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Back in 2005 I w ro te a piece fo r the Tw in-Six w ebsite’s R.O .O .T.M . (Rider O pinio n O f The M o nth).It w as a abo u t ho w fo r m e,reading blo gs and w eb sites had taken the place o f the bike m agazines that I u sed to bu y every m o nth, becau se even tho u gh I lo ved m agazines, m o stw ere ju stno tspeaking to m e anym o re.


A few years later,I stillbelieve that.A tleastfo r the m o stpart.There is stilllist o fblo gs and w eb sites that I lo o k at everyday and m any o f tho se fo lks co ntribu te to the pages o f X XC . Bu t since I w ro te that piece in ‘05, a few m ags have co m e alo ng and m ade m e think that the m agazine in bo th print and digitalfo rm (like w e here at X XC ) is no t dead.M agazines that have m ade m e realize that there are fo lks w ho can lo o k beyo nd the o bvio u s and captu re the nu ances o f riding and racing bikes w ith creative w riting,design and pho to graphy.I like to think that o ne day, even if it’s later than so o ner, X XC w ill jo in so m e o f the very m agazines that inspired its co nceptio n.Becau se as m u ch as I believed in w hat I w ro te back in 2005,I did end the piece w ith this... “I still h ave dream s th at a great cycling m agazine w ill retu rn one day, filled w ith race reports,resu lts,review s,stories and great ph otography. W h o know s,m aybe I’ll start one som eday...” I gu ess I did ju st that,bu t there is a L O T o f w o rk to do befo re X XC w illbe co nsidered “great,” o r even really be taken serio u sly by m o st fo lks, bu t I think w e’re headed in the right directio n. I ho pe yo u think so. X XC #3 co ntinu es to captu re the endu rance race experience w ith sto ries and pho to s fro m tw o races in the W V M BA U ltra Race Series, the D irty K anza 200 gravelgrinder,a lo o k back at the 2009 C o w bell C hallenge, and an epic featu re fro m D ave H arris abo u t his reco rd setting effo rtin the selfsu ppo rted G rand L o o p “race.” W e’re also pleased to have Jaso n Bo u cher sharing so m e incredible pho to s fro m his ride o n N o rth D ako ta’s M aah D aah H ey trailand w e debu t a new featu re called Endu ro N u t Corner by nu tritio nist and To peak-Ergo n endu rance racer N am rita O ’D ea. There is still a L O T o f great racing and riding ahead o f u s this su m m er.Enjo y issu e #3,then get o u t and ride!A nd do n’t fo rget it’s yo u that helps keep X XC o n the right trail, and go ing in the right directio n w ith yo u r w o rds and pho to s.K eep ‘em co m ing! Jaso n M aho key xxcm m Finding my way in the Laurel Mountains of Western Pennsylvania. Photo by Jason Mahokey




[contributors] Than ksto allthe con tribu torsofXXC #3. W ithou tyou ,n on e ofthisw ou ld be possible.You r gen erosity an d talen tsare greatly appreciated.Than ksfor sharin g.

[contents] TheDirty K an za


by C orey G odfrey

2009 Cow bellChallengeM arathon

by Taylor Su llivan


TheGran d Loop “Race” by D ave H arris


W VM BA U ltra SeriesRecap by Jason M ahokey


M assanutten Hoo-Ha,W VM BA U ltra #1


by Jesse Steven s

Being Rew arded by TheM aah Daah Hey by Jason Bou cher


Park City Point2 PointRacePreview


by Jason M ahokey

Foun d Ridesby Jason M ahokey


En duro N utCorn erby N am rita O ’D ea,M S,RD ,LD


“A Sun day In Hell” forEn duran ceFreaks? by Jason M ahokey


X X C Gallery


C orey “C orn bread” G odfrey -corn Taylor Su llivan -cow bellchallen Ron Richardson -w w w .cyclepixn D ave H ScottM orris-Bikepackin g.n et Jason M ahokey -thesoiledcham Jesse Steven s Jason Bou cher -w w w .gn N am rita O ’D ea -n am An drew C arn ey -an drew -carn JeffK erkove -w w w .jeffkerkove.n et JR Petsko -W V M BA .com Alicia M athers-iPlayou

