Tuesday, September 28, 2010


As Tristan likes to say, "Your only as fast as your last race."

I wasn't super motivated to do a post race USGP blog update because I was a little disappointed with Sundays result and according the T's theory I was still #1 in the blogosphere with my Chequamegon update!

Day one at the USGP. I wasn't sure
what to expect. I hadn't done a cross race in 9 months. I had only been over a home made rope barrier during one day of training. I had only been on the new Norcross SL a handful of times.

I opted for a conservative star
t. I think at the end of lap one I was near 30th position. I started feeling good a
nd easily moved through the field. Midway through the race I had just bridged a huge gap to Barry Wicks. Unfortunately there was not a sole in site when I caught Barry. I was pretty gassed by the time I made con
tact. In the last half of the race Barry and I caught Ryan Knapp. I attacked with 2 to go trying to reel in Troy who was sitting 10th. I ran out of pop and finished 13th last in our group, but in the UCI points.

I was the luckiest cross racer of the weekend after the race when I rolled back to Elicia's house about 4 miles away from the course. Andrea made me an awesome dinner and Elicia hooked me up with a little back rub! I was ready for day 2.

Day 2 started a little early w/ some SuperFan action watching some friends, Bruce & Wally, Elicia, and Mike kill it in their respective races. A little lunch and next thing you know I was on the start line again.

I started much better and was in the mix over the barriers on lap
1. A half lap later the race went bad. Luke K missed a pedal at the top of the run just ahead of me and a 4 second gap opened. 12 guys were up the road and I chased for an entire lap with the gap at 4 seconds. Luke K was winning the U-23 race and had no interest in helping chase the big boys. Ryan Knapp was there, but not strong enough on day 2 to help. The elastic snapped. I was in no mans land and pretty dissapointed. A couple laps later solo I had to sit up and wait for the next big group to catch. Once again it was Barry bridging up with Luke Keogh & Ryan Knapp, Van Nuffel and McGrath. As soon as they caught I went hard again only to put 20 feet on the group. I was feeling strong, but I missed the race on lap 1. With one to go I attacked and shattered our group. At the end only Sean was able to sit on my wheel and he got me on the last run up. 14th place

All in all a good weekend of racing, but I know I have more in me. The bikes were awesome and with a little fine tuning of seat position & bar position I should be ready to go for the UCI3 in 2 weeks. Thanks to all who helped in the pits, all who cheered, and all who took photos. It's going to be a good season!

Monday morning we dropped a big tree in our front yard....it was almost as intense as the GP!
This morning I stacked 80 lb tree logs. My biceps hurt!

Thanks for reading and huge props to Colt from WWW.CYCLINGDIRT.ORG for making it real!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fat Tire Repeat

At the end of last week I thought for sure I was going to ride all mtb season long with a #1 plate and not defend any of my titles from last year. Something clicked mid week though. Some encouraging e-mails, a solid workout, and the leaves changing colors made me remember what Chequamegon is all about!

We pulled out of the driveway early Friday morning. It was a smooth drive up. Stopped in Phillips for our annual Subway lunch w/ the Ttown Flyers. Pulled into Telemark Lodge around 3:00 ready for a re-ride. Everything was good, legs good, bike good, the sun started peaking out. Then with 5 miles to go in the pre-ride I put a really good 1" slice in my rear tire. I fixed the flat in record time, but then blew out the tube because I was an amatuer and didn't check my tire. I thought I was going to lose all my blood from the mosquitos, I thought I was going to have to walk 5 miles, I thought my race was over...Tristan or Bill didn't have air and T's spares tube had a hole in it....also amatuers! Luckily a fellow rider stopped with some assistance and my Clif Bar wrapper helped the slice stay closed tand I nursed the tire back to the finish line.

