Sunday, November 27, 2011

Iceman and Off-Season

Been a few weeks, but since it is possibly the biggest mountain bike event in the nation, Iceman deserves a write up. 
I Headed over to Traverse City, Michigan on Friday, November 4th with Cole House.  Had amazing accommodations from the Owner’s at Six One Six Fabrication.  Awesome people making some sweet snow bikes and 650b/29er bicycles!


Race Day:

Had a nice breakfast with the best of the mid-west all pictured here from left to right, Matter, Schouten, House and myself on his wheel.  Sweet potatoes were a secret weapon for both Matter and I.  Included in the line-up below is a World Champion, a World’s Podium finisher, and multiple National Champions/top ten in the Nation…Mid-West had our work cut out for us.

Here is a video of the Pro men’s start.

I have only raced the Pro Race here once before, so I am still slightly inexperienced.  My preparation in training and how to manage the insanity of this start was much better than last year. Making the lead group was almost too easy, I was deceptively within my limits, and I never made much of an effort to be 1st-5th wheel.  For the first quarter of the race I was riding toward the back not being too aggressive.  This race is all about positioning and I found out the hard way! 
While jamming motivation through his speakers on the way to the Start Cole warned me he was going to attack at “Tornado Alley”, I said “Uhh, OK”…thinking where or what the heck is tornado alley…images of Kansas and Todo in mind. 

Lead group a few miles into the 2011 Iceman.

Lead Group
So when the tornado came I was hanging out at the back, come to find out this was the first pivotal section of single-track and I was literally the last one in amongst 15 or so riders.  I was still pretty comfortable, but quickly realized some of those in front of me were not and the race was leaving in a hurry.  I took every opportunity to move up, but when moving up during attacks you have to be riding significantly faster than those attacking at the front of the field.  People were cracking left and right as I was moving up, came by Cole House, Matt Shriver, and one of the Fluckiger brothers.  Made it to J. Bishop’s wheel at the back, but I had already muscled by 7 or so riders during interspersed open sections,  once latched back on to the lead group the redline had been pushed.  A few climbs later and I was soft pedaling and waiting for the chase group to come up…

Not bad company though, with a world champ in group.  With about 10k to go Troy Wells came back to our group as well.  I was a bit frustrated as the legs were good and was out of contention due to positioning. Although one of the highlights of the day was yelling “C’MON SWISS” to a World Champ as I encouraged him to get on my wheel after a bad line through a sand pit!   We were smiling.

I waited for the climbs to start toward the end of the race and as soon as we hit “The Wall”, which kicks off a series of climbs till the end of the race, I attacked hard at the front.  Matt Shriver and Christian Tanguy were able to follow and we had a gap.  Shriver came around to pull and threw an elbow for me to pull through soon after but I was timid.  This was a bad move on my part, Wells, Fluckiger, and Isaac Neff came back to us. 

It was at this point that I saw the lead group just around the corner, I couldn’t believe it!  We were reeling them back in and I told Shriver we gotta go!  Not sure if the group understood me in the midst of the heart pounding, but I pushed it up the climbs hard and Shriver/Wells pulled along the flats.  

Coming into the venue area I was set to win the sprint for the chase group with Wells, Matthias Fluckiger, Christian Tanguy, and Matt Shriver.  It was not to be though, Wells bobbled on a downhill dropping his chain right in front of my bike.  Brought to a full stop I watched while everyone else glided away, a gap had opened I HAD to close.  Brought it back just as the attacks started and that was game over…was fighting for 8th but rode in solo settling for 11th.

Solo ride to the finish341250_2393275505508_1059516737_32395036_438870757_o

There are Great, Good, and Sub-Par results, this was edging into the last category. The field was tough, so in hindsight I am happy.


Last year I was physically and tactically unprepared, this year just tactically, next year I will put them both together and hopefully be fighting it out in the front.  Full Results Quite the field!


So now that it is the Off-Season we get to watch all the CX crazies suffer.  Been following Cyclingdirt for U.S. racing, screaming at my computer screen for Matter and Schouten representing the Mid-West.  Also, been following the Superprestige and World Cups.

Controversy on this one this past week with Sven Nys and Pauwels. 

Question of the day:

What do you think, should Nys have been relegated?

Answer in the comments section below or found here.

Stay tuned for plenty of 2012 announcements and training preparations.


Thursday, October 27, 2011


Peak2Peak Oct. 14th-15th

After the Sheboygan race Cole House and I were talking about what to do till Iceman.  I said “rest and train, nothing else going on”.  He was nice enough to invite me to a race across the Lake in Lower Michigan called Peak2Peak.  Awesome race venue, classic Michigan venue environment with tons of energy and hype around the race.  Course left a bit to be desired, but with a few additions of single-track and trails on the amazing ski hill they have it has potential to be an epic event!  Not to mention the resort is one of the most beautiful places I have ever stayed, simply amazing!