Specialthan ksto JoErin “W ifey” O ’Leary, Bren n an “B-M an ” M ahokey,m y fam ily, F rien dsan d team m ates-D on ,Aaron ,an d Brad, Tim “Little BallofH ate” C arson for w ren chin g on m y bike, The Pro BikesM on roeville crew ,The Su pportofF rien ds, M y iM ac,Ryan ,Bren t,an d the C raftBrew in g In du stry

Ifyou w ou ld like con tribu te w ords,photosor artto the n extissu e ofXXC or w ou ld like advertisin g in form ation please e m ailJason M ahokey atxxcm ag@ gm . C over Photo by Jason Bou cher/gn alon g the M aah D aah H ey Trail,N orth D akota








T he D irty K anza is a 200 m ile g ravelg rinder (g ravelroad race) in the u niqu e landscape of the K ansas Flint H ills du ring the last w eek in M ay. It’s one big ass loop throu g h the K ansas cou ntryside. R iders have three checkpoints they m u st reach throu g hou t the day w hich are spaced rou g hly every 50 m iles. T hey are g u ided by cou rse m arkers (ribbons) on road m arkers/fence posts and also u tilize a m ap to keep them pedaling in the rig ht direction.E ach checkpoint is conveniently located near a convenience store or a g as station in the sm alltow ns of the Flint H ills com m u nity. Selfstocked drop bag s are also available at the halfw ay checkpoint. B eyond that,it’s a selfsu pported event. M y first attem pt at the D K 200 w as in 2007. Since then I’ve been a reg u lar com petitor in the event.E ach year w as an am azing experience and a g reat challeng e. T his year w as an especially tou g h year.

“G u sting w ind, pu nish ing h eat, extrem e dehydration, a m assive b onk,and debilitating cram ps. Th isism y recap of th at day.” L incoln,N ebraska has a core g rou p of g u ys that have been fixtu res at the M idw est g ravelg rinders,bu t this year a few of ou r u su alsu spects w ere absent du e to a W edding . L incoln still had eig ht com petitors representin’w ho w ou ld toe the line for the 2009 D irty K anza.Five of those eig ht, inclu ding m yself, carpooled dow n to K ansas the Friday before the event.T he event prom oters,Jim C u m m ins and JoelD yke, hold a m andatory rider check-in/m eeting the nig ht before the race. T he check-in, pre-race m eeting and the start/finish line w ere all located at the G u est H ou se Inn in the cozy tow n of E m poria,K ansas. I love the idea of starting and finishing a g ravelg rinder at a m otel.It provides extra tim e to sleep, eat and g et prepped prior to the event cu z allyou g otta do is step ou t ofyou r room and you ’re at the starting line. Plu s, it also allow s you to qu ickly hit the show er and g et horizontalafter the event.I’m allabou t g etting ou t of m y cham ois as qu ickly as possible after 200+ m iles ofrocky g ravel! C on tin u ed >




“Th e race startsat 6 AM wh ich gave m e a cou ple of h ou rsto get ready. Food,water, coffee,th e “M orning C onstitu tional”,and a qu ick look at m y bike set u p and gear.”

Satu rday M ay 30,2009 the alarm g oes off at 4 A M .T he race starts at 6 A M w hich g ave m e a cou ple of hou rs to g et ready. Food, w ater, coffee, the “M orning C onstitu tional”, and a qu ick look at m y bike set u p and g ear. O ne strateg y I em ploy w ith m y g ear is to g et as m u ch w eig ht off m y back and on the bike.N o back pack for m e. Ju st a few thing s in m y jersey pockets. T he bike is m y m u le. T hree bottles, E pic R ide R esearch M ou ntain feed bag w ith C lif B loks, g els, and bars, L ezyne pu m p on the cag e m ou nts u nderneath a bottle cag e, three tu bes strapped to the seatpost,and a saddle bag w ith tools,one C O 2 cartridg e,a patch kit,eye drops,extra contact lens,Tylenoland Pepto-B ism ol.T he drop bag for the half w ay checkpoint inclu ded 10 tu bes,a chain and chain tool,tire,fresh cham ois, cham ois lu be,tw o em pty w ater bottles,tools,chain lu be and a rag ,a tow el,C liff B loks and bars,electrolyte tablets and toilet paper. In hindsig ht, I shou ld have had m ore tu bes w ith m e on the bike. In the 2008 D irty K anza I had a string of bad lu ck and flatted 8 tim es. T his year I w as the victim of three flats,bu t one of the tu bes that I thou g ht w as g ood w as actu ally an old pinch flatted tu be.L u ckily,the patch kit bailed m e ou t,bu t dou ble patching a pinch flat w hile in the m iddle ofa g ravelg rinder is not ideal.