Demo Ken was the next hero of the day when he suggested the rugged Bontrager XR2 TLR for a repalcement tire. It reminded me of an old school Tioga Farmer John, but it was going to have to do the job. The Ttown Flyer crew pulled through with some Stans and a CO2 to help the tire get set up tubeless. It was a little stressful to say the least with white crap pouring out of your untested tire the night before the biggest mtb race in WI. We left Telemark 3.5 hours later with full doubts in my head and a dirty bike. Andrea and I went for dinner w/ Sager and Tristan...little did we know that everyone at the dinner table was going to kill it the next day! At 10pm I pulled out of the car wash and headed for bed.
The morning arrived and it was brisk. Not quite as cold as a few years ago when there was a full frost, but it was cold. I still had white stuff coming out of my wheels. I was afraid to let air out of the tires. I rolled down Hwy 77 with a tailwind for my warm up thinking I feel OK. Went through Rosies field thinking I need to let air out of the tires....I did. Back on the road towards the start with Dirk Rettig, headwind, legs cold and not feeling good.

The start was standard and seemed a little safer to me than in years past. I was at the front and was the first guy off the pavement in to Rosies field(not counting the guy on the cross bike and Mike Anderson who drafted the ATV half way down Hwy 77). I kept it cool and let Doug, Tilford and Tristan roll by and settled in. I was warm for about two seconds and pushed down the arm warmers and un zipped the jersey. Then the pace settled...the lead group was 20 strong and nobody was going anywhere. Why are my legs so cold? Mike Anderson was strong, Tilford was strong, Tristan was strong, Doug was up there, Sager was there. I attacked multiple times to see if anyone would come with me, but really was just trying to warm up my legs.

At hwy OO the group was a little smaller, Tilford had flatted and my legs were still cold. Doug drilled it for a while on his 26" fully suspended bike...just like old times....we dropped a few more riders. Then it went down. Mike Andersone was at the front. He must have pre-rode the whole course because at the biggest puddle he found a sweet line around in some singletrack to the right, then another to the left. I peaked over my right shoulder in the first singletrack and I saw Doug going through the puddle. His front tire was out of sight, the wave from the ATV almost covered his bars, he was skateboarding his bike knee deep in the water, while Mike, Tristan, Sager, and I were riding away.

We came out onto the long dirt road section w/ a gap and instantly started rotating. We were gone and one of use was not going to make the podium???

As we approached the Fire Tower all I could think about was why are my legs so cold? I was feeling good, but Sager was feeling better. He crushed it up the climb as my legs started to twinge. He went over the top 5 seconds ahead of Tristan and I was another 5 seconds back. Mike was about 10 behind me....I could tell he was hurting. It all came together on the descent. My legs were cold....heading towards the last section of the Birkie I tried to take a pull to warm up the legs, but they started cramping. I was thinking to myself I just need to out suffer Mike and get 3rd. Sager attacked and my legs cramped. I pushed through the first part of the climb where I had attacked last year and followed Tristans wheel. Sager was riding away with the win. Tristan was pulling me up the Birkie, but it seemed he could only climb as fast as I could. We started trading pulls and worked together the next 6 miles to catch Sager with 2 miles to go.

Tristan went to the front I followed into second postion thinking - One of us has to win -If Tristan goes at least Sager will have to go around me- Tristan made his move, it was not enough, but it did hurt Sager and right then I knew I was going to win. One more climb and I attacked and pedaled over the top. 10 second gap instantlly. I was seeing stars and my vision was horrible, the legs were cold but not cramping. I knew I had just won my 3rd Fat Tire and it was the first time I had enough of a gap to cross the finish line with my hands in the air.

The best part of the day was after the podium presentation when I saw Andrea cross the finish line. I was so excited to see her! She had an awesome race...she thought for sure she had just finish in 10th place. Her best finish ever. She was so excited she almost had an asthma attack(actaully she did have a little asthma attack and I had to repeatedly tell her to calm down). She ended up 11th(a little bummer than she wasn't top 10), but it was by far her best Chequamegon ever. She was less than 40 seconds away from 8th place. As her mechanic I was happy her bike worked....you can ask SKJ, as a husband/mechanic its not fun when your wifes bike doesn't work.
After the race we cleaned up had some burgers and hung at the Muskie Museum w/ the Schoutens.

