The happy SHWITers ready to embark into the Boulder hills.
Real men ride Sugarloaf in a 39x18.
First time SHWITer Dave Jones reaches Mountain Meadows Rd.
Dave Killer-moyer reaches the top of Arkansas Mtn Rd within the Rolling Dancy Enclosure.
This SHWIT peaked at the Betasso Trail Head. All downhill from here!
Today in Boulder 5 brave souls tackled SHWIT #4, a truly epic journey of pain, suffering, and the human condition -- ok, who am I kidding? -- we get strapped into our 2-wheeled dirt-mobiles and burn just enough calories to justify the post-ride burritos and beer. If there's a cross race in the fall that involves going uphill until you wheeze, then continuous attacking until someone cracks, followed by a post-hill hug and communal CLIF Bloks and Sport Beans, well then, sign me up!
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Oh so many things to say about Salida. It was a great weekend and
all the races were killer. The road race especially spanked
everyone. Here's the low down from the 4's pack:
TT: I chickened out and didn't do it, and it's a good thing cuz Lee
killed it and made all the 4's look like girly-men. Jay Rezac put in
a respectable time
RR: Oh My GOD! We had a neutral roll-out from town to the start
line and it was like herding lambs to the slaughter. The actual
course was a 12-mile loop (that we did like 4.5 times), part of which
ran on Highway 50 going up towards Monarch, then turning off into the
Weldon Creek gated community. This is where all the serious carnage
took place. Once in WC, a brutal climb starts. The first couple of
times it didn't seem so bad, but the last 3 times, it was all I could
do to stay on the bike. We pass through the finish line area and
there is a big sign reminding us of how many laps we have left. So
sadistic!!!! Then a great descent starts after that.
The first couple of times the 4's went through, it was raining and there were
streams running across the road. You could literally hit 50+MPH!
Lee noticed some hay bails that at first were standing up straight,
but after lap 3 they looked like they were put to the test. I'm glad I
didn't notice. I was already freaking on this descent, that's all I
needed was a reminder of the danger.
As the laps went, it was getting harder and harder to stay in the
race. After the second lap, I fell off the lead group and was
trying to find people to work with, but it wasn't happening. So it
was a time trial after that. I would work as hard as possible on the
descents to try to find stragglers. Then I'd be smoked for the climb,
but suffer through it. Then get to the finish line and do it again.
My last time doing the climb, I was a broken man. The pitch turned
up and I literally did a track stand, nearly falling before finding
the strength the turn the crank over and move forward. Crossing the
finish was a great achievement. I was so glad I wasn't a Cat 3 for
this race. There was no way I could have done another lap.
Results out of the 4's:
Crit: It was the Lee and Jay show. Lee started at the back with me,
had a cleat issue and then just bolted past me straight to the front
where he charged it for like 5 laps. He'd go off the front and thin
the group out, then come back to the front of the group for a break
and then drill it again. All this hard work paid off since he scored
a couple of primes. All this time, Jay is chillin' near the front,
playing it cool. And I'm at the back gasping for dear life, hoping
to move up, but really only having enough opportunity to stay with
They call for the 3rd prime and Lee drives it to the back side of the
course where he slows up so someone else can go for the prime. This
was a nice break for me...all of like 3 seconds and then a new group
goes to the front and shreds my face off....But I'm still hanging
on!!!!!!! Ouch! It comes down to the 5 lap count and I swear they
added a lap. We went through with 2 laps to go twice which kind of
screwed up Lee's pace. When we finally went through with 1 lap to go,
all was calm til the back side of the course, where all hell breaks
loose and I'm just like near death. My hands and arms are numb, I'm
totally shelled. But Lee goes for it and is right up there. But in
Jay: 3rd!!!! Rock on dude!
Jose: alive! and finished
It was a great weekend of racing. It put everyone to the test but it
was a well-run race in a great little town. It should definitely be
a must for any road racer.
Labels: Road Races
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
The big question for tonight's Boulder STXC series race #7 as we hunkered down in our cars while the rain poured down was would we be racing tonight? After a short delay, the rain clouds gave way to humidity and overcast skys and the game was on! First off was the juniors and women's B race with Drake Madigan and Sasha Milhous. Not sure how they ended up, but as I warming up for the B race they both looked strong. Next up was the men's B race and fellow Blue Skyers Rob Love, Mike Bernhardt, Kevin Van Pelt, Mike Madigan, and I lined up. Rob L. had great showing coming in third.
