Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Berryman Epic Recap

This weekend was the Berryman Epic mountain bike race utilizing the Berryman Trail near Steelville MO.  It's a weekend long event with a tour Saturday and race Sunday.

I arrived at Bass River Resort, the staging area for the race on Saturday afternoon as some of the first tour riders were returning from their 55 mile ride.  They were a mess and all they could talk about was how tough and wet the course was.  Luckily it was nice and warm with clear skies so everyone was optimistic that a lot of the water would drain away, the creeks would recede and the trails would be in better shape for the race.  I wasn't so sure, but seeing how it was going to be my last race of the year I was up for anything.

I slept well Saturday night in a campsite FAR away from everyone else and the pancake breakfast served at 6am had me ready to go for the 8:30am start time.  We were able to load drop bags with supplies we'd be able to access at the 20 and 37 mile marks of the race.  I loaded my bag with GU, dry socks and dry gloves.  I hoped I'd only need the GU.  I decided to ride with my camelbak for the race so I'd be able to carry more water.  I've only got one bottle cage on my bike and didn't think it would get me through to the checkpoints.

This is a very popular race and even with the less than stellar conditions there were LOTS of very good riders that turned out.  My goal at the start was for a top 20 finish, but when I asked Stephan (my Teammate at Burnin) if I had a shot at it he said "No Way!".  I think he comes from the Bobby Knight school of motivation.  To be honest I had my doubts as well.

Before the race I found out that Zdenek Palecek (my other Burnin teammate) had bought a 2010 Specialized Epic 29er and was riding it for the race.  I myself am doing everything I can think of to acquire an S-Works Epic so I was more than a little jealous.  But as they say “You gotta ride the horse that brung ya“ so me and my Stumpjumper FSR were ready to go.

The race started with a short section of paved road, followed by a creek crossing where the organizers had set up a flatbed trailer to get the riders across.  Since I wasn't at the front of the pack I had to wait about a minute at the bottleneck to get to the other side of the water, but at least my feet were still dry.  That was followed by a mile or so of gravel road before turning onto the trail.  There was a decent sized pack ahead of me and I was near the front of the second pack.  When we turned into the woods I followed a couple other riders for a while until a hill climb where I was able to pass and move up.  Before long I found the wheel of Rock Wamsley (also on a new 29er).  He was riding a good pace so I figured we could work together and we passed a few people on our way to the first checkpoint; Brazil Creek campground about 10 miles into the race.

Here's a pic early in the race:

The descent to the Brazil Creek crossing was a sloppy muddy mess but there was a temporary bridge built across the water which was nice.  My legs were covered in mud by that point but anything that kept my toes from freezing water was appreciated.  Right before the creek we passed Zdenek who was on the side of the trail fixing a flat.  He said he didn't need any help so we kept going.

Not long after the first checkpoint Rock got bogged down on a hill so I passed and decided to try to catch a few more riders.  I rode behind a younger rider for a while until at the top of a pretty long climb he pulled to the side of the trail.  I tried to encourage him to keep going but he said he'd follow.  I didn't see him after that.  None of the hills were all that steep but many of them were several minute climbs and when you combine that with the slick conditions it starts to wear on you.

I was still feeling pretty good so I kept pushing myself on the flats and hills until I came across Bob Arnold of DRJ Racing on the side of the trail.  He had just fixed a flat and was having problems with his CO2.  I loaned him mine and then headed back down the trail.

