541535_887882041222451_1098551933766898914_nSomething about the Iceman just gets me so excited! I guess it is the idea of spending time with my awesome team mates and their wives.  Well, as the forecast turned to crap…most of the wives bailed and I can’t say that I blame them! Thanks Nancy Curtis, Joni Murphy, Amy Remelts & Kim Stafford for sticking it out!
2014…My 7th Iceman, Wave 7. Thought it would be a LUCKY sign…but then it started to rain as temperatures started to drop.  My team mate, Jane and I lined up together behind the ginormous puddle with a planned strategy: I would try to hang with her on the pavement and she would stick with me on the dirt. Except there wasn’t any dirt. Nope. None! It was all MUD! Thick, oozy, snag your tire and pull you backward mud. We trudged through rain, sleet, slush, wind, snow, more rain, and other precipitation. The course went from bad to worse. What a MESS! I have never ridden in mud so deep! The Ka-chunking of my big ring told me it was time to ride thru a puddle for a “rinse”….I nearly drowned. My numbing fingers seemed to give up after a while so pushing my gear shifter with the palm of my hand was the only option. (No luck with the big ring. Jane had the opposite problem…no luck with her small ring. Good thing she is so strong!)  I ended up having the record slowest Iceman of my 7 year streak. I assumed there would be no podium for me this year. Wrong! 10734143_887878761222779_3134749545901650561_n
As soon as I crossed the line, I searched for the FOUNDERS tent, peeled my soaking clothes off in the Stafford’s heated camper, then was off with Tenner to catch the shuttle back to our car. We arrived just in time to see Max crossing Williamsburg Road.
By the time we got back, the awards had started.  Our team did pretty dang awesome overall. (See results.) 1979727_887881744555814_1713814040134687439_nBut the real fun began when Rick grabbed the big FOUNDERS flag and we made our way into the woods to cheer on Earl, Jeremy, and Dennis who were racing in the Pro category.
Wrapping up the night all huddled up in Rob & Jeremy’s condo, eating gumbo and cornbread with burnt pizza…we all re-lived the day and how much it sucked. Signing up again next year will be like signing up for childbirth. Somehow you forget the pain & in the long run you know it will all be worth it!


Lowell 50 Bike Race

Lowell 50 Bike Race: 34 Mile Race: Tandem Category, Saturday, October 25, 2014

Never Make Assumptions…

untitled-75Nancy: It was a beautiful, crisp Fall day, partly cloudy at the start with more sunshine later, 51 degrees at Race start. I had been struggling all Summer and Fall with riding and definitely not feeling like I was in very good shape going in to this race, but on race day I felt pretty good, excited to be there and see how well we could do. We knew we had only one other tandem, coed couple, to compete against in the 34 Mile Race. However when we lined up for the race, we couldn’t tell where the dividing line was between the 57 milers and 34 milers. We saw a coed couple on a white Cannondale and I assumed they were our competition. I looked behind us a couple times at the start but never saw any other tandems. When the 57 mile race started I couldn’t see any of the tandems take off, and again assumed the white Cannondale was in our race.

When the 34 mile race started 5 minutes later I did not see the white tandem, but again assumed they were just further forward in the start line. So we started off fast and strong, making our way through the crowd, continuing to look forward for the white tandem, and never saw them. We made our way across the covered bridge, already seeing people off their bikes on the side of the road, heading toward the first hill called “Rude Awakening”. As we were approaching the hill, I started noticing people getting off their bikes, and thought to myself, “this isn’t good”. So, Tim geared down and we began cranking our way up the hill, which was covered in loose gravel. Other people were having trouble, and we just kept passing people all the way up the hill, even though our back wheel slipped on the loose gravel a few times. Whew! The worst hill in the whole race was done and we were able to enjoy a nice downhill for recovery.

