XXC Magazine SEASON TWO: ISSUE SEVEN An Englishman In The Old Pueblo by Ant White
The Kiwi Brevet by Jeff Lyall
Making My Own Place II by Vance McMurry
The Dragon’s Tale by Travis “Metro” Williams
Regular Guy Training Camp by Jesse Stevens
The Yak Attack by Paul Errington
Arizona Trail Race 300 by Jefe Branham
Trans Iowa VI by Corey “Cornbread” Godfrey
Fear, Loathing & The Barry-Roubaix by Brian Segal & Pope Mobley
Riva del Garda Marathon by Tim VanGilder
Enduro Nut Corner by Namrita O’Dea, MS, RD, LD
A Page 70 Bobke Moment by Jason Mahokey
No, itâ€™s not La Ruta! Just a West Virginia gas well road turned nasty. Rider: Bradley Schmalzer, Photo: Rob Lochner
v , ^530q6p5v 0^ To some the finish line and trying to reach it first is the absolute goal of a race. It is the culmination of hard training and sacrifice, and not to win is to fail. To many, crossing the finish line represents a symbol of personal goals achieved. And still to others the finish is nothing more than a physical sign that indicates the end of an adventure. Throughout XXC #7 you will no doubt see various interpretations of the finish line and of race success. We continue to follow Vance McMurry and his efforts to return to the Breckinridge 100 to vindicate his 2009 DNF. Vance is a “regular guy” with a wife and family, riding and racing as much as he can on the weekends, and making the most of hotel gyms while traveling for work. His focus and determination to succeed at this year’s Breck 100 is inspiring to say the least. Jeff Lyall takes us along on New Zealand’s Kiwi Brevet- an incredible challenge to complete a self supported, 680+ mile loop around New Zealand in 4 to 6 days. For all but a handful of the Kiwi’s 65 competitors the goal was making it to the finish, not finishing first. Brian Segal and Pope Mobley leave the familiar 45 minutes of pain in the park surrounding of ‘cross, and enter the world of endurance racing at the 2010 Barry-Roubaix in Michigan. Their goal? The finish line, good times with friends, and beer. Lots of beer. You will read of Jefe Branham’s Arizona Trail 300 race, and find him crossing the finish line with what was at the time, a new course record (it has since been broken), but welcomed at the line by no more than extreme self satisfaction, cool water, a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and a hotel bed.
Racer William Bird sports the XXC Magazine team colors in Cairns, Far North Queensland, Australia. Photo by Shaun Gould
self supported multi day time trial. The challenges and experiences are just too great to come down to just crossing the line first. I hope you will find that XXC Magazine continues to cover just that. As I worked on XXC #7, there was one paragraph stuck with me throughout. If was from endurance racer Paul Errington’s 2010 Yak Attack race report from on page 34... “It’s impossible to convey the awe and amazement I have encountered riding this event. With my year so focused on completing the challenges I have set myself, I lost sight of the individuality of each event, but each and every pedal stroke and meter hiked in this event was done so in the most amazing place I have ever been in my life. The people, the culture, the scenery, all contributed to a fantastic event.” Paul has competed in some of the most challenging races in the world, so for someone of his experience to see beyond the tangible and to embrace the experience that is had while racing is what XXC Magazine is all about. I hope you will continue to find that true with this issue and beyond. Racing, whether an underground un-sanctioned event, or a National Championship, is just one aspect of XXC Magazine and often I view racing as merely a means to adventure. A reason to ride your bike all day. I believe it’s best summed up by the great Eddy Merckx, who once said- “I got enormous pleasure simply from riding a bike. So I guess racing was a reason for riding it more.” Brilliant!
One would think that racing goals and the finish line couldn’t be so subjective and so varied. Maybe in other sports or in other parts of cycling it isn’t? But the physical and mental challenges of endurance racing and riding are incredible. Whether it be a 12 hour lap race on an 8 mile loop of singletrack, a 100 mile back country event, or a
Jason Mahokey XXC Magazine
Thank you to all the generous contributors and supporters of XXC #7. Without them, XXC Magazine would not be possible. Ant White
Bob Wilkerson - bobcat13.smugmug.com
Namrita O’Dea - namritaodea.com
Brian Segal & Pope Mobley - lovethepain.net
Jason Mahokey - thesoiledchamois.com
Rob Lochner - bikesnat.blogspot.com
Corey Godfrey - cornbreadblog.blogspot.com
Jeff Lyall - jeffsbike.blogspot.com
Paul Errington - shoestring-racing.blogspot.com
Col Stocker, alpkit.com
Travis Williams - tswimba.blogspot.com
Chris Scott - mtntouring.com
Tim and Michelle VanGilder - trouperacingco.com
Also thank you to friends, family, everyone at Pro Bikes, and teammates for the support. Extra special thanks to JoErin O’Leary and Brennan Mahokey for all the love and support. Original cover photo by Kim Flemming - bluebasinphoto.com Rider: Andrew Applegate, Location: 2010 Cohutta 100. Would you like to earn some free mag shwag? Contribute some words or photos to an upcoming issue of XXC! E mail Jason Mahokey at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. ©XXC Magazine. Enjoy the words and pics, but please don’t copy and or pass it off as your own. Because like The Smiths song says... “don’t plagiarize or take on loan, there’s always someone, somewhere with a big nose, who knows and who trips you up and laughs when you fall.”
An Englishman In
The Old Pueblo Looking to escape th e U K w inter,Solo racer A ntW h ite h eaded to A rizona for th e su n,sand,and cactu sriddled singletrack of th e K ona Bikes24 H ou rsin th e O ld Pu eblo.
Race Report by Ant White. Photos by Stephanie Vogel, Anja Dinter and Dennis Gray Anja Dinter
“...weaving through thecactus atspeed being told Iwasonly afew m inutesup wasboth dangerousand exhilarating.” This year the British winter has been a brute, apparently the worst for a generation. I’m convinced the warm Gulf Stream has stopped working. Trying to escape it and keep motivated on the training side of things meant venturing back to Arizona for The 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. Last year I did the same thing, but had major problems in the race with my eyes, and I was practically blind at 12 hours in from all the desert dust and had to pull out. This year, with a pair of glasses, a full suspension bike and a little more knowledge I was back and ready to rock and roll.