The second check point was at the 20 mile mark and was the first bag drop where we could get to our supplies.  As I rode up I was told that only "about" 15 people had come through ahead of me.  That picked my spirits up quite a bit and made me want to get back on the trail as fast as possible.  Even though my feet were wet and cold I didn't want to take the time to change socks so I just filled my camelbak with gatorade, grabbed a few gu's and took off.  I was passed by a couple people at the checkpoint (including Bob) but I caught up with them not long after.  I rode behind Bob for awhile and was really liking his pace when I noticed my rear tire was loosing pressure.  It was a slow leak so I rode it until the back tire was starting to move around on the turns.  When I stopped to fill it Bob asked if I needed help before riding on.  I couldn't find the source of the leak and didn't want to put in a tube so decided to just add air and hope the stans sealant inside the tire would seal it.  I was passed by 2 riders as I filled the tire and they both asked if I needed anything.   When I got going again I was able to catch back up to Bob again and I rode with him for awhile, then we were passed by Mike Barro of Momentum Cycles Racing on a single speed that I rode with until just after the 3rd checkpoint where we turned on a gravel road that lead back to the drop bag site.  For some reason I struggled on that road; Mike left me and I was passed by Bob and another rider.  My tire was still loosing air and getting low again but I figured if I could make it to the next checkpoint without stopping I'd be better off.  I don't know why I thought that.

Eventually the gravel road turned into a paved road that dead ended at a highway where there were signs to turn left.  When I looked left I saw there were tracks in the ditch beside the highway so I turned into the ditch and kept going.  That ditch was horrible.  It had standing water and the weeds were so thick it felt like I had everything pushing against me as I rode.  I stayed in the ditch for about a quarter mile before the signs said to take a right on a road leading to the berryman campground.  When I looked at the highway that I'd just ridden beside I got really pissed off.  I could have ridden on the shoulder of the road and avoided the hell of the ditch!  The sign at the turn said the campground was 1 mile away, but it was pretty much 1 mile uphill.  I was passed by 2 more riders on my way up that hill.  My goal of a top 20 seemed to be slipping away.  I was feeling pretty burnt and still had over 20 miles to go.

As I pulled into the last checkpoint I was given the same "about 15 riders ahead" line which I was starting to believe they told everyone that pulled up.  Then when I asked about a pump for my tire, Jim Davis from Team Seagal came over with a pump and helped me find the leak and we were able to get the stans to seal it.  It was a small tear in the sidewall.  We left the bike laying on it's side to help it seal while I went to get more GU and gatorade.  My toes were numb from the cold but again I didn't want to spend the time changing socks.

Again, I was passed by a few people at the checkpoint and not long after getting back on the trail my front tire washed out on a switchback and I went down.  As I lay on the ground Rock came riding by asking if I was okay.  I noticed my number plate had come off in the wreck so for some reason I picked it up and put it in my pocket; like they weren't going to believe I was #56 or something.....

Not long after getting back on the bike I was able to catch up with Rock and we rode together for the next 12 miles or so.  We were both tired and sore but at the same time were able to go faster as a team than we would have alone.  I was working to keep up and Rock was working to stay ahead of me.  We both complained on every hill along the way but I'm glad he was there to push me.  On one of the flat muddy sections Zdenek passed us,  and we didn't try to keep up with him.  I don't remember what he said as he went by but I think it was something about mud.

When we popped out onto a gravel road I wasn't expecting we lined up and rode hard to catch a couple riders in front of us.  I asked one of them if he knew the course and he said the road lead all the way to the finish, but that it was still a long way.  That's all I needed to hear and I took off.  Rock wasn't feeling it and told me to go on.  I spent a couple miles going back and forth with the top Women finisher, Catherine Walberg of Team Kenda Pro Cycling until I was able to pull away from her a little, then I caught up to Larry Koester of GORC on a singlespeed and we traded places a few times.  I'd pass him going downhill (where I think he was drafting) and he'd pass me going up the next one.

It turned out the final gravel road section was about 8 miles and was the same road we'd gone out on to start the race.  Once we got to the place we'd turned to get to the trail at the start I knew how much riding was left and decided to make one last push to beat Larry.  He was able to hold me off until we got to the river crossing about a quarter mile from the finish.  Unfortunately the flatbed trailer was nowhere to be seen.  Larry hit the water a few seconds before me, got off his bike and waded through the water.  When I got off my bike and straightened my legs in the cold water they started cramping and I couldn't move for about 20 seconds.  It was extremely painful and I forgot about Larry and started looking back for Catherine.  Luckily the cramping stopped and I was able to cross the water and ride to the finish line, all the while looking over my shoulder.