Som e folks ride cross bikes w hile others opt for m ou ntain bikes.T here’s u su ally a pretty g ood m ix of both at the event. T he rocky terrain is definitely bu m py enou g h to w arrant the fatter tires of a m ou ntain bike, bu t m ost riders w ho are g oing for the podiu m choose a cross bike. I’d have to say that cross bikes are better su ited for flatter sections w ith m ore g enerou s g earing . FY I, there hasn’t been a rider on a m ou ntain bike that has w on a D K 200 event yet. M aybe next year.M aybe it cou ld be you . C on tin u ed > PAGE 5


D u ring a few sections this past year I w ish I had ridden m y m ou ntain bike. T he g ravel is that g narly. T he g ravel prim arily consists of sm all chert lim estone rocks rang ing in size from a m arble to a plu m .Som e of those rocks are razor sharp. Flats are expected du ring the race, so a beefer tire and a lot of tu bes are a necessity. Tu beless setu ps seem to have ju st as m any problem s as traditionaltu be w heelsets.

The sun slowly began to rise and cast long shadows across the gravel and into the fields. The sun would menace the riders the rest of the day.

Prior to the start ofthe race the riders g athered in the m otelparking lot and chatted abou t the long day ahead. M ost w ore an eag er yet apprehensive look on their face.T he forecast for the day w as for record heat w ith a stiff head w ind for a larg e portion of the first half of the event. Fantastic.In fact,it ended u p being the recipe for a classic Flint H ills su fferfest. A t 6 A M the g rou p took off in a neu tral roll ou t. E ig hty five com petitors ou t of the 100 that reg istered for the event toed the line. T his w as the big g est tu rnou t thu s far in the short fou r year D irty K anza history. T he past cou ple of years there had been an E m poria Police escort at the neu tralrollou t that led u s throu g h tow n,bu t not this year. Instead of the E m poria Police,w e had a Jeep W rang ler w ith a film crew lead u s ou t w hile taking video.K inda m ade you feellike a pro.

“Ilove th e sou nd of cow b ells at six in th e m orning!” R olling throu g h the m ain strip of E m poria at the crack of daw n w ith 85 riders is a u niqu e experience.N ot m any locals w ere u p and at ‘em yet so the g rou p w as able to cru ise throu g h m ost of the traffic lig hts and stop sig ns.A g rou p of spectators w ere hootin’and hollerin’as w e rolled by the local bike shop. I love the sou nd of cow bells at six in the m orning ! O nce w e hit the edg e of tow n the g rou p took a rig ht tu rn onto the first g ravelroad ofthe day and the race w as on!


dirtykanza PAGE 6

T he pace picked u p a bit on that first bit of g ravel,bu t for the m ost part the g rou p stayed relatively tog ether w hich provided a g reat opportu nity to chat w ith som e g ravel brethen I haven’t seen in a w hile. I had m y cam era ou t early and often du ring the day w hich probably m ade som e folks nervou s. R est assu red I’ve had a lot of practice taking pics from the bike. I haven’t crashed yet!K nock on w ood. C on tin u ed > XXCMAG.COM

T he first roller w as a rocky one w hich cam e arou nd m ile ten. T he film crew w as poised and w aiting at the top.T here w as a frantic su rg e from the peloton to be the first m an to the top. Skip C ronin,on a sing le speed cross bike,ham m ered his w ay u p the clim b to claim the brag g ing rig hts. A fter that clim b the peloton picked u p the pace m ig htily and beg an to shed riders.A s m ore hills w ere encou ntered,m ore riders w ere popped off the back.Soon the lead g rou p w as dow n to five (allon cross bikes).L u ckily I w as one ofthem . W e took tu rns taking pu lls into the w ind and dodg ing the free roam ing cattle w hich I have beg u n to call “T he C attle G au ntlet”. M ike M archand and Joe Fox w ou ld eventu ally flat and need to stop and throw in a tu be.D an H u g hes,Troy K rau se and I continu ed on and rolled into the first checkpoint at C ottonw ood Falls (m ile 61) m aking relatively g ood tim e. W e w eren’t exactly m eltin’ bu tter, bu t w e w ere m anag ing to keep a g ood averag e speed (arou nd 16.5 m ph) considering the headw ind. A nd rem em ber, this is a 200 m ile event. N o sense bu rning all you r m atches in the first centu ry. A fter a qu ick pit stop at the convenience store w e w ere off ag ain. Troy,D an and I w orked tog ether over the next 40+ m iles to C ou ncilG rove (m ile 105).D an opened it u p a cou ple of tim es and pu t a sm all g ap on Troy and I,bu t I w as able to bridg e back u p and rollinto C ou ncilG rove w ith D an.Troy w as abou t a m inu te behind. It w as arou nd noon and the tem peratu re w as already starting to clim b.B ased on the very dark color of m y u rine du ring m y one pit stop du ring the first 105 m iles, I knew I w as in for som e trou ble.