Cole’s new MTB sponsor SixOneSix put us up for the weekend, for which I am so very grateful.  Awesome laid back people, all about supporting the Mountain Bike scene.  Check them out at Iceman if your heading over this November, 5th.  They should have some good venue space setup.


3 lap race on a 10 mile Course which lent to a small group of 6-7 riding roadie style through fairly wide, flat, winding single track for 3/4 of the lap and then THE HILL…I think it was the longest continual hill climb I have done all year.


Here is Mike Anderson leading us up the climb at the end of lap 1, followed by Cole House, Myself, Jordan Wakeley, Christian Tanguy, Alex Vanias, and Derek Graham.  It was obvious this was where the race would be decided.  Cole and I had a plan, we wanted to go 1-2…and when your driver/host is the competition who gets to win the sprint? 

I never really have had the chance to work as a team on Mountain Bikes.  Of course on the road, but never had the chance to really play out anything on the Mountain Bike.  we controlled the race well and attacked from 1st or second wheel when we wanted…tons of fun. 

Going into the last climb Cole followed my wheel and I just punched it hard right at the bottom, immediately we had a 10 second gap.  We held off a strong chasing Christian Tanguy to the line.  Coming down the back side of the hill I was nice enough to hold back a bit on the Jedi Knight skills and Cole pulled off the Win in another sprint finish. Cole almost gave me the Win on accident, as I sprinted I was also yelling “go left”, Cole was in a full on sprint into the lap area instead of the finish shoot.  Laughed about that quite a few times during the 8 hour drive home that night…well worth it though since Michigan knows how to give out semi-decent prize pools!


Next up is a go at the BIG MONEY in a little over a week.  Training is coming along very well with some of the best numbers on the power meter I have ever seen.  All year I train in limbo of focus.  With so many races going on and different goals, I tend to want to be strong in everything and never really build my intensity well over a 3-4 week period for a very specific event.  With Iceman being so far removed from any of my major racing focuses I have been able to just build very specifically for this race. 

I also feel as though my  knowledge of how  to train and coach has really matured over  this year.  I am really starting to nail down how my body peaks and exactly what it responds best too in training.  No pressure or anything…, but I am very excited to see how this comes together next week Saturday.  Hopefully I will be able to keep the podiums coming and I will be more than happy with that amongst this crowd! Search the Pro field with no name inserted.


What are your top ten Iceman predictions? 

Answer honestly, no offense taken at all if I am not in there!

For those reading through a remote feed you can answer in comments sections found here.

All is new, nothing is mundane it is only in You,



Wednesday, October 26, 2011


WORS #12 Wigwam MTB Challenge Oct. 8th-9th

Fitness was peaked and I knew I had winning legs for the WORS finale during my pre-ride Saturday, especially after I did a hot lap for Don and the race director to check Elite lap times.

I tend to want the hole shot to see if I can put the pressure on right away, so what am I doing in the picture below…8 wheels back???  Rear cog “ghost” shifted all the way to the first single-track.  Fought a bit for it, but eventually made my way to the front.  Lead group quickly formed  with 3 of us, Mike Phillips, Cole House, and myself after half a lap.


Equalizer hill climb play by play photos. They pay ya $5 at the top just for climbing this thing clean with no foot dabs, if you can grab it while your tongue hangs over the handle bars along with your head..  




Slick-Rock drops are sweet!


After 2 Laps I went to the front and drilled it, had a good gap but didn’t fully commit to the solo ride.  Cole was able to come back and the games began!


Lap traffic neutralized the race on the last 2 laps though.  We would attack only to be immediately held up by traffic, eventually we just laughed it off and settled into dodging human obstacles till the last half lap.  Cole and I were pretty evenly matched, but I felt  had the best legs going into the last half lap.  I just could not find anywhere to get by him, it was almost comical as I tried to attack only to be forced into a dismount due to lap traffic with 1/8 of a mile to the finish line!  Ended in a Sprint finish with some lap traffic in the way. 2nd overall with a 1 second split, good racing!

Had a few shifting/sprinting issues, thought they could be worked with a little lube in the shifter housing prior to the race…NOPE, should have changed them out after the mud race at Bear Paw. Lack of maintenance probably cost me this race. Anytime I tried to sprint the bike would ghost shift and lose all momentum.  Every move I made had to be a “wind-up”.  Guess you can tell it is the end of the season, plus there is very little time for maintenance with school and sponsor searching.  Parts have seen a whole season of racing and were on edge these last two races…

Here is a post race interview.  Not sure why, but some computers have trouble with the sound and others do not.

