Monday, December 5, 2011

Mudder Trucker!

Yesterday was the MO state championship cyclcross race and despite not having much cyclocross time under my belt this fall I headed out to the Raytown BMX track for a little spa time. The rain the previous day had made for epic mud. I was taking my new All-City Nature Boy out for her maiden voyage which I was pretty sure would set me up for some major mechanical. This was literally the first ride. It performed flawlessly!

I talked Sean into racing his first cx race ever here is his recap,. Lots of muddy bikes were found in the parking lot. I lined up and went to add some mud to mine. Corners were slippery, racers and their bikes were covered head to toe in slop. My bike came across the finish line in 3rd with a good 15 pounds of mud and grass coagulated around the brakes and drive train. Sean narrowly missed a DFL, keeping the streak alive.

It took a good 5 minutes of power washing to see the beauty of my new steed return. With all the dirt removed it was like a Daytona Spring Break 1985 wet t-shirt contest.

Speaking of, Pyro killed it with a 2nd place finish in open against some VERY serious dudes.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Meal worth 100,000

So for the third weekend in a row I'm traveling. First the BT Epic, then Bit and I went to Arkansas for some climbing and camping action now Chicago.

Bit's little sister lives here and we usually visit twice a year. I'm not going to bore you with the details of our trip with 2 exceptions. First, Bit's little Toyota Yaris named Hermes rolled over 100k. We were total nerds and sang the "Happy 100,000 miles to you" song. Here is some photo evidence.

Also we ate at this gourmet vegetarian restaurant called Green Zebra. Angie treated us, so a huge thanks to her. The food and drinks were out of this world. My favorite was their butternut squash soup and the "Dizzy Spell" cocktail.

No biking or climbing this weekend off to a museum and architecture tour.

Leo Guarding the odometer.

Monday, October 24, 2011

BT EPIC 2011

Was it Epic? You betcha!

Did a horde of KC kids who love to ride their bikes in the dirt show up? Fo Sho!

Did they all represent? Come on really, you know they did!

Was the start of the trip Epic? If 4 grown men (Justin, Drew, Sean and I), 4 bikes and 4 Chipotle burritos (thank you Mr. Burns for the sweet ride and tortilla goodness) stuffed into a VW Eurovan isn't Epic then I'll quit riding my bike and start quilting again!

Did we arrive Friday before nightfall? Yes, with just enough time to register, claim grass to sleep on and sneak in a quick recon ride!

Was a majority of our recon ride on gravel? Yes, but Saturday we flossed that shit with the intel gathered!

Were we greeted by familiar faces at the BASS RIVER RESORT? Only if you know the following people: T-Donkey, Dana, The Kid, Old Man Winters, The Bald Chimp, Katie, Claudia, Stewart, JPS, Kay Lynn, Roger, Shoffner, Captain Jack, and Gabriel! It was like a pirate ride in the Ozarks where the whole family showed up.

Were Timbo and Brooke familiar faces? Yes, but we intercepted them at a gas station in St. James where Tim forced me at gun point to eat a bite of his Big Bopper ice cream sandwich then buy myself one.

Did we have an EPIC campfire that evening? No.

Did we attempt to have an EPIC campfire that night? Yes, but unseasoned wood wasn't having it. However, putting mongoloid acorns in the fire added some extra excitement!

Did I sleep outside under the EPIC stars? Yes!

Were they EPIC? Close, but not quite. I did see a haze of the milky way!

Did it get EPICally cold? Yes, but i was warm and cozy in my bivy sack.

Were there more familiar faces in the morning? Boy howdy, to many to mention other than Sarah W. had made a late night arrival.

Was the start of the race EPIC? If near 300 mountain bikers tearing ass through crisp morning air to go ride 55 miles of sweet singletrack and gravel roads isn't, then hand me my needle and thread.

Did I have a strategy? Keep Dave, the Bald Chimp in sight!

Did Dave have a strategy? Keep me in sight! After divulging this we both decided to ride together as much as possible.

Was I sucking wind on the initial climb? EPICally!

Did I catch up to Dave at the first check point? Yes, then I sat on his wheel while he murdered 10 miles of singletrack and every person wearing Lycra that sat in his way. It was effing EPIC.

