Thursday, May 22, 2014

Quickie

Two races down, 8-10 to go.

I had my second race of the season Mother's Day weekend. It was a small grassroots event that is in the third year and it's one I had been looking forwards too. One stage down a local's favorite trail and at 16-17mins, it's one of the longer stages of the year. Pedally, twisty, chunky, fast, loose, physical. Always a good test.

My result? 5th of 17. Not bad, but didn't feel that good either. It's still very early in the season and I'm not finding my race mentality. Gotta stay more amped up. Work in progress.

Sadly, there's no photos that I've come across from the event, which is a shame since it was the debut of our new jerseys. They've been a few months coming between finding the right fit, the design, having them made, etc...They turned out great and we're all proud to show them off.


In WIDER news, wide bars are awesome.

I rode 710mm bars last year and that was great. Never really had a problem until I used the 750mm bars than came on my Santa Cruz Bronson. Those made me nervous for a while. I was constantly afraid of clipping them on some form of difficult to move object. Once I forgot about that, I came to like them. But something wasn't feeling right. The bike still felt a little unstable or nervous and that rock-solid stability became what I missed the most about the 29er. I also decided I felt a little cramped on the bike at times and was dangerous thoughts...

With the three possible solutions being: longer stem (tried for a ride and didn't like that), new set of bars, or a new bike (a little drastic at this point, but that new Nomad...).


I ordered new bars. A fancy pair of Enve carbon DH bars at that. Then I took a hacksaw to my new, none-to-cheap carbon bars. 10mm from each side and now I've got a set of 780mm bars bolted to the bike. Two rides in and the change is huge. I love it. Bike is much more solid and I'm feeling more confident then ever. What I found really interesting is that I'm actually more comfortable in narrow areas, too. Perhaps just being more comfortable on the bike overall makes these squeezes less of a worry?

(A nice side benefit of the carbon is noticeably less feedback into the hands on rough terrain. Pretty amazing.)

In short, if you're feeling a bit odd on the bike, a bit cramped, a bit unstable, try wider bars. Or get a new bike with wider bars. That would be fun, too.

And here's a super cool video:





Monday, May 12, 2014

Enduro Cup Moab Recap

The Enduro Cup race in Moab, UT recently marked the start of my 2014 racing season and my entry to the pro ranks. The race took place on the upper trails of the Mag 7, which were used for both the Enduro Cup and Big Mountain Enduro last year.

The trails are fun to ride at a casual pace, but lose a lot of the appeal at race speed. They lack significant elevation change, get rougher the faster you go, lack much flow, and are hugely pedal intensive. (that makes the trails sound terrible, but really, they are quite fun to just go and ride) Think short track XC on longer travel bikes and lots of hurt. It feels as though a lot of effort is being laid down to not go fast.

Rough start to the morning
Racing is racing, however.

Noah Sears, MRP product/marketing guy. Their stuff works better than the coffee maker
4 Stages, each around 6-7mins and a total race time in the 24-28min range.

Eric Landis leaving the gate


Stage 1: Upper Bullrun

Super fun trail. Twisty and slow to open and fast. Too bad I was slow to get to pace. This was my worst stage of the race, by far. All the pre-race jitters left on the pedal to the start and I was feeling calm as the clock ticked down, but that calmness stayed with me through the stage. The fire never got enough stoke. Gotta work on getting into the state of relaxed fury! No major mistakes, just didn't go fast.

Noah Sears, MRP's product/marketing guy starting his season of "testing"
Stage 2: Middle Bullrun

A nice, short wait that gave enough time to recover but stay warm and I was off on stage 2. Being warmed up helped, as this was my best stage finish. A couple of small mistakes here and there, but nothing to complain about.

Stage 3: Arth's Corner

Enduro with an uphill start from the gate? Yep. The vast majority of the field was dreading this stage, knowing how painful it would be. Rough, pot-holed slick rock that kills any momentum. Lots of flat traversing and more than a few blind, uphill turns to completely bring me to a stop. Really wish I would have pre-ridden this one.

The uphill start to Stage 3
Stage 4: Great Escape

Great Escape is the stage I look forwards to riding. It's fun to ride and fun to race. Mostly down, fast, more techy stuff than the other trails, and just tends to have the flow that's lacking on the other trails. Some of the slickrock corners tend to be slick with sand, too. I learned looking right at the sand while you're in the middle of such a corner is a bad idea. On the bright side, I learned my knee pads worked perfectly....