Next Up…

October 14th-15th Peak2Peak race report tomorrow!

As the focus starts to shift from racing to school and off-season I am doing something new with the blog. Questions to think about and perhaps discuss in the comments section at the end of each post, about almost any topic.  Looking at the trees outside my window today I thought of this one…

Senses perceive reality, hopefully…but there are only 5…what does this mean for reality?

For those reading through a remote feed you can answer in comments sections found here.

All is new, nothing is mundane it is only in You,


Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Computer was in for warranty, been gone from the blog scene a while.  Here is what has been going on in the last month…

Rapid fire posts over the next 3 days starting with where we left off, the double header weekend  Sept. 24-25th

Fall Color Festival Sept. 24th

This is my main training grounds on the bike, so it was break away and then just flow and have fun.



Nothing like 30 miles of single-track to open up the legs after a few rest days.

Bear Paw Rock-N-Roll Sept. 25th


Started with a good lead, but a busted cleat had me clipping out all race and…


well, the picture says it all…

Started pouring at the start line…Bad tire selection + broken cleat = rough day…


4th place Overall.

AMAZING Legs with little results was slightly frustrating…after 2 laps I figured out it was out of my control and let go of any thought of catching up to 1st-3rd.  That is when I started having tons of fun seeing how hard I could push myself whenever the bike was working, or how crazy I could get the bike swerving and maneuvering through non-existent lines in 6 inch deep mud.  Quite a few trees were checked and new lines created off trail.  Suddenly enjoying myself so much I was actually really disappointed when waved off course after lap 3.  They cut off a lap because the times were ridiculously long, it was turning into a marathon race due to the mud.

Onto the weekend of Oct. 8th-9th for the Sheboygan race re-cap tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Treadfest & Chequamegon 40

Major time crunch right now, so media and press will have to suffice for Treadfest write-up.

If you have not heard I had an amazing day down in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin two weekends ago.  You should be able to piece together how it went from all the sources below…







For Kyle….double time!  One in my arms and the other arm looking forward to his presence.

Chequamegon Fat Tire 40 did not go as well.  I had really high hopes after such a great race the previous weekend, but a few things came together to make it one of my worst performances of the Year…  I swapped tires thinking it was a flat road race with minimum bumps, they were slower…much slower…

It was my first time doing the race and with the stacked field, including the Pro Tour boys Vande Velde and Mcartney in town, positioning was key!  I had very little idea of where to be for the lead group break…

But even so I would not have lasted long.  It was very obvious to me after the first ten minutes it was going to be a rough day.  Initially I made the lead group but with the Fall Season here my lungs are acting up again, could go really hard for 1-2 minutes MAX and then had to shut it down and recover forever.  This happened over and over again…anaerobic efforts were good, just anytime sustained oxygen was needed it was game over.   Constricted lungs and hacking stuff up, I have known this was coming and just neglected to schedule an appointment, so I am going to see the Doc tomorrow and hopefully back to using some of this peak fitness I have going on, always learning.  Next up is Fall Color Festival and Bear Paw this coming weekend!

Thanks for reading!


Photo Credit: Amy Dykema, Jason Henry, Niki Frazier, Loren Beyer

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Reforestation Ramble WORS #9, 2011