I crossed the finish line after 5 hours, 30 minutes and 51 seconds of racing; in 21st place.  16 seconds away from that top 20 I was after.  Rock finished a few minutes back in 25th and Zdenek was in front of Larry in 19th.  Stephen wound up finishing in 85th; riding the last 2 hours in the rain.

Here's a picture of me right before I crossed the finish line:

Jon Schottler of CBC Race Team won with a time of 4.39.34.  Amazingly, with the muddy trails, the top 4 finishers were able to break the course record with only 13 seconds between 1st and 2nd.  There was a lot of talent on the trails that day.  Here's a link to the results.

Scott Davis and crew of Springfield Bicycle Company did an amazing job with this event.  Considering everything that went on they pulled off a wonderful weekend.  Not to mention the effort it took for them and their volunteers to prepare the course in the months leading up to the race.  Hats off to them and I'll be back in 2010 (hopefully on an s-works epic!).

Here are the photo galleries I've seen of the weekend:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Race Across The Sky

I saw the movie Race Across The Sky last night at the Hollywood Theater in downtown Springfield.  It was a one time showing of the movie and looking at the audience was like looking at a snapshot of Springfield's cycling scene.  There were a lot of people from my spin class there and all the people I normally ride with, but overall it wasn't that many people.  The theater was pretty full but not packed. 

The movie was very good.  It's basically a documentary/highlight reel of this years Leadville Trail 100 mile mountain bike race.  It starts with a 15 minute panel interview of the race founder and top 5 race finishers,  then the movie, then more of the panel.   It's pretty impressive that the race was just a couple months ago and they were able to put out the movie so soon.

Watching the movie was pretty emotional; it's inspiring, touching and in some ways very sad.  The scenery is amazing and the quality of the production is top notch.

Hopefully the movie makes it to wide release and gets more people to try mountain biking and gets more mountain bikers to try racing.

I give it an A.

New shoes

Picked up a new pair of mountain bike shoes this week, just in time for the Berryman.  I got the Specialized BG Pro's because they are fairly light weight and come in widths.   Review after the race...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

2010 Specialized S-Works Epic review

Thanks to the Specialized demo wagon, I got a chance to take a couple rides on the new 2010 S-Works Epic this weekend at the Burnin' at the Bluff race.  The first ride was just a casual lap around the 13+ mile race course, the second was one of my race laps at the relay style race.

First off I'll describe the terrain I rode.  The trail at council bluff lake recreation area is essentially a 13 mile loop (counting the extra trail used for the race) around the lake.  It has lots of dips (which were filled with water), some decent hills, some amazing rock gardens and lots of opportunities to break stuff. Here's a link to the trail map thanks to GORC.

My first impression of the bike concerns it weight.  I normally ride a 27 pound 2008 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro that I built up a couple years ago and when I took off on the Epic the weight difference was very noticeable.  It's amazing what a difference 5 pounds makes.  It felt very light and responsive.

My second impression was the drivetrain.  For 2010 Specialized went with the SRAM XX group on the S-Works Epic which has a 2 x 10 gear setup with Specialized own carbon cranks.  I rode the bike around the campground before hitting the trail and I couldn't believe how quickly and easily it changed gears.  It felt seamless and there was none of the normal grinding noise I'm used to on my bike.  Up and down the shifting was really fluid.

My third impression was the suspension.  Once I hit the trail and started encountering rocks and roots the suspension started to come into play.  The fork was set up stiffer than my bike so I felt more of the trail but when I got into the really rough stuff it handled it very well and when I got hard on the brakes there was no front end dive.  The rear shock was set very firm as well and there was a slight clicking sound/feeling when the brain activated the shock but it absorbed all the bumps and felt very good.  When I stood up to pedal I didn't notice any bob whatsoever.