By the race's end, I was 17th of 37 pros. My friend and teammate, Eric Landis, rode a great race earning him 7th and his first top 10 overall result.

While I accomplished my race goals of improving on my times from last year and not getting passed, I still felt a bit let down. Due to work and other responsibilities, I wasn't able to get any practice on the trails. That could have helped on a few of the sneaky turns and my overall mental game, as I just couldn't find that drive this weekend. It's a bit frustrating knowing I can do much better. Time to get to work.

Sara enjoying the view before an off-trail adventure (literary license in effect)
Eric and Porter
The 6 year old shredder


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Preparing for Launch

A long winter of focused training and lots of dreaming is about to meet reality.

The first races of the season are coming up with the Moab Enduro Cup on May 3 followed by the Gunny Enduro, here in Grand Junction, on May 10.

These races mark my entry to the pro ranks and I've got high hopes to improve upon last year. The stress and anxiety from wondering if I've trained right, have I done enough, am I ready, etc...haven't left my head in this week prior. Tire choices, suspension setup, nutrition. It's all ever present in my thoughts.

Just gotta beat my times from last season and not get caught.

Don't forget the fun. As much stress as a race brings, it truly is fun. I enjoy the focus, the questions, examining the details, the constant drive to get better.

To get better.

 
This is the reason for the hours spent on the trainer watching snow fall. The reason for passing on ski days, climbing days, friendly group rides. It is also the reason for recent session with mountain bike skills coach/guru Gene Hamilton.

Gene Hamilton, the owner/founder of Better Ride, was in town doing a 3 day skills clinic and Eric Landis managed to secure a short private session afterwards. Gene specializes in on the bike skills including looking ahead, cornering, climbing, pumping, and descending. He has coached a number of the sports top riders, including Greg Minnaar, Mitch Ropelato, and local hero Rad Ross Schnell, how to go faster with more control. The foundation of Better Ride are 3 day clinics that really hammer in the skills and drills needed to erase bad habits and form the correct habits.

Playing in the street
Knowing that I've never had any skills coaching and have a number of areas I'd like to improve on, the clinics were very appealing, but the timing hasn't been right. With races quickly approaching, a couple of last minute hours with Gene in a parking lot was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Gene asked us what exactly we wanted to focus on for the session, and after some back and forth banter, Eric and I agreed that cornering would be the day's topic.

What were we doing wrong and how do we work to improve the skill? What tricks does Gene have to empower us to take control?

It took about 3 minutes to figure out that I sucked at turning right. As in, wow, you need training wheels to turn right. After a laugh, 2.5 hours in an empty parking lot working on some basic drills, and some assigned homework (all punctuated with some great stories) we were on our way.

Evening pump work
Gene is a fantastic instructor. Even though he was admittedly exhausted from the weekend's camp and lack of sleep, he was super psyched to talk about and ride bikes. Many of the basics he teaches may not be overly exciting, but his stories and enthusiasm make them more than bearable. More importantly, his instruction is easily understood, executed, and remembered.

I've been working diligently on the drills and techniques that Gene taught and can say that after 2 weeks, I'm substantially more confident and comfortable on the bike in general,and specifically, with both left and right cornering. The evenly worn out side-knobs of my tires will attest to that. It's really quite amazing how much my ability has changed due to a 2.5 hour lesson. I can promise, that come this winter, I will be in one of his 3 day Better Ride clinics (I'd love to bring my wife, too). I can't even begin to imagine how much of a difference 3 full days of skills work will improve my riding.

If you want to improve your ability, spending the money for some quality instruction will make a much bigger difference than any new frame, shock, tires, fork, or whatever. Plus, you won't look like a joey flailing on a $7,000 bike. Gene is super cool and I'm feeling confident that his schooling will help me reach my season goals.

Eric railing
 The only thing I didn't like? The time was too short, went by to quickly, and I didn't get on the Better Ride band wagon sooner. Can't wait till next winter....


Monday, April 28, 2014

2 minute reviews

Reviews on products are pretty popular. Like the majority of folks, I don't make enough to buy whatever, whenever and spend a good deal of time looking for and reading reviews of a product the peaks my interest. So in the spirit of helping you spend that hard-earned money, I'm going to roll out some short reviews on whatever it is that pops into my mind on a given day.

Why call them 2 minute reviews? Because that's the amount of time it'll take to type them up (I'm a slow typer, so they're 5-10min reviews in reality.) (I'm also lacking in creativity this morning. If you have a better idea for a name, leave it in the comments.) Fast and easy, the American way. Most of them will be on smaller products that don't get all the glitter and glamor, but make a significant difference in my on the bike life. 