A fter a qu ick refu el w e took off ag ain and headed ou t for som e su fferin’in the afternoon su n. R iding in the heat is not som ething I enjoy. E specially on com pletely exposed g ravelw ith the su n beating dow n. T he Flint H ills have very few trees lining the g ravel roads. M ost of the terrain is too rocky for ag ricu ltu re,bu t there are a lot of natu ralg rasses that blanket the landscape. It’s actu ally very beau tifu l,peacefu land m ajestic. A t the top of som e of the rollers you can see for m iles in any direction and see nothing bu t lu sh g reen rolling hills. T he cu rvatu re of the E arth can be seen w ith an astu te eye. N o sig ns of civilization. C om plete isolation.It’s aw esom e. A s w e rolled ou t of the half w ay point D an,Troy and I stru ng ou t a bit.D an w as in the lead w ith m e dag g ling behind and then Troy a bit back. W e w ere each riding at ou r ow n pace. N ot too far into the next stretch of g ravel, w e encou ntered a very sketchy “B ” road w ith a steep descent.I think the nam e of the road w as L ilE g ypt.I started dow n the road and instantly g ained a bu nch of speed.T he descent w as m u ch steeper at the bottom and as I neared the bottom of the clim b I noticed a lot of larg e rocks and ru ts.B y the tim e I picked a line it w as too late. I m anag ed to not g o dow n, bu t nailed m y back w heel and im m ediately pinch flatted. T his m u st have been som e of the m ore ru stic less traveled roads Jim and Joel m entioned du ring the m eeting . A fu ll su spension m ou ntain bike w as better su ited for this road com pared to a cross bike. C on tin u ed >

“W e took tu rnstaking pu llsinto th e w ind and dodging th e free roam ing cattle wh ich Ih ave b egu n to call “Th e C attle G au ntlet”.”





A s I w as chang in’ ou t the flat m y body beg an to heat u p. W hen you ’re m oving on the bike you don’t notice how m u ch you ’re perspiring , bu t standing still off the bike is another story. I w as sw eating from head to toe and w as soon com pletely drenched. T he rocky g ravelseem ed to reflect the heat back like a convection oven.Troy and I linked back u p w hile I w as chang in’ m y flat. A fter g etting the flat fixed w e continu ed on and cam e u pon D an.D an escaped harm on the first rocky descent of L il E g ypt R oad, bu t crashed badly on another shortly u p the road.H e w as w orking on his tire w hich had flatted, bu t w asn’t having m u ch lu ck. E ventu ally he g ot a tu be to hold air and the three ofu s w ere offag ain. T hose stops w ere the final nail in the coffin for m e. I had already started to cram p u p at the half w ay point. A ll the flu id lost du ring those stops exacerbated m y electrolyte im balance. I had to essentially shu t it dow n from that point on and g o into su rvivalm ode.N ot a g ood feeling ,especially being 25 m iles aw ay for the next oasis w ith cold beverag es/su stenance and over 80 m iles from the finish. I had no choice. T here w as no one to bail m e ou t. I had to su ck it u p and continu e on. T his is a classic m om ent that m ost folks experience du ring endu rance events. A ll aspirations of doing w ell in the event had evaporated. A ll that I cared abou t now w as g etting to the next tow n alive and m aybe by som e m iracle finishing .