Did I take my turn at the front? Yes, after the second checkpoint I took the helm till the 2nd major climb turned my legs into a EPIC FAIL jello mold cake.

Did we eventually catch the lone singlespeed racer in front of us none other than Peat Henry? Yes and he was suffering in an EPIC way with his 32x17 gearing.

Did we get off course? Yes, but only for a short distance. Not near as Epic as the lead group which consisted of my buddies Travis and Garet. They had ridden 5 minutes out then turned around only to run into us.

Did the race change at that point? Yes, all of a sudden there were 12 guys together instead of 4 heading into the gravel section. It was about to get EPIC once again.

Did I get dropped on the gravel? Yes but Garet was smoked and he pulled me along while I spun my brains out to try and keep up, thanks dude!

Did I experience any muscle cramping? Affirmative, 9 miles of gravel back to Berrymen campground gave me opportunity to down nutirition.

16 miles of racing lay ahead with Dave and Peat out in front of me, did I give up? Hell no, blew through the last checkpoint without stopping on a mission to experience some full on pain.

Did I catch Peat? Double affirmative!

Did I catch Travis at the same time? Yep

Did that put Travis in a pickle? Yes Sir, he wanted to stay with me but not pull Peat along.

Did I up the intestity? Understatement! For the next 30 minutes I rode as hard as possible with cramps on every switchback.

And? I eventually bridged up to Dave, who "didn't have a lot of fight left in him!" You and me both buddy.

Did Dave and I bust out the last little climb then spin our brains out on the gravel back to the finish? Yes, and it still hurt. But we "checked our 6" the whole time keeping an eye out for Peat.

Did Ethos take the 1 2 in SS? Hells' yeah! It was an EPIC battle the whole race. But it couldn't have ended any better than rolling across the finish line with a friend and teammate. Dave had asked me if I wanted to try and sprint it out to the line. I declined, he had slowed for me on all of the last 3 little rises on the gravel road.

Did he take the win? Yes he deserved it. Now if I had known that SS paid out $$$$ I would have whipped my pump out and jammed it in his front wheel "Breaking Away" style.

Was the race well promoted? Double understatement! Awesome course, and venue. Unreal social atmosphere, tons of bikers and their families hanging out in the post race spectacular fall weather sipping on beer and cola's while chowing on BBQ.

Did I have BBQ? No you silly, I'm a Veg!

Did everyone finish with style? Yes!

Did everyone have as good a time at the bonfire that night as they did racing? I know something with 2 thumbs and a gray beard that did, this guy!

Did I train hard for this race? Yes, but never alone! Always with friends, some slower some faster just out riding trails and having a good time. So thanks to all of my pals who have joined me in trail time this year it has been a blast and it's not going to stop this winter!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Swope Redux

Went out to swope park for the first time without a bicycle nor handtools. Just a crashpad, some shoes and some chalk. I donned my spongebob squarepants outfit and headed east on Woodchuk run to the "headache" boulder. Jer, and the entire Braley crew were there throwing down. I intially was totally underwhelmed by the choss rock but quickly developed a line worthy of some effort. The Braleys split and Jer and I slowly dissected the problem. We had our pads laid out right in the middle of the trail which never was an issue since we only saw 3 cyclists in over an hour. I guess people are more psyched for phase 3 and 4. Anyways after the Beta puzzle was assembled Jer finally sent it by the skin of his teeth. I was close, but as they say no cigar. How hard is it? Please head out there and give your 2 cents, it is the boulder labeled "headache!"


My favorite flower
and now my favorite night light
yes-180grams of light and battery fit on your helmet for some true night riding awesomeness.

Cross Dressing

Much to the chagrin of some mtn bikers I have dabbled in a little cross this fall. But worry ye not Garet, last week I spent a total of 3 hours on my cross bike and 14 hours on my trusty Stumpjumper. What percentage of your bike time was spent on gravel or road?