On the downhill's I didn't go as fast as I normally do, since I was unfamiliar with the ride and wasn't quite sure how the bike would handle it, but at the speed I was traveling it never felt loose or out of control.  The suspension did a very good job of keeping the tires in contact with the trail.

The uphills are where the bike really shines.  On hills where I normally downshift, on this bike with just a little more effort it flew up the hills and I barely noticed I was climbing.  It was a blast to climb on this bike.

I generally kept the chain on the big ring in front and worked off the 10 gears in the back.  I used the small gear up front as my bailout gear when I found myself losing momentum on a steep grade.  With just a flick of my left thumb I was able to make it up the worst Council Bluff has to offer.  Speaking of shifting, the XX does really well under load.  On my bike (with an X0 rear derailleur) when I downshift with heavy pressure on the crank it makes an awful grinding noise and sounds like something is going to break.  On the XX it was just a silent, smooth shift; front and rear.  Very cool.

During the race I turned in my fastest time (by a few minutes) while on the Epic; that's with the intentional slower speeds on the technical descents.  With more time on the bike I believe I could have shaved a few minutes more.

The 2+ hours I spent on the bike sold me.  Many times I thought to myself; "they can't make a mountain bike any better than this".  I really didn't want to give it up, but I now plan to be riding one for the 2010 season.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Burnin' at the Bluff 2009 Recap

This weekend was the 6th annual Burnin' at the Bluff 12 hour mountain bike race at Council Bluff Lake Park near Potosi Mo. The event is organized by Mesa Cycles and is one of the premier mountain bike races in the midwest. This was my first Burnin'; but it won't be my last.

I signed up for the Fast class with teammates Stephen Venters and Zdenek Palecek. This is basically the equivalent of the Sport class. The race was from 9am to 9 pm and our plan was to have Zdenek do the start then switch riders each lap and shoot for a total of 10 laps over the 12 hour span. The course was just over 13 miles looping around the lake. It's a very technical trail with many dips, water crossings and huge rocks where mechanical problems are a big concern. It was going to take a good deal of luck to make it through unscathed.

I arrived at the park on Friday afternoon with Stephen showing up at our campsite a few minutes later. Walking around the campground I noticed that Specialized had set up a demo booth with a ton of 2010 S-Works bikes. I've been drooling over the new S-Works epic and was very excited to check it out in person. After setting up my tent I headed out to look over the bikes. While talking to the mechanic I asked when they were going to let us ride them and he said I could take one out then if I wanted. I immediately went and changed into my riding clothes, put on my helmet mounted light and went to get the bike. After the mechanic set up the suspension for my weight I took off; full of enthusiasm. The sun was setting and I decided to do a reconnaissance lap around the lake to see what all the recent rain had done. I'm going to save my impressions of the Epic for another post (it's worth it) but my impression of the trail that night; wet. Every ditch that drains into the lake (and there are a lot of them) had standing water. Most of them were over a foot deep and there was even a full fledged creek crossing. But aside from that the trail was in great shape. There was a tree down across the trail at about the 5.5 mile mark which required a dismount since the main part of the tree was about 3.5 feet off the ground, but the rest of the trail was clear. Right around the 8 mile mark something bad happened; my headlamp ran out of juice. Crap. I was in the middle of the woods a long way from the campground and I couldn't see ANYTHING. I didn't think there would be anyone else coming along on the trail so I started walking doing my best to stay on the trail. When I ran into something I'd back up a little and try a right turn and if that didn't work I'd go to the left. Somehow I was able to stay on the trail until the clearing at the dam. Unfortunately it was a very cloudy night so I didn't even have moonlight to help. But I knew that past the dam there was one more section of trail before the beach area where I could get to a road. So after the dam I ducked back into the woods. It took me over an hour to get the approximately 1 mile to the overflow creek near the beach. Just on the other side of the overflow was a gravel road that would get me out of there. The only problem was there was a line of brush between me and the road and I couldn't find the trail that would get me through it. I tried muscling my way through but it was too thick. So I just kept walking back and forth through the weeds until I finally crossed the trail and made it to the gravel road. I got back on the bike, rode it to the beach area then to the parking lot and on the road that would get me to the campground. There was still a problem though. It was a long road and when we drove down it earlier there was a barrier across the entrance and I didn't think I'd be able to see it in the dark. But it was too far to walk and my feet were freezing from all the water crossings, so I rode the bike straining to pick out the barrier in the darkness. Then after about 15 minutes of riding I saw a light around the next turn. I cautiously rode on and discovered it was the park rangers opening the gate. I rode up next to them, told them my light wasn't working and they offered to drive me back to the campground. Thank God! So after a chilly ride in the back of the truck I was back safe and sound at my campsite where I was greeted by a very nervous Stephen. It was right around 9:30. After calming Stephen down I rode the bike back to the race staging area where the Specialized folks had set up shop. They were very happy to see me. After telling the race officials about the downed tree I reluctantly gave the Epic back. The Spesh rep told me we could take the bikes out for a race lap the next day so I told him I'd be back in the morning, got my bike and headed back to the campsite to warm my feet.

