With September nearly here it’s the eve of my favorite season for MTB racing. Not sure what it is about the month of September, but it’s fantastic for racing bikes with other fast guys. In what has become somewhat of a tradition, I’ll be doing the double-header this weekend with the Seeley Pre Fat on Saturday followed up with the WORS Reforestation Ramble on Sunday. Since a similar Chequamegon build up has worked in recent years, I might as well stick with it. Really I just love to ride fast and choosing between races is often too challenging so I figure why not just go fast two times in one weekend?
It’s a combination of the venues, the history, and the weather that make September racing all that it is, but really without the tight competition these ‘races’ would simply be rides. The mix of racer personalities and generous promoters make these experiences possible and also addictive. Thanks to everyone who helps make it possible. See you at the races, -TJ
July was a busy month, full of a lot of good times on and off the bikes. It included a WORS race, a National Championship, and a MNSCS event. Off the bike there was camping, birthdays, and even a wedding (well the wedding was actually August 1st) all spit between WI and CO.
The biggest race highlight was finishing 2nd in the Singlespeed Nationals race. I’ve done limited riding on a single before so it was something not necessarily in my element. This made for some awesome pre race nerves, but by the race started it was largely business as usual. One gear or not bike racing is largely the same in that whoever focuses and works the most usually wins, this assuming that you show up with good fitness. Using a 32×20 allowed me to sit on some of the climbs to finish out the three long laps of racing. I was with JJ for 1/2 a lap, but he got away near the top of the climb while we struggled to pass Expert racers in the singletrack. For the most part I rode the race solo and the time gap to JJ stayed at roughly a minute for the bulk of day. I was having fun with the course and figuring out just how hard to go on various climbs. JJ is a CO guy and we’ve got back and forth in previous races when I’m using gears and he’s on the single. The Tucson Daily Star even did a little write up: here.
Prior to Nationals, the Eau Claire crew put on a good WORS showdown with the Fireracker race. I was recruited to race with a fork mounted camera, but so far none of that footage has surfaced. If and when it does, there’ll be a couple good crashes and plenty of chasing to be seen since I was off the lead group for most all of the race before finishing fourth.
And to close out the racing for the month I got over to Elk River, MN for the Singletrack Attack last weekend. It was my first ride back from Colorado and unbeknown to me my front tire hadn’t fully sealed itself prior to the start of the race. About 10 minutes into things I was forced to stop and add CO2 from the Big Air. This did the trick, but several riders were able to go by so I had some passing to do and it didn’t take much for the lead trio disappear and I wasn’t able to join in. Another fourth place was the result.
Up next will be the Ore to Shore. I’m excited for this one and hope to have another good go at it after finishing 2nd there a year ago. I’ve been able to get in some solid training for it, so if all goes well it ought to be an interesting race at the front end. Over and out, -TJ
Got in an amazing ride this morning as an unofficial ‘stage four’ of the Tucson Bicycle Classic. Overload was the name of the game and two trips up to windy point was the plan of attack. 80 miles and over 7k feet of climbing were tallied. Somewhere out there I fell in love with my bike (and with suffering) yet again.
riding into the clouds above 6000 feet.
The Tarmac didn’t mind the conditions.
Fortunately this was my flipping point at milepost 14. It was very dense so I was happy to head back down.
The second visit to Windy Point was less dramatic since the clouds had risen a couple thousand feet by then. The ride was a great way to follow up the race weekend and an even better way to kick off a new week. Life’s good on the bike!
The racing went well Friday through Sunday. I figured out how to TT fast and ended up 5th overall on the GC with a couple of top 10 stage finishes. Good times and plenty of speed were had. Thanks for checking back. I’ll try to improve my blogging ‘fitness’ now that my riding fitness is getting close to par…
Wow. These are some fine racing machines and I can’t thank my sponsors enough for helping to get things all set for the early road season. TT early this afernoon so we’ll see how ride #3 goes aboard the bike. Hopefully it’ll be really fast since I’ll be wearing the secret weapon. Back at it,
’09 is off and rollin’ in a hurry. A taste of WI winter was all I needed to reinvigorate the bike riding. A couple days in California bookended what was a great time back home to the Northwoods. Some CA riding with Chloe made for some fun explorations. The highlights were Honey Run, Spunky Canyon, and Lake Hughes with a couple nice stretches of road between them.
2008 was an excellent year both on and off the bike. More of the same would be a great start, but as a part of the Adventure 212 team it’s sure to be an even better this time around. I’m excited for the racing and also the thought of spending the summertime months in Wisconsin again. The team is comprised of some great guys so we ought to have fun off the bikes while also pushing each other on race day. Odds are good that there’ll be a significant amount of red, orange, and grey on the podiums…
Things are not 100% certain as to what bike I’ll be aboard, but those details are coming together rather quickly – more details sometime soon. For now my days are spent coaching, riding, and repeating. While November and December marked a lot of time spent riding singletrack and tallying up the KJ’s, these days I’m mixing in a little bit of pain with my pleasure in the form of some interval work. I figure that I might as well practice some suffering and keep my game sharp. Simply more endorphins per hour is how I see it…
Here’s to making 09 the best yet. Enjoy the riding, -TJ
- dreary desert riding.
- rainbow over Gates.
avoid the pointy stuff!
Desert trails are awesome. When it’s 45 and drizzling they’re even better. Nothing like the flow of the trail to keep you feeling warm inside. Sunday I got out for 45+ miles on the knobbies, making the most of the ‘nasty’ weather. Rainy and windy days make the best opportunities to get on the trails and I was fortunate enough to have planned for trail riding anyways. Most of the locals have adopted the weather.com plan and miss out on such fine opportunites.