“Ih ad no ch oice. Th ere wasno one to b ailm e ou t. Ih ad to su ck it u p and continu e on.” M ike M archand cau g ht u p to u s soon after D an crashed. H e looked strong and didn’t seem to be phased by the heat. I knew at that m om ent that he w ou ld g o on to w in the event. D an, Troy and I w ere w ithering in the heat and M ike seem ed to thrive on it. M ike rolled ahead ofu s and w as now in the lead. W hen D an crashed he tw eaked his back badly.H e cu t part of the cou rse and pu lled the plu g as w e neared the next checkpoint. It w as a tou g h decision to m ake,bu t he w as in a lot of pain.I can’t blam e him .C rashing alw ays takes the w ind ou t ofm y sails too. C on tin u ed > XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE



M ike rolled into the finalcheckpoint in A lm a (m ile 145) ahead of Troy and I and w as refu eling as w e rolled in.T he localbank’s tem peratu re indicated 92 deg rees. W ith the heat index I’m su re it w as closer to the u pper 90’s.I w as barely hang in’ on by a thin thread at this tim e.C ram ps w ere threatening w ith every pedalstroke and had lost alldesire to eat or drink du ring the last stretch.A llthat w as available w as hot L em on-L im e H E E D in m y w ater bottles. K inda rem inded m e a hot T heraFlu . N o thanks! A s a resu lt, m y dehydration and caloric deficit only w orsened and a fu llforce bonk w as on the w ay. M ike, Troy and I took an extended break in A lm a. M ike looked fresh and w as optim istic on the next 60 m iles to the finish.Troy had looked fine riding into the finalcheckpoint,bu t beg an to feelthe effects of the heat w hile refu eling .W hile I w as sitting inside the convenience store enjoying the air conditioning I noticed Troy standing over his bike w ith one hand ag ainst the w alland his head hang ing low w hile taking long slow breaths.I thou g ht he w as g oing to pass ou t.I qu ickly opened the convenience store door and asked him to com e on in and sit dow n in the air conditioning for a w hile. H e m u m bled som ething and stag g ered in. H e w as lig htheaded, nau seou s, and looked letharg ic. T his w as a bit concerning becau se I didn’t feel m u ch better m yself. W e w ere cou nting on each other to m ake it to the finish.

M ike took off after I insisted that he keep m oving . Troy and I needed a bit long er and knew w e w ou ldn’t be able to hang anyw ays.A fter an additional ten to fifteen m inu tes and lots of G atorade w e eventu ally beg an com e arou nd and finally m u starded u p enou g h cou rag e to continu e on. E skridg e w asn’t an official checkpoint,bu t it w as only 20 m iles from A lm a. T he finish line w as 60 m iles aw ay and seem ed like an im possible feat in the cu rrent am bient conditions. M aking short term g oals in long endu rance events is a pru dent strateg y. H ow do you eat an elephant? O ne bite at a tim e. E skridg e had only one convenience store and it closed at 8 PM . W e had plenty of tim e to g et there and w orked on rehydrating as w e hit the next 20 m iles ofg ru eling g rinders.T hose tw enty m iles cooked m e,literally. C on tin u ed >

“Th e finish line was60 m ilesaway and seem ed like an im possible feat in th e cu rrent am bient conditions.”



dirtykanza XXCMAG.COM

Som e locals g assing u p their picku ps stared and shook their heads in disapproval as I cu rsed and did som e stu pid dance in an attem pt to dism ou nt m y bike w ith tw o locked u p ham string s. A hhh… g ood tim es.

R olling into E skridg e I w as com pletely shelled. Stick a fork in m e, I’m done! T he leg s w ere locking u p, a m assive bonk had ensu ed, and I hu rt ju st abou t everyw here. N ow , w hy the hell do I do these events? I asked m yself that qu estion several tim es throu g hou t the day.

T he next 40 m iles w ere rou g h.Tw o flats, several bilateral ham i/qu ad/calf m u scle lock u ps,one shooting star,one m assive storm clou d in the far distance w ith lots of lig htening ,thou sands of fireflies,and one very lou d expletive later, I crossed the finish line. T hird place. Troy took hom e second and M ike w on the event. Top three all N ebraskans! Jim Fobben, L incolinite, w ou ld g o on to finish arou nd 2 A M .

