We’re sad to announce that 2017 will have been the last year of competition for Team Lost Coast Brewery. It’s been an amazing 11 years, but life has gotten too busy for our team members to continue to give our full efforts toward racing. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without our amazing sponsors over the years, especially Lost Coast Brewery. Thanks for the great memories and we’re excited for our next adventures.
Another year, and another Downieville Classic. Downieville is my main target race for the year. I like to target it because it is the most technical XC race in northern California, but also because the long climb, long descent style suits my strengths. I do well with sustained efforts (as opposed to punchy climbs) and can descend pretty quickly on the chunky terrain that defines Downieville.
The start at the Classic is always a challenge. Trying to squeeze several hundred riders up a single lane road all at once ends up causing quite the traffic jam. The 2016 edition seemed worse than year’s past. I lined up more than 30 minutes early which is way earlier than every other race I do. I was positioned maybe 5 rows back; a decent position for a long climb. As the race stated, I found that I was actually behind a huge group of racers competing in the all mountain category (maybe 150 riders behind). Frustratingly, it wasn’t until a minute after the start gun that I actually crossed the start line. Not ideal to be competitive in the race.
The traffic was slow ascending the 3000′ and 7 miles to the top of the jeep road. Long lines of riders followed the only good line up the loose road making for a taxing job of passing. It was fortunate that it was much cooler this year than in year’s past where I had to carry an extra water bottle just for spraying on my back.
Approaching the top, I was able to take advantage of one of the best advantages for this race: the CamelBak feed. Save yourself a lot of weight on that climb, and have easy access to drink during the gnarly descent. Diane and Matt were generous enough to be waiting at the top for this glorious hand-off. You can tell how stoked I am in the photo (right before getting all of that nice cool drink).
The Sunrise Trail starts the descending portion of the race, Another racers and I followed a slightly slower racers into this section. From third position I watched at the rider in second position take a hard right and dive off into the forest only to appear a few seconds later 20 meters ahead of us. Boo for cheaters and boo for cutting the course!
Spending time going over the course and dialing in the lines can help quite a bit on this chunky loose course, especially in sections like “baby heads”. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always matter on race day. Often some other slower rider is taking up your carefully chosen line and it’s a tossup whether it’s faster to follow that slower pace, or to venture out onto the nasty line. The race continued like this with traffic and the occasional ride stopping double-hammy cramp until the famous light speed 3rd divide descent. I had scoped out my line the previous weekend to see how long I could go without touching my brakes on this straight, narrow, bumpy singletrack. I launched into it fully committed, and probably with more zeal than was prudent. Quickly, I was borderline out of control and getting pushed off of my line. With a loud PSSSSSSSHHHHHH, a sidewall tear took my rear tire out. I was able to get to the side of the trail, safely out of the bombing run of the other riders. A forest service ranger gave me a ziplock to use as a tire boot, and I proceeded to perform one of the slowest tire changes I’ve ever attempted. Ten minutes later, and with a fragile tube in my rear tire, my race was done, and my goal was to simply get down.
The great thing about Downieville (and some of the other more awesome races) is that you can still have a good time with the ride if you can’t race it. Paul components had an aid station set up at the bottom of 3rd divide. They were serving the usual water, but also had beer and bacon feeds. Unfortunately it wasn’t Lost Coast beer, but that bacon hit the spot!
Downieville is such a taxing and technical race. I’ve come to the conclusion that one should expect at least one in three races there to go sideways either from cramps or some mechanical. I got my slow year out of the way this year, so I’m looking forward to a clean race for next year!
We got together for our annual training camp in Santa Cruz was last weekend. The weather cooperated perfectly. Heavy rains from the preceding weeks then a dry spell made for perfectly tacky trails. Bekah in Hood River, Kevin in Boulder, and Liz in Colorado Springs have been dealing with low winter temps and wet weather all season. The sunny weather in the 70’s made the decision to make the long trip out that much easier.
Saturday was our long ride. We started in Aptos and rode up to the Soquel Demonstration Forest. Our first lap was down the new Flow trail. All we can say is well done MBOSC! The trail just–doesn’t–stop with six different amazingly flowly segments. Not used to flow-style trails, Liz was having the time of her life. We got one more lap in with the Demo classic the Braille Trail before taking some sweet single track back down to Aptos. It was a big day at 6+ hrs on the bike.
