Saturday, September 1, 2012

OC Parks Tour - O'Neill Regional Park

pre-race with single-speeder & Path Bike Shop rider, Matt Palmer
I really enjoyed racing the 3rd race in the 2012 OC Parks Tour series. I missed the last two races so I had been looking forward to this one for some time. The course for the race consisted of a 3.5-mile start loop on the south side of O'Neill park to attempt to help separate riders before completing three or four (depending on class) 3.75-mile main loops on the north side of the park. The pro/experts were to complete four main loops climbing approx. 650 feet per lap. The course was a lot of fun with some solid climbing, quick singletrack descents, and a bit of pavement riding back to the start/finish.

I entered the expert class and the pace started off brisk with four riders in the lead group including local pro Sean Donovan, the Path Bike Shop riders Luke Wronske and Josh Jacquot, and myself. The four of us stayed tight through the initial start lap. As we crossed through the start/finish line and headed out for the four main loops Sean began to pull away. Luke and Josh also turned up the pace a bit and I found myself riding solo for the rest of the race. Sean came in first, Luke in second, Josh in third, and myself in fourth.

The race was great and the course was a lot of fun, but we really need to work on riders coming out to support these local races or they won't end up happening at all. Fairly sad turnout in the pro/expert class in my opinion.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Steamboat Stinger 2012

I was blessed to be able to make the trek out to Steamboat this summer to make a visit to Moots and race the 2012 Steamboat Stinger. Even though it was only the second year of the event, the race sold out within a matter of hours. There were about 400 total riders some of which did the full event (two 26-mile laps), others participated in the duo category, each doing 1 lap. Additionally, 300 runners raced the marathon the next day (some people who are totally crazy did both the 52-mile ride and the 26.2-mile marathon). I was proud to finish the 52-mile race in 5:29. Perhaps I'll be back next year to see if I can improve my time!

All in all, it was a quick trip to Steamboat, but well worth it as I was able to tour the Moots factory and spend some time with some of the great employees at the factory and after the race. It ended up raining Friday night before the race and we woke up Saturday morning to some fairly steady rain. However, the clouds parted and the rain gave way to some great sticky singletrack. Below are some pics of my adventure to the the factory that makes the best handbuilt bikes ever and the Steamboat Stinger mountain bike race.

Moots showroom above the factory in Steamboat Springs, CO
where the magic happens 
Moots uses only the finest quality US made titanium tubing
stock YBBs hanging and ready to be finished
finished frames with the coveted yellow handbuilt tag ready to be boxed 
some very lucky future Moots owners
a view of the Moots headquarters 

finished in 5:29 sporting the brand new kit!
beat up from the feet up after 50+ miles of singletrack!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Breckenridge (Aug 2012)

Don't bother me while I'm driving!
Pilot & Co-pilot
Relaxing at a coffee shop in Fruita, CO

Ride 1: Peaks Trail from Breckenridge to Frisco and back

Ride 2: Tiger Road (jeep trail) Colorado Trail Recon

Our turnaround point - Tiger Road (jeep trail)

Ride 3: Colorado Trail, Red Trail, Blair Witch

The start of the Colorado Trail from Tiger Road (jeep trail)
Red Trail behind me heading towards Keystone
Crested Butte friend Erik came over to do some riding - bottom of the Red Trail

Ride 4: Boreas Pass, Baker's Tank, Aspen Valley, Blue River Trail

View of Breckenridge Ski Area from Boreas Pass Road 
Baker's Tank Trail 
Aspen Valley Trail

Refueling Time!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hot, Hot, Hot!

Good solid solo training ride today. Decided to head up Harding on the way back home. About midway up Harding the temp on my Garmin started rising. Check out the bottom left corner. I don't think it was 106 out there, but it sure felt least high 90's.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Crank Brothers Cobalt 11

Came across a review of the Crank Brothers Cobalt 11 cockpit by and thought I would share. I'm currently running the Crank Brothers Cobalt 11 bar on my Moots MXYBB. I'm using the low rise version with the 6 degree backsweep and 680mm width. I've logged about 1,500 miles with the bar and so far it's been great. The switchback review indicates the bar might not be stiff enough for hard core 29ers..."While stiff enough for the typical racer, a 29er rider with a penchant for hitting the technical stuff hard and fast may not find them stiff enough.'' Although I haven't had any issues with the bar noticeably flexing too much, it does seem to be a little less stiff than my previous Easton MonkeyLite carbon bar. I chose to mount my bar to the Moots Open Trail Stem instead of the Cobalt 11 stem. Here are some close-up pics of the bar and the cockpit of my MXYBB.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Traverse 2012