Last weekend was my first cross race of the year other than the Tuesday Night Universe that I had attended. Which by the way, Its FREE and it's fun and it's got a lot of supercool hipsters who are also really fast and it's FREE and I can ride my bike to the race. Boss Cross #2 was Sunday. I had to work on Saturday but had heard reports from Travis about the horrible sandpit. Travis is a totally whiner about having to run his bike so I took it with a grain of sand! I was committed to race SS then immediately CAT 3. SS had the usual big guns, I started in the second row and had the hole shot by the first turn. Led for 1/2 a lap before the the roadies decided it was time for me to pay, Britton and Kent from crashavita blasted off the front and left me to fend off the hungry wolves sitting 4th-7th. 4th happened to be none other than StJo famed Ethos jerk JDoug. I had started way to hard and was trying to get my legs back, every time I looked over my shoulder JDoug was closing that gap till bam he snuck up and latched onto my wheel. I was happy to have a little friendly competition, and knew that I couldn't take any chances with him. Everyone else behind him had raced earlier in the day but we were both fresh. One the one technical section of the course he bobbled and lost 5 seconds, I turned it on and pushed hard for the rest of the race which ended up doing me in but secured third. JDoug kept 4th solidly, I'm going to have to watch that guy! It should be mentioned that I raced my SS mountain bike which was a blast. I love that thing on all kinds of ground cover; dirt, rocks, sand, leaves, acorns, squirrel carcasses, etc. CAT 3, I was whooped and having wicked bronchospasms from my allergies. I lined up got a good start to avoid any messes then suffered for an hour. Didn't have much in the tank but pulled a 13/30. It should also be mentioned that Travis isn't much of a whiner, running through the sand a total of 32 times for the day was defeating.
That ain't no smile!

Went home and ate some food got some chores done around the house then went out with Burnsey and Taylor for some night riding action at BuRP. Haven't ridden there in over a year with that new car smell of swope. Wow, that place is awesome, best night ride of the year so far!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tall Oaks

Last sunday was my second trip to Jeff City to race in the Tall Oaks Challenge. Great course, great promoters and a great showing of KC folks (read Ethos). I decided to team up with beanpole JPB-rocket this year. Weather was temptingly perfect in the pit area but just steamy enough in the woods to have me eye ball f*&king the lake every chance I could get. The good old hillybilly shotgun technique was used to signal the start of the race and 6 hours later the end. In between gun shots a metric ton of flossing bikes through trees took place, enough so to make a dental hygienist need to change their panties. Riders quickly emerged from the woods with ear to ear grins. Everyone had a good time and raced well. Beanpole and I fared well enough taking 6th in the overall behind some very fast duo teams, But I must give him some major credit for that scorcher of a first lap that he threw down. Teams of Hoppe-JDoug and Sarah-Jamie were not to far behind us. Travis and Garet won, big surprise there. In the Solo division, ladies in green dominated with Kay climbing to the top of the podium and K-Rocket taking Third. Mens Solo saw Coletrain taking a solid fourth and Sean miraculously avoiding a DFL. Sean didn't get much credit for his chivalry that day, so here it is. He witnessed a pretty bad wreck a mile into the race and stopped to help the woman, who he ended up walking back to the starting area. He then stupidly cut through the woods to try and find his bike which only got him lost. By the time he found it the second lap racers were whipping by him as he was running to his rusty tank. Sorry I meant trusty tank! Being a lap down 30 minutes into the race he just had plain fun riding his bike the rest of the day.

Oh yeah, within 10 minutes of finishing the race I was all over that lake action like white on rice on a paper plate in a snowstorm. It felt good, except for the part when my legs cramped like mad trying to get back up onto the dock. Clean, beer, awards, Soccer mom van loaded. 60 minutes to Sedalia for some small town mexican food. The kind of place that you know you're rolling the diarrhea dice by just crossing the threshold. It actually tasted decent enough, but that could be due to the fact that I had just come from a endurance mountain bike race!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Practice what you preach!!!

Quick ride at swope today on my freshly rebuilt front wheel with a twist. Pulled into the parking lot with Travis and went to put my front wheel on only to find I had neglected to put the front brake rotor back on the wheel.

I am constantly telling others to use their front brake much more than the rear. This lesson was taught to me by some old goat named Ted out in Colorado. I had been living in Denver for a short period of time and met him on a ride at Mt. Falcon. We hit it off and he was soon giving me a tour of some of the finest singletrack in the front range. Right off the bat he commented on my crappy descending skills, noting I was using my rear brake way to much which caused my rear wheel to slide out around corners, etc. I adapted quickly and have been passing down that good Beta ever since. That and the monster truck technique!