After a short recovery, I lined up for the men's C race with Rob Love, Drake Madigan, Bryan Grace and Sasha Milhous lined up with the women's A group. Bryan was shot out of a cannon at the start of the race and got the hole shot by at least six bike lengths. Rob and I came through a half dozen or so behind. As we made our way around the back side of the course, a couple of guys went down hard in front of me. I was able to avoid the mess, but they looked like the were hurt pretty bad, so I stopped to make sure they were OK. After spotting the field about 3/4 of a lap lead, I got back on and was able to real in a dozen or so riders. Rob Love ended up taking the victory with Bryan in about 4th. Time for Rob to take a shot at the A's.
Last but not least was the men's A race with Dave Harber representing. Looked like he a good race coming in around mid-pack.
Next week is the last race in the series, so come on out and take a spin into the pain cave of short track.
Labels: Mountain Bike Races
Monday, July 23, 2007
Here is my W.P.P.2.P.R.R. (
The day started much like any other, groggy from the night before and running behind schedule. A friend and I jump in the car, pray we have everything, and we bagel-up and head for the hills. Luckily, I have a brand new punk-rock album on board and it aids in wiping the haze from my head. In fact, I am going to go ahead and dedicate this race report to Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, just because they are a cool band and their album provided me with a sick race-day playlist.
At any rate, I warm up and line up, only to realize that the top collar of my SpeedBall seatpost has completely come undone and the parts are all exposed. Hmm, that can’t be a good way to start a race. I get everything hand-tight, but decide it’s best not to use the adjustability today—just leave the post fully extended and pray that it doesn’t break mid-race. That announcer dude screams GO for like 30 seconds and we’re off. We head up the main drag out of the ski resort, and I settle into about 10th place, wheezing and tasting a little too much bacon and egg bagel. Into the singletrack and I throttle it and take a few guys. The maverick is doin’ it’s thing as we scream down a descent, but somehow this Titus-Chipotle guy caught me on the downhill. What the h is this, I wonder as he passes me and we swing out into a meadow. We head up a tighter singletrack descent, and the holmes pulls granny ring instantly. I leave the middle ring engaged, and burn a couple matches to get past him. As we roll over hill and dale, I slowly catch a few people at a time, focusing on pushing the biggest gear I can.
We come to the Vasquez creek ford, and I see my friend Tom and Rob struggling in the icy water. I dive in, run through, and come out on the borderline of hypothermia… that mtn water is COLD. No wonder Old Milwaukee tastes so good when you pull it out of a mountain stream. So we blaze Vasquez creek road, me seated on the maverick pedaling away and hard-tail fools getting bucked around like they are at Gilleys. (name that movie-bar). As I am descending, though, I notice something rather odd—I have no cornering ability. My tires are just bouncing off of everything in sight. I would find out later at the finish that I was running about 60 psi, and the floor pump I used at the start must have had a bad guage. So I had that going for me, which was nice. I am settling into a rhythm when Rob Batey catches up with me. He gives me a quick greeting and something along the lines of “wow, never caught you on a downhill before Rob”. Hmm, that makes me a little uneasy, and he blazes me in the singletrack. It’s go time, and I fight hard to hold his wheel. We drop a sick fire-road and I have no traction AT ALL, so I know something is up. I keep the hammer down, and now I can see a guy in some sassy red lycra who I could swear was number one into the singletrack. Maybe, just maybe, I think I might be in the ballgame. I hammer down now, following a red swatch of lycra through the forest. I sneak up on him noisily as the Maverick rattles through a rock garden about 2 miles from the finish. As it opens up I turn it on make my move and keep my head down, only to then see this guy TURN IT ON, and completely unhitch me from the train. He must be rockin over 20 miles an hour as we make the final approach to the finish. Red-man takes me handily, but I figure I finished pretty close to the front.
The finish was in Fraser, and we ride back to the resort, I have a nervous excitement… I am thinking I did pretty good. A look at the results board and I am in 3rd, less than 2 minutes off the pace. That’s good enough for my best
Labels: Mountain Bike Races
Saturday, July 21, 2007
So here's what I was seeing out there today.
In the 3s it sounds like I had quite a different strategy from Jose. Last year I was in a 2-man break for the first 10k, and was promptly spit out the back of the group shortly after getting caught. This year when the attacks started at around the same point in the race, I didn't even react -- I just kept riding tempo. This put me by myself, but I kept picking guys off and dropping them. I was in a pretty good rhythm of sitting and standing, and would frequently drop guys when I was out of the saddle. This held up until about the 16-mile mark, at which point I started to suffer a bit. The altitude hurt in the last 5 miles, but I managed to come home in 18th place, 6 minutes better than last year at 2:10:38.