Now the only problem was that Zdenek hadn't shown up yet. The pre-race meeting was at 7am the next morning and Z had told Stephen that if he didn't come Friday evening he would drive in the morning but not having him there made us a little nervous. But on the bright side our support team had come in my absence; Stacy, Brian and Anne.

I turned in around 11pm but didn't sleep very well; I was anxious about the race and couldn't really relax but I eventually calmed down and woke up the next morning ready to go.

Zdenek showed up right on time, Brian made some of the best coffee I've ever had, we got our timing chips for the race and settled on the following order for the race; Zdenek, Stephen then me.

The race start was really cool. It was a Le Mans start and the Mesa folks put down several smoke bombs around the bikes and played Ride of the Valkyries as everyone sprinted to their bikes. Here's a picture of Z getting to his bike:

We were off to a good start.

Zdenek finished his first lap very quickly in about 1:09 and Stephen took off. After Z's lap we had about a 5 minute lead. Stephen turned in a very respectable 1:24 (his personal best) and I took off, riding the Epic. Here's a picture of me waiting for Stephen:

I felt really strong and passed several riders during the lap. The epic is an amazing bike and I was flying up the hills. My time for the lap was 1:11 and that set the tone for the day. After the first rotation we had about a 20 minute lead in our class so barring a mechanical problem we were sitting in good shape. Here's a picture of me finishing the lap:

In the time between laps I tried to eat a little and stay well hydrated. The skies were clear and when standing in the sun it was a very nice, warm day.

Zdenek finished his second lap in about 1:13 and Stephen's second lap was consistant with his first around 1:25. On my second lap I was back on my bike and had a great time. I think I descended the hills much better than the first lap; mostly because I know my bike so well and know how it's going to handle the terrain, and I think I climbed reasonably well, though not nearly as fast as I had on the Epic. I finished the lap at about 1:13.

At that point, leading to the night laps we had over a half hour lead so our main focus was not to do anything that would jeopardize it; meaning ride cautiously to avoid wrecks and mechanical's.