Lately I have been riding my Fixie moutain bike with Bovine quite a bit. In doing so I have been focusing on using no brakes, with the front brake as a back up. Burnsey has the brakeless technique pretty well dialed in, that or his front disc brake is silent. But this was not my fixie, this was my freewheel bike.

Travis said I should just put my rear rotor on the front wheel and ride sans rear brake. Essentially he was saying put you money where your mouth is! 90 minutes later we had ridden most everything at swope twice and Myself and my bike were still intact. Thankfully I didn't end up like this guy.

Yo Bike Source, think I can get a warranty on that frame?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Spoke Pony

I have often professed my love for Swope Trails. So last Saturday I ponied up and did the 6 hour mountain bike race on that sacred ground. First of all the guys responsible for designing and building those trails do not get enough praise. So if you have't put some time working on these trails or whatever is your local trail, get off your arse and grab a pulaski or a McCloud!

Most of the regular Ethos crowd was there such as Kevin, Travis, Sean, Garet, Sarah, JDoug, and Jim Spellman. There was also a laundry list of other jerks that I ride with such as Nick V, Brett S, not to mention some Team Seagal members who had made the long drive across the state.

The start, uphill and paved and not near as frenzied as I anticipated. Hit the single track in good position and killed it for about 10 minutes. Then set it on cruise control and took a nap. That is a lie! I walked the BIG switchback and the jawbreaker switch back without even attempting them in a planned effort to conserve energy. Rode 8-pins, yeah. By the second lap my lower back was tight like a tiger. The rocks were crazy slippery and the tail of my bike, hell my whole bike, was all over the place. All that compensating for my bike taking a schizophrenic line down the trail was wreaking havoc on my back muscles.

On a good note, there was lots of great eye candy on the trail. The Trail Hermits had hilarious signs posted all over the course. "Are we still feeling pretty good about this 32 piece set" was posted just as you exit 8-pins. A blow up doll with fish net stockings and "x'd" out eyes was laying on the side of phase 3 with a sign that read "Dead Hooker Zone," to go along with this there was an overwhelming stench in that area of the woods from a rotting dear carcass. I laughed pretty hard when I rode by the DHZ each lap.

As the laps and time slowly marched forward trail conditions started to improve. The rocks notably less treacherous, and the corners became super tacky. I was fighting to stay cool hydrated and energized. Jer and Zion showed up to cheer us on, I stopped briefly to chat and turned down a chocolate cookie for fear of getting nauseated (doing anything that makes me turn down a chocolate chip cookie is surely a questionable activity). My mom and step-dad showed up to cheer me on as well. then on my final lap my wife arrived to give me encouragement. It was great to have some family there, this was the first time that any of them had ever been to one of my mountain bike races. I always tell them not to come, cause lets face it mountain biking is a pretty lame spectator sport.

I had ridden by myself for pretty much the entire time, it was mind numbing. I had seen Sean once at our pit area. He was having heat issues but still churning out laps on his "tank" of a singlespeed. Kevin was also hanging out in the pit area after his race, er lap! He and Travis' mom were filling bottles and helping me get my camelbacks switched out. At the end of my 7th lap Travis rolls into the pit with JDoug on his heels. We all go out for a final lap just under the 6 hour mark. Travis pushed the pace for me and it hurt big time, but it was just nice to ride with someone. The pain worked well because a guy who was in 2nd place overall didn't go back out for a final lap. And another guy whom I'd been swapping leads with didn't put in as fast a lap. So I took 2nd place overall behind Travis who was a whole lap ahead of me and 1st in SS. Granted there wasn't a huge number of people who showed up for the race, which is real lame. But I had a really good time

After the race we found a nice shady place and hung out with everyone's SO's and kiddo's waiting for awards to be announced. The weather was perfect with a stiff breeze. Ethos peeps had a good showing. Travis took numero uno overall. Sean had to pose for the camera taking 3rd in SS. JDoug took 5th in 30-39. Sarah crushed the ladies as always taking 1st in the 3 hour. Nick V took 2nd in under 29 in the 3 hour and 4th overall in the 3 hour. Garet broke his ferrari of a bike and DNF's, bummer. But he did make up for on Sunday and won the State Singlespeed Championships, who needs gears and full suspension anyway.