Old Pueblo in its 11th year is still one of the world’s biggest 24 hour races, with over 1600 competitors including 200 soloists, it’s a mellow early US season race containing all manner of mountain-biking life, from rigid steel loving single speeders to a sprinkling of pros. A world of big wheels, facial hair, fancy dress, and beer. And a fierce competitive pace through fun cactus riddled singletrack. What a great way to spend Valentines day… Race! RVs seem to come in from far and wide creating a village on the desert horizon, 6 miles up a dirt road, part trailer park, part Mad Max, but mainly the former. From a distance this hanging white village on the desert horizon is not untypical of a quaint Spanish mountain town high in the mountains of Southern Spain. I love the absence of any sign off the main road to the event! Quirky. I’ve done around ten 24s, doing quite well in them in the UK, but still get pretty nervous at the start. Remarkably the mind seems to block out past traumas, but lurking deep down you sense the pain to come. Questions of whether the mental fortitude is there to do another one increasingly linger. It’s kind of why we like it I guess, the challenge of the duel with competitors and self, part physical but mainly pretty mental. A double espresso after a caffeine free week and a restless night saw me throw up just before the start, but I felt better for it. Battle commenced at 12 noon start and run was a tad mad. Chaos and elbows everywhere! I managed to find my bike and lay down some big gears before entering the singletrack. I was still behind someone in an orange convicts outfit though. That was OK, I wanted to take it easy at first and get a solid mechanical free first lap in. It was very windy and I tried to sit in small groups moving myself through at a sensible pace. The laps were long, flattish and super fun, coming in at about 16 miles. My strategy was to take it easy at first and let the locals, who would no doubt know each other, burn out. Hopefully. After a couple of laps I was surprised to be told I was 2nd, only 6 minutes down. I felt strong and pushed on and as night drew near my trusty pit supremo, Stephanie, informed me I was in the lead but only just. >>>
Lights had to be on for 5.20 p.m. and dawn was over 13 hours away. Essentially Old Pueblo is more of a night race than a day race, all the key moves are made at night, and once you get to dawn you’ve only got 5 hours to go. The whole complexion of things changed at night, weaving through the cactus at speed being told I was only a few minutes up was both dangerous and exhilarating. I had to concentrate 100% and felt that even listening to my trusty banging hard house music would break the focus. I did however have a few painful brushes with cacti. The Cholla cacti in particular would attach itself and just keep stabbing and jabbing away until I reached the pits where they could be pulled off. I consoled myself with trying to block out the pain by pushing harder and thinking that this acupuncture might be doing some good.
It was amusing to see the locals so wrapped in clothes up at night. I guess they haven’t had to endure this year’s relentlessly cold British winter. I had a warm glow from the daytime sunburn keeping me toasty through the desert night. Stephanie kept telling me I was only between 4 and 2 minutes up. I couldn’t seem to get much info on who was chasing. I had a couple of spills, one left me seeing stars but my legs and body felt strong, and the full suspension bike was helping. In Europe it’s all 26 inch wheels, with the start lines full of Scott Scales and Sparks. In Arizona 29ers seem to be the thing, half the field are on them, and every 3rd bike is seemingly a Niner. I did have a 29er as the spare bike, which I was enjoying. Like Paul on the road to Damascus (allegedly) I felt a conversion coming on. >>>
Who was the shadow chasing? I strategized, trying to figure out when to apply more chamois cream and go for a pee, but all I had time for was to grab another bottle and gel.
“village”, the only technical section in the daylight really, and came through to the pits just before 11 am, sat down and enjoyed a few beers and the picking of thorns out of my body.
As dawn finally arrived I was now coaxing my bike along. The rear mech had been a bit twisted which limited my gearing, but I had enough to work with. At one point as I came around Stephanie looked a bit sheepish. She had got confused and I was a lap up on the second place guy, or maybe two. My undercarriage was now hurting a bit (lack of chamois cream) so as I headed out I decided this could well be my last lap. I was on my 17th lap heading towards 270 miles, so felt there was no point in grinding myself into the ground. 2010 is going to be a full-on long racing season in the UK with the standard at the ultra distance events getting increasingly higher, so I needed to recover well.
Determined riders fortified with the benefit of some slumber sped by right up to 12 noon forcing teammates out on another lap, many with strange facial hair.
There’s always a point when someone with flat pedals, hairy legs and baggy shorts overtakes effortlessly. It really hadn’t happened to this point, I had been the one doing the overtaking and riders were really considerate. I limped around, buffeted by the wind and got overtaken a lot. I scooted through the rocky descent into the
I totally recommend this event. The people are mellow and friendly and the iconic Saguaro cactus strewn landscape (think spaghetti westerns) is beautiful. It’s a great antidote to the cold winter elsewhere … with blue skies, warmth, ace desert singletrack and a strange bright round thing in the sky. Particular shouts out to the top teams, The Sport System Dream team (4 person Men) and the Hippie Ninja’s of Stan’s World (Top Co-Ed team), and the top soloists Sean Allan and Dave Byers (2nd and 3rd in geared solo) and Michael Melly the top singlespeeder – ripping it to the end. Plus thanks to Stephanie, and to the guy in the orange convicts outfits… cheers for the draft!
“TheC hollacactiin particularwould attach itselfand justkeep stabbing and jabbing awayuntilIreached thepits wheretheycould bepulled off.”
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12 XXC MAGAZINE
XXC MAGAZINE 13
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My goal for this race was to complete at least 120 miles. Last year in much worse shape, I completed 96 miles in 12 hours. For the Dirty Dozen, I completed 68 miles in 12 hours and finished third in the 40 to 49 age group; the largest age group in the race. The guy who was first only completed about 80 miles. Yes, the conditions were extremely tough. In the first 4 miles of the 6.3 mile course, there was a mud bog every three to five minutes and would take a person to near muscle failure to get through them.
The last two months have been difficult to complete my training objectives, but I believe I am on the right track to getting ready. However, looking at the calendar and seeing that there are only 95 days until the Breckenridge 100. Where has all of the time gone? Only 12 weekends remain. This melancholy state is a place I have found myself on a regular basis for the past two weeks. “I am ready!” “Am I ready?” To bring some comfort I look back at my racing and training, which should assuage my concerns. The only race I had in the last two months was the Dirty Dozen 12 hour race at the Bluff Creek Ranch in Warda, TX. Dirty is the operative word in this race. It rained 2 days before the race, leaving the “dry” course with mud bogs that on many occasions would consume both of my wheels to their hubs, and submerge my bottom bracket, shoes, gloves and socks in mud, requiring a bike wash after every lap just to keep the bike running.
I had my expanded crew for this race, my hot wife, teenage son, daughter and two dogs. They were awesome; refueling every few hours and mounting lights. They were like a NASCAR pit crew. The cool thing was that my daughter decided she was going to try a 50 mile mountain bike race with my wife, her step mother. 7 hours into the race, I stopped to see how I was doing. The Terra Firma Promotions crew runs a top notch race. Each racer has a bar code and you get scanned as you complete each lap. This produces real time results. When I stopped to see how I was doing, I realized I was in fourth place for my age group. Wow! I was amazed. I started screaming, fourth place! As I was running off to get back on my bike this kid runs up to me and gives me a high five. It wasn’t until about 45 minutes later that I realized that kid, was my 15 year old son. At one of my low points, after climbing this rooty, muddy and wet section, I needed to relieve myself. As I finished, this guy on a single speed makes it to the top of the climb and then falls over on the ground and starts laughing. I asked if he was ok and he just smiled and said “Just loving the ride man, LOV’IN the ride!” I will probably never forget that moment. It was then that I remembered why I do
Photo: Bob Wilkerson, bobcat13 photography ©2010.