Z's third lap was around 1:15 and Stephen's (the first night lap) was just over 1:30. I headed out for my night lap pretty nervous about my lights. I had my handlebar mounted lights on but it was my first time using them, and I kept my helmet light on it's lowest setting since on high it didn't last the full lap the night before. I kept the handlebar light shining right in front of me and used the helmet light to look further up the trail. But with the low setting it wasn't very bright so I had to ride pretty slowly because I didn't want to wreck and ruin our chance of winning the race. It was a little hairy at places; especially in the rock outcroppings, but I was able to avoid any wrecks and felt okay. Then, leading to the last mile of the course which was mostly uphill I had a bad feeling; my legs were dead. It came on me all of a sudden and as I approached the last climb I was afraid I wasn't going to make it. So I dropped to my granny gear and started spinning. It was very painful and I just kept saying to myself, "almost there". After what felt like an eternity I made it to the top and approached the finish line about 5 minutes before 9. Zdenek was ready to go out for our 10th lap but Stephen stopped me from crossing the line. We believed that if you crossed before 9pm and didn't do another lap you would be DNF'd and since we had a big lead we didn't need to do another lap. While I was waiting to cross the line Stacy got me a bowl of pasta because I was feeling very weak. It was possibly the best pasta and meatballs I've ever had. While we were waiting a couple guys crossed the line without going out for another lap so I guess we were wrong about the DNF thing.

At 9:01 I finished our race:

We ended up winning by 36 minutes.

After the race I sat by the campfire for about 30 minutes warming my feet and recovering. It was a great feeling and I'm very proud of my teammates. We raced a great race and best of all had a great time doing it. As Stephen said afterwards; only 364 more days to Burnin VII.

The awards ceremony was very entertaining and consisted of lots of funny commentary a burning sheep ("Don't be like that burnin' ass, gas ass sheep") some good fireworks and lots of PBR:

Here's our podium shot:

Here we are again:

Here are some photo galleries from the weekend:
If you want to read a great account of this race, go here.

The folks at Mesa really know how to put on a good race. Here's a link to the official results and individual lap times.

Next up for me is my last race of the year; the BT Epic in two weeks. Then I've got to figure out how to get my hands on one of those Specialized S-Works Epic's!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Awesome day!  Details to come....

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Burnin' at the Bluff 2009

This weekend is the 6th annual Mesa Cycles Burnin' at the Bluff endurance mountain bike race at Council Bluff Lake near Potosi MO. Click here for more information.

I'm on a 3 man team with Stephen Venters and Zdenek Palecek in the Fast category; our team name is Zed's Dead.

I'm really looking forward to this race and expect a full report when it's over. If I survive.....

Monday, October 5, 2009

MWFTS - Warsaw Mountain Madness Recap

Yesterday was the final race of the 2009 Midwest Fat Tire Series. It took place at the Truman Lake Mountain Bike park in Warsaw Mo.

This race had high stakes for me going in. I was in a 3 way battle with Rock Wamsley and JP Brocket for the Sport 30-39 class championship, and I needed a top 3 finish to secure the overall win. I think I was more nervous about this race than any I've ever been in.

On Saturday I was able to pre-ride the course and I'm glad I did. The overall length was 8.2 miles and my pre-ride lap was 44 minutes so my goal for the race was 3 laps. One thing that was nice was they put mile markers on the trail so you'd know where you were at on the course. I wish they would do that at all of the races. The trails themselves were awesome; you can tell that the people that designed the course know something about mountain biking and they took full advantage of that knowledge creating a trail system that highlights the terrain and provides a challenging and fun ride. There weren't any gut busting hills but there was a lot of variety. There were 3 fairly long straightaways that provided some big gear fun and lots of tight twisty sections that made me pay attention to my lines and just had me smiling from ear to ear. My plan was a nice easy feeler ride on Saturday but it was so much fun I couldn't help but push myself to ride fast. Those trails are designed to be ridden at speed. If I had to make a comparison to other trails in the series I'd say it mostly resembles Sac River in Springfield. I like it more than the trails at Sac River and since we didn't use all the trials for the race I'll have to make the 1.5 hour drive to the park again soon to sample the rest.

When I arrived at the park Sunday morning the atmosphere was surprising. They had just started the beginner and marathon classes and they had a dj playing music, the promoter was announcing the riders as they rode by and the crowd was really into it. They even had a food stand set up. Parking wasn't a problem because they had a large field set aside so you were never very far from the start/finish area.