Lets get started

Halo Headband
 

I live in the desert. It gets hot and I sweat a lot. Sweat quickly overwhelms the pads in my helmet and I wind up spraying salt water all over my sunglasses. Then it's hard to see and then I crash. Hence, my excitement when I found this little gem. What's even better is that it works exactly as they claim it does. The rubber "gutter" directs sweat to the edges of your face and away from your eyes. I've done plenty of rides where I can wring this sucker out and fill a shot glass, but not have a single drop on my glasses. WIN

Bar Fly 3.0 MTB Mount


I enjoy having data to ride/train with. I like having that data in a place that is easily and reliably viewed. I use a Garmin Edge 510 and am pretty pleased with it, but the stock rubber band mounts leave something to be desired on the mountain bike. For one thing, it's a challenge to find a good spot on the bars where the computer isn't on a funky angle. I've also found that after a bit of trail riding, I look down expecting to see numbers and instead get a full moon view of the computer's backside. I then rotate the thing back up and a few minutes later it's down again. And finally, putting the mount on the bars leaves the computer nicely exposed to the hazards of a crash, as it protrudes from the bar more than any of the other controls.

Enter the Bar Fly 3.0. It solve all of the above issues. A plastic arm mounts around the bar and holds the computer directly over the stem/topcap. The computer doesn't budge and is always smiling at you from where it was originally positioned. It sits lower than the top of the bar and is much better protected. It has a lifetime crash replacement warranty. It looks much cleaner than having a computer mounted on the bars. Style matters:)

Note: I did recently manage to break my mount. A stupid tumble on a trail I've ridden a ton and a perfect direct hit. Aside from the computer, nothing else took a hit. The mount broke, but the computer came out A okay. I think the plastic mount is a better choice than metal mounts since they would be much less forgiving in the same circumstance. I sent in the warranty form, a photo, and $7 and they've got a new mount on the way.

Assos Chamois Creme

 
The deep, dark secret to lots of saddle time. After you get over feeling like you shartted in your chamois and the cooling mint tingle kicks in, the miles of sitting on your ass roll by easily. This stuff saves lots of embarrassing bow-legged walking and scratching. What more needs to be said.

Monday, April 21, 2014

On the Up with OneUp

Do you have trouble getting up?

Do you suffer from a lack of stamina?

Do you have pale, skinny legs and a 1x10 drivetrain?

Does your significant other with XO1/XX1 point and laugh at your diminutive 36t cog?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, here's your $90 solution.

What comes in the bag: 40t, 16t, spacer, and sticker
Since mid-winter there have been a couple of solutions for riders wanting a larger range cassette without the cost of going to Sram's 11speed system. OneUp Components was the first to introduce a 42t hack for 1x10 users and Wolf Tooth shortly followed. As a huge fan of 1x setups and keeping, or even increasing, my current high range while also adding a lower climbing gear with a fraction of the cost? Sign me up!

I tired out a 42t cog at first. I really liked the low gear and put a good number of miles on it, but there were some downsides. First, my XT derailleur was pretty well maxed out on B tension. This significantly slowed shifting in the higher gears and I had a few slips of the chain when really laying on the pedals. (I've heard Sram X9/X0 is better for the 42t hack) Second, you've got to drop a lesser cog to create space for the larger cog. Typically, you're going to drop the 17t or maybe 15t. This gives you a pretty good gap in gearing and overall cog size with 13-15-19 or 13-17-19. I tried with both the 15 and 17 out. Shifting sucked. In addition, the change in gearing was too large. It'd be too high or too low to remain efficient. I tried placing a 16t cog from a road cassette in place of the 17 and 15. Shifting was even worse.

I went back and forth, taking the cog off and putting it back on again. The gear was great, the overall performance was not. I was bummed. I was looking for things in my closet to sell so I could just go 11speed.

Then OneUp popped out the 40t. Followed shortly by a correctly ramped 16t cog. Hope returned. I stopped setting up my yard sale. I placed an order.

The removed 17&15t cogs
I took off the 17t, 15t, and a cog spacer. On went the OneUp spacer, 40t, 16t.

Words to live by


Setup for the 40t doesn't require the use of a longer B limit screw like the 42t did. There is even quite a few threads still showing. Chain wrap on my 11t cog losses one tooth of engagement. So far everything is looking good. Time for a ride.