I was nervous about this race all week, didn't know if I was really
prepared or not. Last year I finished in 2:26. It seemed like I lost
a lot of time on the way to Echo Lake where it took me well over 1:15
just to get there. I don't think I'm any stronger this year, so this
time I needed a better strategy with some goals. This time my goal
was to be at Echo Lake in 1 hour and to Summit Lake in 1:45, and then
to just do my best on the switchbacks.
I was running a little late getting to the start with only about 5
minutes to spare. This meant that I started at the very back. Way up
near the front I saw Jose and the rest of Blue Sky. For the first few
miles, it seemed a little sketchy at the back and there were two small
crashes along the way. I found a good wheel to follow and tried to
work my way up front to get with the rest of the team. By the time
we were at the first switchback it seemed like we were riding at a
pretty good tempo and things were starting to get sorted out. There
weren't too many people around me at this point, but I could see Jose
up near the front of lead group and I slowly started to bridge up to
them, trying to conserve energy the best I could. It was still hard
to figure out exactly what was going on up there, but it looked like
some riders might have made a move, because after coming around a turn
I saw Jose leading a paceline. I finally caught Jose's paceline
just before Echo Lake. Soon two riders accelerated and Jose
encouraged me to go after them so that's what I did. Up to this point
I averaged 260 watts, and felt pretty good. I followed them through
to the pay booth, where they caught another one of their teammates,
then the three of them got behind me. After the first turn, they
started to fall back, and after a mile or so I looked back and
couldn't see them anymore. That first half was really the most
exciting part of the race. After I dropped those 3 riders it was a
long lonely grind up the rest of the way up. At this point I just
rode a good tempo pace of about 240 watts up to Summit Lake and made
my time goal of exactly 1:45. Now all I had left were the
switchbacks, I thought "no problem". Well, they were a lot harder and
further than I remember them from last year. At this point I was
feeling the altitude and my power dropped another 5 watts. I'd look
up, towards the summit, and it seemed like the switchbacks were never
going to end. Not much happened here, other than slowly passing
mostly citizen riders and a few racers. I was excited to cross the
finish line and see 2:12:38 on my computer. I ended up getting 10th
place with an official time of 2:13:03.
I had a good ride down with Jose, and he thought that might have been
in the top 10, so I stopped at the school to check the results. Not
being too familiar with racing, that was a pretty odd scene. After
about a half hour they had the results posted for the 4's, then the
dispute period started. The first unofficial results had me in 9th,
my time looked right, about 20 seconds higher than my computer, but
starting at the back it did take a while to get rolling. Anyway,
there were lots of riders claiming that they were faster than what the
results showed. They would use their stop watches and bike computers
as "proof". I went and loaded my bike in the car and came back to the
school, and another set of unofficial results were up. This time I
was bumped down to 11th. This time there was a new winner with a
claimed time of 1:51. I talked to some other guys that were in the
top 5, and they were disputing his result. They said that one guy did
break away near the end of the switchbacks but there's no way he put
over 10 minutes on them in the last few km. I guess the lesson is
that if you're near the front pay attention to who the other riders
are around you in case there are disputes. In the final results he
was removed, and I came in 10th place.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Tough man in lycra fighting back the tears...
Update - After spending over 3 hours at the ER, Dan has 13 brand new stitches in his leg. Now that's bad luck...
Labels: Mountain Bike Races
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
SHWITS (Steep Hills with Isaac Training Series) #2 departed Boulder in the mist at 6pm. Braving this journey were Rob (riding his single-speed), Dave "Killer" Kilmoyer (riding his road bike), then Jenna and Isaac (riding built-the-day-before cross bikes). "Killer" admitted he only showed up thinking no one else would show given the weather, then he slipped on his prescription sunglasses (more on these later) and we were off.
This jolly gang of Tuesday-night warriors made their way up the Boulder Canyon bike path to Fourmile and started cruising uphill. While making some pleasant conversation Rob noticed that Isaac's bike had some seriously hollow cantilever bolts -- oh wait a minute, Isaac's bike doesn't have any cantilever bolts. Ah, but the adventure was only beginning.
The foursome hit Gold Run and the pavement turned to dirt, then turned to some really steep dirt. Oh, did I mention Rob was powering uphill in his 39x18? This made for some serious attacks by the Love-meister forcing Isaac to reel him in his little itsy bitsy girly-man 34x23. Part way up Gold Run, Jenna's saddle was terribly loose and required some attention. Who worked on these cross bikes, anyway?