Don’t forget tonight is the first of many Ronsta rides at Lapham Peak State Park.  Great late season fitness tuner with riding for everyone, we do a social lap followed by hot laps at whatever pace people can handle.  People usually bring food to pass around by a bon-fire afterwards!  Always a great time.
A bit late but here is an update from 2 weekends ago at the Reforestation Ramble.
My daughter Asa had another Great Race taking 2nd in her 8 and under Age Group again, and a few other Vision youth had good races like Connor Mccoll and Andrew Guerra in this short video edit.  Marty Tank also found his way into one of the pics at the start of Connors race?  Asa sure knows how to give a good post race interview with all the Mountain bike lingo.
As for my race…
It is ironic how much fun you can have with people of whom, in just a few moments, you will give every ounce of effort in your body to get as far away from as possible!  The level of competition in the Wisconsin Off Road Series is amongst the best in the Nation, yet the camaraderie ranks just as high, with a growing sense of community.  The smiles at the Pro/Cat1 call-up line is becoming ritual to our bi-weekly brawl of cycling prowess.294575_2289594130359_1564156322_32455604_2045296_nThe Reforestation Ramble is usually anticipated to have a roadie type feel to the race, which this race did not disappoint in the latter laps, but the start this year was a bit different…IT WAS FULL THROTTLE from the word GO!
In this picture you can see the sling-shot coming from Ben Koenig on the far left.  He seemed to be on an HTC-Highroad lead out mission for the first mile or two. 
I decided to test the group and see if anyone wanted to push the pace along after Ben was done, but there was no real effort from anyone else.  In hindsight this effort was a mistake as it put me a little over limit right before the 1st single track, which is when I should be in place to make a move.  Cole House jumped to the front for the hole shot followed by Brian Eppen and I.  Cole got a sizable gap right away, which no one would, or maybe could, work together to chase and he was out of sight very soon.  I attempted the chase briefly but was over limit having worked way too much early on.  Eventually Matter went to the front and Tristan and I were the only ones able to follow.  We came back to Cole at about the half way point in the long 12 mile lap. 
Cole is a very experienced road racer and had his tactics planned, he was obviously resting as we came upon him.  As soon as the we bridged he started attacking hard into and out of each single track section.  I was at the back and suffering pretty bad from the yo-yo being created and when Tristan started throwing the elbow to come through I knew we may be in trouble.  I have not been over limit in a race like that since Subaru Cup I think.    Been a long 4 weeks straight of racing and my base might have been lacking a bit.
Tristan and I rode to recover for a bit and were caught by the chase group  a little ways into the 2nd lap, which made for a group of about 10 riders.  I rested a little but with that size group I tried to snap the elastic once or twice during the 2nd lap in the single track.  My legs were still not ready for a big effort so I shut it down and rested at the back till the start of the 3rd lap.  As soon as we hit the 1st single-track I started attacking in and out to whittle it down.  Tristan, Ted Hanes, and I were able to survive the efforts with 1/2 a lap to go.  I was the aggressor of the group and kept getting gaps but could not hold them off for long. 
There was a hilarious moment going into the last single track climb, pretty much the only semi-significant climbing section on the course.   My Dad was doing all my water hand-ups and he was like a ninja out on course showing up in the oddest places.  On lap 2 he was in the middle of no-where in the single track around a blind corner and all I heard was him yelling to take a water when suddenly  the bottle was in my face and I was grabbing it as I came around.  Talk about Star Wars speeder bike hand-ups!  So when it was down to just the 3 of us fighting for 3rd, I was going into full on attack mode trying to drop Tristan and Ted on this climbing section before the last straight away to avoid a sprint finish and suddenly my dad comes flying out the woods on my right running along side me at like 20 MPH…I am standing/sprinting uphill, but in need of water, and with Dad’s effort I could not let it go.  Somehow I grab the water while entering uphill single-track in a standing sprint while yelling at lap traffic that I am coming on the left and still get a gulp down and start descending while placing my water bottle in the holder.  Definitely had a few laughs and comments about my Dad’s ninja abilities and record breaking 50 yard dash.
Even with all that the attack didn’t stick and it was 3 of us coming into the last long straight away with Tristan leading and Ted trying to come around.  I was in good position for  the last corner and had a good jump left, but it was decided by lap traffic as Tristan was taken off-course trying to pass a lapped rider.  Pretty sure I had the best legs and sprint left amongst the 3 of us, but I think Tristan would have had 4th as Ted had to work really hard to get back to us in that final stretch.
Asa missed her podium so she got in on the Pro/Cat 1 action!
Thanks for watching and reading,

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Border Battle WORS #8 2011

The Last two weeks of racing have been amazing with plenty of podium time in the family!  I been a bit busy getting ready for school starting this week, so I am a week behind on posts, will have this past Sundays race report up soon!

2 weekends ago was the Border Battle in River Falls, Wisconsin.  Awesome event which brings together both the Minnesota and Wisconsin State series to see who’s who in a friendly State Rivalry.

My daughter Asa did her first race at the Border Battle.  Those Monday night rides we run must be paying off because she made the podium and rode almost everything on course.



Check out “The Look” right away in this video of the Junior start climb.  These little ones put on number plates and all the sudden they start making all-star moves and gestures!



My race went pretty well.  Thanks to Claire Cannon @ WORS I got a nice little write up in cyclingnews.

Here is a video from Pro/Cat 1 start climb.

Here  is how the climb sorted out. Mike Phillips demolished the start climb and obviously from the picture below I was just focused on staying with that back wheel.  Brian Eppen and I were able to follow and we made a 3 man lead group for 1/2 a lap.


After 1/2 a lap there was a steep rocky service road and the pace slowed a bit going up, so either someone is hurting or just checking to see who made the break.   I took the lead to see which it was and kept the pace high. 

This course is single-track heavy, with sharp turns, short punchy inclines, and blind corners all over.  I saw small gaps forming behind me as I ramped up out of each corner.  I just kept it pinned wherever possible to not let anyone settle into a comfortable rhythm/pace. 