About a week ago Bit and I took a whirlwind trip down to her home town of Joplin. It was my first time back since the devastating tornado hit. The destruction was mind boggling. What was more baffling was how everyone who had seen it before was amazed by how much better it looked. Taking a 3/4 mile wide strip of a city away is indescribable. On a good note, the people have rallied and are recovering as best as possible. Getting over any tragedy requires forging on but not forgetting. We arrived Tuesday afternoon, visited with a high school friend of Bit and her children. The next morning I got up early and volunteered for 5 hours before the heat shut down operations. I pulled nails out of salvaged lumber. They were using the lumber to build prefab storage shelters so that people who were able to salvage things from their homes would having something to put their belongings in while in limbo.

One of the things that I couldn't quite get over was the trees. The big trees that were not up rooted were stripped of all of their bark and limbs. the only thing that remained were little stumps where large limbs had once been. All of these trees were covered in leaves like a chia pet or something out of a Shel Silverstein book. I was told that this was their last ditch effort at staying alive, but the Arborist say they will die.

Summer, Going going gone!

Summer is almost over, and while I'm ready for fall weather it has been a good one. The highlight being Bit and I's trip to the great state of Colorado. We couldn't have planned it more perfect. the 10 days we were gone it was over 100 degrees everyday and really humid. In Colorado not so humid or hot. So we took complete advantage of it and had an action packed time.

We first stopped in Conifer to visit Aaron and Becky. They have a great house bordering National Forest with views of nothing but pine covered peaks, and perfect weather being situated at just under 9,000 ft. First day Aaron and I set the alarm for 4 am and made a dash to Eldorado canyon to do one of my favorite routes in the world, Rewritten. Aaron had never been to Eldo and has only done one multipitch route, so needless to say it blew his mind. By the time we got to the exposed knife edge ridge pitch he had brain tissue dripping from every orifice in his head. Next day, the 4 of us went down for a full day rafting trip through the royal gorge. The Rapids were pumping and we all had an excellent time.

Saturday morning we said goodbye to our gracious hosts and took the longest, yet most scenic route possible to Ridgway where we were sharing a VRBO with the Burns, Dory, and Hauber families for 1 week. We had a great house with ample space and kitchen. Each night a different couple was in charge of cooking a community meal, and we ate like kings and queens all week. We were about 20 minutes from Ouray so there was tons of activities to do. It went a little something like this. Day 1, biking and swimming at ridgway state park, followed by a epic hike that Bit and I got slightly lost on. Day 2 rock climbing at the rotary park in Ouray followed by the box canyon falls then being tourists in town. Day 3 we drove to Telluride where the ladies went on a hike with the kiddos and the boys did an mountain bike ride through the very steep trails surrounding town. Day 4 the ladies did an excellent hike to blue lakes sans children. it looked incredible. Then the lot of us went on a mine tour, very cool but a total rip off at the same time.
Here is Bit posing in front of the equally gorgeous lower blue lake

Day 5 Bit and I went on an early morning bike ride then I met up with my pal Ryan Bradley and sampled some of the trails around Ouray on our bikes. After having our fair share of dirt we picked up Bit and Kelly and hit Orvis Hot Springs to soak the legs and soul. Day 6 Ryan, Sean and I arose at 4 am rallied the toyota Yaris up a steep dirt road and summited Mt. Sneffels a local 14er. from the top we could see the blue lakes pictured above. Got back to the rental by 11 am and headed straight to Ridgway state park for stand up paddleboarding. We all took a crack at it on the lake and did well, not sure if any of us would be ready to run some whitewater on one of those things. Day 7 Bit and I hit the road by 5 am and drove straight back to KC and into the heat. We had an awesome time, but certainly needed a vacation to recover from our vacation.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Holy Shit! This last weekend I drove down to Arkansas to with Sean and Jamie to compete in Syllamo's Revenge! 50 miles of pure singletrack with lots o climbing awaited us. We pulled into the gorgeous Blanchard Springs Campground after picking up our packets. Tim and Brooke had arrived earlier and secured a sweet campsite right next to the river. We got busy carb loading and giving our pedal machines a once over.