Day two was a quick romp on the campus trails before the out of towners needed to get back on their planes. It was a great trip and a great chance for us to get together which has gotten harder with everyone living in different states. So excited for an amazing season of racing!
Liz in one of the new members we’re excited to have on Team Lost Coast Brewery for 2016. Here’s an introduction with a little bit about her.
Name: Elizabeth Gruber (Liz)
Racing Age: 26
Hometown: Redding, CA
Current town: Colorado Springs, CO
Years Riding: 10
Racing discipline: XC mountain bike
What bikes do you ride? Looking to race the Marin Team CXR 27.5 this season
How long have you been with Team Lost Coast Brewery? First Year!
What got you into this bike-riding thing? I have always had a love for endurance sports, exploring the mountains, and a competitive drive to become stronger and faster. When I switched over to the MTB from endurance running, I fell in love with the technical skill that comes with mountain biking. When you nail a section of trail that you’ve never made before- such a great feeling!
What are you passionate about personally? I am passionate about the kids and families I take care of as a nurse in the Pediatric ICU. It is an amazing privilege to be there for the families through that incredibly hard time. I also love coaching kids and have been a cross country and mountain bike coach.
What do you really enjoy? Going on epic mountain bike adventures with my closest friends. Two recent awesome adventures include riding all over Fruita and Moab! I also love playing games like Pictionary and Cards Against Humanity with my big, fun-loving family.
What can’t you stop talking about? My new espresso maker that I got for $10 on a Black Friday sale- $10! Dude, it’s so legit.
Any cycling or life achievements you are particularly proud of? I placed 2nd overall amateur at the off-road triathlon XTERRA World Championship last year. I was also one of the only four new graduate nurses in the state of Colorado to be offered a Pediatric ICU position for 2015.
What would be impossible for you to give up? Riding my bike- a no brainer! Oh and power-naps.
How do you want to be remembered? As someone who made big goals, persevered through the thick and thin, and came out as a stronger, more compassionate person.
Now for part two of Trevor’s Trans-Cascadia race.
Day three was our moving day, after breakfast everybody packed up their camp and laid it out to be transported to the second location for the weekend, a huge ranch much closer to town. Stages 11-15 had several shuttles in between, and included some of the most diverse conditions of the whole weekend. The first two stages of the day were up in a cloud, with air so moist it rendered glasses and goggles useless and a hindrance. The soil was dank, and in some spots even muddy, with greenery growing over the trail making it hard to see very far ahead on the trail. After the second stage we took a shuttle to a different facing slope, and ended up on the completely opposite type of bone dry, ball bearing, rocky dirt. After a rough second day, day three’s stages treated me great with a little more conservative riding, and a few more high speed stages, the last topping out at 36 mph, it was a great day on the bike that finished at the local pub. Back at camp we built a fire ten feet tall, and the entire camp mingled over beers and another amazing dinner, and by the end of the night a ramp was built and the fire was jumped just as it should have been.
The fourth and final day of racing had finally come, and the trails were those that Oakridge is most known for. Six stages for the day, and it was easily my favorite, and hardest day of the weekend. Almost 26 miles and 3k of climbing that started with a shuttle to our first stage that began in a picturesque meadow of grass and flowers. The final day of racing had everybody hooting and hollering on the ripping descents of alpine trail, and only minutes later grunting and grumpy as we climbed almost 2k in one transition to finish off the wild weekend in the final two stages.
The finish was a bitter sweet feeling of having survived 4 solid days of racing on blind trails, but at the same time having the best time out of cell service riding singletrack that some people only dream of. We had lucked out on the weather and missed all of the rain, even had a lunar eclipse to cheers to on Sunday, the last night in Oakridge. Overall it was the best four day’s I have ever spent on my mountain bike, racing and burning things with my friends.
Nick, Alex, Tommy, and all of Modus and Shimano really outdid themselves at this event and I can only imagine how amazing it will be next year with the unlimited amount of terrain out in the hills of Oakridge. Thank you to all my friends and family that donated and helped me get there, Marin Bikes for putting me on a dialed Mt Vision for the race, Wittler for really connecting the dots and getting this dirtbag out to a great event, and most of all Team Lost Coast Brewery for the support throughout the seasons.