As we hit the flats we began increasing our speed, with lows in the teens and a high of 39 mph, still looking for that white tandem. I was feeling strong, surprised by how good I felt, and I worked hard trying to help out my Captain as much as possible, taking advantage of the downhills for recovery. Tim was riding strong, as usual, breaking the wind for me, so I wasn’t aware of how strong the west wind was until we turned west for the first time. At that point we slowed to around 15 mph and I was wondering “the road is flat, why aren’t we speeding up, trying to catch that white tandem?” At that point, I looked over Tim’s shoulder and got a feel for the strength of the wind and realized he was doing the best he could given the circumstances. Tim’s view: I was sitting in behind another bike drafting 🙂 Yeah, I can’t see anything around Tim, so I didn’t know he was drafting… 🙂

As the racers spread out we eventually joined a group of 6-8 riders who were riding our pace. Of course they hopped on the back of “the Bus” (our tandem’s nickname), and pretty soon we had a train. At one point, Tim pulled off the front to let some of the other riders pull for awhile. The first bike behind us pulled forward for about 15 seconds, then he pulled off letting the next rider take over, as we were making our way to the back of the line. It was funny to see that none of the other riders could pull for more than 10-15 seconds, and within 1-2 minutes we were back at the front of the line, pulling everyone again. It was great they were willing to try, but we had set a pretty fast pace and they just couldn’t keep it up on their own. Tim’s view: a constant rotating pace line didn’t work for us today. 🙁

A few times during the race Tim asked me to look back and look for the other tandem. I was thinking, “why is he asking me to look back when our competition is in front of us”. I didn’t realize until later that he was thinking all along the white tandem was probably in the 57 mile race, which is why we never saw them. However, I never saw a tandem behind us either, and kept thinking they were in front of us. We kept pedaling along, taking advantage of the flats and downhills, at one point hitting 39 mph.
Around mile 17 I had resigned myself to the fact that we were probably in second place, and I was okay with that, but I wanted to see how well we could do, and kept working as hard as I could. Tim was putting forth a great effort, and since the roads were in very good shape, we were traveling at a fast pace.

As we hit White Bridges road, heading south toward the finish, we were feeling pretty good and we picked up the pace, hitting a couple more good hills, feeling strong. Eventually we started dropping the other riders, with one or two riders hanging on. We had one mile to go and cranked it up for a strong finish, coming across the finish line at 1:46:23 with a 19.19 average. Tim dropped me off at the “little girls room” and watched the other riders coming across the finish line. As I returned he told me, “a green Comotion tandem came across finish line a few minutes after us”. I was shocked! Tim told me later that he always thought the other tandem was behind us, but since we never saw them, he couldn’t be sure. As a result of our hard work, we took first place.

My lesson for the day: Never make assumptions… cause you’re usually wrong. 🙂

Some other quotes of the day:

Tenner- “I felt really strong today and rode with the lead group for 20 miles. Too bad it’s a 34 mile race….”
untitled-88 untitled-116 untitled-125Marne- “I took 2nd in women 40-49…1st was 1:52:59, I was 1:54:25. Close…I just can’t compete with 40 year old stay at home moms. I ended up 3rd overall women.  Then later they said, “Marnie, I think you were 4th…we’ll know tomorrow.” Oh brother.

Rob- “If my results were posted in the correct category I would have finished 15th out of 35 with a time of 1:52
Wind, sun, pain and fun!”

Earl- “Early flat and busting wind for 12th”

Mondays listings
Lowell 50 Fall Edition Tim Curtis Tandem 1
Lowell 50 Fall Edition Rob Meendering 34 Mile Men 17
Lowell 50 Fall Edition Dennis Murphy 60 Mile Men 4
Lowell 50 Fall Edition Marnie TenCate 34 Mile Women 2
Lowell 50 Fall Edition Scott TenCate 34 Mile Men 5
Lowell 50 Fall Edition Earl Hillaker 60 Mile Men 12
Lowell 50 Fall Edition Jeremy Karel 60 Mile Men 3