Some background on this shindig. Sean, Jamie and Tim had all done this race previously. I was the only Syllamo virgin up for sacrifice. I had heard many descriptions of the course, which basically boiled down to a big gravel road climb to single track that starts out very technical with no major climbs from that point on and finishes smooth singletrack. Refer back to the sacrifice part.

Saturday morning we lined up for the start with temperatures in the 40's. The start was a frantic blast to get to the gravel climb. The opening climb is just short of a mile long with a constant grade of 11%. I had chosen a 32/20 gearing which turned out to be a wise choice. I was unable to stay in the saddle during the climb for more than 5 seconds at a time. Towards the top of the climb Dave Wilson went blitzing by in the saddle looking really strong. By the time we entered the singletrack I was sitting around 20th place. My heartrate had been in the low 180's for the entire climb, I was totally gassed, and it took me a good hour of riding to recover from the start.

Back to being the sacrifice. The technical riding started very soon and didn't let up for a good 25 miles. I'm talking technical that required a lot of hike a bike, those cyclocross skills came into play. Not only was it technical, but very muddy. The limestone rocks were all off camber and crazy treacherous. Some were hard just to walk through. There were actually several sections that I got off and walked DOWN, for fear of bodily harm. I would love to go back and ride that place a little drier and actually try to get some of that clean. Somewhere around mile 30 the "climb" began, and it lasted for several miles. It was unrelenting in technicality and brutality. I walked my bike even more, I felt like the helpless maiden being tied to the ceremonial altar. The climb finally let up after a 1/4 mile of gravel so steep that I walked some of that also.

The gravel dumped me back onto smooth single track, which I should have been ecstatic about, but my spirit was almost completely broke. My goals going into this race were to finish in less than 5:30, place top 20 overall, and to podium in singlespeed. I knew I was sitting 4th or 5th in singlespeed and somewhere in the low 20's overall. Those two measurements are all relative to those I was racing against. 5 hours and 30 minutes was my constant. The bad part was that my garmin showed my distance as 30 miles at 3 hours and 55 minutes. I tried to stay motivated and talk myself into pedaling harder but the beast had been released and was bearing down upon the altar to which I was tied.

Right as my clock hit 3:59, I exited singletrack to an aid station. I was completely bewildered. I knew there was a checkpoint at mile 36 but this seemed impossible, the knots that bound my wrist were suddenly looser than seconds before. The volunteers called my plate number, and i asked them if this next section of trail was the Bad Branch Loop. They said yes, 12 miles on this trail back to this point then 3 miles to the finish. I took a quick assessment of my situation. My body was on the verge of failure, 14 miles of singletrack left, 1 mile of gravel road to descend in under 90 minutes. I pulled both wrists free from the ropes that held me captive and jumped off the altar sprinting into the jungle with restless natives and beast in pursuit. I was a man on a mission. 2 packages of sport beans, half a bottle of protein/electrolyte drink and 82 minutes of pain. I have never pedaled so fervently, I passed several people and got passed once. But like the last 40 miles, I for the most part was riding alone in the beautiful mountains of Arkansas. I rolled back through the checkpoint feeling strong and in minutes had taken a hard right onto the gravel road and was traveling at ridiculous speeds downhill towards the finish line. I crossed at 5:22, looking over my shoulder I saw the beast and the natives that pray to it waiting for the next unsuspecting virgin.

It was such a great experience I can't wait for next year. And I learned a lot of things that will help me do better in the future. Most importantly is that my fiercest competition will never be the man or woman pedaling behind or in front of me. It will always be the small person inside of me who looks to compare myself to others. There will always be someone faster and more talented than myself, I am content with that. But I will never be complacent to giving in to myself. So take that Jesse Gross, "I kicked your ass at Syllamo!"

The rest of the group had great races as well. Sean kicked (his own) ass by knocking 35 minutes of his previous time. Jamie knocked 3 plus hours of his previous time (last year he received bad directions form a volunteer and ended up doing an extra 20 miles). Dave Wilson got 3rd in SS and broke the 5 hour mark. Sarah Worthington got 3rd in Womens Open, with Kay Lehman not to far behind. Tim just finished which may have been the most impressive feat since he has ridden his bike once since Bonebender.
look at those blingy rims

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Roubidoux Gound Up

So I've been riding my big wheeled BMX bike a lot lately and Bovine finally convinced me to start blogging again so here it is.