To win the way I did was somewhat new to me and I learned a lot from this experience.  Coming up the ranks  I used to win a few cat 3, 2, and 1 races, but many times the moves were very decisive, even the Pro Wins I have were 1 and done type moves.  Those wins took less gauging of  my competition as to whether they were hurting or simply just wearing me out at the front only to be spit out the back.  With the competition so close this year in our State Series I am realizing it takes a well trained and perceptive eye to  know when and how to apply pressure that counts.

After 1 lap it was down to just Mike and I, but I figured he was just hanging on as the 1-3 second gaps kept happening, so when we hit the start  climb I punched it full gas.  


This was the story every lap but the gaps were slowly growing from 1-3 seconds to 3-5 then 10 seconds etc.   Each time up the  2 big climbs I would hit it as hard as I could and the gap would widen just a bit.  Mike is an amazing technical rider though, especially descending and he kept the pressure on high every time we came down this new section of off camber undulating single track, just when I thought I was alone I would hear “click'” “CLICK” of shifters, and knew I had to keep it on the rivet!  He was always within sight for 3 full laps.  Going up the climb on lap four I finally looked back with no adventure 212 colors in sight.  I rode hard but assured the W was mine without any mishaps.


Check out that wooden berm, high speeds and flowing single track is what this course is all about, one of the best on the circuit!


After a couple of missed opportunities these last few races I finally was able to pull it off!




As always thank you so much to all my sponsors linked over there on the right, none of this would be possible without your support!

Stay tuned for Reforestation Ramble write up very soon!

Thanks for reading,


Photo Credit: Amy Dykema, Gary Frost, Niki Frazier, XTRPhoto

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ore to Shore 2011


After coming in fourth in a 6 man Sprint for the Win last year, I was really motivated for the Ore to Shore Mountain Bike Epic this year.  It is a “point to point” race and these can be termed semi-road races with all the fire roads/atv trails, but Ore to Shore is a rough and rugged mountain bike race!  I really wish I would have worn some sort of camera for the race.  A video edit could give you an idea of what we actual traverse through this 48 mile course.  Throughout the course a rider pretty much has to take their bike through every kind of obstacle or terrain the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has to offer.  Rock faces, Iron mine gravel roads that paint your bike and tires red for days to come, sand pits covering huge lengths of the course, un-groomed/slightly cut grass fields and service roads with hardly discernable trail strewn with  hidden bumps, 30 mph+ descents into valleys, giving way to climbs through sand at 5 mph with tires slipping and competitors all around fighting for the best line and position.  Beautiful back country paved roads descending and ascending through and around some of the U.P.’s most amazing lakes, streams, and rivers.  Finally dropping into the Noquemanon ski trails where we descend from the most amazing outlook peering over Marquette and lake Superior 10-15 miles in distance, but the race is full-on from here taking each and every descent and corner to the extremes our bikes can handle.. 

This Race is simply Epic and I cannot praise the course enough, it is both a challenge of physical strength and smart racing tactics, while being one of the most aesthetically pleasing rides one could ever take.  Although the aesthetics are merely an addition to the adrenaline of battle, especially when 10-15 of the fastest Mountain bikers in the mid-west are fighting for the honors of fitting in the first out of three Jewels in the Mid-West Triple Crown Events…Oh Yea and one of the biggest prize money checks around helps a bit too.

My race “weekend” actually started on Wednesday when my wife Lindsay, the kids, and I traveled up to Ishpeming, MI to stay with the Gauthier’s.  This is an amazing family and we have truly found some kindred spirits and what feels like extended family.  Huge thanks to Tyler, Lance, Diane and the rest of the family for all your help and getting accustomed to the area.  Tyler and I did some recon of the first 10-15 miles both Wednesday and Friday.  Thursday we scoped out the last 10-15 miles from the overlook, during all these rides we planned some possible attack spots and marked places to make sure to be up front to avoid mishaps.

Saturday morning it was up early to a hot Breakfast of Potatoes and eggs “Guerra Style” as Danny K. likes to say!  Getting ready to improve on the Number 4 plate I earned last year…


Preferred Start had me at the front line and the top ten were all representing.  Here is a sweet Video taken by MQT Photo on the back of the lead out vehicle.  You can see most of the top contenders in the shot as we barrel out of downtown Negaunee, T.J. Woodruff, Derek Graham, Brian Eppen, Darrin Braun, to the left…Mike Anderson, Tristan, Matter, Tyler Gauthier and I are toward the right.  Almost every big name from the Midwest plus a few others are in the line-up!

All I really cared about for the first few miles was to stay upright with such a huge mass of people.  Lucy hill was the first challenge and being positioned within the top ten going in was the goal.  “Lucy” is a luge sledding hill we climb straight up for the first race split.  I made the climb well within my limits and proceeded to work  my way to 2nd wheel as we left the dirt for a few moments going into the streets of Downtown Ishpeming.  I led into the infamous railroad track section as it forces everyone to go single file and tends to push riders into the bushes or onto the ground and I did not want to be behind any misfortune. 