untitled-16 untitled-112 untitled-156Tim and Nancy Curtis

Peak2Peak Mountain Bike Classic

Peak2Peak Mountain Bike Classic

P2PIn preparation for this year’s Iceman, I decided to add a little late season racing to my routine. Peak2Peak was on my bucket list and it was time to git ‘er done. Saturday, October 18th Jeremy Karel and I drove north to race at Crystal Mountain and represent the Founders Racing Team. On the way out of town, we detoured past Rick’s place to pick up the required post-race refreshment, Founders Centennial IPA.
Friday night had brought steady rain to Crystal Mountain. As we drove north, Saturday was not looking much better. 40 degrees and steady rain did not make me optimistic about racing on a wet and muddy course. Fortunately, the weather improved during the last 30 minutes of our drive and the rest of the day was rain free.
Pre-race, Jeremy and I were interviewed for Founders new media campaign. We had fun talking bikes and beer with Rick Fortier from Founders. Can’t wait to see the actual footage.
With the glamor work finished, my teammate and I prepared to race. Jeremy was racing Expert Single Speed and I was racing Expert 45 – 55. We both had 3 – 12 mile laps ahead of us. Earlier racers reported that we’d be dealing with a few mud pits, in addition to the required climbing at the end of each lap.
My race got off to a good start, the flat wide sections at the start of the course being well suited to my riding style. I dropped back from lead group as we hit wet single track. I hadn’t ridden single track since Ore to Shore and needed some time to work my way back up to speed. Not wanting to attract Josh’s dark cloud, I was cautious in the wet conditions.
About mid-way through the lap, I encountered the first of two mud pits. These pits, deeply rutted and full of standing water, required a run through the muck. Getting dirty is part of the fun! The lap finished off with a climb up the back of Crystal Mountain and a fun twisty decent to the Start & Finish line.
I picked up the pace for lap two with the goal of picking up a few spots. Several miles into the lap, the course left pavement with a right turn onto single track or two track. In an Alzheimer’s moment, I picked the two track and rode for about ¾ of a mile before finding myself on the golf course. Hmm, don’t remember this. I realized my mistake, took a U-turn, rode back ¾ of a mile and got back on course. After this error, I didn’t have much hope of getting a good result but rode hard and had fun racing with a few of the 55 – 65 guys. I finished 30th out of 34 in my age group.
Jeremy rode a strong race in the first two laps. By his own admission, he ran out of steam on the third lap. His very quick times in laps 1 & 2 were enough to put Jeremy on the podium in 3rd out of 12 Single Speed racers. Congratulations to Jeremy.

Jeremy and I had a fun trip up north, enjoyed a few post-race IPAs and spotted the coolest shift lever ever.


Michigan Mountain Mayhem- Gravel Grinder

On October 4th Jeremy Karel, Jeff Jacobi and myself headed north to Boyne City for the first annual Michigan Mountain Mayhem- Gravel Grinder edition. There is also a spring and summer edition but this was my first MMM. I have to admit I was not in the mood to get up at 5am and drive close to 3 hours to race in 39 degree temps and rain showers. After all I told myself I was going to just ride the 45 mile event as a color tour on my Salsa Fargo, a mixture of road frame, mountain frame and off-road touring bike, I can handle racing in the rain but hate it otherwise.


Jeremy and Jeff were both entered in the 60 mile singlespeed class but with a mass start for the different distances they were unsure if they had any completion. I think the whole race attracted 280 racers. Similar to numbers of the first Barry-Roubaix in 2009!

The Fargo was a blast to ride, so confidence inspiring on the downhills and rough seasonal roads (two tracks). The claim that this course was hilly did not disappoint. I think I clocked the first paved climb at 2.5 miles at about a 6-7% grade. Many of the dirt climbs were steeper but also shorter. I will admit that the Fargo was such a blast that I did find myself going race pace at times instead of tour pace. The rain held off, peaks of sun filled the sky and the fall colors were just starting to happen, it was a great course for scenery.

1669812_726044080806154_260257629705361810_o 1601793_10152815691403200_7838037991641539022_oWhen all was said and done I placed 11th in the 55+ category and Jeremy and Jeff placed 1st and third respectfully. They had a large tent for the awards party with some much needed heat, cold beers for purchase and choices of chicken, burgers or pizza for lunch which was included in the entry fee.

Paul did a great job with the event and I am certain he will grow this race up to the 2000 rider limit very soon.

Paul later told me in an email that he vacationed in Australia once and during a ride stopped to take a break when an Aussie rode up, stopped and asked if he needed any help and were he was from. Paul said Michigan and he said no way, I did the Lumberjack 100 a few years back. Small world huh?