Photo: Bob Wilkerson, bobcat13 photography ©2010.
this. There is nothing like putting foot to pedal and tire to dirt. It is a place of devotion; truly, a place of devotion and of commitment in every aspect. Not only to a race like the Breckenridge 100, but to a single climb, to a single pedal stroke and to yourself. One is either committed or not. At the end of the day, it is the satisfaction of completing that commitment which is so exciting. It has been difficult to achieve my training objectives over the past two months. Travel and life are what usually wins when in competition. My goal for February was 51 hours and I completed 27.5 hours. My objective for March was 63 hours on the bike and I completed 24 hours. April is looking better. My goal is 63 hours and only 2 weeks into the month, I completed 20.5 hours. This has forced me to focus intently on my weekend rides. My weekend rides have been over five hours on both Saturday and Sunday’s. The challenge of maintaining a life off the bike forced me to train at off hours. For example, my weekend rides usually start no later than 4 or 5 AM. This way, I am finished by 10 AM and have the day to spend with my wife and family. This limitation forces me to train in not so prime conditions and more on the road than on the trail. On one particular ride in March, we had a cold front come in on a Saturday and I thought that I could get in 5 hours on the bike before the weather got bad. I was wrong. The weather forecast didn’t have the rain starting until 10 AM. It started at 5 AM, just 1 hour into my ride. At times it was raining so hard, I could only see about 20 feet in front of me, when normally with my NiteRider Pro 1200, I could see a quarter of a mile ahead. The temperature dropped from 56 degrees to 43 degrees. After an hour of riding in these conditions, I would no longer feel my hands and feet. However, I found the faster I rode, the warmer I felt. This turned out to be the second fastest time I had on this 70 mile ride. Even with this smaller amount of training, I am feeling much stronger than last year and I am riding much stronger than last year. Cross training has been super important to my improvements this season. My red zone workouts are one of the ways I have forced improvements. Since I am usually in a hotel during the week; these are structured in 12 minute intervals for an hour at a time on an elliptical machine. Within an hour, I would do 4 x 12 minute intervals, with the goal of keeping my heart rate above 95% of my maximum heart rate for as much of the 12 minutes as possible. In a normal workout, I would do 3 hours of these. On a few occasions, when the weather has been bad, I have been known to do these workouts on two consecutive days. After a couple weeks of this, I noticed massive improvements in my climbing; to where I could just keep climbing without running out of power. To go even deeper, I have been combining my circuit routines with these red zone workouts. On a few occasions, after spending almost 4 hours in the gym, one of the trainers came up to me asking all sorts of questions. What are you XXCMAG.COM
Photo: Bob Wilkerson, bobcat13 photography ©2010.
doing? Why are you doing this? In response, I bow and respond “Suffering exists only because weakness exists. Weakness compels strength.” I believe that we don’t like to suffer, because it exposes our weaknesses or maybe it is because we feel sorry for ourselves. Once these weaknesses are exposed, we must deal with them. This is what compels strength. For if we had no weaknesses, then we would not suffer. My red zone workouts are one of the ways I compel my strength. This month, I started the build phase of my workout strategy. Essential to this phase are the red zone workouts and hill repeats. Being in Texas, we don’t have any mountains to climb, just big hills. Some of these have grades in excess of 10% and an elevation gain of 1,000 feet, and they only last about 10 minutes. Therefore, they are ridden many times. Despite the limited number of workouts I have, I still try to talk myself out some portion of a workout or the entire workout. Some of these thoughts are that last 30 minutes of the ride isn’t that important or that last circuit isn’t going to make that big of a difference. I could always do it tomorrow. To quell these voices, I keep telling myself the following: “The body must obey the will.” With the addition of these red zone workouts, I will be ready in 95 days to redeem my DNF from last years Breck 100. The next article will cover my final preparations for the Breck 100 and my completion of the race. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at email@example.com.  These quotes are from the movie “Ninja Assassin.” Yea, it is hokey, but it is appropriate.  Yeah, more “Ninja Assassin” quotes. I will stop after this.
TH E D RAG O N ’S TALE
Pills,Thrills, A nd A Failed D N F W ords:Travis “M etro” W illiam s Photos:C hris Scott & Jake B row n
M etro W illiam stakeson shingles, bronchitis,and 40 backcou ntry m iles. A h,early season races are alw ays a g ood tim e.I u su ally find that it’s a g ood tim e to test that w inter fitness that you assu m ed you had m aintained.For a g ood handfu lof u s E ast C oast m ou ntain bikers the early season w as filled w ith freakish w eather and postponed or cancelled races that have only pu shed the inevitable fitness test fu rther on dow n the line.Finally ou r lu ck chang ed and I fou nd m yself on the starting line of the D rag on’s Tale w ith som e fast folks that I had no bu siness standing next to. I have som e pretty sim ple standards w hen it com es to a “g ood” m ou ntain bike race. (a) Top priority is the pre/post race beer, food and com pany ratio.I hate driving for hou rs ju st to hop rig ht on the bike,finish the race and ju m p rig ht back in the car. (b) T he qu ality of the sing letrack; the deeper in the backcou ntry and the m ore rem ote and g narly the trail the better I like it. L et’s be honest, 10 m ile loops arou nd parks are for fam ily ou ting s. M ou ntain bikes belong in the m ou ntains. (c) C ost. H ey I’m no R ockefeller or H ilton! Shenandoah M ou ntain Tou ring ’s “D rag on’s Tale” race m et m y string ent race criteria perfectly. 40 ru g g ed m iles of rem ote, rocky, g narly backcou ntry g oodness w ith a few short sections of rolling g ravelroad that inclu des m any deep creek crossing s, pre & post race beer and food, and som e of the m ost friendly race prom oters and racers in the cou ntry w ho are alw ays ready to have a beer, share w ar stories or discu ss reg ional trail advocacy. T he cost? A m ere $45. If you do the m ath that’s abou t $1.12 a m ile w ith allthe free beer,food and hospitality that you can handle.It w as ju st m y kind ofscene. I knew that I w as com ing into the race in less than idealcondition having ju st basically taken 2 w eeks off the bike w hile finishing a seriou s bou t w ith Shing les that had m e half blind and bed ridden for the better portion of a w eek,and w as cu rrently fig hting w ith a case of bronchitis,bu t it’s hard to tu rn dow n an offer like this.
A pre black out “Metro” rolls on the Dragon’s Tale.
A fter a solid ride w ith som e fellow R ichm onders Satu rday,I fou nd m yself catching u p w ith old friends arou nd the keg Satu rday nig ht u ntil I retired to the ham m ock arou nd m idnig ht and fellasleep to the soothing sou nds of C raig ’s C reek flow ing ju st behind m e. I aw oke to the sou nds of a neig hbor’s rooster crow ing and the su nshine peeking over the horizon. A fter a qu ick breakfast I beg in readying m y bike for the task at hand. A lthou g h the cou rse m ay have been better su ited to a squ ishy bike I chose to ride m y steel hard tail 29er, and boy am I g lad that I did I had been riding that bike allw inter and it felt rig ht at hom e on the trails.
