the race. I was nervous about the transition to dirt because there were some ruts, not many good lines, and so much nervous energy around. We all made it onto the dirt fine though, and by the first fire road climb I was sitting around 15th place. Well, there was some fun fire road racing, I crashed pretty hard on a rut and unseated my rear wheel from the dropouts (had a moment of panic that my race was over when my rear wheel wouldn’t spin until I tried resetting the qr skewer). Got passed by quite a few women and had to work to start catching them. The next large portion of the race was basically an exercise in passing on narrow climb-y sections and trying my darnedest to corner in the sand on the descend-y sections. Finally we came to the final fire road climb (of whose length I was completely unaware) and I was able to get around the last rider holding me back. I picked off a few women on this climb, including an Olympian 🙂 and was feeling really good and strong riding up the last of the ridge top rollers into the final dirt section that spit me back onto the race track. Overall I finished 18th, which met my top 20 goal for the day. I was a bit disappointed because the crash and not per-riding the course cost me a lot of time, but was so happy to have survived, and to check another XCT race off the calendar! As always, a huge shout out goes to our awesome sponsors who make racing my bike so much fun, especially Smith Optics, Gu, and Marin Bikes (you guys are incredible, and I would have died without that feed!)
Post race ( after I went to the car and ate ALL the food we had brought) I got to meet some of the reps for the brands that support us, watched dual slalom finals, and got to see Single Track High, which made almost all of us cry. A perfect day at the Otter if you ask me!