Monday, September 19, 2011

Road Racin' on Mtb's!

Chequamegon Fat Tire Time!  29 years of Fat Tire FUN!

Podium shot!  photo @ Amy Dykema

I did it again!  Smart racing and the best fitness of my life just won me my 4th trip to the top of the CHEQ FAT TIRE 40 podium and 3rd in a row!  I wasn't sure how things would shake out with very elite competition in the field, but in the end they actually made it a little easier than normal.

photos @
The start is always a little crazy at the Fat Tire 40
It was hard, don't get me wrong, and I had to suffer like a dog a couple times on the last section of the Birkie trail, but the high speeds just kept spitting riders off the back of the group.  For the majority of the race my new eyeball Bell Volt helmet was locked onto the big red R on the back of Jason McCartney's jersey and the big white e on the back of Christian VandeVelde's speed suit.

I picked my favorite wheel right away!
Fortunately it is still a mtn bike race and skills and smarts came into play.  First off I can't ever imagine doing a race like that on a hardtail.  I was almost smiling to myself through the pain as I would effortlessly(not really and in the draft of a Tour De France rider) pedal down the hills and over the tops of the bumpy birkie watching them bounce all over the place.  The Trek Top Fuel was huge in energy savings after 40 miles of whacking blind bumbs in the tall grass at 20mph's.  To prove it....3 Trek Top Fuel's in the Top 6 overall.  Most Impressive Ride of the Day goes to Matt Shriver(6th).  Surprise Ride Of The Day goes to Travis Woodruff(4th)...both on Trek Top Fuels!

J-Mac from the Shack was gassin' it all day
Second - the skills.  J-Mac & CVV were obviously strong, but they seemed to be slightly lacking in the confidence on the fast descents and the loose corners.  This allowed me to float off the back, open a little gap, corner with speed, get back onto the wheel, and not accelerate.  The new Bontrager XR1's were sweet.  They mount up like a 2.2 with huge volume and low rolling resistance.  I ran them at about 22psi and they were so solid underneath me the entire race.

still on my favorite wheel
Three - smarts.  This race is all about positioning.  Very rarely was I ever further back than 2nd wheel.  Sometime I was 3rd wheel or maybe on a long road section if I took a drink or some Clif Shots I would drift back to 5th, but right away back to 2nd position in the next corner.  Any further back than that and you are done for.  The yo-yo affect of the birkie at high speeds can shatter you.  Usually it shatters riders, but also those pulling so we all slow up and re-group.  With J-Mac & CVV there was no slowing.  We AVG'd 20.2 mph in a 40 mile slighly uphill mtb race.  That's fast and positioning was key.  I never had to work hard to make any of the splits by being in good position.

climbing the firetower : photo @
At the end I was suffereing...I went to the front on the Firetower so I wouldn't get dropped.  J-Mac passed me after 2 of the big step ups and CVV was gapped!
Didn't think we'd gap CVV on the Firetower!

Coming down the back side Michael Olheiser and I dropped J-Mac.  I knew that if I could make it up the Birkie I could win.  It all came together with 8 to go so I attacked the final downhill before the Birkie in order to get another 100 meter gap and easily make it over the first two rollers. Olheiser attacked the third started to hurt.  J Mac went hard and I almost cracked, but the eyeball lid was like a tractor beam on the back of CVV's jersey.  The faster they went the easier it was to roll over the tops of the climbs.  I was going to make it!  CVV attacked on the last roller of the Birkie and J-Mac sits up.  Am I getting tag teamed by Pro Tour riders?  Olheiser gets gapped and CVV gets a 10 seconds gap.  I figured I could close it in the next two corners.  Corner number one and J-Mac goes slow.  Long downhill dirt rode w/ tons of rocks...usually under water, but not this year.  The next right hander is tough....I set up, look for my line and see CVV w/ a flat tire.  One more spot for me....Immediately to the back to wait for Telemark road.  2 miles of downhill dirt road and a lead group of 3 rotating through.  J-Mac starts rubbing the cramps in his legs and Olheiser does the same!  WOW I CAN WIN!

the last descent
2 miles to go and J-Mac cautiously enters the Telemark Trail.  As soon as possible I attack a descent and the next climb and open up another 100 meter gap!  I gage my effort though knowing its a little far to go....hoping they completely crack, but they bridge.  Last climb of the race I attack again and get another instant gap!  I knew I had it as the roadies weren't going to catch me on the final two descents!  It was close, but not nearly as close as the sprint with Cole 2 years ago or my first sprint win with Tilford in 04!  Most wins ever at Chequamegon and in record time 2:00:59!
I was fired up!

 Thanks to everyone!  Too bad Andrea doesn't even know the results!  She is in California w/ Elicia on a back pack trip!
just like wrestling a big ol black bear!

1 comment:

TP said...