Saturday marked the return to the infamous Shootout ride, my first time back since last spring. It was plenty fast and a handful of us fought the huge wind all the way up into Madera Canyon. It actually got easier when it got steeper since the trees protected us from the winds. We easily rode at 30 mph the whole way backon old Nogie thanks to the tailwind. 95 miles and a solid day on the bike. A little bit of suffering can be a lot of fun.
Sunday’s trail ride was the perfect follow up and the trails were quiet for the most part. Tucson Mountain Park has some great stuff and I rode most all of the trails there before calling it a day. These pictures are a taste, but do little justice to the clarity that can be found while on the trails. Good stuff and it gets better everytime I go back.
Got back on the dirt. Or should I say ‘rocks’ of Tucson this weekend. Good stuff!
Pending monsoon rain? I lucked out and stayed dry.
Rolling out on Tanque Verde with Redington/AZ Trail/Milagrosa in mind for day one. Eventually met a stranger by the name of Dominic who ended up riding with me. He used to race the NORBA scene back in the late 90’s. Good guy with great skills…
Flowing trail and high country grasslands turns to…
big bouldery rocks with plenty of pointy edges as you descend back to the desert.
Cacti make for great ‘freestyle accupuncture’ treatments.
Day two I had some better looking company. She’s also highly skilled. We rode over ‘Golden Gate’, which is in the background. More rad trails followed too.
Chloe riding up the rocks of Tucson Mountain Park.
All in all it was a fine return to the desert MTB scene. It’s rugged and tough as ever and I’m loving the challenge. You gotta have skills and searching for more always makes for a great weekend. After a second consecutive weekend without racing I’m feeling very refreshed. I might have to find a way back for ICEMAN…
Not long ago it was June and I was leaving Tucson for the summer months. Four months later and I’m now back after having an awesome experience in Wisconsin. Friday was a pre-dawn departure from Madison with a post-dusk arrival to Colorado Springs. Saturday’s ride made the long hours in the car worth the while. Brian and I got out for 4.5 hours of MTB action. Two hours of dirt road climbing was followed by some of the best singletracks I’ve ridden. This ride was a favorite of my personal ‘stash’ from ’05 so after three years away I was happy to be able to recall the trails so we could make the loop happen as it did. Brian agreed that it was one of epic proportion. He even got a good digger when I had the camera out…
Perfect weather, golden aspens, tacky soils, and fun bikes made the ride incredible. I’m jealous of Brian’s backyard, enough so that I’m tempted to plan my move to Colorado’s Front Range.
Before that happens, life in Tucson takes off once again. I finished the drive on Sunday and was greeted with a pleasantly cool evening in the desert. I’ve been on Lemmon twice already this week and it’s nice to be getting back into the local scene. Great friends and good riding can make this place very attractive. I’m looking forward to the weekend and the chance for some big MTB adventures. Stay tuned for the details. Enjoy the riding! -TJ
1×65 min in 44×12
Two hours of technical singletrack for ‘recovery’
1×60 min in 44×11
This was today’s bike practice routine. Of course there were also the warm up and cool down, but those are the boring parts. I rolled out on the Military Ridge Trail en route to the Blue Mound singletracks and kept the pace going pseudo strong along the way. The weather couldn’t have been better as the humidity seems to have cracked for the time being. This made for some excellent singletracking on fresh trails. The first ride on a trail is always an unique experience since gone is the sense of anticipation; one of the many satisfying experiences to have on the bike.
After a lot of tough trails and one gashed sidewall it was time to head home. At hour three it was easy to keep the pace fast and steady with thoughts of O2S flowing from mind to body. The flat and fast dirt grade was an excellent way to dial in the fitness for the drag race that’s soon to come. As was today’s ride, the Ore to Shore ought to be a good one. -TJ
I suppose that since I haven’t blogged much recently, the riding I did while in Colorado could be considered ‘secret’. Spending a couple of weeks in Boulder was a great way to split the travel from Tucson to Wisconsin. There are so many mountain roads to explore that the rides seemed to go on and on. And that’s a very good thing. It felt really good to get into the riding groove again as for a while it seemed as if I was only racing and recovering. Getting back to big rides on consecutive days was just what I needed for the body and mind.
My CO stay ended with the Teva Mountain Games which once again proved to be a super fun weekend. There aren’t many races out there where cycling is part of a bigger festival, so it’s a nice change of pace and a good chance to see what ‘other’ people do. The huge prize checks made for some highly competitive racing which was a lot of fun. There were quite a few fans who hiked the mountainside to watch the xc, but this number was tiny compared to that of the other events. The World Cup climbing and kayaking competitions seemed to draw the most fans.
The XC was your standard slow motion altitude climbing race where it always seemed as if I should be going faster. But as soon as the effort is increased so is the fatigue since there’s not much oxygen available up there. This meant that nice and steady was the name of the game. I might have been one of the fastest sea level guys there so that’s got to count for something…
For the hill climb I was super pumped about the massive tailwind we would have. Last year we weren’t so fortunate so it was easy to take a big chunk of time off. I rode the flat part of the course conservatively so that I could let it rip once we started up Vail pass. This negative split seemed to work well as I turned in a pretty solid effort. No records were set on my part, but both the Men’s and Women’s winners set new course records.
Chloe blogs less than me these days so I’ll let you know that she had an awesome weekend, placing 5th in the xc and 3rd in the hill climb. She made some big payout and enjoyed the occasion. She even got to practice with some TT gear before really putting it to the test at the Nature Valley Grand Prix where she’ll be racing as part of a collegiate ‘all star’ team. This is an awesome way to experience the high level of women’s road stage racing. Six races in five days ought to be great.
Up next for me will be the Subaru Cup. I’m pumped to be back in Wisconsin and the thought of hitting up all the local stuff is exciting. It ought to be a good time as the local scene will be more hotly contested than ever this year. See you there,