Iron Cross – tough UltraCross event!

ironcross 60 percentSaturday. October 4th I traveled to the middle of Pennsylvania to participate in the Iron Cross UltraCross race.   The Iron Cross is one of nine in the UltraCross serieswhich includes Barry-Roubaix in Michigan and Gravel Grovel in Indiana.  The series requires minimum four races to be scored for points and  now I wish I’d done one other.  I raced Barry-Roubaix in March and will be doing the Gravel Grovel for the third year in a row.  That will make three races in the Ultracross series.
This race is the toughest of the three I have now done! Nearly 70 miles long, the course has screaming downhill gravel roads and pavement.  I hit a top speed of mph on paved descent and regularly was feathering the brakes to maintain 32-35 mph on gravel road descents! I went back and forth with a racer on an orange Niner mountain bike.  I’d pass him on climbs and gap him when we hit a flat section but on the downhills he’d catch up. I think the wider mountain bike tires made for better hold on the gravel roads which had quite a lot of loose stones. These were NOT hardpacked dirt like we see at Barry-Roubaix.  More than a few racers 40mm tires which seemed huge compared to my standard Kenda 35mm cross tires.
The course also included some bone-jarring single-track more suited to a mountain bike with at least front suspension.  Some of the single-track climbs were unrideable as well.  My hands got really sore on numerous occasions gripping the flats and using my brake interrupter levers to control the bike in these technical sections.
ICrunup2There was also several steep segments requiring dismount and pushing or carrying the bike up the hill.  One segment had three powerline hikes like this.  For those riders who have done Ore-to-Shore, picture the powerline climb- only steeper and at least 50% longer- then do that THREE times in a row!   The last really hard hike-a-bike was narrow uphill and at the top three people had a sign that said “Larry’s Tavern” and were doing Busch beer hand-ups.. so I took a shot and then went on to ride the gravel road.
As I got past the 65 mile mark that Niner rider caught me again on the last major descent.  From there it was a steady but not steep climb to the finish and I was gradually closing the gap, but unfortunately ran out of course and he finished in front of me by about 25 seconds- and he was in my category.  Darn
After the race there was food and awards and conversation. I got to chat with Gerry Pflug (who to a second place podium finish despite nasty crash) and Stephanie Swan.  My favorite nutrition writer, Selene Yeager, took first place in the women’s category but I didn’t get a chance to congratulate her.
I had registered for camping on site for both Saturday and Sunday night.  There were quite a few campers Saturday night but the place cleared out fast after awards and food were done and the last rider finished at just over eight hours.  I was at this rustic state forest campsite all by myself.  Early sleep and I woke up at 3am, so I packed the car for the ten hour drive back to Michigan.
I am glad I did the race.  It was extremely challenging and fun.
photo credit xxc magazine

Top of the Box at Ore to Shore

    10608238_697483086995587_269492283186684032_oMarquette is one of those gems that might not stay a secret for long.  It has something for everyone from great breweries and hiking destinations, to some serious mountain bike trails right in the city limits.  The city of Marquette makes the drive from West Michigan worth the trip.strategy
Ore to Shore has been on my list for a few years now.  I decided to give the single speed class a try as that has been my bike of choice as of late.  I tried for a preferred start but because I had never done the race before, one was not granted.  After spending some relaxing nights at the duplex at Brentwood thanks to Paul, the team headed out early Saturday morning to put our bikes in line hoping for a decent start towards the front.  Because it’s a mass start, the closer you are to the front the better off you are.  Once the trumpets blew, the race was off and I settled into what felt like a decent pace on the fast pavement roll out.  I knew I would get passed by a lot of people on my single speed but also knew once we hit dirt I could begin to pick people off.  josh oremarn ore
Ore to Shore is cool for several reasons.  First, its a hammer fest from the start.  You have to lay all your chips out if you want a good result.  You really can’t hide or rely on mtb skills as it is pretty much a pure road race.  Second, the dust makes it look and feel like a race through Baja, California.  There were times where you literally couldn’t see your own front wheel.
jer ore
As the race went on I ended up moving up the field pretty quick.  I ended up passing the first place single speed rider around mile 12 and didn’t look back.  The group I road with put the hammer down and what was a large pack began to whittle down to just four.  We road together the entire last 12 miles and once the infamous Superior Dome was in sight, my legs knew it and began to cramp.  I ended up letting the three other riders I was with go and crossed the line as the first single speed rider and 39th overall.
dennis ore
The Founders team was kind enough to go back and suffer through the awards ceremony so I could snag my cash money and trophy and good times with friends was had later in the evening.
This is a race that I will definitely make a point of doing again.  The South Trails in Marquette are incredible and grow every year.  Going up a few days early and staying a couple days after the race make this a perfect mid summer trip for the family and friends.
Holy Wah!
Jeremy Karel 1st Place 2:42 Finish Time
Josh Hogeterp 18th Place 2:56 Finish Time
Tim Curtis 3rd Place 3:05 Finish Time
Paul Popeilarz   5th Place 3:07 Finish Time
Ralf Sharnowski 31st Place 3:12 Finish Time
Jane Vanhof 2nd Place 3:14 Finish Time
Dennis Murphy 37th Place 3:21 Finish Time
Marnie Tencate 2nd Place 3:25 Finish Time