Three Saturdays ago I went up to Krug Park in St. Joe to help get the trails ready for the next weeks race hosted by Craig Hoppe, Randy Tracy and Ethos. After 6 hours of pleasant weather while weed eating, Steve and I headed out for a lap. It was awesome fast, with big bermed corners and even bigger climbs. I was psyched for the following Saturday.

One week later I arrived at AWC headquarters to meet Garet and Trav for the 1 hour drive to Krug. I was on the fence on whether to race SS or toughen up and try my first race in the expert category. Trav and Garet had other plans for me, during the course of drive they convinced me to race marathon in preparation for Syllamo. This was fine except if I had planned on racing marathon I would have changed my gearing and brought more nutrition/water bottles. The marathon group gathered halfway down the hill for the start. Somewhere around 15 racers lined up and were off for a furious sprint up the hill, with myself and one other rider on a singlespeed. Some guy I didn't know blasted off and I sucked onto his wheel spinning my brains off, starting up the steeper part of the paved hill he pulled away from me and James Shiflett of 360 Racing passed me. I had ridden a good portion of Bone bender with James and he is a solid rider with many years of racing under his belt, I was bound and determined to stick to his wheel and follow his lead. I hit the singletrack in third just behind James. Rounding the first section of trail Travis and Garet were out there cheering me on with this statement, "If you don't win this we are going to kick your ass!" When Travis tells you that, you take it seriously.

James and I quickly caught up to the leader. After the second climb I could tell he had not much time left in front, he was barely making it up the steep sections. Shortly afterwards James and I both passed him and settled into a more manageable pace. Another 360 rider Denny pulled onto my wheel and was content with following. I felt great and then the Shit Circus began.

My right pedal started feeling weird after a climb, I looked down to find it almost completely unscrewed from the crank arm. I panicked. I pulled off to fix it, scrambling to get my multitool out. Denny passed me then another rider. I threw my multitool into my jersey and stuffed my seat bag with all the other crap that had fallen out. I quickly caught a rider gunning for the top 2 and I had Deja Vu. My pedal was almost completely unscrewed again. I stopped again to further inspect my pedal to see that the bearings were completely seized on the spindle. I tightened it down with as much force as possible. The remainder of the lap i was consumed with my crapped out pedal. I kept looking down to see if it was starting to unscrew again and on a steep downhill corner caught my front tire on a root sending me over the handlebars and turning them 10 degrees off center. JP Brockett had seen all of this and heckled me from the woods. I asked him if I could borrow a pedal off his bike since he wasn't racing today, he gave me the green light. Limping into the pit area I yelled to Trav is to grab JP's bike. He arrived shortly with the bike only to find his eggbeaters required 8mm allen wrenches and I only a 6mm allen. I told Travis I needed a pedal or a bigger allen wrench. He ran back to his car yelling over his shoulder that he had some pedals. He came back with a pedal that required a freaking 8mm allen. Third trip back to the car Travis returned with said wrench and I finally got it switched out. At this point most of the class had passed me, and I was beside myself with how a perfect start had turned to crap. I started off for my second lap so frantic that i forgot about my handlebars. Travis had told me to relax and that I had 2 plus hours to reel people in. So 50 feet into the singletrack I stopped, composed myself, fixed my handlebars and officially punched in at Krug timeclock. Three laps later I pulled up behind Denny, James had broken his chain on the second lap. I asked Denny if there was anyone else in front of him. He said no and conceded. I pulled into the pit area to swap out a bottle and grab a coke for some last lap nitro. The bottle that was set aside with coke was not sealed completely and had spilled inside my duffle bag. I filled a bike bottle with water and headed out for my final and fifth lap. I set the stumpjumper on cruise control and committed to make every climb, I had only walked one short steep section up to that point. Legs on the verge of total lockdown I made the final climb up the grassy hill to the finish for my first win in a mountain bike race, just to avoid a beat down from Travis and Garet. More Travis than Garet!

Thanks to Craig and Randy for such an awesome event and some totally kick ass trails. Wish I lived a little closer.

Next week is Syllamo, I am crazy psyched and slightly intimidated.