Plan was to be at the front into the descent right before the powerline climb, the first real make it or break it selection makers.  Simonster seemed to have the exact same plan as he jumped a bit harder than I did for the lead going in…I gave a shout of encouragement to push the pace and tried to ride the fast lines uphill, but Simonster is a big dude, hence the name, and he rides in this awesome all over the bike masher style, so getting around him was not happening on the initial climb.  I got around eventually on a jedi knight/ninja line I created and Matter and Cole house went to the front a bit later as we crested the final powerline climb.  Looking back I played it pretty safe here and never really attacked as it seemed we had many in tow but I was not able to come into the initial climb with the speed I had wanted. Not sure it makes much of a difference this early in the race with so many contenders in tow.

So I was still pretty comfortable and having fun on the descent following Matter as he seemed to be feeling good and content to play around on the course doing little jumps and jives here and there as I commented on him seeming to like the New 2012 XR1 Tires he picked up at Trek World. 

Powerline is the first place I know I am strong and nothing really went down to break up the pack from any big contenders so I was patient and waited till the “Jungle”..a section of untamed nature, lacking any real discernable line, you just survive descending at crazy speeds through bumps, grass, and sandpits, only to ascend like snails fighting both riders and obstacles for lines that make little sense to your oxygen depraved body. 

I thought I was going to have a bottle hand up before this section and was already out of water…I went to the back and tried getting one of those tiny water cups at an aid station as we cruised by at 25 MPH, yea right…!  I felt kind of bad for the volunteers as I knew my frustration and failed reception was the first of many showers that the gray hair of the local American Legion was going to receive.  We started into the Jungle and I was on the back…so much for attacking.  I spent the whole section making my way back to the front and then it was misery hill, everyone says it cannot be ridden and here is a video to show why…

T.J. led into the climb and made an attempt to clean it…I did as well, but riders were off in front of me.  We suffered the slow sluggish hike a bike to the top without unlatching anyone in the long run, still 10-15 strong, including my good friend Tyler Gauthier, which was awesome to see!

After seeing this “Misery” hill 3 times now I was convinced it could be done.  On the Sunday after the race I rode the course from about the half-way point backwards.  The hill had nothing to do with why I rode the course but when I rode down misery I turned right around and cleaned it first try.  So, in the future it could be coined “victory hill”…  During a race though, well that is a different story…lots of factors thrown in during a race.

From here our lead group crossed this huge bridge going over a beautiful basin.  I saw my kids on the bridge cheering and Lindsay was up the road positioned perfect for a great water hand-up. To my surprise some attacks started to fly on the road climb, I was feeling very comfortable and really did not feel any of it as a threat until Mike Phillips went to the front in the Noque Trails.  I knew this was the moment as Simonson told Tristan and I to come by as he fell off a wheel.  We were descending and people were dropping  like flies, yea it was Ludicrous speed fast, trees blurring and all.  When Mikey got done, T.J. and one other were still just hanging a few wheel lengths back from me, but Cole and Tristan were a little off the front following Matter and Mikey looked like he was slipping after putting the hammer down for so long.  I had to sprint to close the gap and it looked to me like the selection of 4 was made as the other 3 were chasing hard and I knew the overlook climb was coming. 

Hit that climb at your limit and anyone ahead with momentum and speed going over it will be out of sight.  I was planning on being the aggressor here, but Matter had the same plan and led over.  I went to the front and was hoping the group had whittled down to 3, but Cole and Tristan were both there, so I shut it down.  From here it was all cat and mouse games and I kept wasting precious energy chasing Matter’s and Tristan’s attacks from the back instead of setting up launches of my own, rookie....  I was feeling amazing here too and I thought I had could pull it off, but cramps started to catch up with me after too many chases and a not so well timed caffeine gel…done with those late race caffeine gels…I put in a dig or two of my own and the cramps just kept growing.  We came out into the final 1-2 mile stretch and Tristan tried one more from off the back that I closed down, then Brian went and I stood for a second chase, but was sick of being the only chaser dragging everyone else along, so I immediately sat down to see what the others would do.  I figured the others are going to have to chase this one, especially this close, as it was the winning move if no one went for it.  Cole responded and I was happy at first as I could draft till my planned jump point, but I soon realized I had burned my last big match chasing all the attacks. My legs seized with one corner to go, I started to soft pedal as there was nothing I could do and semi-sprinted the rest the way for fourth Overall.  Find 2011 results here.


It was nothing like last years sprint where we all waited till the last two corners to go.  This year it was a huge wind up from 1/4 mile or more out.  Way more fun and interesting!

