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First Race is Always a Bit of a Blur:
The SpinGeeks of St. George Utah put on a superb event, and this in spite of a cold front that pushed start time temps into the upper 30’s with strong breezes out of the north and east, in spite of no fewer than four goat heads that ended my road race after three miles (note to self wheels in truck even if it’s jam packed), and in spite of not one Mexican restaurant asking ‘red or green.’ Still, the events were well organized with stage results being delivered via email by the time I got back to the hotel after each stage. Amazing efficiency.
Saturday’s racing included the increasingly familiar two stage format, a morning time trial followed by an afternoon crit. Nearly everyone was left lamenting slow TT times. The wind made it really hard to find the gear. But, Josh McDowell, riding for Fort Lewis this weekend, rode top thirty on a road bike with drop bars. Awesome effort given all the aero helmets and disk wheels.
The Cat 3-4 Crit field was fit and fast, seventy-five riders mostly from Utah and Nevada and many of whom began the season in February at the Valley of the Sun. So, I found myself, like many a developing baseball player who is encouraged to allow the game to slow down and let the action come to him. However, as the first race of the season often proves, my legs weren’t quite as good as imagined them to be, so I found myself always reacting to accelerations and just trying to find safe places to recover between efforts. Still, I managed a pack finish in very fast crit that averaged 29.5 mph even though I lost quite a few places skirting a crash in the last lap. Josh rode aggressively, spending a few laps off the front in a group of three. Fort Lewis tried to disrupt the rhythm on the front, but at least two teams from Vegas were determined to bring the race to sprint.
In all, still a great way to start to the season. —Lance Webster, Dolores, CO
Race information: McDowell meltdown.
The race was the first of the AZ mtb series, and the weather was perfect. I had fun racing in Arizona, the weather was great for racing. The race started of pretty fast and the course was a roller coaster. I finished 15th in cat. 2 and with a time of 1hr 34mins. I had an amazing time and loved the race environment in Arizona.
James Rowan placed 9th in the Short Track and 11th at MTB XC CAT 1 Nationals this past week. Nice Job James!
In memory if U.S. military personnel that have given there lives to keep our country safe, secure, and free, here is our results for the Memorial Day weekend:
On Saturday, the IHBC Road Race to Silverton included: Al, Brendan, Rob, Hugh, James, and Dana.
That same day Jeanne lined up for the Half Growler, a 32 mile MTB race just outside of Gunnison, CO.
Outstanding RR Results:
Dana Alia: 6th 2:27 hours, Cat 2
Brendan: 3rd, 2:32 hours, Cat 4
James Rowan, 6th, 2:35 hours, Cat 4
Rob Bergstrum: 18th, 2:42 hours, Cat 4
Al Senft: 2:27 Hours, 5th, Masters 35+
Hugh Selby: 2:43 hours, Masters 35+
½ Growler MTB Results
Jeanne Zamora: 34 miles, 5:32 hours, 62nd place women’s open.
(this was a hard, technical course. Congrats to Jeanne who was tough to finish this race, without a pre-ride!)
IHBC Criterium, IHBC MTB Race, Full Growler (66 mile MTB)
Dana: 6th Cat 2
James: 2nd Place by a nose at the line, Cat 4
Brendan: 5th (?) Cat 4
Al: 9th Masters 35+
IHBC MTB results:
Hector: 37th Pro, 1
Koller: 8th, 34+ race
Rob: 15th, 34+
James Junes: 28th, Cat 2
Andrew Yazzie: 5th SS B Race
Sean and Keith Road a strong first lap of 34 miles, clocking a 3:25 hours.
2nd Lap, Sean was having some knee pains, and had to short cut back to the finish.
Keith continued on suffering to clock a 7:03 hours total time. 13th in the SS class, and 83rd /204 finishers.
Monday was the IHBC Time Trial:
Brendan Cusick: 3rd Cat 4
<Other Results Up yet>
Brendan took the overall Omnium Cat 4 Win!
Thanks to all the CSW riders that paid tribute with their sweat this weekend.
Colavita Southwest was well represented this year, with Rob, James R., James S. , Dana, Sheila, Al, Riley, Keith, and Steve all heading down to test our metal against the Whisky 50 Mile XC. Steve and I checked in to the super-nice Prescott Resort and Casino Hotel (race hotel), and after seeing our room and the balcony over looking Precott, I thought “why didn’t I get two nights?”.
We headed downtown to get checked in to the race, and the place was hopping with racers, bike expo, and a downtown criterium. No time to linger, as the sun was going down, and we wanted to pre-ride the start miles. We had been told the start was a crucial part of the race. If you had a bad one, you will be stuck behind hundreds of riders on the narrow singletrack about mile 5 of the race. I was riding singlespeed, so my gear choice was a split between having a high gear for the start, or having a lower gear for all 6000+ of climbing we would be doing on Saturday. We found a steep 1/2 mile at the end of the pavement that should break things up before hitting the quick dirt road and then trail.