Last weekend was the inaugural Trans-Cascadia race up here in Oakridge, Oregon. For those of you unfamiliar with the Trans-Cascadia, it was a four day long, fully supported enduro stage race. The event was aimed to be the answer to the European multi-day enduro stage races much like the infamous Trans-Provence.
The race began Thursday the 24th, so in order to make it to the campsite at the undisclosed location outside of Oakridge, shuttles were arranged on Wednesday, where dinner would be served at 7pm. This was a problem for me as I could only get enough time off of work for the four days of racing, so I had to leave town after work, which put me into Oakridge at about 11pm the night before the race. Luckily my longtime friend Wittler was running errands and was able to wait around and give me a ride back to camp. An hour and a half of gravel roads later and we were in the middle of nowhere at lake Timpanogas, setting up my tent in the dark, trying not to wake the hundred or so surrounding tents.
Breakfast was served at 6am, with the first riders leaving the camp at 9. All the meals were provided by Chris King, and there wasn’t a single complaint the entire weekend. The first day of racing consisted of five stages ranging from 1 to 12 minutes in length, on trails that the average Oakridge bike tourist would never even hear of. Amazing deep wooded loam, insane views, and brutal hike-a-bike transfers was a great first day of racing that left everybody with huge smiles and am amazing start to a long weekend. The day totaled only 16 miles of riding, but at over 4000 feet of climbing it was a steep day that left me ready for bed early after only 5 hours of sleep. After the riders meeting at dinner, we got an idea of the next day’s stages, drank a few beers around the campfire, and it was time for bed.
After breakfast the next morning we started our transfer straight up the steep descent of stage three from the previous day. From the top of stage six, called SawTooth Mountain, you could see for miles, and was one of the very few places anybody could find a sliver of service. The entire second day of racing consisted of some of the tightest switchbacks and loosest scree fields I have ever ridden. The stages were a true test of everybody’s bike handling abilities, and also their abilities to ride with enough heads up to see the tight corners ahead of time. I had a tough time staying on the bike, much less blowing the switchbacks. The blind racing format really kicked my ass, and I had to really try and tone it down after making one out of five stages clean that day and losing a lot of time I didn’t want to give up.
Stay tuned for part 2!
In the meantime, Pinkbike has great writeups and photos from the first two days:
Kevin in one of the new members we’re excited to have on Team Lost Coast Brewery for this year. Here’s an introduction with a little bit about him.
Name: Kevin Moynihan
Racing Age: 29
Hometown: Oak Park, CA
Current town: Davis, CA
Years Riding: 15
Racing discipline: XC
What bikes do you ride? Marin Rift Zone 8 and Marin Stelvio Pro, plus a host of other bikes, some homemade.
How long have you been with Team Lost Coast Brewery? First year!
What got you into this bike-riding thing? I was fat computer kid, so my parents funded the first bike. After that, I spent summers riding and racing DH at Big Bear and Northstar. I’d really say I started to like all-things-bike in college. Collegiate racing with the Cal Poly Wheelmen was rad. I tried road and XC, then decided road bike aren’t as fun.
What are you passionate about personally? Planning and doing awesome things.
What do you really enjoy? Doing awesome things, typically adventures like trekking the Himalayas, climbing the Grand Teton, or week(s) long road trips with bikes and beer. Or even just a day in the woods to shred some knobbies and make the “braapp” noise a bunch.
What can’t you stop talking about? Really amazing vegetarian sandwiches.
Any cycling or life achievements you are particularly proud of? After trying the Tahoe Sierra 100 MTB race and getting the smackdown, I set a goal (took two years) to do well at a NUE 100 mile MTB race and got 13th/99 in open at High Cascades last year. Checkkk!
What would be impossible for you to give up? Dark chocolate.
How do you want to be remembered? That guy that was really excited ‘bout ridin’ bikes.
Chad is one of the new members we’re excited to have Team Lost Coast Brewery for this year. Here’s an introduction with a little bit about him.
Name: Chad Conzelmann
Racing Age: 31
Hometown: Arcata, CA
Current town: Davis, CA
Years Riding: 4
Racing discipline: XC
What bikes do you ride? Marin Rift Zone 8, Marin Team CXR
How long have you been with Team Lost Coast Brewery? First year
What got you into this bike-riding thing? Kevin Moynihan talked me into doing a 24-hr mountain bike race on a 4-person team. I started training for it and was hooked.