Then it was party time, but that's a different story.

A huge thanks to everyone who helped out with my flat tire(let me know if I owe you tubes or C02'S???) on Friday, who cheered, who sent me messages on facebook, and to Rachael my team mate who gave up her warm long sleeve jersey so I could look good on the podium! Thanks to Gear Grinder and Trek for all the help during all 3 Chequamegon Championships!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Treadfest has come and gone....it was a strange race for me. I had a horrible ride on Saturday for a warm up. I figured I better warm up extra good on Sunday morning before the race, but again I felt horrible. Uh oh - 5 minutes into the race the leaders were gone. The top ten was out of sight, but then something clicked.

I ripped a corner. I nailed a line. The Top Fuel started performing like the trail was nobodies business. I was racing on sweet trails. I started passing guys, and the faster I rode the smoother I felt. I caught the chase group of Eppen, McCartney, and Adv. 212. 3/4 of the way through the 1st lap. I was back in the game.

We started lap 2 and it was me and McCartney. He killed it up the climb and gapped me a little at the very top, but I knew I would catch him in the singletrack. I did and I followed him for a 1/4 lap. It was like doing intervals....not fun ones. He would struggle in the singletrack, but then crush it like it was his last race ever when he got out into the open. I finally passed him and one corner later he was gone. Each lap I put about 30 seconds on him and he would have no problem closing that gap on the
start climb!

He was strong, but his skills were rough. I love it when you can beat someone in a race because your skills are better than theirs! I heard he crashed on the last lap rock section and lost about 1/2 of each of his 4 front teeth????

I finished about 2 minutes down on Tristan, but had to have lost at least half of that in the first lap when I was still sleeping. The mental motivation was lacking, but with Chequamegon this weekend it back. I had a killer workout yesterday. The bike got a few upgrades and is ready to rock. Tomorrow morning we load up the Hyundai and head north! I wonder if the leaves are changing colors yet? I also wonder what Doug's thinking? How did he win by 8 minutes in 03? It was also 03 that Tristan last won a triple crown event? I'm pumped!

After Chequamegon, its full on CX season with only one mtb race left this year...Iceman. The cross bikes are dialed. I have ridden both of them....the mud tires and glued and mounted. The dry tires are glued and will be mounted by Sunday evening. Just got the last pieces of the puzzle today. Some new Bontrager Evoke saddles. Hats off to Bontrager for making some huge improvements in the saddle department. Andrea loves her new Affinity RXL WSD!

ps. Testing out some new J-Tree Embrocation and healing cream!!! Stay Tuned

Thursday, September 09, 2010


There's talk all over the net about cross. Building bikes, gluing tires, Wednesday cross practices, and even races. The buzz about cross is still growing louder and the season seems to be getting longer each year!

I'm doing the same. Aquasealin', Gluin', Buildin', waiting for the UPS truck to come around the corner in his big brown truck for the final pieces of the puzzle! The NORCROSS SL framesets arrived yesterday along with all my wheels from EASTON. The bikes are superlight! The wheels are just as sweet as last year! It was a late night in the shop last night cuttin' steerer tubes and pressing BB30 adapters. Good thing the Hyundai Elantra Touring has a ton of cargo room to bring all the stuff home!

Then the fun switched to my basement. I slapped on the new Shimano components, the PRO bar, stem, and post, along with the TRP's. I spent some time in the basement and didn't see any bats! Being in the basement preparing for cross made me think of Matt Kelly training for worlds in his basement. Don't think I could ride in my basement though...ceilings too low. Hoping to have at least one of the bikes ready to ride for an easy commute to work tomorrow!

Can't wait to get muddy! First chance is in Madison at the USGP. Second chance and more likely to get muddy is at the UCI3 in Cincinnati. Its worth the drive. 3 races, beer tents, superfans, and the best bbq ribs in the world!