Troy on the other hand looked g reat and w as chattin’w ith the locals as I drag g ed m y sorry ass into the convenience store. A cou ple cold beverag es and an ice cream Snickers bar w ere pu rchased before plopping dow n in a chair next to Troy.T he look of concern on his face w as very apparent.A fter pu tting on m y happy face,I convinced him to leave and carry on to the finish w ithou t m e.H e relu ctantly ag reed.I knew had som e dem ons to battle and this battle w as best faced alone. Slow ly, over the next hou r, all kinds of hig hly preserved convenience store g arbag e w as forced dow n m y g u llet. T hou g hts of calling it qu its entered m y m ind nu m erou s tim es. T he only thing that kept m e g oing w as the thou g ht ofdisappointm ent I’d have to endu re for the 12 m onths.Plu s,the su n w ou ld be setting soon. T he cool air w ou ld revitalize m e.E ventu ally enou g h su g ar had satu rated m y blood to convince m e to carry on. A s I hopped back on m y bike both ham string s locked u p. Sons of bitchs!




T he heat index cou pled w ith a slig ht tail w ind only m ade m e feel hotter.I told Troy to keep g oing and I’d m eet him in E skridg e. A cou ple of the really big clim bs in rou te to E skridg e I fou nd m yself g oing 4 m ph.It w as ridicu lou s.

A totalof 15 riders ou t of the starting 85 finished. A very hig h attrition rate. T he heat claim ed m any victim s throu g hou t the day. In all honesty, I know how stu bborn m ost folks w ho com pete in these g ravel g rinders are. So I’m really thankfu l no one collapsed ou t on the g ravel. T hat w ou ld have been a very scary situ ation. Finishing an event su ch as D irty K anza is qu ite an accom plishm ent. Troy su m m ed it u p best w hen he said it felt like w e w ere part ofsom ething big . Indeed T he D irty K anza is a fantastic event and a classic g ravel g rinder. T he event prom oters, Jim and Joel, have the log istics of the D irty K anza dialed and host a top notch event. I hig hly recom m end this event to anyone w anting a challeng e ofepic proportions.





“It’sju stfou rhou rsaw ay from the startofthe Cow bellCha llen ge M arathon ra ce an d the tem peratu re isa lrea dy speedin g pa st75 degreesw hile the hu m idity m ore than keepspa ce at90% .”

C ontinu ed >

Photo by Ronald Richardson XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE



The su n’s been u p fo r aw hile w hen 6 am blinks into view o n o u r cellpho nes.It’s ju st fo u r ho u rs aw ay fro m the start o f the C o w bellC hallenge M aratho n race and the tem peratu re is already speeding past75 degrees w hile the hu m idity m o re than keeps pace at 90% . The C abarru s C o u nty EM S gu ys have finished setting u p, inclu ding thatallim po rtantair co nditio ning u nit,ready fo r w hatever the heat,the ro ck garden,the ku dzu ,the clim bs,and thatm ysterio u s new gu lley can dish o u t.

no bo dy needs a ride? O K ,w ell,skip it.L ast racers line u p at registratio n,w aiting o n nu m bers,sw ag and chips,and in a few m inu tes the next shu ttle is ready.There are m o re,even lo u der,anno u ncem ents abo u t the next shu ttle,and that ho w o nly tw o m o re shu ttles w illleave fo r D avidso n.This seem s to w ake u p abo u t a qu arter o f the racers w ho no w head o ver to o u r tem po rary bu s sto p. The real last call co m es,and yes,the m ad ru sh begins fo r the line to geto n the bu s to D avidso n.

By 7:30 am ,a steady stream o fcars w ith bikes flow s into the staging area atFisher Farm park, w hile the 10 x 10 tents po p u p w ith varying degrees o f ease and cu rsing.O u r tim ing pro s,K eri and Billru n thro u gh their checklists,pinging the satellite to m ake su re the lap tim es can u plo ad,taking a break to m ake the first calls fo r transpo rting racers and bikes to the starting area in dow ntow n D avidso n. “H m m , is the PA w o rking?” w e w o nder. The fo u rth and fifth first calls fo r transpo rtto dow ntow n D avidso n do n’tseem to bring a ru sh to the shu ttle,m aybe

N o w every M aratho n racer is finally in do w nto w n D avidso n fo r the start,w here Bru ce D ickm an has been w arm ing u p the cro w d – yes there is a cro w d!--and anno u ncing w here racers sho u ld line u p, go ing o ver the ru les, calling racers u p, and trying to prep them fo r the heat o f the day’s racing.So m e racers sto p in to check o u t The L o calFresh Farm ers M arket o r a qu ick caffeine sho t o f espresso at The Su m m it.There’s a qu ick M ayo rly w elco m e fro m “H izzo ner” Jo hn W o o ds and the 10 am startis finally here. Photos by Ronald Richardson

Racers chat and prepare for the 10 am start of the 2009 Cowbell Challenge.