© Shenandoah Mountain Touring
Soon after a qu ick pre-race m eeting and the line u p I fou nd m yself leading the front of the pack w ith m y fellow R ichm ond bu ddy Todd G reen throu g h the initial lead ou t of tow n and into the fire roads.A llof the sm art kids drafted m e conserving their leg s u ntil the big boys hit the g as.Personally I w as ju st happy to be racing on m y bike,tactics w ere the last thing on m y m ind bu t w hen the pros lit it u p the rest of u s either took chase or sat there looking stu pid. I took chase and m anag ed to hang w ith the top 12 g u ys in the breakaw ay u ntil a second break cau g ht u p w ith u s. I m anag ed to m ake a few passes before tw o riders in front of m e hesitated and fu m bled in the 3rd creek crossing . T his cost m e a few spots as I had to ride dow n stream arou nd the clu ster then back onto the road.W ithin 5 m inu tes the sam e g u y w ho w recked in front of m e had cau g ht back u p and tried u nsu ccessfu lly to overtake a few other riders in another creek crossing ,ag ain cau sing a 5 bike pile u p in the creek. I m arked this g u y and m ade su re to stay aw ay from him for the du ration ofthe race. I settled into a solid pace that had a cou ple fast racers in m y sig hts, bu t Sam K oerber, M atthew L ee, D arrell Prillam an and the boys w ere long g one,seem ing ly pu shing a big g er big ring than the rest of u s. W hen w e hit the first extended sing letrack clim b u p the g rou se trail I w as able to keep spinning the 32 x 30 and find a g roove u p the clim b, even passing a few folks w ho w ere slig htly blow n from the fire road sprint. W hen I g ot to the ridg e I g ot the new s that I w as stillin the top 1318 riders and that w as a nice bit of inspiration to pu sh a little bit m ore along the ridg e. M y “w as the hardtail the rig ht tool for the job?” fears w ere qu ickly pu t to rest as the bike w as eating the g narly rocky terrain for breakfast. I had to hop off for a natu re break at the top of one clim b and no sooner than I had exposed m yselfw hen a g rou p ofabou t 8 riders in a pace line rolled by.W ell everyone needs a story to take hom e,rig ht? I eventu ally m anag ed to overtake 2 of those riders on the ridg e, and 4 m ore on the scream ing dow n hillbu t there w ere still2 m ore carrots before m y salad w as finished.
“40 ru gged m iles ofrem ote,rocky, gn arly backcou n try goodn ess.” T his years race left ou t the “ring offire” loop,so after the dow nhill w e took a rig ht and headed rig ht back tow ards a steep sing le track clim b. A id station 1 w as setu p at the base of the G rou se clim b. I m ade qu ick w ork ou t of re-filling 2 w ater bottles and a 3L C am elB ak bladder w hile I w oofed dow n a PB & J sandw ich and thanked the volu nteers.B ack on the bike I hit the clim b ag ain and w ith the first bit of effort m y heart rate spiked so hig h that m y vision w as blu rred and I cou ldn’t breathe.I chalked it u p to being ou t of shape and shifted dow n into the g ranny and attem pted to spin u p the clim b w ithou t pu shing . T his effort lasted less than 5 m inu tes before I m anag ed to black ou t on the bike and fall over. O ne m inu te I’m seeing blu rred sing letrack then darkness encroached then next thing I know I’m tu m bling dow n the trail.It w as em barrassing .N atu rally,I g ot back u p and pu shed the bike for a m inu te before hopping on ag ain and trying to pedal. B oom , dizzy headed ag ain w ith a spiked heart rate.I finally su ccu m bed to sitting dow n for 10 m inu tes and w aving riders by w hile I let m y heart rate drop.>>>
Kurt Rosenberger (JV Squad) powers up a climb. © Shenandoah Mountain Touring
A fter a w hile I hopped back on and m ade another feeble attem pt to ride bu t the H .R .spiked ag ain and I w as back to pu shing .I pu shed all the w ay u p to the ridg e ag ain and took the left to ride the 13 m iles of sou l cru shing sing letrack before the next aid station. I w as having a w ild pain in m y knee cap from w hat I assu m ed w as pu shing the bike bu t I qu ickly realized on the ridg e as I tried to clip in that the tread on the bottom of m y left shoe w as com ing off the shoe. It w as disconnected and abou t to fall off.I contem plated tearing it off bu t I knew there w ere som e g u aranteed hike a bike sections to com e and I didn’t w ant to fu rther inju re m y knee by w alking w ith a sidew ays foot so I let the g im py tread be. 20 m inu tes into the ridg e it w as the sam e story. T he heart rate w ou ldn’t com e dow n and m y vision w as still too blu rry to ride w ith any sense of control. So I resu lted to pu shing everything bu t the dow nhills (and coasting them ) in an effort to keep m oving bu t it w as apparent that som ething other than fitness w as at play here. I m u st have looked like death as every rider that passed m e took extra tim e to slow dow n and m ake su re that I w as O K 2 or 3 tim es before they finally w ent on their w ay. T here’s really not a lot to say abou t that 13 m iles of ridg e except for m y rou tine w as pu sh a lot,g et lig ht headed,lay dow n on the trailside for 10-15 m inu tes then stand u p and repeat.I w as fortu nate enou g h to ru n across m y friends C rankee and Joel, and C rankee loaned m e a w hole roll of electrical tape to tape the tread back onto m y shoe. I think I re-taped m y shoe 10 or 15 tim es before I g ave u p on it. Som ew here along the ridg e the w isdom of m y D octor cam e back to m e “R em em ber M r. M etro, try to refrain from intense physical activities like ru nning ,rou g h sex,basketballor anything that is hig hly cardiovascu lar.” Yes friends I kid you not she (the doctor) u sed that exact phrase and yes, I did crack a few u ncom fortable jokes that seem ed w ell placed at the tim e bu t now karm a w as com ing back 10 fold. So I w as pleasantly happy to know that one or m ore of the five m eds that I w as taking m u st have hand a hand in this crazy scenario that I w as in.StillI had severalm iles ofw alking ridg e left to do.
the least technical and apparently m y m orning dose of m eds had w orked its w ay throu g h m e as m y heart rate finally dropped and resu m ed acting norm al. I kept it at a chill pace and w as able to ride the clim bs and railthe dow n hills and even com e across the finish line looking deceitfu lly strong w ith a big sm ile.