This year the Warrior's Society opted not to put on the Traverse, but another race company, Saw Sports Productions, took it on instead and they put on a great race! We headed up Blackstar at 7am Saturday morning. I rode right behind Sarah Jansen (who just recently got 9th at the 2012 Pro Whiskey 50) and another pro rider, Daniel Munoz, for the first part of the fireroad out Blackstar. Daniel pulled in front about halfway out the flat section and I was able to stay on his wheel until the real climbing started. He was in my sights the entire way up Blackstar but I knew I was riding at my limit for a 4+ hour race. Once we made the turn and started climbing up Blackstar I was in second place and stayed there until 4 corners. I reached the top of Blackstar in just under 44 minutes, and to the Motorway turnoff in 1:38, both were my second fastest segment times according to Strava. There were a few climbs up to 4 corners from the motorway turnoff that hurt...they were real steep and real loose. I made it to the aid station at 4 corners and was surprised to see Daniel (the 1st place pro rider) there but quickly realized he was there fixing a flat. The awesome Rock 'n Road support crew filled one of my bottles with water and I was off and was in first place! I rode up to Modjeska Peak, across the saddle (what we in Orange County call Saddleback Mountain) and started climbing up to Santiago Peak when Daniel caught me. We rode up to Santiago Peak together and chatted for a bit. On such a long ride like this it was nice to get to chat a bit and take my mind off the suffering. We crested the peak and Daniel quickly dropped me. The descent from the peak is quite loose and rocky and I was taking it easy trying to avoid a sidewall tear as much as possible. I made it safely down to the top of the lower Holy Jim trail and continued on towards what's referred to as the "Wall", another long, loose, and steep climb on the way over to the top of the West Horsethief trail. As I was heading up the Wall I saw Sarah Jansen gaining on me. As we crested the top of the Wall she came by and we rode together for a few minutes going back and forth. Just about the top of West Horsethief she took off and I couldn't hang with her. Finally reached the top of Trabuco Trail and began one of the best descents in Southern CA. I rode carefully down Trabuco making sure I didn't flat. Once I got to the Holy Jim parking lot I knew I was safe from flats and I just had to ride the 5-mile fire road out to the finish line. Once I hit the flat fire road another rider road up behind me that I hadn't seen the entire race...where did he come from I thought. He road my wheel for the entire 5-mile fire road. Once the finish line was in sight, perhaps 500-1,000 feet away, a car passed us on the road and at the same time he road around me. I tried to sprint to catch him but he got through the finish line one second before me. Really stoked for Daniel and Sarah to get 1st and 2nd place...they rode hard and deserve it! Definitely frustrating getting passed right at the end and finishing 4th overall - but oh well, that's racing I guess. All in all a great event. Ended up with a time of 4:35:17, which was 33 minutes faster than my 2011 time. The full results are here.

part of the climb from the top of motorway to 4 corners
the descent from Santiago Peak and the eventual climb up the "wall" 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Making the most with what you've got

I don't have a road/cross bike to train with and probably won't be spending the money to get one anytime soon; however, I do like the consistency that road training provides. The ybb 26 hasn't been getting much ride time since I built up the mxybb. So once I got a new set of I9's for the 29er I decided to turn the ybb 26 into a cross bike that I could comfortably ride on the road or dirt. The crest 29ers fit perfectly set up with 32c tires. The ride should be comfortable with the Moots ti flat bar and the Ergon GS-1 grips. Here are some pics of the setup.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Vision Quest 2012

This past weekend was the big one…Vision Quest (VQ). I raced the “smaller/shorter” Counting Coup (CC) last year, but this was my first time tackling this really difficult test of determination. VQ is 55mi and 11K of climbing. There are only 400 total spots (VQ/CC) and both events sell out within minutes. The two events draw some of the best So CA competition and even a few pros come out to push the pace. This year local pro favorite Dana Weber killed it and beat out Tinker with a time of 4:57...crazy fast, but still short of the record of 4:45 set by Jeremiah Bishop in 2010. Here are a few write-ups...

The event starts at 5:30a with the peloton heading out Blackstar Canyon in the dark to the first of 3 big climbs. Blackstar, and the undulating traverse to the top of Motorway is the first big test. As I got to the top of the Blackstar climb the sun was just coming up and I started the traverse of what we call the main divide (the ridge separating Orange and Riverside counties). I reached the turnoff to the Motorway singletrack descent in 1:34. I made it safely down the chunky Silverado Motorway to the first aid station where my wife was waiting to take my light and give me my sunglasses and two new bottles.

After leaving the first aid station riders ascend 4,000 feet up Maple Springs to 4 Corners and eventually Santiago Peak, the second of the 3 main climbs. I reached 4 corners in 2:50 and Santiago Peak in 3:27. From the Peak riders drop down the backside on a loose fire road to the Holy Jim singletrack descent, a 3,900 foot drop to the next aid station. I reached this aid station in 4:12. This is where the Counting Coup riders head out the Trabuco Creek wash to the finish and the VQ riders have to make the hard left turn and complete a difficult ride and hike-a-bike up West Horsethief. As I was struggling to pedal up Trabuco to the West Horsethief turnoff Dana Weber and Tinker Juarez came flying past me on their way towards the finish.

I went out and tried to ride West Horsethief on fresh legs a few times in the preceding weeks and was only able to ride 20-30% so I knew after already climbing 9,000 feet I would be pushing my bike up the switchbacks for 45 minutes or so. One of the great aspects of the ride though is that the race organizers cook burgers at the top of the hike-a-bike climb. Since once you reach this point in the event there is only a short 15 min traverse on the main divide over to the top of Trabuco Trail, the final singletrack descent and arguable one of the best in Southern CA.

I finally got to the top of West Horsethief in 5:28, ate a bunch of orange slices (they never tasted so good), took half a burger with me and began pedaling towards Trabuco. Thankfully I got down the technical and rocky Trabuco descent safely and without flatting. I flew by the Holy Jim aid station and rode out the Trabuco Creek wash to finish the ride with a total time of 6:29.

Overall, I was happy with my results, and ended up 24th out of 123 riders that finished (there were like 30 DNFs). The funny part is that as you’re suffering on a ride like this you tell yourself there’s no reason to do this again, but I’m already thinking of how I can better my time next year!

The MXYBB & VQ number plate
Finish line pic
Big thanks to the favorite people in my life for supporting me and allowing me the time to train for such a big event… my wife, Courtney, our 5-month old daughter, Brittyn, and our wiener dog, Mo. The MXYBB was the perfect bike for this long hard race in the Santa Ana Mountains of Southern CA.

My support crew
The future of Moots
VQ Slopes...the 3 main climbs

Vision Quest Mountain Bike Race 2012 from BrownWonder on Vimeo.
Cool video of VQ posted by BrownWonder on Vimeo