Having now put ~200miles on my 40/16t setup, I'm confident in saying it is a huge improvement over my previous 42t. All my gripes with the 42t setup are cured by the 40/16 combo.

Shifting up and down the ENTIRE cassette is much more smooth. There is still a tiny bit of hesitation going up 13-16-19 if you are trying to make the shift under a high load, but it is far superior to the 15-19 jump. The change in cadence from 19-16-13 is much better, as well. Having ridden 40miles on the road in training and to/from the trails, I can say the gearing jumps are only noticeable on the road. Once on the trail, it's a non-issue.

I haven't had any problems with chain slippage, even when pushing out 1000+ watts.

I've not had one instance of the chain dropping down the cassette while back pedaling.

Issues?

A 42t is a noticeably lower gear than the 40t, but 40t is still much better than 36t. My current 36 ring/40t is lower than the 34 ring/36t I had previously.

Shifting isn't as good as stock, but it is more than acceptable. Even for racing use.

That's really about it for any issues.

Bottom line?

OneUp Component's 40/16 combo is awesome. I'll be happily using it to save energy on races from Colorado to Whislter, BC.

Race ready








Monday, April 7, 2014

Thoughts on the new Santa Cruz Nomad

I've had quite a few people get in touch through the blog and online messages asking my thoughts on the new Santa Cruz Nomad and the Bronson, so I figured it'd make sense to put them down in an easy to find spot.

New 2014 Nomad
First off, as much as I wish I have, I have not ridden the 2014 Nomad. I rode and raced a Tallboy LT last year and am putting in the miles on a Bronson this year. All are or will be great bikes, no doubt about that.

So Bronson or Nomad? That's the big question.

If you want the now answer: Bronson

And the horribly old school 2013/14 Bronson
 If you want to know why, read on...

I like the Bronson a lot. It's a fast and fun bike. I've been collecting PRs on most of my local trails with less effort than on my Tallboy LT. Corners super well, quick in techy stuff but still stable. Pedals and climbs great. Def a solid bike and a great quiver of one. Every now and then it feels a little shaky on high speed, loose stuff (think old, sandy, eroded reclaimed double track at 35mph), but reminding yourself to look further ahead calms things down. Adding the Cane Creek Double Barrel didn't hurt, either.

Nomad looks killer on paper. I'd love to take the Miami Vice version out. I would guess that it may not be the best "bike of one", depending on where/what you ride. Pretty dang slack and long travel with what is probably tuned to be quite plush would give up some pedaling ability. For US Enduro races, I don't think the Nomad would be the best tool since most of our races are not overly techy, rough, steep and require more pedal power. (Keystone and Whistler are exceptions. I'm sure/hopeful there's a few more, too) All guesses till there's some people with time on them.

If you're into longer, alpine rides and big descents or general trail riding, it could make for a more trying day, but I'd love for people to report back saying that it pedals well enough to be an all day bike or a race bike.

Personally, until there's more feedback on the Nomad, I'm going to keep the Bronson. It's the only bike I've got. It can climb pretty damn quick and it can go down even faster. Simply not a lot of compromise for a rough and wild trail or race bike. It's a killer one bike to own.

If I could afford it, a Tallboy LT and Nomad would be a dream setup...

Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring Briefs

Pasty legs and blooming orchards
 When I first moved to Grand Junction, I took a short trip over to Moab. Upon walking into the Red Rock Bakery and Coffee shop, the owner asks "how do you know it's spring in the desert?"

"All the license plates turn green!" 

Meaning that 9.5/10 cars have green Colorado plates and are filled with people looking for a warm escape from the mountain winter. I used to be one of them, too. I always seemed to go off to explore Zion or the Grand Canyon come late winter/early spring when living in Montana. I now feel very lucky to be in a spot where spring comes early and I can choose to ride my bike or go ski in the mountains. Or do both in the same day only to top if off with a BBQ and flip-flops.


 Though the joke was referring to Moab, Grand Junction and Fruita are not to be left out. If you were to stay in town, one may not notice a difference since all the green plates magically match, but one visit to any of the trailheads and you'll know spring is here. The lots are full of cars packed with camping gear and bikes. Denver, Salt Lake, Wyoming, Montana.

1 to work, lots to laugh and harass
Team Rude Boi, from Denver, is one such group that recently had their camping gear/bike filled cars taking up space at the trailhead lots.  Not one or two of them, but 12. Team Rude Boi is the somewhat notorious Rastafarian team that shows up to most of the Enduro races in the area and always has a good time. They're loud, they heckle, they ride hard, drink hard, and are usually having more fun than anyone else. They're all good guys and I spent every race of last season chasing and being chased by the guys in Rasta tank-tops.