“Iattem pted to drop outoftheraceseveral tim esoverthecou rse oftheridge.” D espite this leng thy neg ative sou nding story,I had a g reat tim e overall at the D rag on’s Tale. T hanks to a little m isfortu ne m ixed w ith som e terrible tim ing m y “race” w as over less than 2 hou rs into the event, even thou g h m y “ride” or pu sh for the day w ou ld last ju st over 7 hou rs! Still the race w as top notch, C hris Scott and the g ang did an incredible job w ith everything , the com petition w as stiff if you w ere tru ly a com petitor,and the back cou ntry riding w as stellar if you w ere riding it. T his is alw ays a bru tally tou g h early season race, bu t the overall scene and the su perb qu ality of the riding and race director and prom oter w illhave m e com ing back ag ain and ag ain
I attem pted to drop ou t ofthe race severaltim es over the cou rse ofthe ridg e bu t the thing abou t this ridg e is that once you pass the g rou se trail you only have one real option to descend the m ou ntain other than sim ply finishing the ridg e or tu rning arou nd to back track.W hen I finally arrived at that one option fu lly ready to D N F I realized that this particu lar descent m ay not be a viable option du e to the am ou nt of dow nfall and ru bbish that lay in the m iddle of the trail. It w ou ld definitely be a long bu shw hack off the m ou ntain then a challeng ing ride on the fire roads back to the pavem ent then several m iles of pavem ent w ith a few challeng ing clim bs before I g ot back to the cam pg rou nd.A llof the su dden taking the easy w ay ou t w asn’t as easy as I thou g ht. W ith m y “race” being officially over It w as tim e to deal w ith som e m ental tou g hness so after a qu ick bu t failed attem pt to hang m yself w ith the hose from m y hydration bladder I decided to press on. 400 yards u p the trail I w as looking to tu rn tail ag ain and contem plating how qu ickly I cou ld clear the trail off the ridg e. A g ain, after som e reasonable thou g ht I pressed on.Severalrelentless hike a bike sections fu ll of su per steep pitches, sharp em bedded jag g ed rocks and m ore false su m m its and false dow n hills than I care to rem em ber w ou ld soon ensu e. Finally after the last dow nhill I hit aid station #2 w hich by this tim e had tu rned from an aid station into a hospital of sorts for strag g lers com ing off the m ou ntain. A fter a leng thy visit w ith the volu nteers, and som e topping off of the bottles I finally convinced m yself to attem pt to pu sh on.T hankfu lly the last 8-10 m iles of the cou rse w ere
Sam Koerber (Gary Fisher 29er Crew) finished 3rd on the day. © Shenandoah Mountain Touring
Single speeder David Tompkins (East Coasters/Roanoke Valley Mtn Bike Patrol). © Shenandoah Mountain Touring
Women’s winner Cheryl Sornson (Team CF). © Shenandoah Mountain Touring
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2:15 A M the alarm g oes off. I open m y eyes and instantly beg in to ru n throu g h the preparatory steps ofthe next hou r and a halfm ethodically in m y m ind. B y now ,it’s old hat. T his is m y fou rth Trans Iow a. I’ve been here before and know w hat I need to do. I’ve learned som e lessons from previou s T.I.experiences an d som e ofthose lessons w ere difficu lt ones.Yet I tellm yselfthat today I w on’t m ake any m istakes. You ’re not a rookie anym ore,kid. D on’t act like one. M y fellow N ebraskans w ith w hom I’m sharing the room beg in to rou se as w ell. T he nig ht w as short. M aybe fou r hou rs ofsleep at best,bu t as I ask the others how they slept I can’t help bu t think that this w as the best nig ht’s sleep I’ve ever had prior to a Trans Iow a. I w onder w hy I slept so w ellas I beg in to ru n dow n m y m entalchecklist w hile sitting on the edg e ofthe bed. W hat happened to allthe cu stom ary pre-race nervou s anxiety? M aybe I’m g etting too com fortable w ith the idea ofriding m y bicycle for 314 m iles on ru ralIow a g ravelroads w ithou t stopping . M aybe I’m not nervou s becau se I su bconsciou sly plan on not finishing ,so ifI do fail,I’m not so disappointed. M aybe the g ood nig ht’s rest is a sig n ofg ood thing s to com e. M aybe I shou ld stop over analyzing thing s and g et m y ass in g ear. I snap ou t ofm y thou sand yard stare and ju m p to m y feet. A lrig ht,focu s.
O ne by one the N ebraska crew heads dow nstairs to the dining room of the extravag antly nostalg ic Irish B ed and B reakfast w hich is conveniently located three blocks from the starting line in the heart of G rinnell,Iow a. T he hostess of the B & B arrang ed ou r feast the nig ht before becau se she w asn’t g etting u p that early to feed a bu nch of nu tty cyclists. C an’t blam e her. Fresh fru it,orang e ju ice,coffee, pastries,eg g casserole,and sau sag es are on the m enu . I g et m y fill w ith som e lig ht hearted conversation w ith m y hom eboys. I can see the rest of the crew silently ru n throu g h their m ental checklist in betw een ou r bantering . O ne by one the crew finishes u p and heads u pstairs to finish the pre race prep. E ventu ally I’m the last racer at the table. I force a few m ore item s dow n and note that I’m a little behind schedu le,bu t thing s are w orking ou t nicely thu s far. B efore heading back u pstairs,I w alk ou tside onto the front porch to check ou t the w eather conditions. T he early m orning air is thick and w et. Fog , bu t no rain. Tem peratu re is su rprising ly w arm , probably arou nd 60. T he tow n is dead silent. A lrig ht,w hat’s next? K it u p and final g ear check. T he big qu estion of the m orning is w hether a long sleeve w ooljersey or a short sleeve jersey w ith w ind jacket w as the “rig ht” choice. I ask m yself this qu estion over and over ag ain after sliding on m y shorts and W ar A xe socks. B eing notoriou sly indecisive is a tim e consu m ing process that I didn’t bu dg et for this m orning . M ake u p you r m ind du m bass! A lrig ht, jersey and w ind jacket… I can alw ays bu y som e bad t-shirts or sw eatshirts at a C asey’s convenience store if I g et cold. I do a final bike and g ear check. A lrig ht,ready to g o.
g ravel of the day. T he peleton takes a rig ht tu rn. A h yeah,here w e g o! A hhhh… .m u d. M y sm ile instantly evaporates. Tires sink in the spong y g ravel and beg in to spray m u d everyw here. A sou py m u d covers the top cou ple of inches of g ravel. T he g ravel below is relatively firm , bu t the stu ff on top is the consistency of w atery pu dding . N ot exactly ideal,to say the least. T he pace im m ediately slow s and folks beg in to stru g g le along w hile g ru m bling abou t the m u d. V isibility is also terrible at this point w ith the m u d flyin’ in every direction. O n the positive side,I su spect the first attack of the day that I w as expecting on the first stretch ofg ravelm ay not happen now . W ho w ou ld w anna attack in this?! D arkness cou pled w ith the m u ddy g ravel forces everyone into “stayin’ vertical” m ode. W hile rolling along in the darkness on several occasions the front w heel su cks into a soft ru t cau sed by au tom obile traffic and forces som e evasive m aneu vering . I think to m yself and say to a few racers in m y near vicinity that this is g onna be an epic day in the saddle. W e’ll be able to tell ou r g randkids abou t this one! T he blinking tail lig hts of riders ahead are m y beacon. L ooking at m y cu e cards in the cu e card holder is a w aste of tim e becau se it’s blanketed in m u d. B esides,taking a hand off the handlebars to try to read the cu e cards is a bad idea rig ht now . T he last thing I w anna do is w ad it u p in the first few m iles of g ravel. E specially if the