James Simmons joined Steve and I for dinner at Rosa’s italian restaurant on Gurney St, just around the block from infamous Whisky Row. It was a great atmosphere with killer food. I had a Ravioli plate that was excellent. All the Stella and wine glasses around the restaurant was making me jones for a drink, but alas we were racing in the morning. There will be plenty of time to party on Whisky Row on Saturday night.
The Whisky 50 amateur race is a open category, mass start, so we decided to be warmed up and a the start line by 7 am, about 30 minutes before the gun (literally) was to go off. At 7, we found hundreds of riders all ready lined up. Almost 600 riders were to start that morning; riders of all categories and fitness. The race director called for the singlespeeders to come to the front, and I tried to get forward, although all the other racers didn’t really want to give up their spots. It was kind of a cluster. They probably could put up some tape before the start line to keep everyone back, and then have a call-up in front of the tape at the line. Its kind hard to tell 600+ riders to scoot back 10 feet!
After the gun went off, the singlespeeders were quickly overcome by the strong geared riders, and it was a sprint up the pavement. The streets were blocked off for the riders, and the front 50 was strung out in packs of 5 or ten, all trying to hammer the hills, or draft on the flats. I bided my time in the front 20, spinning my gear choice of 32X18 as best I could, tucking in behind geared riders to keep momentum. On the final steep paved hill, sure enough, many of the geared lead riders had blown there Nitrous bottles, and I proceeded to pass 10-15 riders before the dirt road downhill to the singletrack. I noted CSWs Steve Koller was right next to me, charging hard over the top. Looked like he was going to have a great day.
I lost a few places to geared riders going into the singletrack, and Steve had come around me. As soon as the true singletrack began, we were suddenly standing still. Seems some riders don’t know how to ride across 2 foot stream crossings. Sheesh. From then on it as on and off the bike, sometimes track-standing, sometimes jumping off the singlespeed to run up a hill, or over a huge log water bar on a steep climb. I was caught in a long train of riders for the next 10 miles. Steve could no longer be seen, and looked like he was successful in passing a few to get up to a faster group.
At mile 15 you get to the top of the infamous Skull Valley road and proceed to decend 10 miles to the turnaround. Here you climb back up that same ten miles, and then climb 4 more to the top of the mountain. The first 5 miles of this climb are pretty gradual, but then it goes to 15% grade for about 2 miles. This section hurt!
Getting to the top of this 14 mile climb on Thumb Butte road was a lesson in mental and physical attrition. I hardly sat down to pedal for those last few miles. It was stand and mash, all the way to the top. There were groups of spectators along the way, and at the top, just before you entered the singletrack, a group was trying to force a whisky shot on the riders. I was not having any of that!
I think the shock of descending and not having to push the pedals so hard caused the legs to decide to cramp up. I had to stop five times on the way down, and let the legs calmed down and avoid a debilitating full fledged charly-horse. I was so glad to get to the final 5 miles of pavement, but with one little paved hill to the finish, the legs cramped again! I had to stand on the pedals and coast almost to a stop, then pedal a little, then coast…it was very frustrating to be so close to the finish and be creeping along. About quarter mile from the finish line it turned downward again, so I coasted into the finishing staight with some speed, and avoided looking too bad through the mad crowds that were cheering the finishers to the line. It was quite a scene, and even though I didn’t ride as strong as I expected, a sense of fine accomplishment overcame me when I came to a stop.
Our team race results are as follows:
Steve Koller 27th
Al Senft 33rd
Keith Ashmore 26th Singlespeed
Dana Alia 87th
Rob Bergstrom 90th
James SImmons 65th Singlespeed
Riley Frazier, 67th Masters Geared
Sheila Senft 16th 25 Proof Masters
[James Rowan got a bit of food poisoning the day before, no start for him]
Congrats to all the racers! This was a great venue, and a hard race!
Jeanne and I drove the 6 hours down to Cloudcroft, NM from Farmington to do this XC MTB race. This race has been off the calendar for a couple years, due to organizer bail out, and forest closures (fire danger). A large showing from southern NM, El Paso, and Juarez showed up. Jeanne and I had never seen the coarse before.
I had been away from home all week, and didn’t have a chance to get my Dawn Till Dusk SS gearing (32X17) changed out for high altitude racing. I decided to just deal with it, not really knowing if there was any steep climbs anyway. Jeanne registered for the Women’s SPort Class, and was fired up to hammer her GF Superfly through the mountains.
The SS Open class started with the Pro Womens class, after the Pro, 1 class took off 2 minutes earlier. The ladies let the SSers go in front at the entrance to the steep singletrack (thanks ladies!). I quickly moved through two SSers to take the front and proceeded to make a gap and pass the tail end of the Cat 1 field. After about 20 minutes, the energy levels really started to drop off, and the 32X17 gear was taking it toll. I decided I didn’t have the energy to complete three laps of the course, and pulled out at the start/finish. Kinda dissapointing, but given the amount of time away from home from work, and the amoutn of rest I had before the weekend, it just wasn’t in the cards for me to race this weekend. I decided to go get a bottle for Jeanne and watch her come through.