Anyways, 12 of them came over to do some riding. Loma, 18rd, and Lunch Loops. Fun was had by all. Some had more fun than others. Endos, hard crashes, running a train down the Horsethief drop-in, 2 destroyed wheels, 2 broken derailleurs, one elbow needing stitches, another arm with some nasty road-rash, Super Troopers quotes, and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting.


Carbon Leaf always brings back memories of the first warm days in VA Beach. Can't be spring without playing a few of their songs



Word problem: If you go over the bars and land on your back, how much force does it take to pop a Gu packet (or 2)?


Friday, March 14, 2014

Arrival

Spring has finally begun to show it self. Seemed like it would never arrive. Which is funny.

This time last year I was gearing up for a 40 mile backcountry ski race, climbing ice, and looking forwards to stable snow conditions that would allow access to the many big, steep, don't think about falling ski lines that would be on offer for months to come. Who needed warmth, put on another jacket! Getting on the bike wasn't high on the priority list.


Somewhere around mile 30 and hour 9

Now, I'm a sissy. 40 is too cold. The snow has been around far too long. It's time to work on my mid-calf knee pad and Chaco tan. I spent one day ice climbing and didn't touch my skis. Okay, I touched my skis. To move them out of the way to lean my bike against the wall! How things change.

Honestly, I haven't really felt any desire to get out and ski or climb this winter. Partly because one of my favorite, primary partners moved out of state and partly because I just made a decision to really focus on one thing.

"Live the lifestyle instead of paying lip service to the lifestyle. Live with commitment. With emotional content. Live whatever life you choose honestly. Give up this renaissance man, dilettante bullshit of doing a lot of different things (and none of them very well by real standards). Get to the guts of one thing; accept, without reservation or rationalization, the responsibility of making a choice. When you live honestly, you can not separate your mind from your body, or your thoughts from your actions."

Mark Twight's Twitching with Twight essay was written to be too coarse. Too extreme. The point stands, though.

Spring Training-60 and sun to 35 and snow
Outside of maybe three other times in my life, I've never truly been focused on a single activity/task. Those times that I was singularly focused, I did well. So now, I've made the choice to seek what I'm capable of on a mountain bike. I've been happily content with that choice all winter. Having spring show itself has made me more content. Sunshine, warmth, trails. More please.

Signs of Spring I


Rewards of Spring Training-the cool down


Monday, February 24, 2014

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo Recap

A couple of months ago my friend/teammate Eric, came up with the idea to do the 24 Hours in Old Pueblo mountain bike race. For those not familiar, this is a bike race that takes place in the desert outside of Tucson, AZ and is commonly called the Burning Man of mountain biking. It starts at noon on Saturday and runs non-stop until noon on Sunday. Whoever accumulates the most laps of the 16 mile course in that time period wins.

With solo, single speeds, 2, 4, 5 person teams, there are enough categories to satisfy everyone's style of fun. Eric proposed a 4 man team and I got peer pressured into joining. That took him all of 5mins of pressuring. The other half of the team was made of Bobby B and Tanner/Silas. (The results say Silas, but he bailed at the last minute and head wrench at Bicycle Outfitters, Tanner jumped on. They wanted $20 to change the name and another $20 for a new waiver, so Tanner was Silas.) So we've got 2 guys that race pro enduro, a Cat 1 XC guy, and one "I ride for fun as much as I can guy".

Our goal as a team was to beat the other Grand Junction team, which was made up of guys that have done a number of 24 hour races and other marathon XC type events. We also wanted to each get in 5 laps, for a 20 lap total over the weekend. Now on to the adventure.

Sara (Eric's wife), had some extra time and took the camper down south a few days early. She'd make her way to Tucson with some riding stops on the way and serve as our pit-crew for the race. That left me, Eric, and his 2 boys to make the 14hr trip down on Thursday. Ya know, it really wasn't so bad. Modern technology has been a gift to parents everywhere on long trips with little kids. How did my parents do long trips with 3 kids and no aid from iPads, iPods, etc to keep us entertained? 2 minor melt downs, 2 playground stops, and a couple of melted Popsicles saw us to the 24 hour town in no time.


24 hour town? You've never heard of it?

Let me explain.

This is a huge race.

It's in the desert.

It's 15+ miles from a town.