“W hy do Ipu n ish m yselfon a w eekly basis? W asIa bad person in a previou slife? Isthisredem ptive su fferin g?” Folks w ere already lining u p at the starting line by the tim e w e roll on over from the B & B . L ots of folks w ere chattin’ abou t the w eather and sharing their concerns. W ou ld the rain hold off? H ow w ere the g ravel roads after the rain earlier this w eek? If the roads w ere w et, w ill I m ake the tim e cu toff at the checkpoint and w ill anyone be able to finish? I pu t those thou g hts ou tta m y m ind and try to focu s on the positive. B esides,if the roads are bad,there isn’t a dam n thing w e can do abou t it. It’ll be a g reat big shit sandw ich and everyone is g onna take a bite. G u itar Ted g ives som e final pre-race com m ents before clim bing in the pace tru ck and sou nding offthe horn.H ere w e g o. A s w e roll on the pavem ent throu g h tow n I calm ly sit in and settle into a com fortable pace. T he g oalI have for this year is to finish the entire event. I’ve com e u p short on tw o previou s Trans Iow a events (2007 and 2009) and finished a tru ncated event in 2008. T his year I w anna cross the finish line after 300 plu s m iles of Iow a g ravel g oodness. In order to do that,I g otta pace m yself and let others g o if they’re g oing faster than m y finish pace. It’s a hard thing to do w hen you ’re a com petitive son ofa bitch,bu t I know I’ve only g ot so m any m atches to bu rn. D on’t bu rn ‘em allin the first 100 m iles. I rem ind m yselfofthis severaltim es du ring the next 18 hou rs. A s I try to look arou nd the peleton in the darkness I can see a talented and experienced g rou p of g ravel and endu rance veterans. Sticking w ith a g rou p of riders w ith experience is exactly w hat I w anna do. So I tu ck in behind a few vets and g et ready for the first
Petervary’s,w ho are riding a tandem m ou ntain bike,are behind m e. G etting cu t in half by a tandem on g ravelw ou ld be a hellu va w ay to g o. W ell, I su re hope w hoever is u p front know s w here the hell they’re g oin’. Is that a cam era flash? T here it is ag ain. W ho w ou ld be brave enou g h to pu llou t a cam era on this shit? W ait a m inu te.A h perfect. L ig htning ! R ain starts to fall. A few drops at first and then intensifies into a steady soaking rain. T he thu nder and lig htning pick u p too. N ow w e’re riding throu g h a bona fide thu nderstorm . L ig htning strikes and briefly illu m inates the g ravelw hich allow s for a brief look at the su rrou nding riders. T hrou g h the lig htning bu rsts I can see there’s a g rou p of abou t ten of u s w ho have broken off the front. O ne bolt of lig htning hits the g rou nd in ou r near vicinity. I sm ile to m yself and think abou t exactly w hat I’ve g otten m yself into. W hy do I do these events? W hy do I pu nish m yself on a w eekly basis? W as I a bad person in a previou s life? Is this redem ptive su ffering ? T he thou g ht of g etting stru ck by lig htning enters m y m ind, bu t I qu ickly discard that thou g ht becau se I know those chances are slim . B esides, if you ’re g onna g o, m ig ht as w ell g o doing som ething you love. B est death ever! W e’re only in the first hou r of the event,bu t it is very apparent that Trans Iow a V ersion V I is g onna be a battle ofattrition.>>>
E ventu ally w e m ove ou t of the thu nderstorm as the su n slow ly beg ins to rise. W ith the clou d cover w e’re robbed of the revitalizing su nrise. O h w ell,m aybe w e’llg et a chance tom orrow if w e’re lu cky enou g h to stillbe riding by then. T he g ravel is soft and sapping a lot of energ y ou t of everyone. I’m trying to spin as m u ch as possible, bu t find it difficu lt to shift sm oothly w ith a m u d clog g ed drive train. T he battle w ith the drive train w ill be a battle that never ends on this ride. Soon w e reach the first “B ” road (dirt) of the day. E veryone hops off their bike and beg ins to pu sh them along in the ditch. I expected the B roads to be im passable and w asn’t disappointed. T he pu sh is actu ally a nice break from slopping throu g h the w et g ravel. R em em ber,stay positive! A fter a few hou rs and 45 m iles of m u ddy g ravel,w e rollinto the first checkpoint; w e w ere in the tow n of M onroe, covered in m u d from head to toe. W e’ve g ot abou t an hou r to spare u ntil the cu t off tim e. W ow , if w e’re in the lead and only have an hou r to spare, I w onder how m any riders w ill actu ally m ake it here by the cu t off tim e. M y thou g hts tu rn to m y hom eboys from N ebraska. Su re hope they’re having a g ood tim e. W e g rab ou r second set of cu e cards for the next 88 m ile stretch of g ravel from G u itar Ted and a slew of volu nteers. A few of u s opt to stop in M onroe for a refu el w hile the rest of the g rou p m arches on. T he su n is trying to peek ou t occasionally w hich brig htens m y hopes of finishing . M aybe, ju st m aybe, if the su n com es ou t and no m ore rain falls today,there w illbe folks w ho w illbe able to finish. A fter the first checkpoint it w as tim e to reassess the strateg y for the rest ofthe event. R em em ber,finishing is the g oal. I’m not here to w in
this beast. I’m here to experience the hig hs and low s of an u ltra endu rance event and pu sh m yself to the breaking point and hopefu lly beyond. I w anna learn som ething abou t m yself and becom e a better rider,and person for that m atter. M aybe,if I’m lu cky,this w illbe a life chang ing experience. IfI can do this I can do anything . A fter the qu ick reassessm ent the them e for the day m orphs into keep m oving . A lw ays keep m oving .A lso keep stops short and efficient. C u t off tim es are g onna be tou g h to reach w ith the roads in their cu rrent shape. It’s tim e to su ck it u p and keep the pedals tu rning over. L u ckily, I link u p w ith a cou ple of g ood bu ddies for a m ajority of the next ten hou rs. G ood com pany is alw ays a rem edy for the soft g ravel blu es w hen you ’re g ru m py and fu ll of self dou bt. W hen you beg in to qu estion w hy you do stu ff like this, all you g otta do is look to the person next to you and it allm akes sense. W ith friends in tow ,the m arch tow ards the next checkpoint is a steady slog . T he hills are big in this part of Iow a and being w ater log g ed only adds to the difficu lty. I keep rem inding m yself to eat every hou r and force food and flu ids dow n like clockw ork. T he roads continu e to dry as the m iles tick aw ay. Spirits are lifted. I keep repeating in m y m ind a qu ote from K en C hou bler, L eadville 100 race prom oter; “You can do m ore than you think you can!” Yeah, I can do this. It’s not so bad. Folks in B elg iu m do this allthe tim e. A s w e near the second checkpoint of the day in the tow n of W hat C heer (yes, W hat C heer) the rain clou ds com e rollin’ in. W ithin ten m iles of the checkpoint the rain starts to fall. A nd fallit did. Sopping w et w e roll into W hat C heer in a strong steady rain and spot the leaders hu ddled u nder the event tent. W ow ,they’re stillhere? W hat’s
“The su n fadesoffin the horizon a s the rain clou dscom e rollin ’in again . M otherN atu re isrelen tless.”