Jeanne came through looking strong and I handed her the bottle. I was very glad she made it through some of the loose, and twisty singletrack that had made me a little nervous while I was riding. Jeanne’s 2nd lap was for the finish, and she won her category about 10 minutes ahead of second.
Al and Shiela Senft raced also. Al placed 2nd in his Cat 1 race. And Shiela won her category.
The organizers had a couple keggers and award ceremony about a half mile down the road. Everyone had a great time comparing race notes, and watching a Stan’s No Tubes Demo by the regional teammates. The Stan’s team raffled off a Crest wheelset also.
Great job everyone!
What a great race down in Albuquerque, even with the wind! Rob B, James R, and I were in the Cat 4 race together. First lap was rather mundane, I ended up over the top of Heartbreak with about 7 guys, mostly climbers, and a DWC guy with whom I worked to increase the spread. We had a decent gap, and when coming down on to the flats, we could tell that most of the folks were not wanting to work hard into the wind, and by the time we hit Frost the whole group was back together. This maintained until the second time around on Heartbreak. A better break established with all three of us in it by the time we hit the flats. A second group was about 40 seconds behind. I tried an attack before the last hill roll back up to NM 14, but the wind was more than I wanted to fight that far out. Two fellas made a good attack not two minutes later and it stuck. We rolled north in the last five miles cranking it out, and caught them just as the sprint started. James powered through for 8th, I got in at 10th. Rob came in about a minute back at 22nd. Rob had strategically sat up to stall a mid size group and let us break with the smaller group. A strategic and selfless move that helped CSW placement.
Looks like Al and Tim W did well for the Ominium on Sunday stoked for them and all the CSW folks racing.
Next weekend Boulder Roubaix!
Nationals Madison WI.
Weather in Madison was unseasonably warm and there was residual snow and mud on the course. I was able to pre-ride the course on Friday before my race on Saturday. While a few webpages hinted that the course was lame, after riding it I was not convinced they were right, it was a challenging course with sharp steep climbs, stairs, sand, twists and turns and barriers on an uphill runup.
On Saturday, after some initial line-up confusion, where I was moved from the 27th call up to the 60th or so call, I started in the third row. But the nights in Madison were cold and that cold combined with warm muddy ruts from races and pre-riding the previous day, we were greeted with deep, rock hard frozen ruts, making the riding very technical. Combined with 60 odd guys trying to occupy the same spot and something’s got to give. Crashes were everywhere, hoping to avoid crashing I ran the a frozen rutted stretch of 50 yards passing guys and avoiding carnage. Then I slipped on some ice and my race became one of survival.
After recovering from several crashes avoiding others, scraps with course tape. I was able to finish 29th.
On Sunday, I participated in the Elite race. Participation is about all I did, after an OK start, I noticed my left shoe had a little too much float. I got to the pits, thought about quitting, then thought, “what the hell, I’m here”. Went to the neutral service, tightened my cleat and pushed off again. On the next time through the start I was pulled, but finished 82nd or so. But got some good points!
Worlds, Louisville, KY
After a couple more days in Madison, I headed to Louisville. Thanks are due to the NoTubes CX team for taking my bike and a bag in their van.
Louisville was also experiencing warmer than usual weather and rain, with snow in the forecast. We were able to get on the course on Wednesday for an hour or so to ride. Mud. Lot’s of it. Up and down the side of a steep short hill, one run-up with stairs. Most racers ran basically the whole stretch, about 150 yards or so.
On Thursday there were seeding races. Just as the 45+ field was about to start, it started to snow. Each seeding race did 2 laps of 2.8km course. I was 10th in my seed race putting me in the third row for the race on Saturday. Once again, we were met by frozen ruts, but the course was shortened which meant more of it could be ridden. Heading into a field after the start straight, I hit one of those ruts and found myself sliding on ice and mud. Off to a great start. Back on the bike I was able to pick of a few riders but was only able to finish 33rd.
All in all it was great and I’m already planning for next year.I would like to thank our Colavita Southwest sponsors for helping me throughout the course of this year and Pete Shirk at Cottonwood Cycles in Farmington for outfitting me in parts and sundry items throughout the course of the year.
I would also like to express my gratitude for the assistance that I received from Stan’s NoTubes CX team, home of new world Champion Shannon Gibson, and their mechanic/driver/all-around good guy Richie Rich, and the Fort Lewis College cycling team. Both unselfishly let me use tools, trainers, and gave me moral support over the course of the various races. All in all the support all of us from the Durango area received was certainly appreciated from this neck of the woods.
—Tino Sonora, Colavita SW
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,000 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.
James (Farmington) is doing the Singlespeed, and Brett (Santa Fe) and geared . 50 miles of MTB gnarl down in the El Paso sun!
Go get em guys!