Capital City Crit by Earl Hillaker

Road races are generally foreign to me. I liken mountain racing to the use of a hammer. Everyone brings a hammer and the biggest hammer wins. Mostly road racing is not like that. It is tactful, timely and opportunistic.The first 30 min of the 35 min race has riders testing the field to see if they are strong enough to get away. Which almost no one can do alone so you launch an attack and see who will come with you. Are they strong enough to make it stick? The answer is almost always no. But there is pride in the effort. There is a hope that with every effort you are wearing down the field and improve your chances. I launched a few of these attacks to no avail. I chased a few with the same result. The last 5 min is an all all out assault.

Earl first place 8.2. 14 Earl, medal, capital, 8.2.14I was caught off guard by the ringing of the last lap bell. I was mid pack and needed to be close to the lead for an effective sprint finish. Three corners later and some hard work and I was able to move up. On the a long straight away I made a hard effort to put me in 4th. Around the small block and down the long straight to the finish is all we had left. The pace had been high and only got faster on the last lap. The pace for finish straight was like a down hill run away train. The speed kept building. 500m from the finish the lead group I was following began to fade and at the same time from my left someone launched an attack. I left the train and stood in an all out effort to catch his wheel. I sat in for 3 hard breaths and exploded around with 200m to go. I lurched at the line and saw someone closing fast. It was not enough. I held in for the win by 1/4 of a bike length. Everyone behind was almost to close to call.