g oing on? T he lead g rou p had calcu lated the odds of su ccessfu lly m aking the next checkpoint w ithin the desig nated cu toff tim e and decided it w as fu tile. D am n it, I really w ant to g ive it a shot, bu t u nderstand the reasoning and eventu ally ag ree to pu ll the plu g too. B esides,m aking a solo attem pt in a dow npou r is ju st stu pid if you ’re not prepared. T hen a cou ple ofthe hom eboys rollin and exclaim that they are g onna g ive it a shot and continu e on. T hey’re g onna attem pt to m ake it to the next checkpoint. Yes! T hat’s w hat I w anna hear! L et’s do it! W e m ay not m ake it,bu t at least w e’llknow that w e tried. W e cou ld alw ays have som eone com e and bail u s ou t. B u t that’s not g onna happen,rig ht? E ig ht end u p taking off from checkpoint tw o; John G orilla and Joe M eiser in the lead w ith six of u s abou t 30 to 45 m inu tes behind. T he next stretch of g ravel is 75 plu s m iles of hilly rollers and several B roads and w e’ve g ot abou t seven hou rs to do it. W e’re on the w ay like lam bs to the slau g hter. I noted that the roads are su rprising ly not entirely u nrideable as I expected. M aybe w e w ill m ake it to the next checkpoint. I g ot that PM A ! M att B rau n and I break aw ay from the rest of the crew w hich inclu des C harles Parsons, E ric B ru nt and Jay and Tracey Petervary on the tandem . A cou ple of B roads are w alked as M att and I continu e w ith the forw ard m om entu m . T he su n fades off in the horizon as the rain clou ds com e rollin’in ag ain. M other N atu re is relentless. She’s g ot it in for u s today. T he w ind picks u p m ig htily w ith the rain. U nfortu nately, w e’re heading into the w ind, w hich cou pled w ith the darkness and soaking rain,drops ou r core tem peratu re. T he shivers haven’t started yet, bu t soon w ill if this w ind and rain keeps u p.
Tw enty five m iles into the next stretch w e rollinto the cozy little tow n of N orth E ng lish. A s w e rollinto tow n M att and I ag ree to g o into the C asey’s convenience store to w arm u p for a bit.W hile riding tow ards the C asey’s I hear som eone yell in ou r direction. It’s G u itar Ted w aving u s dow n. W e roll u p to him and he g ives u s the new s. It’s done. T he event is stopping in N orth E ng lish. H appiness and a sense ofreliefare m y instant em otions. To be honest, I don’t know if M att and I cou ld have stepped ou t into that blow ing rain after w arm ing u p in a convenience store and safely continu ed on. A fter a bit,disappointm ent sets in. I really w anted to finish this beast, bu t M other N atu re said, “N ot this year su cka!” So I g u ess it’ll hafta w ait u ntilnext year. W ell, it m ay not have been an official finish, bu t w e can feel prou d know ing w e didn’t g ive u p. C ontinu ing on after the second checkpoint is a victory in itself. W e w ere the last folks standing at the end of the day. It w as a g u tsy perform ance by everyone that day. In fact,every rider that lined u p at the start that m orning in G rinnellcan keep their chins hig h know ing that they accepted the challeng e of Trans Iow a as they started off in less than desirable w eather and road conditions. C ong rats to allparticipants this year! T his year’s Trans Iow a w as definitely a m em orable one. M other N atu re threw all kinds of crap at u s, bu t w e persevered and kept m oving on. W e learned a little bit abou t ou rselves w hile pu shing ou rselves beyond ou r com fort zone. A nd, believe or not, w e had a g ood tim e doing it. A nd that’s w hat it’s allabou t.
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doug & Jon Here’s To Flowmax!
y-Roubaix immediately hooks them in irt roads, distance and beer.” XXCMAG.COM
Photo By Sportograf.com
Riva del Garda MARATHON
WORDS: TIM VANGILDER PHOTOS: SPORTOGRAF.COM & MICHELLE VANGILDER
Personally, I’m not one for traveling. I always feel destroyed when I return from any sort of long distance trip - whether it’s for business or vacation. But, when the opportunity to travel to Italy’s Garda Fest came up a few months ago, my ears perked up.
and was mostly cobble stones. But, the view was so amazing that we didn’t realize how steep the climbing was. We kept together and relaxed, knowing that we could turn around at any point, and yet we kept climbing.
The Garda Fest is similar to a European version of Sea Otter. Despite being in Italy, it’s predominantly attended by Germans. The main attraction is the Marathon XC event that I would race. And by race, I mean participate. Not only had I been focusing on more shorter XC events this year, but the Marathon has an attendance of over 2,000 riders. Yes, two thousand! Racing this event was more about participating, finishing strong, and not crawling on all fours across the finish line.
At the top, we found a single track trail that would more or less bring us down to where we started up. So, we dropped in, and were treated to some super technical (for hard tails) descending over some of the most slippery rocks we’ve ridden on.
I, along with my wife Michelle and our friend Amanda, arrived in Riva del Garda on the Wednesday before the Saturday race. Our first order of business was securing bikes. We pulled in to the best shop in Garda- Carpintera Bike Shop and rented our bikes: Cube Ltd. hard tails. For those that don’t know, Cube is Germany’s biggest brand, and we were stoked to find some race bikes that were our size in the rental fleet and not clunkers from years past. And they were set up nicely with Formula brakes and Reba forks with remote lock out. We checked into our rooms, changed clothes and immediately hit the local paths to spin the legs for a couple hours. The area was amazing. Olive groves and vineyards surround the lake and expo venue. Bike paths took us from one small town to another, each one a 100 years older then the last. Castles jet from the one sheer mountains and overlook the valley below. And then we began to climb... We soon found ourselves going up into one of the small towns and on a very winding road through the hillside. The road was steep, narrow XXCMAG.COM
Our plan for Thursday was to get some specific course recon. We set off with the intent of pre-riding the course for our chosen distance: the Piccolo, which was 54k, with over 6,000 feet of climbing. This was a chance to take in the EPIC scenery of the course, for we knew that on race day, we’d be redlined and not be seeing the sights. The course was amazing, but we soon learned that mountain biking in Europe means something different over there. To them, it means riding up and down a mountain on either paved roads, cobbles, or dirt, and the course was made of all three of those options. Climbing was done on paved roads through villages, while downhills were mostly on trails. Cobble trails were reserved for any of the trails through the olive groves. We climbed for a couple of hours all the while being thrilled with the scale of what we were doing, and a bit nervous that we were biting off more then we could chew. We rode about 75% of the course and headed back to our hotel to refuel and strategize. A word of advice for those that travel to an event like this. Bringing your own shoes and pedals is a no-brainer. But we also brought our own Fizik saddles - a critical upgrade to the rental bike. What we forgot, however, was our own stems. Luckily, we happened upon a few shorter ones and were able to swap out the 110mm stock stems that were the cause of some serious back pain. >>>
Climbing during pre race recon. Photo by Michelle VanGilder
The Powerbar free Euro aid station. Photo by Michelle VanGilder
Michelle VanGilder descends the olive field cobbles. Photo by Sportograf.com.
More climbing and epic views.
Fast forward to race day.
Photo by Michelle VanGilder
It’s 7 AM, and we hit the bikes to ride to the start. Riders start in waves of about 300-500 per wave, and 5 minutes apart. The “A” wave was already lined up and counting down to the start. Since each rider wears a transponder, start position doesn’t matter; your time begins when you cross the start line. We were in wave “D”. It took us quite a while to make our way through the sea of bikes to our area. Of course, we were at the back of the group, reminding ourselves that it didn’t make a difference. Before we knew it, we were off. The start was insane - riders where everywhere going all sorts of speeds. I quickly found a clear spot along the edge of the road and put some power the the pedals to help warm up for the impending climbing and to get past some riders that would certainly bottleneck at some of the narrow trails. It wasn’t long before I realized I was feeling good... really good. We hit the climbs and while other riders dumped it into their 22T ring to spin, I found some strength, powered through the never ending field and began to claw my way up through the ranks. The more I passed, the faster I wanted to go. I was in race mode and loving it. Amanda had been on my wheel since the start and we decided to ride together. We were both riding a strong pace and thought we could work together. At about mile 12, we pulled in to the first aid station. The Euro aid stations are stocked a bit differently. Despite the Powerbar banners, there were no Powerbars to be had. Nor were there any Hammer Gels or sports drinks. Here, you’re offered water, orange drink, and a host of different birthday cakes, cups of peanuts, dates or prunes. Good thing we packed our own supplies. We downed a few Endurolytes, topped off our bottles and dropped into one of the best single track descents of the course. It was twisty, steep, loamy, and difficult enough to make most of the riders dismount and walk. But thanks to our home town technical trails, we let off the brakes and flew down the trail SoCal style.