Great result and defended my placing from last year.  This is a hard one to win and I am learning you have to be willing to put it all on the line at some point here, taking the big risk of getting chased down, as it is really hard to get out of sight alone on this course.  I am still learning that kind of confidence, but I think it only comes with trial, error, and success. 

I want to give a  huge thanks to Quick Stop Bike Shop, now owned by former WORS regular Phill Ott!  I had so much fun hanging out with Phil, Andrew Hanson, and the rest of the guys there Friday night.  Huge help with a last minute find of my favorite tire ever!  Then getting the bikes all tuned as well! Huge support up there and definitely the go to bike shop in the area for down to earth people and the kind of high quality service you only find with those who love to ride bikes as much as they love to work on them!

The sponsors this year have been flawless, thank you so much to Wheel & Sprocket, Powerbar, Standard Process, Trek, Fox, RaceFace, Easton, and Giro! Thank YOU for all the support this year! 

Thanks for reading,


Photo Credit: Jon Holcomb, Unleashed Imagery

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Battle of Camrock

I know one of the biggest races in the mid-west went down this past weekend, and my name is now T.J. Woodruff according to the pic, but I have to do write ups in order and Camrock deserves one…Ore to Shore write up tomorrow.  But you can check out Matter’s write up for his perspective, as we had just about the same race till 1/4 mile to go…

The Battle of Camrock was race #7 in the Wisconsin Off Road Series on August 7th.  My pre-ride and race was somewhat nostalgic for me.  These trails are where I first learned to Mountain Bike!  A few laps on this course and I was dialed on the old technical trails, which have not changed a bit! The new stuff is amazing as well, but I definitely was not riding it as fast as the trails I was introduced to Mountain Biking on.

As I continued to ride faster and faster on the extremely technical trails it was as though I time traveled back 8-9 years to when I first started riding Mountain Bikes with my wife on these exact trails. I remembered her first Over the Bars crash and learning the extremes to which I could push my old school panaracer fire XC Pro 1.8 Tires!


Testing the limits of those old technical sections brought me back to the days I was on a steel Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo I borrowed from Grandpa’s garage to race my first citizen race.  I am pretty sure Grandpa never saw the bike again.  I was too busy honing my skills on these exact trails a few times a week.  I would stop by Camrock on my commute home to Madison, as I was mentoring kids all over Southeast Wisconsin.  I even used to get a few of those kids out to these trails to try an activity away from Drugs and Violence, maybe some early roots of “Vision”?


Anyway, here is a pic of Tristan, Brian, and I having some fun chatting on the line, what exactly is Brian pointing at, maybe the sport course crossing immediately in front of our start line?



Race was amazing and I thought I had a Win coming!…for 3/4’s a lap that is and then I rolled a tire completely off the rim.  Up the start climb I followed Tristan and Brian Eppen, waiting patiently for my planned attack.  I launched to the front right before the 1st single-track section and within a 1/4 lap I had a sizable gap that was growing quickly.  Coming into the last tech section I looked back and could not see the chase group at the end of a field I had just exited.  I was way out of sight! 

Then disaster!…The tire coming off was all my fault.  First off, I was taking lots of chances to push my 30-45 second lead higher and higher with every tech section.  2nd, I ran a few psi too low, the XR2’s/29 2’s are great tires, but they just cannot handle the psi I am used to in the Bontrager XDX’s, hence since I swapped to the 29 2’s I have burped or rolled a few times.  It is just a bit too round with big slicer knobs that catch the ground hard, which is good for cornering, but with low PSI can grab a bit too hard and roll the tire.  Lesson learned when I tried taking a 90 degree turn between two massive trees that  only had about 3 feet of room to pass thru at about 20 MPH…Run XDX like tires only for crazy low PSI and bring it up a few PSI when going for a lower weight and rounder rolling resistance tire like the XR2/29 2’s.

As the lead group came up to me I was just getting the tire seated and filling up with the one co2 cartridge I had along.  I looked  right at Tristan and smirked/laughed saying' “It’s never easy…is IT!?” I had to laugh a bit and shrug it off to keep my emotions from going crazy over losing so much time and the possible Win…

I failed to get much air in my tire from the C02 and rode into the spectator area on a flat. 


It is hard to see in this picture, but I am riding on like 5-10 PSI in tire pressure here, it was pretty sketchy!

I finally got some air in my tire and got rolling in about 25th-30th position.  Not exactly sure on the position but that is around where some of the riders finished whom I was riding with when I got my bike going again.  I rode fairly defeated and conservative for a lap and even stopped twice to adjust tire pressure and crashed quite a few times passing riders.  During this lap a sudden down pour of rain completely changed the course, surprisingly the conditions changed for only that lap, but I was in chase mode and taking some risks, so it had me on the ground a couple times.