Pando 6 Hour

I set out for Pando Saturday morning August 2nd to defend my title. Last year I captured first place with 14 laps and five minutes on my second place competitor.  This is Fun Promotion’s annual 6 & 12 Hours of Pando endurance race.
I really like Pando’s trail. It’s has everything a mountain bike race should have packed into a short course- long climbs and descents, short steep climbs and descents, technical single-track and wide open sections for passing- all in about 3.7 miles!
For this event, Brent was running the course clockwise rather than counter clockwise but as usual with the start of each lap right up the ski hill.  At the top, we turn left (east) and ride through the woods and down the first hill through the perennial “wet spot” mud-hole IMG_5811which gets worse and worse as the race progresses.  Then uphill to the back of the Pando tubing hill, down again and after a right turn you have a long long long (did I say long?) climb up to the top and a flat sandy section.  (When riding the course counter clockwise, racers will recognize this long climb as that fast grassy descent to the outside of the tubing hill).  At this point you really have finished the hardest part of the course.  The remainder has some small roller hills and contains the technical single-track
I arrived at Pando and set up my pop-up, chair and table and got all my gear and supplies ready.  Founders Racing teammate Jane VanHof was going to share the site as we were the only two racing this event.
My strategy was to carry one bottle of Perpetuem (fuel) and one bottle of Heed for hydration along with Endurolytes and a couple Hammerjel packs and only stop at the tent when I needed to refill bottles.
At registration I noticed I had four other competitors in the six hour event.  However, at the rider meeting a half hour before the start, Brent Walk changed the event and eliminated the 12-hour race since so few people signed up. The effect was to double the men’s 50+ category to ten of us competing!
I decided to ride hard and went full out right away.  I did the first three laps in under one hour.  I completed lap six at 2:05 (I was trying to do it in less than two hours).  I didn’t need to stop until after lap eight where I swapped my Heed bottle and filled my now empty Perpetuem bottle with plain water.  I ate a Hammerjel and re-filled my Endurolyte container and headed out again.
Lap 11 was where things started to go awry.  My back tire was getting soft and squishy in the turns.  It had been low earlier in the week when Joni and I rode at Luton.  This was a huge miss on my part since I needed to refill the tire with Stans sealant and did not. I had gambled I could last the day without doing so.  I considered dropping out at this point since I can’t ride with a flat tire.  But perserverence won out.  Into the tent, I checked my toolbox for a small bottle of Stans. It was there but only about 1/4 full.  I removed the rear tire presta core, poured in what Stans liquid was available and pumped up the tire and headed back out.    It lasted about two laps so I realized I didn’t have enough sealant and was going to deal with this the rest of the day.  Lap 13,  into the tent and I removed my tool kit from my lower bottle cage.  I pulled out two air cartridges and put them into my back pocket.  I dropped the Heed bottle and kept only the water for the remainder of the race as we were now in the last 1-1/2 hours of the event.  I ate another Hammerjel, pumped the tire to 30 lbs and back up the ski hill.
I had been in first place most of the race. Every time I looked at the results at least up to 3pm (three hours) I was in the top spot but had two or more competitors with same lap count.  This meant we were all pretty close in pace but I was merely finishing the laps ahead of them.  But I had not looked at the results postings since 3pm and had no clue where I was in the standings.
I gutted out another lap (14) and up the hill to start lap 15.  Down through the mud pit and up the steep climb on the other side I finally stopped a minute.  It was  hot and humid and I felt my heart beating hard!  I put my fingers on my neck and could feel the artery thumping away. Whew!  Then a guy on a fatbike rides by and says “you should get going.  I think you are in the lead.”  So I rode onward.  As I approached the last few rollers of the course I looked at the clock. Part of me wanted it to be over and part of me figured I’d go out for another lap if I could make the cut-off at the lap chute.  For those who don’t race these events, for a six hour race, if you make it through the chute by 5:59:59 you can go for another lap and make it count if you finish it. But if you get there at the 6:00:00 mark or later you are done.  So I rode on, and figured the clock would tell  the tale.
As I rolled into the chute, Jack Kunnen said “one more Dennis” and I did get there with about five minutes to spare so UP the hill one last time.  I actually got a bit of second wind and rode pretty hard most of the lap finishing strong at about the  6:25 mark.
You can see from the attached photo of the results I was leading up until that lap 11.  This was the fifth hour and all the fiddling with the wheel took time off the course. But that’s part of racing.  I should have had my equipment ready.  Lesson learned.  Bog Kidder rode well and hard and finished ahead of me by 18 minutes.  However had I not done the 16th lap I would have been in third place.  Going out that one more got me the second place podium spot!
 IMG_6040 IMG_6073
Teammate Jane Vanhof also rode hard with 16 laps and unfortunately had NO competitors. No other women showed up to compete in the six hour race. So to crank out 16 laps was indeed solid self-motivation.  She could have done one lap and won.
Next up Ore to Shore.  I looked up my last Ore to Shore result from 2009 and finsihed in 3:39 which is 13.1 mph average.  So my goal this year is to be closer to 3 hours. (I rode Ore-to-Shore in 2011 but was in between three of my last of five 100-milers so I rode the 28 mile race with Joni that year and didn’t consider my finish time).

Big M race report

Big M is a race that got the better of me last year. I showed up unprepared and unready. I was dropped off the main group in the first lap and dropped out of the race in the second. It was with that level of trepidation that I came back to this race.
IMG_4739  IMG_4779 IMG_4782 IMG_4789 IMG_4804 IMG_4814IMG_4644IMG_4651  IMG_4708IMG_4766This year my fitness is where I wanted it to be and I was as rested and ready.  The dense fog cleared as we got to the race. I looked around to see what kind of race I was in for. It looked like it was going to be dry, a bit sandy and very fast. My class was packed full of excellent riders. Again it was going to be a fast day.