Just passed a house labeled "Summerville," Gold Run Rd kicks up yet again and leads into a groovy set of switchbacks that lets you nudge the chain down a couple cogs (provided you have more than one to choose from). The crew arrived in Gold Hill and assessed the cloud cover. With a few "Let's bail, oh wait, no let's keep going, I mean go back this way" we were decisively on our way west on Gold Hill Rd to Switzerland Trail. Lover boy exploded the group with some searing attacks once again, and before you know it we were enjoying some good weather and even better views at the top of Switzerland Trail.
It's about now where I should jump in and say that none of us could accurately gauge what time it was. We had been under the clouds for so long ... maybe it was 7:30pm, maybe it was 8pm, maybe it was later. Who's keeping track?
The top portion of Switzerland Trail was in decent enough shape, so Isaac started wondering what all the fuss was about. What was even more amazing was how Rob and "Killer" blitzed this rough downhill on their road bikes. Meanwhile Jenna and Isaac kept a firm fistfull of brake and rode the downhill like it was, well, uphill. The group was delayed when Dave's bike finally succumbed to a pinch flat in a particularly rough section of road. Once the group was rolling again, Isaac gave Rob a good demonstration of almost-eating-it. Another 10 minutes of sketch-beyond-sketch downhill and we were back to Fourmile Canyon, and oh my goodness, is it really 8:30pm? Oh, and for those keeping score at home, Isaac's rear brake did survive the descent!
With the apparent lack of daylight, Dave had a choice of either taking off the sunglasses and riding blind, or keeping the sunglasses on and riding blind. Descending blind down Fourmile was even more impressive than his road-bike descent of Switzerland Trail! The fearsome foursome cruised through Wallstreet, then Salina, and then to the pavement of lower Fourmile. By now it was really dark ... so dark that I was sure any cop going by would give us an earful. By the time we hit the bike path we were riding on pure Zen -- trying to remember the terrain and difficulties from 3 hours ago. Some how we were able to shepherd Dave most of the way -- though there were a few times when oncoming cars blinded all of us and we were all riding on faith.
Thankfully we made it back safely to our cars at 9:15pm, made our way to Illegal Pete's for some thank-god-we're-still-alive burritos and beer ... and that is the story of SHWIT #2. Do you have what it takes to conquer SHWIT #3??
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Lots of photos of Blue Sky Velo racers racing in circles in our hometown. Click here to view all the photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/duerkboyspics/sets/72157600839003666/show/
Blue Sky Velo had 16 racers and in nearly every category today: SM4 35+, SM4, SM3, SW123, Kids and probably a couple other categories I didn't get to see. And in every category (even the kids) the Blue Sky Velo was prominently on the front - driving breakaways, setting up sprints or just driving the pace and stringing out the field. There also were some top finishes with Jenna Dancy sprinting for 5th place in the Womens Pro/1/2/3 field, Kevin Abraham getting 8th in the 35+, Jeremy Duerksen - 8th in the SM3's, Rob Love 14th in the SM4's and Bryan Harwood 18th in the SM4 35+ field.
I have to especially comment on the SM4's race - Mike Olivero and Rob Love (ended up 14th!)were amazing! They kept taking turns breaking off the front, pushing the pace in what has to have been one of the fastest SM4 crits this year.
Unfortunately, in that same race one of our own was injured and our thoughts are with him - Brian Harwood didn't crash but had his little finger sliced open when someone crashed just in front of him and their wheel bounced straight onto his right hand. He'll be getting surgery on the tendon sometime this week. That race was his 2nd of the day - he got 18th earlier in the day in the SM4 35+ field.
In the Senior Men's 3 race we also had a crash and I received a footprint on my back.... I've got no idea how that happened - someone must have flipped up and onto my back. Fortunately no Blue Sky rider fell, but I understand someone's carbon frame is busted and someone else's handlebars are broken. And you thought bad crashes only happened on the Tour...
Kevin Abraham, Isaac Dancy and I lined up in the front line as part of an 89 man field with everyone jittery for the start of the Colorado State Criterium Championships. The pace quickly started to follow the typical yoyo effect our races usually feel like. Its up, out of the saddle sprinting hard as you can, then a minute later sitting up. There is rarely a strung out line for more than 1/2 lap. Even then, the announcer said our lap times were mostly under 1:25 and equivalent to the lap times of the Pro1/2 field.