What are you passionate about personally? Keeping myself healthy
What do you really enjoy? Bikes, mountain biking, snow skiing, being in the woods, camping, spending time with my wife, friends, and family, good food, and good beer.
What can’t you stop talking about? BIKES!!! (just ask anyone that’s around me)
Any cycling or life achievements you are particularly proud of? My biggest life achievement is losing 95 pounds and becoming a healthier, happier person. I also managed to sweet talk my wife into marrying me, which was pretty awesome. As for cycling, my first podium at Boggs racing Expert 8-hr Solo has been my proudest moment.
What would be impossible for you to give up? Coffee and breakfast sandwiches
How do you want to be remembered? As a good, honest person
Gretchen is one of the new members we’re excited to have Team Lost Coast Brewery for this year. Here’s an introduction with a little bit about her.
Name: Gretchen Johnson
Racing Age: 34
Hometown: Seiad Valley, CA
Current Town: Fortuna, CA
Years Riding: 10
Time with Lost Coast Brewery: First season
What got you into riding: As an avid snowboarder, I needed a summer sport. Mountain biking was the perfect way to have fun and stay strong, and it immediately became my first love!
What are you passionate about personally? Doing what I can do to make the world just a little bit brighter.
What do you really enjoy? The feeling of being alive that I have after doing something that scares me. It’s a sense of accomplishment and strength to face my fears head-on.
What can’t you stop talking about? Rocks. Whether it’s from riding my bike over them and talking about line choice, or depicting the mineral make-up of them, or climbing them, they fascinate me!
Any cycling or life achievements you are particularly proud of? Getting ten podiums in pro class during the 2013 season, and earning my pilot license in high school. I was also flying powered parachutes solo at age 15.
What would be impossible for you to give up? Adrenaline inducing outdoor activities. And of course IPA’s and black tea!
How do you want to be remembered? As someone who inspired others, whether it be in the sport of mountain biking or other aspects of life. I want to be a positive influence, and help others find their strength and courage.
We met up in Santa Cruz this last weekend for our annual training camp. We’ve been having the camp there for the last three years because the combination of trail quality and mid February weather are hard to beat. With the rain the previous week, and the cloudless skies in the mid seventies, conditions couldn’t have been better. Hero dirt was abundant.
Saturday was the first day of riding with us sticking to trails close to town: Campus, Wilder Ranch, and some trails up highway 9. Santa Cruz local and team alumnus Austin Riba was there to
show us the way. It was a great day to shake out all of the cobwebs from the winter of road riding, and for Bekah and Chad to try out their new Marins (a Mt. Vision XM 9 and a Rift Zone XC 8).
We rented a house a block or two from the beach with a nice sunny front yard for hanging out in watching people walk by going to or coming from the beach. A good crew was assembled including most of the team: Bekah, Chad, Danny, and Kevin (Gretchen had family obligations and couldn’t make it), team alumnus and co-founder Tsering, and two of Bekah’s Oregon friends Carolyn and Adele all crashing at the house.
Day two had us start our ride in Aptos. The infamous Post Office jumps there were being torn down on Tuesday. There were some events and music to celebrate the last few sessions before they would be razed and replaced with a strip mall. It was cool to see how skilled the dirt jumpers were, but sad knowing it would be gone after the weekend.
For the ride, Bekah, the Oregon ladies, and Austin opted for a shorter ride in Nicene Marks, while Chad, Kevin, Tsering, and I decided to go for a bigger ride up in Soquel Demonstration forest. This ended up being a pretty big ride. Since it was training camp, there was some obligatory racing each other 2500 ft up the hill to the top. This was followed by some ripping runs on Corral, Saw-pit, and Braile trail. One last slog up to the top got us to our access trail that would take us all the way back down to Aptos. With the mid day start, we were racing the sun back down, exiting the forest just as it was getting too dark to see. Forty five hard miles, and 7500 feet of climbing, and tons of KJ’s racked up on our Stages power meters made for a very solid day.
Bekah and I opted for one last ride on Monday as some friends from college were in town. We headed back up the hill to ride Demo again, but at a more relaxed pace. Two laps had us hitting Braile, and the open sections of the new flow trail. We all thought it was really well executed, especially the well built berms. I like the new flow trails at South Lake and Tamarancho, but enjoy the flow of this trail better. The builders did an excellent job of laying out the trail to carry momentum without having to be overly heavy on the brakes.