C ontiConti nu ednu>ed > XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE



Photos by Ronald Richardson

”We’ve gotten a rep over the years of always adding some surprises to the course for Cowbell. It’s important to maintain that rep...” They’re o ff! H eading do w n So u th Street fo r the first tight left co rner tu rn o nto the greenw ay... U h o h, there’s a sw eet-lo o king, elderly m an o u t fo r a nice m o rning w alk shu ffling alo ng w ith his w alking sticks.I ask in m y very nicest,m o strespectfu lSo u thern boy w ay,“Sir there’s go ing to be abo u t160 m o u ntain bikers racing thro u gh here in abo u t tw o m inu tes.Please sto p and ju stm ove o ffthe path w ay fo r a few m inu tes...please?” W elllo o ks su re can be deceiving… the gru m py o ld m an yells back at m e,“no bo dy to ld m e anything abo u t a race! They go t brakes and I’m no t m o ving fo r anyo ne!!!”— allthe w hile po inting his w alking-sticks-tu rned-w eapo ns at m e. The faster paced racers start co m ing tho u gh, and he tries to pu sh his sticks o u t in the path o f so m e o f the racers. D avid H am pto n w ith the C abarru s EM S,being the nice gu y he is,pu ts the safety o f the racers first,and rides his bike o ver to pu t him self betw een the o ld gu y and the racers— then takes a few w hacks in the shin fro m the su rly o ld m an. I decide w e m ight have to have to rethink so m e o fo u r aw ards… m aybe a pu rple heartfo r inju ry in the line o fdu ty? O ff the greenw ay and back o n the ro ad fo r the rem aining five m iles to the park, the racers get an o fficial po lice esco rt part o f the w ay. A lo ng the w ay, so m e o f the bike friendly residents o f D avidso n greet the racers, ringing their little w hite V isit L ake N o rm an cow bells.I’ve go tm y vo lu nteers ready atthe “K ing and Q u een o fthe M o u ntain” checkpo ints, and ano ther great battle betw een Rebecca Ru sch and C arey L o w ery is shaping u p as the last o f racers head fo r the dirt.A s it tu rns o u t H arlan Price and Jafer Beizer have their ow n o ne-o n-o ne battle go ing o n thro u gho u tthe day. I’m pretty pro u d o f the new ro ck garden in this year’s co u rse— it lo o ks intim idating bu t the lines are pretty o bvio u s,and w e m arked it really w ell. W atching so m e o f the racers fly thro u gh there,they’llbe grinning and w ho o ping w hen they hititagain over the next five laps.Then the ridge to the gu lley o f slick ro o ts and o ff cam ber tree cro ssing,either the racers have so m e skills o r w o rk o n their skills thro u gho u tthe race.

Rebecca Rusch makes her way through the course on her way to a 2nd place finish. XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE

W e’ve go tten a rep o ver the years o f alw ays adding so m e su rprises to the co u rse fo r C o w bell. It’s im po rtant to m aintain that rep so w e added “the gu lley,” a gnarly little sectio n splitby so m e go o d-sized trees,and a deceptive dip thatco m es u p fast.

C ontiConti nu ednu>ed >



Photos by Ronald Richardson

Fisher Farm has so m e o f the sw eetest the single track in the area. M ark Su llivan, o w ner o f The C ycle Path the Fisher Farm Trail co o rdinato r fo r the Tarheel Trailblazers,has designed,w o rked m any o f ho u rs,bu ilding trailand stillis w o rking o n adding o n so m e go o d new single track. Back atthe start/finish,I see thatthe C hannel9 tru ck is there,sho o ting fo o tage as the racers co m e in fo r w ater,ice and m o re w ater.C o nnie’s finished u p being interview ed, and I’llhave to check o u t the resu lts to night,if I can stay aw ake lo ng eno u gh.If w e gave enthu siasm aw ards,I decided thato ne w o u ld have to go to a lo calsingle speeder, K C A ccetta,w ho m anages to w ho o p itu p every tim e he cro ssed the line… w hich ain’t easy w hen the heatindex has been in triple digits fo r the lastthree ho u rs.

