Skip navigation

Thursday and Friday had been filled with rain and overcast skies. Murmurs of whether we’d even be able to race Sunday were being floated around. Saturday brought sun, breeze and 75°. Although it helped dry a LOT of the trail tread, the creek crossings were very muddy and the spillway was uncrossable. The powers that be decided we’d shorten the course, delay start times by 2 hours and include a little downhill section out on bittersweet road.
After a quick pre-ride to check out the muddy spots (especially the one at the bottom of the only real climb) I was feeling pretty good. I was sitting in 3rd place in my age division for the season with what I thought was a manageable lead. All I had to do was beat or finish within a couple places of Percy and I’d be set, or so I thought.
We lined up at the start and prepared for a fairly fast if slightly slippery race.
I had my best start of the year and managed to be in 7th place going into the woods. Both laps went pretty well and I managed to clear the muddy mess of whistler hill both times. I was feeling pretty stoked when I passed Percy on the dam trail. I ended up finishing the race in 10 th overall and fourth in my age group.
Everyone gathered and shared stories of their race as the awards were prepared. As they started the awards for my age group I was amazed to not hear my name. Seems that one of the BCF guys had not completed his 6 races until today, so he jumped right past me to take 3rd for the year. I’d be lying to say I wasn’t disappointed. Oh, well, I’ll use it to be more determined for next year.
I did more races in the series this year than ever before, made new friends, and had a lot of fun.

image

image

Two podium finishes for the season!
After BT epic next month the training for next years xc series can begin.

Best overall finish to date! We had a beautiful day to race, and a great crowd of both spectators and racers. This year Malibu and the M&M climb were added to the course which proved to be a great help to me. I ended up 6th overall and 3rd in my age group. Should have had 5th overall, but a dropped chain cost me 20 seconds or so. Either way, fun was had, suffering was complete and relentless.
Right now I’m holding 4th place in my age group for the year.

Friends take friends gravel grinding! Road riding more has led to more acquaintances, and more invitations to ride. Today, I met up with a buddy and a couple new buddies to take part in one such ride.
We started in Ellisville  and headed south on gravel past Jim Thome’s place and on to the intersection of Babylon and Helle. Crossed a cool closed bridge and headed toward Checkrow. We meandered around all the way down to Bernadotte. There were some incredible climbs and awesome gravel! After a brief stop at the cafe in Bernadotte we headed back. All in all we hit 66 miles of gravel and about 3k feet of climbing.
I told Tim after it was over that was the most fun I’ve had on a bike that wasn’t on singletrack!

image

image

image

image

image

So, as of about two weeks ago I was officially invited to the 312 Little Ade’s race team. Jubilee was my first race as part of the team.  Since our order for new jerseys won’t ship for a few weeks I stood at the start in a hand me down kit and prepared for the hardest race of the series.
When we got into the woods I was in 14th place out of a 41 man field. The first climb gave me a chance to move up a couple spots, but the heat and the hills of jubilee made it tough to catch others.
Ended up passing another guy in the third lap and came in 10th overall and 3rd in my age group.
I guess that jersey really does make you faster. 

image

image

After a couple month long wait I finally brought home my first CX bike. My search started earlier in the year. I was torn between a cx bike and a fat bike for a long time. After a little thought it seemed that I would see more benefit from the cx bike. It could be used for commuting, gravel grinding, and cx racing. Once I decided on the type of bike the real homework began. Should I go with Felt, Evil S, Kona, Santa Cruz or one of the many other options?
My budget said the Stigmata was out, some of the other contenders either lacked features or had pretty low end components in the range I was looking. As much as I hate to admit it I narrowed it down to Kona and Spesh. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Kona, but never been a big red S fan. I just don’t like the large amount of proprietary stuff they use, but after looking the crux over I decided I could deal with their 105 build bike. Kona’s Jake series caught my eye. The Snake had the minimum 105 build I could live with, bosses for racks, mounts for fenders, through axle in front, and a threaded BB to boot! If I moved up to Private Jake I gained a little spec, through axle front and rear, but lost a 2x drivetrain.
In the end Jake The Snake won out. After a 2 month back-order for my size it finally arrived on Friday. I had already pre-ordered a set of TRP spyre brakes to put on it right away. So, after a few minutes of brake swapping I was ready to roll. I’ve only managed to get ~25 miles on it so far thanks to the weather this weekend, but it’s a fun ride!

Abermination is the first race in the IHRS season as well as the Iowa series. That makes for a big crowd! I arrived this morning just as the novice race was taking off. After registering I chatted with a few buddies that I haven’t talked to (other than on Strava) since last season. As the novices started their final lap I followed behind to get a pre-ride in. It’s a very fast and flowy course with only a couple of climbs, but they are both fairly lengthy.
Start time saw probably 50-ish racers at the line for the cat 2 race. Since I’d never ridden the course before today my expectations weren’t high. I really felt pretty good and had a blast. I took one spill on the last lap that left a good scrape and bruise on my hip. Other than that it was a clean race. I had to leave right afterwards, but I think I ended up 7th in my age group. I was pleased considering it was my first time there.
Looking forward to a fun season!

With January out of the way no one can acuse me of setting new years resolutions now. IHRS has put the 2016 calendar out, so my planning for the race season has begun. This will be my first year to register for the series and get into the points standings and I’m pretty excited about it.
Not that this is a comprehensive list, but I’m puting down a few of my cycling goals for the year in order to help me keep my eye on the prize.

1. Complete my first century. Planning to join a supported one in the end of March.

2. Break the one hour mark @ Indy TT. That’s only four mrnutes off last years time.

3. Get on the podium in a cat II xc race.

4. Complete BTE in under 5:15

These are the big ones, and those of which I will press toward the hardest. Will there be more? Who knows.

Over the past year I got the chance to do a lot of fun stuff as far as cycling. My mileage was more than triple that of the previous year. (2,346 miles) 9 races were entered and completed with no dnf’s! The race docket even included my first two endurance events.
New friends were made, skills were gained, fun was had. Now it’s on to the next goal. My plans for 2016 include more races, more (structured) training, better finishes, and a goal of 3k miles.

After only a couple weeks riding the road bike it’s apparent that this is the training jolt I needed. Is it as much fun as mtb? Absolutely not! Is it making me stronger and faster? Yes!
This morning with temps in the low 20’s I headed to WPP to hit some frozen trails. Half way through the first lap I realized I was pushing a bigger gear than normal in several spots. No, this is not a definitive test, but I can certainly feel the difference in strength. Next race season should be fun!

In order to do a little more intense training I’ve been keeping my eye out for a road or cross bike. Admittedly, I’d also like to save wear and tear on my mtb tires and frame from road biking during bad weather.
This past week I came upon an opportunity that I could not pass up. I was generously given a 2005 Specialized Allez Elite with a full Dura-Ace groupo. It came “some assembly required” in a couple boxes. After a quick  check all I needed was tires, tubes and cables.
The last couple of evenings I spent a little time getting it all together. Now we’re ready to roll! Hoping to get a chance to but some miles on today and see how it works.

image

I think I’ll call her Big Red!