“But with all good climbs come good downhills. We found ourselves heading back down the mountain on rocky single track trails, passing through villages that were hundreds of years old, and into more olive groves.” Soon the trail opened up into an amazing road descent of tight switchbacks through the mountains. It was pure Tour de France style of high speed aero tuck descending. It was a bit intense going into a 180 degree turn 3 or 4 riders wide but it added to the thrill. After each turn, we grew more confident of our tires, our bikes and our skills. The rest of the course through a few surprises at us - we hadn’t ridden this area on our pre-ride. We were forced by our lack of trail knowledge to hold back and save some for any surprising climbs - which there was. But with all good climbs come good downhills. We found ourselves heading back down the mountain on rocky single track trails, passing through villages that were hundreds of years old, and into more olive groves. As the course flattened out, and I could tell that we were on the roads on our way to the finish, we threw whatever we had left on the fire. It was a 6 mile ride back, and we planned to spend it all by the finish. We picked up a few other riders and before long had a pace-line of 5 or so riders. We were determined to do all the work and pull away at the finish. Mission accomplished. Coming in to the finish area was one of the most rewarding feelings I’ve had in a while. We were strangers in a strange land, and there were no cheering fans or friends. But the fact that we came to put in a solid ride and pulled it off was reason enough to celebrate. In the end, I finished 3 hours, 12 minutes and in 192 place of over 400 men that raced the Piccolo. Nothing amazing, but a podium finish was never the goal. We’re keeping our eyes on airline prices for next year, this one is a must do!
P Ue Q O g Ub a fF , • Brown the Smart Balance in a small saucepan over Medium to High heat • Whisk together flour and salt in one bowl • Whisk together the eggs, milk, and browned butter in another bowl • Whisk the egg/milk/butter mixture into the flour until mixed and smooth Sports Nutritionist and Topeak-Ergon endurance racer Namrita O’Dea, MS, RD, LD, shares another tasty and nutritious recipe to help fuel the long ride.
N h O W j T QM g ,O e Qc Qf , Crepes are as easy to make as pancakes and are a little more versatile. Depending on your choice of fillings, they make great anytime meals as well as perfect pre- and post-ride snacks. This recipe makes enough batter for 8 crepes so you can store the leftover batter in the fridge and use it for a couple days. You can also make these gluten free by substituting your favorite gluten-free flour for the wheat flour.
Ua S e Q P UQ a g fF , 3/4 cup whole wheat flour 1/2 tsp salt 1 1/2 cups 1-2% milk or soy milk 3 eggs
• Cover and put the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes • Pour out 1/4 cup of the mixture at a time and cook in a non-stick pan over Medium to High heat until the bottom is golden brown and the top appears to be almost dry • Flip the crepe and place toppings of choice in the center. • Cook for another 30 seconds then remove from heat. • Fold the crepe over and serve. Editors Note: This was my first ever attempt at making crepes. I have to say I was a bit intimidated, and I did mess couple up along the way. But in the end they were easier to make than I thought, and I even got my six year old son to eat a couple and ask for more. And THAT is a success! I opted for a peanut butter, honey and banana filling, but I an anxious to try some egg and turkey sausage! -Jason.
2 tbs Smart Balance (butter substitute)
g b c c Ua S ,fh S S Q fg Ub a fF , - Sliced strawberries and Nutella - Egg white and 3 cheese (Parmesan, Feta, and Mozzarella) with chopped tomatoes and scallions - Fried egg with turkey sausage, cheddar, and salsa - Sliced tomato, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and olive oil - Peanut butter and crispy bacon
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, h g e Ug Ub a ,Ua Rb , a c Q e ,fQ e i Ua S F , Nutrition Info per crepe only: Calories: 95 Fat: 4.1 g (38%) Carbohydrate: 10 g (41%) Protein: 5.2 g (22%)
Photos by Jason Mahokey
A page seventy
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I have a few bike and fitness related books that pretty much have a permanent residence on my bedroom night stand. Among them are well read, but underutilized copies of The Mountain Biker’s Training Bible by Joe Friel and Chris Carmichael’s Food For Fitness. But my favorite is the beat to hell, read way too much copy of Bobke II, by Bob Roll. Yep, I’m a Bobke fan. I admit it. I’ve been a fan of Bob Roll for years. Well beyond the Tour “DAY” France shtick that many have come to know, love, or hate on the finite cycling coverage we see on American TV. I’ve always appreciated Bobke’s hard working roadie domestique turned mountain bike racer cycling career, and his humorous Hunter S. Thompson in lycra writing style. Picking up Bobke II is always a breath of fresh air among all the books and magazine articles dedicated to getting fitter, faster and flatter, or stories of countless podium trips and pissing contest wattage stats from Pro racers. Roll’s laugh out loud use of adjectives and self deprecation make his stories of the ups, downs, ins and outs of pro cycling on the road and dirt a great pre bed read. OK, OK, enough... This isn’t a review of a book released back in 2003, or some Bob Roll love fest. This magazine is not about road racing, or even XC racing. But it is dedicated to the long days in the saddle, and epic adventures, which leads me to why in the hell I’m talking about Bob Roll in an endurance mountain bike magazine. It all comes down to Page 70, and the story “Lost In The Jemez.” One of the best tales of an epic day in the saddle ever. Bobke’s planned ride and good legs has paved roads becoming dirt, dirt roads turning to snow, a ride turning into a hike, and a day turning into a night nearly spent in the mountains. It’s also one hell of a story about getting lost in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico for seventeen hours. As you can read in the excerpt below, the ride was a classic epic of the unplanned sort. We’ve all done these rides. Some on much smaller scales (double flat, no tube, 3 mile walk back to the car), many on much LARGER scales (Did your read the excerpt??). So many of today’s rides are predictable local trail loops, or precise GPS guided, computer plotted, well mapped out adventures, and that’s great of course. It’s more time efficient, can be safer, and cause loved ones less stress. But there is also something to be said for getting lost on your bike, having an “oh shit” moment or two, returning hungry, thirsty, happy and thankful to be home. As I write this I recognize that I need to heed my own advice, become a bit more relaxed on my rides and realize that the best plan, is often to not have a plan at all. To just ride where my legs take me, leave my comfort zone, and let my own “Page 70 Moment” happen. For all of Lost In The Jemez and more hilarious stories from Bobke pick up Bobke II, available at VeloPress.com.
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Sun sets on the 2010 Leesburg Bakers Dozen, Leesburg Virginia. Photo: Abram Landes, aelandesphotography.com
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