Before the race started Rock and I went over to check the sign-up sheet. I couldn't believe there were only 5 people that showed up for our class. It was me, JP, Rock, Ryan Lemmon and Darrin Schupp. That calmed me down a little because I was expecting to see people come out of the woodwork for this one. I don't know why the turnout was low; maybe it was because Warsaw isn't very close to the major cities, but the weather was perfect and the trails couldn't be beat. All I can say is, they missed out.

For the second week in a row Andy started us right after the experts and Rock took off with the lead with me in second and JP in third. I was a little surprised at the pace early on; Rock was tearing it up and my legs were on fire trying to keep up with him. After about a mile I decided to let him go; I just didn't think I could maintain that pace. We had dropped the other riders in the class so that left me on my own which I was cool with. As the first lap wore on I didn't completely lose contact with Rock. I couldn't see him in the woods but when we'd break out into a clearing I could still see him in the distance. That was a good feeling and I think helped me keep up the effort. I haven't seen the final times yet but I believe I finished the first lap around the 40 to 41 minute mark.

On the second lap my legs started feeling pretty good so I was able to speed up and in the clearings I could tell I was closing the gap with Rock. Then around the 3.5 mile mark I had a small wreck where I was making a turn in a rocky area and one of them caught my front wheel wrong and spun my handlebars. I smacked my right calf pretty hard on something but it didn't hurt and my bike was fine so I jumped back on and continued the pursuit. Somewhere around the 4 mile mark I was able to catch up with Rock. He asked if I wanted to pass and I told him we should just ride it out. The rest of that lap was really fun. I was feeling great and I love it when I'm able to watch another rider to learn how they handle the parts of the trail I struggle with. One thing I noticed is how well Rock makes the turns. He's very fluid and takes good lines. I tried to emulate what he was doing well.

When we finished the second lap it was well under the 1:30 cutoff so I asked him if he wanted me to lead that lap. He said sure so I passed him before we got to the start/finish line. When we got to the woods Rock said to go ahead so I decided to take off and see what I could do. My legs felt great and the ride overall felt pretty effortless so I went for it. One thing I think that helped was GU. I had one about 45 minutes before the race started, one right before the race then one at the end of the first and second laps. It seemed to help me keep my energy up and I never got that light headed feeling I sometimes get during races.

On my third and final lap I caught several expert riders, but instead of falling in behind them I went ahead and pushed it to the end. My final time for the 3 laps was 2 hours 2 minutes and something. Amazingly I had the fastest time overall. Granted none of the expert heavy-hitters were there but it makes me feel pretty good for next year when I'll be racing against those guys. Rock finished in 2nd about 5 minutes back and JP took 3rd. He finished his second lap before the cutoff but decided not to go back out. He did a lot of riding over the weekend so I can't say I hold that against him.

After the race we headed over to Sterrett Creek for the series end of year banquet. They served some excellent barbecue and handed out the race and series awards. Here's a picture of my race medal:

Here's a picture of the MWFTS plaque:

And here's the podium for the Sport Men 30-39 class (Rock, Me and JP):

It was a great season and it was awesome competition that had me looking forward to each race. Midwest Fat Tire Series is a class act; I look forward to seeing what they set up for next year.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Midwest Fat Tire Series - Warsaw Mountain Madness

This Sunday (10/4/09) is the last race in the 2009 Midwest Fat Tire Series.  It is race #13 and is being held at the Truman Lake Mountain Bike Park in Warsaw, MO.  Here's a link to the event details.

I haven't ridden the trails at Truman Lake yet and other than second-hand accounts (which are positive), I don't know anything about them.  I'll be pre-riding the course Saturday afternoon so hopefully I'll have a good day Sunday.  For those too lazy to click the above link here's the course from the event website:

The MWFTS end of season banquet will be held immediately following the race just up the road at Sterett Creek Campgrounds.  BBQ will be on tap.  Hopefully I can hold onto the top spot and walk away with some gold.  We'll see.......