There's literally nothing there except for lots of cactus, dust, and a few dirt roads.

That changes come race weekend. That's when close to 4,000 people with their RVs, campers, trucks, tents, and porta-potties come into nowhere. It's a maze. You can see it shining in the sun from miles away. It comes together for more like 72 hours, then vanishes.

Sunset over 24hr Town

Lucky for me and Eric, Sare is amazingly supportive of this bike racing thing and claimed a nice spot for our team early on. When we arrived, we had little to do other than some minor camp setup and pedal our bikes.


Friday, we got registered and did an easy preview lap to get the legs in gear. The course was fast and rolling. Very little in techy stuff, lots of mellow twists and turns, tons of sharp plants. Kinda like riding a 16 mile Rustlers loop in Loma or many of the trails at 18rd in Fruita. Basically, it's the kind of trail a 29er hardtail and not very knobby tires would be ideal. The Santa Cruz Bronson with 2.4 Conti X-kings weren't too bad though! If you had doubts about using a 150mm bike for mellow XC when needed, don't. It's still plenty fast, pedals great, and is way more fun on the downs.

Someone asked us if we were demoing SC bikes!
Bobby and Tanner rolled into camp late Friday afternoon. Bobby had a nasty chest cold, but was ready to do his best. Tanner jumped in at the last minute after we lost our other teammate. After riding his fat bike in snow all winter, he was psyched to be there riding dirt in the sun.

Bobby B.
We came up with a race plan. Eric would start us out, I'd go second, Bobby third, and Tanner fourth. We'd keep up that rotation all 24 hours. A little over an hour of riding, and 3 hours of recovery.

Gauntlet

The start. Not your typical bike race start. This one you had to sprint .5 mile with 530ish racers, find your bike among the other 530ish bikes, and bug out. Chaos! People got smacked in the head, almost trampled, grabbed the wrong bikes, etc...kinda like watching the running of the bulls. Eric ran hard and got out of the gauntlet in the top 25 or so. Nice start!

Where's Waldo/Eric?

The hand-off

Eric also decided to be a crowd pleaser and had a spectacular crash just after infamous rock drop near the finish area. Hence his pretty blue bandage. Ironic, that the pro downhiller on a 150mm bike crashes on the only tech section of the course! We all had a nice laugh as his expense.




After the hand-off, I went out to catch the other Grand Junction rider and turned a lap time of under 1:05. Not too bad! Hit my goal for a lap time and caught the guy.


Bobby and Tanner both went out and had good laps, Eric stayed on his bike for his second lap, then it was time for my second lap. That also meant it was time to mount my riding light, as the sun was setting. I managed to put down another decent lap, though a minute slower, I paced myself better and felt stronger all the way around the course. Darkness caught me about 2/3s through and then it was Bobby's turn. I was off to eat and try to nap.


We kept the rotation going all night. I hit my personal low point during my third lap. Hitting a couple miles of slow dirt on course, combined with the darkness and fatigue had me wondering why I was there. A few mile later thought, I found the flow and started having fun again.


Bobby went. Tanner went. Tanner's light died at some point on the course. Tanner got sick after his third lap. Tanner has been riding a lot, but wasn't expecting to race. Eric, Bobby, and I have all spent the winter training and we were tired and fatigued. To jump in and race without training is damn impressive! He gave it all, pedaled as hard as he could for almost 50 miles (which is the longest mountain bike ride he's done) and was spent. What more can a team ask of a rider.

Tanner heading into the finish zone
Despite a conversation about shutting things down until dawn, we kept the gears turning. Come dawn, Eric as team captain and motivator, pulled a double lap to maintain the rotation. My 5th and final lap was to be slower. In order to finish the race a rider must be on course at noon on Sunday. If I put in a fast lap, Bobby would either have to stop and wait or turn a 6th lap. That didn't seem fun, so I slowed down to buy him some time.

Speechless
Bobby did his lap, stopped with a few dozen other riders just short of the line, waited until noon, and then that was it. We were done.


Our team finished 21st in a field of 119 professional and amateur 4 man teams. We came up short of our goal to beat the other Grand Junction team, but we were pretty satisfied. They've done this sort of thing before, had bikes designed for this riding style, and trained specifically for the event. We had used the race for training, had fun after the fact, enjoyed hanging out, and rode a lot of miles.

Coming into the transition
 One more thing, I hate camp fires.

Huge thanks to my teammates, Sara, and Bicycle Outfitters. Without their support, it would have been easy to stay in bed!