This  picture taken by Melissa Kennedy is absolutely amazing!  Big Shout OUT to Jeremy Drake on the left in the picture, he was the ultimate Hand-ups support, his encouragement, time splits to the leaders, and water hand-ups kept my head in this race when I thought my race was done for the day!  You would think this photo was setup as the best Forks and Shocks in the racing business is represented well as the hand-ups and support…NICE!

If you look close, you can see how hard the down pour of rain suddenly came…you wouldn’t think it was the same race as the pictures above, and just like it came the rain was suddenly gone and the course was back to the speeds of the 1st lap if not faster!

Laps 3 and 4 I was on fire and just got faster and faster.  Somehow I started to see riders I thought could be inside the top ten.  The last lap I rode for broke to see if maybe I could grab a podium and I knew with every rider I caught I was gaining a little bit more cash for the day.  In the end I was 6th overall just off the podium, but a great ride considering what I had to overcome.


Next up is Border Battle, Ore to Shore write up is in the works…and I literally just got my Chequamegon 40 entry Confirmed! 

Thanks for reading,



Photo Credit: Melissa Kennedy, Amy Dykema, Niki Frazier

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Alterra Coffee Bean Classic 2011

It has been over a week since this race, but a quick re-cap is in order.  I had won this race the last 2 years in a row so I was going for the 3-peat and almost got it…

After being called up to the line 3rd for the series standings I overheard something about a $100 Sprint Prime right off the line.  The race director decided to make the start even more of a  mad dash for the single track by putting a $100 carrot at the top of the start climb. 


As you can see in the picture below off the line Matter had the better clip in, I have been missing pedals lately so I played the clip in safe, but I was able to accelerate over the top for the $100 bonus. 


Also while standing on the line I had a few people comment on my new Easton EC 90 XC Carbon Wheels. These bad boys know how to accelerate .




Coming over the top the line for the Prime was right next to our Wheel & Sprocket tent…I was almost startled off my bike with the crazy screaming and cheering as a bunch of my family had shown up.  I rode on at the front with a pretty big smile on my face.


I wanted the hole shot into the 1st single track.  My plan was not to lead all the way to it, but I was at the front and not going backwards, so I controlled the front with a high pace and waited for a challenge.  I heard 2 clicks of a shifter behind me and immediately started to sprint.  I figured it was Mike Phillips as we are both very familiar with the course and a threat in the single track.  We both fought past the point of no return and started into a single line with two wheels, we began to lock bars and were losing control, but somehow came out upright with Mike in the lead and somehow Tristan pulled a Houdini move and got between us.  Mike got a small gap that we closed down by the end of lap 1.  From here it was the 3 of us for a lap.  Lap 3 I went to the front and pushed the pace up the start climb and then into the single track I attacked.  I got the gap and I thought it was over for the 3-peat.  A few of the spectators said they timed the gap at over a minute.  I played my cards wrong and thought I could relax a bit and if anyone came back to me they would be worn out from chasing.  In hindsight I know this course so well, if I would have just went in Time Trial mode I think the Win was mine. 


Tristan came back at the start of lap 4.  I figured I could get away again in the single track and I did, but lap traffic was really bad and any gap I opened up was shut down with every  lapped rider.  Tristan got back to me again and I was hurting from attacking over and over, and I think I got behind on fluids.  Lap traffic was everywhere.  While trying to  make a pass on someone, whom I thought was moving over for us, I was pushed into a tree and on the ground…Tristan was encouraging me to get up quickly because Brian Matter was about 45 sec back and we were losing time fast in this bottle neck crash.  I get up and rolling again still leading the race but find my front tire had burped too much air too ride with any speed.  I let Tristan go figuring I settle for second if I can ride the tire in, but B. Matter was chasing hard and I had to go very slow in every corner.  I stop and Matter goes by while I inflate my tire with a CO2.  From 1st with a gap, to 3rd place, all in half a lap, that is some good racing, unfortunate for me, but good competition and exciting racing to watch and be a part of!

Here are a few podium shots.  I figured my son Kyle should get used to the podium if he wants to take after Daddy and if we can wear Spandex/Lycra and be considered the “cool fast guys”, he can wear is diaper…




The team had some good results as well. 

Ben Senkerik continues to dominate the Elite Junior Category with a 3+ min gap!


Marty Tank took 4th in his Category and did a nice write up on it.

Taylor Bogdanske keeps rocking the sport overall, 3rd overall Sport and 1st in age Group, see an upgrade in the near future?

Next up is the new Venue at the Battle of Camrock.

Stay Tuned!

Thanks for reading!


Photo Credits: Amy Dykema, Danny Marchewka, Niki Frazier, Mykulangelo, Gary Frost.