As I looked around at the line I knew I needed a strong start so that I could hang on the train of riders through the fast single track of Big M. Go! Brings my mind back to the task at hand. I trounce hard on the pedals and drop in 4th behind Vanias, Burke and Acker. “Well we see how long I an hang on here” I think to myself as we rocket through the woods at 22mph. The four of us mostly rode together for the first lap and I was happy to hang in. Vanias and Burke would put up a small gap on the up hills and we would reel them back in on the down side. Much to my surprise on the first big hill of the second lap Matt waved me around as the other two again attacked up the hill. So much for just hanging on. I stood in response to keep their wheel but could not keep with them. I didn’t get back until the down side. The remainder of the lap we scorched through the single track together. Without much surprise Alex attacked at the beginning of the 3rd lap up the long climb. I requested more of my legs and got nothing. I stood and put in a effort I realized I could not hold. I watched as he put a gap on us both that held with him just at the edge of sight.  The 4th lap was left to Tom and I as Alex pulled out of sight. I figured I would test my legs and see what I had. I stood and hammered up hill and put in a small gap. I stretched it a bit more down one of the blazing fast down hills drifting for a 4th time that sandy left hand’er. Surprised to find my legs in full working order I kept the gas on standing and hammering anywhere there was space. Up the last big hill I am greeted with the update that Alex is 20 seconds up. I continue to work hard up the hill and grab an additional gear as I crest the top. I empty the tank in chase.. I don’t have enough to bring him back. I finish in second with a gap of 10 seconds.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3Earl 2 of 10
Matt 7 of 14
Paul 10 of 11
Jeremy 1 of 11
Tenner DNF broken collar bone 🙁
Marnie 2 of 3
Tom 6 of 11

There is nothing better then to finish a race catching up with teammates and chasing good results with a beer. Some races have more value then other and this one felt really good.

Hanson (Faux) Jinx!

Six years ago I separated my shoulder on a mild solo training ride at Hanson Hills. I know, what?! Hanson? Really?! Yup. Only two miles in and I lost control on a downhill that cost me a couple grand and 9 months of recovery. I’ve avoided the trail ever since, but the great weather, potential CPS points, and my own pride all pointed in one direction… Get over it!

I decided I needed a pre-ride, so late Saturday afternoon, I got to the trail to face my nemesis mono a mono. The dusty, sandy trail was hurling insults at my psyche, but I forged on, with the eminent moment of repetitious disaster awaiting. Inflated fear, like The Monster Under The Bed teasing me to step out to pee in the middle of the night, crippled my confidence and every grain of sand ahead was thrown down by the devil on my shoulder. The climb and flat that were etched in my mind for six years are past and I know what’s at the bottom. When the bottom came, the climb started, just like all trails do. I had to stop and find “the spot”. It was nothing. Are you ##$&@’ing serious?!! I can’t believe I admitted that I lost a whole season to this trail! So with my tail between my legs, I finished the pre-ride unscathed and ready for the race.

Here’s how the race went in detail: It hurt. Blah, blah, blah… I got third! (That’s for you, Rob!) And Jeff’s version goes like this… “Hey, I’m Jeff Jacobi and I only like one beer, I mean gear! I’m gonna take my sweet ass time, pop a few wheelies and look for bald eagles.” (Which would be a perfect picture to go with the “Jeff next to big things” series, by the way.) Nice third place, Jeff! I kid because I love. With the cash payout we almost raced for free. It was a fun race with good competition and I regret having avoided it for so long.

After a recovery drink (wink, wink), it was time for the kids race. You see, Jeff and Curtis decided to brave the freshly hatched and hungry mosquitoes in a campground the night before and it was time to reap the benefits. Curtis took off with abandon, like a knight on his trusty steed chasing ten monsters under the bed! After the race, he proudly accepted his plaque of bravery and drove off into the sunset with Jeff crashed out, dreaming of a walk-in cooler fully stocked with Coors and autographed Pantera posters. Nice race, Curtis! There will be many more dragons to slay in your day. I hope you never separate your shoulder in the process, but take this advice from me, don’t wait six years to face your fears, little dude!