Kevin (already raced in the early morning Men's 35+ race and got 8th!!), Isaac and myself put out quite a few efforts to get into breaks, but nothing stuck and every break was pulled back. In the end, it was a bunch sprint with probably 40-50 of the original 89 riders duking it out. My plan had been to be top 5 out of the last corner, then sprint into first at the crosswalk, but instead I was more like top 15 out of the corner even though with 2 laps to go I was 3rd. Its maddening, but the hardest thing to do in a crit is to keep your place - you have to continually move up. Anyways, I passed quite a few riders up the finishing straight but couldn't quite pull a Robbie McEwan and ended up 8th. 8th feels good and I can't complain, but I know I could have given it more power in the sprint.... Ahhh, next time.
But for now, in the words of Bill Teasedale (after finishing his first ever Criterium - today's SM4 35+ crit) "I think I found something I like - Crits are great!" I agree.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Today in Boulder five BlueSky'ers kitted up for the Mike Horgan Hillclimb. The race seems to have a rotating schedule of climbs, and today it was the mammoth of Boulder -- Magnolia Rd. It requires a brave soul to tackle the 19% steeps of this climb ... and indeed, attendance was notably smaller today than a year ago when the route went up Sugarloaf.
Isaac (SM3), Jose (SM4), Jason (35/4), Jenna (SW3), and Brenden (JR15/16)
Here's what happened in the Cat 3 race. The race started out very mellow -- last year in the 4s we were flying up Boulder Canyon at 25+ mph -- today we were maybe doing 17 mph for a while and then the position battle started before Magnolia and we were up to about 20 mph. As Magnolia started I was sure to stay to the left to avoid the ridiculous grades of the inside lines ... however even on the left side of the road I was pulling my front wheel off the ground through the first two corners. The race quickly settled down and I watched all the guys I was competing with last year float up the road ahead of me. I discovered the joy that is my 34x25 low gear and commenced the trudging.
Reaching the dirt above the climb was a sweet salvation. The dirt was smooth and hard and a welcome respite from 9 miles of uphill. Not much to report race-wise ... I was caught by a couple guys, dropped one of them, and worked with the other to chase. We caught another 2 guys just before Nederland High School. As we hit Shelf Rd it was total carnage ... the road looked like a wall with different insects scattered along it. It wasn't racing anymore, it was survival. I crossed the line in 1:34:43 and 18th place. We'll see how that compares to 2009...
Lots of good finishes to report:
Jose 1:40:21 (11th in SM4)
Jason 1:44:10 (26th in 35/4)
Jenna 1:53:08 (5th in SW3)
Brenden 1:47:14 (5th in JR15/16)
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Well, July 4th has come and gone, and I am back at work… still sporting a mean buzz from a sick race in Breck. The skinny: 4:49, 17th place in open men 30-34.
The race starts off with the national anthem—fitting for a July 4th race, but I may petition that all races start off that way. Then it’s a sweet parade through downtown, slapping hi-fives with kids and feeling like some sort of Olympian. Follow that up with a never-ending road climb turning to dirt. That Olympic feeling was just a sweet memory as I hung on to a dusty paceline. At the top of the climb it was time for some rolly singletrack—punch the big ring and go. After a short climb there was an absolutely sick chumbly downhill; the maverick was ready to do work. I blazed half a dozen xc-weenies on 1.9 tires and silly hardtails. At the bottom, we head back uphill and those punx are right there, spinning away from me. Crap.
So I settle in and keep my head down, drinking in the high-country goodness. A couple of steep, shale climbs get in my way, but there are enough warp-speed decents to keep things rockin. I descend into the start/finish with a crew and head out onto lap dos. A few friends are there hollerin, definitely keeping the spirits up. Shonny Vanlandingham is on my wheel as we head out of town, and I try to maintain the pro level pace, but she spins away from me after about 5 minutes. I am rewarded for the effort with an all-to-familiar tightening of the quads. I back off and try to recover before the singletrack to no avail.
As I spin along in a daze, Katie catches up to me, rockin a huge gear. It is nice to have someone to talk to as we hit the mid-section of lap two, and for awhile I feel the pain subside. Up and down we go, blazing fools hurting even more than myself. I give it everything I have on the downhills, pingin’ hard on the rev limiter. I put the wood to a few people, but more wood is being put to me. I try to keep my head in the game, all by my lonesome now. For some reason, Waylon Jennings is telling me how much of a Rambling Man he is, and I soldier on. On the long slog up the final climb, I settle into a snail pace and hold on, draining gels, clifbloks, and everything else I can chow on. The course has a kind heart, though, as the finish is at the bottom of a sweet woodsy singletrack that flows oh so good. I roll across the line blown, but there is no other way to be.