Wednesday, May 25, 2011

First MN MTB Series Race - Inver Grove Heights - Sat 21st

Once again rain and wet conditions were the theme of this year's race. Unlike last year, however, the race was not shortened and then the rain stopped half way through the race making the race course sticky and slow. The race conditions were very similar to Mont du lac last year; thick mud, slipery corners, low speeds, but unlike Mont du, the race course is relatively flat.

We picked up Doug Swanson, dropped off Kiera with Anne and Stella, and headed to the race. Thankfully, Scott got an extra set of rims ready complete with mud tires friday night. Scott pulled his mud tired out out of the car saturday morning at the race site only to find the front flat and the rear tire low. He put 30lbs of air in and hoped for the best.

Scott got a clean start and worked it way up to 2nd place by the end. His tires held too much air and cornering was a bit slick. Sara went to the front at the start and stayed there for the duration of the race for the win. Our Bontragger Jones Mud X tires worked perfectly! Thankfully, we were able to get the big chuncks of mud off our bikes for the car ride back to Doug's. Scott must have spent 3 hours that night washing the bikes, then another couple hours the next day after we got home doing some more polishing. He is meticulous about our bikes; new chains, cables, housing, and brakes on their way with the later thanks to Ron Raymond.

On our drive back to Duluth, we stopped in Forest Lake. Turns out we were very lucky to have been just north of where the tornado hit. (The paper says a funnel cloud touched down twice in Forest Lake, but didn't cause much damage with the majority of the damage was just south of us). One of my sisters and dad were with us. My dad just got out of Abbot, where he was for a few days after getting airlifted there for what initially was thought to be a heart attack (on his 72nd birthday). He was diagnosed with pericarditis and, thankfully, is doing well.

A big thanks to Anne and Stella Swanson for watching Kiera while Scott and I raced! We could not have raced without Anne's generousity of her time and Stella sharing her toys! The girls even took a bath together! Kiera is looking forward to playing with Stella again......

Friday, May 20, 2011


SATURDAY MAY 21 TREK DEMOCANCELLED!!!We’re as bummed as you, but the folks who manage the park asked us to give the trails a break.On Sunday we plan to head out to Murphy Hanrehanas scheduled. If it’s too wet to ride we’ll just hang out and talk bikes. Thanks for understanding!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


(photo by Jay Richars on

I'm perplexed about my pedal problem.
(photo by Jay Richards on

Sara and I got to Lakewoods to pick up our packets and bumped into Gary Crandall, the Chequamegon director and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee. It's always fun to listen to Gary's stories and hear what he's been up to. He mentioned a slideshow he put together about the Fat Tire and showed it in Cable this spring. Hopefully we'll be able to see it sometime.

As soon as I stepped out the door I bumped into Jay Richards, owner of Maplelag Resort, MNSCS race director for the Maplelag Stage Race and pro mountain biker. It was nice to catch up after a long winter, but I was bummed out to hear lymes still has a grip on him (albeit not as bad) and keeps him from racing. Jay's positive attitude and ability to be around the races all the time is proof that all things mountain biking runs in his blood.

At the start of the race it was a blustery 38 degrees according to the Volvo and the wind was howling. I was hopping up and down at the start trying to stay warm, and unbeknownst to me, lodged a rock between my cleat and new Bontrager shoe (the new shoe by the way have really slick updated buckles and "cat's tongue" fabric that keeps the heel firmly in place). Anyway, it took me until the gravel to finally pick the rock out while trying to pedal/coast and thankfully the start was pretty mellow so I didn't lose much ground.

Sara had a great start and rode with Nikolai and Tesch for almost 13 miles before falling off their pace. She was happy considering she injured her leg pretty badly less than a month ago and this was her first real test. Since we rode the Hayward end of the CAMBA trails the previous weekend with Bontrager XROs, I decided they should work fine for the race. Even though the course was pretty muddy and slippery, the tires hooked up fine for us and we wouldn't have switched over to a more aggressive tire if we had it to do all over again. It's always a little tricky trying to decide which tire to use, but we usually go with a lighter, less traction tire and hope our skills are good enough to get us through. Sara had a super strong finish and ended up with the same finishing time as last year even though the course was much slower this year. She ended up 16th overall which is considerably better than last year. We were trying to figure out how many times she's won this race and we are pretty sure this is her 8th time.

I had no idea how the race would go since I haven't done one interval workout this year. I went hard once in Moab three weeks ago, but I have yet to get any structured work in. I've found that if I try sneak in any intensity workouts at the end of the school year I get sick and have to take time off so I have race my way into shape. So, I'm pretty happy I was able to push most of the way without cramping troubles. I rode with Brendan, Todd, Chad and Tyler most of the race. Before the last section of singletrack I rode some shorter climbs steady and the group whittled down to three before I missed a turn. We were basically all back together again with 12 miles to go. I led until the 5 or 6 mile mark with Brendan following until he went by. He said he felt terrible but I still couldn't match his small increase in the pace and I ended up losing him and riding steady until Todd caught me on last section of two track before the long railroad grade finish. I gave Todd some water and he proceded to pull me all the way to the finish into a seriously strong and persistant head wind.

The new Trek Fuels are the absolute perfect race bikes. They are unbelievably responsive and fly in all conditions. Thanks Trek!

Thanks to the Cable Off-Road Classic crew for putting together another incredible course. I think there was even more singletrack this year. Can one ever have enough?

Up next is Minnesota Series race #1 at Inver Grove Heights next weekend. We will also get to hang out with Ken and Maury at Trek Demo Days at Lebanon on Saturday and Murphy on Sunday. Demos start at 10 and go until 3. See you there!