”By the end of the day, out of the 160 racers, 40 finished on time for the cut off.” H eat and m o re heat...M o ther N atu re seem s to be m aking u p fo r the spring w ith a vengeance.A fter tw o years o f dro u ght,this spring ended u p rather co o land the past co u ple o f w eeks,co o ler than no rm al and rainy.N o t the case fo r race w eekend— it’s back to the u su alw eather pattern,m atching tem peratu re and degree readings in the u pper 90’s.The Friday befo re the race to pped o u t at 98 degrees and 90% hu m idity, and after they do their m ysterio u s m eteo ro lo gical calcu latio ns, the resu lting heat index w as 105.O n race day,it’s even higher,and the heatis really taking its to llo n the racers,w hile spectato rs and su ppo rtteam s are dealing w ith their ow n seto fto rtu res— gnats and m o squ ito es! M o st everyo ne is w ell-prepared and has so m eo ne to pro vide su ppo rt,bu t o u t o n the co u rse yo u ’re o n yo u r ow n.W ell,exceptfo r the C abarru s EM S team ,w ho co ntinu ally ro am the co u rse keeping tabs o n the racers.A bo u t three ho u rs into the race,w e’re starting to see the effects w ith racers pu lling o u t.W e’ve decided no t to D N F anyo ne w ho do esn’t m ake the cu t-o ffo r pu lls o u t du e to pro blem s fro m the heat.By the end o fthe day,o u to fthe 160 racers,40 finished o n tim e fo r the cu to ff.

Local single speeder KC Accetta having a good time in the Cowbell heat. XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE

4 pm and w e’re prepping fo r aw ards,trying to m ake su re w e’re stillcheering o n the hearty so u ls w ho are finishing their final laps, co w bells are even m o re im po rtant w hen the end is in sight,bu tseem s im po ssible to getto. W e po stthe resu lts,w aitfo r the nearly no n-existing pro tests, and get ready to anno u nce the w inners w hile everyo ne stillhas an o u nce o r tw o o fenergy left.

C onti nu ed > Continu ed >



The Specialized K ing and Q u een o fthe M o u ntain,Rebecca Ru sch (Specialized/Red Bu ll)and Jafer Beizer (Jittery Jo e’s U 25 p/b K u dzu .co m ) getto clim b o n to p the alm o stw o rld-fam o u s cow -spo tted po diu m first. N extu p is the K EN D A FastestL ap aw ards,w hich go to C arey L ow ery (O u tdo o r Sto re/Specialized)fo r a lap o f44:26.151,and H arlan Price (IndependentFabricatio n)w ith a lap tim e o f37:52.389.

Photos by Ronald Richardson

M any thanks to the Tow n o fD avidso n,Park and Rec D irecto r Steve Fraher, M ark Su llivan,The C ycle Path,K EN D A ,Specialized,H o m ew o o d Su ites, W A M Tim ing,L o m ax Tile & M arble and the L ew is fam ily fo r helping o u tso m u ch the C ow bellRace W eekend. Thank yo u to allthe racers thatcam e o u t being su ppo rtive o fthe m o u ntain biking. See yo u o u tenjoying the trails and races!

Carey Lowery blasting through the single track (top), and The Mens’s and Women’s top five on top the almost world-famous cow-spotted podium (right). XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE

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Photos by Ronald Richardson

Photos by Ronald Richardson

2009 Cowbell Challenge Marathon Results Pro Open Male 1 Harlan Price 6 laps 4:16:22.532 2 Jafer Beizer 6 laps 4:17:44.933 3 Aaron Oaks 6 laps 4:24:09.895 4 John Mylne 6 laps 4:34:47.278 5 Peter Joski 6 laps 4:48:38.891 Pro Open Female 1 Carey Lowery 6 laps 5:03:35.106 2 Rebecca Rusch 6 laps 5:09:49.982 3 Rebecca Tomaszewski 6 laps 5:15:32.446 4 Elizabeth Frye 6 laps 5:21:27.164 5 Anne Craig-Pena 6 laps 5:38:28.419 Amateur A Male (18-29) 1 Curtis Armstrong 6 laps 6:50:02.569 2 Chris Joseph 5 laps 5:31:23.834 3 Christopher Danz 5 laps 6:07:09.931

Single Speed Female 1 Shanna Powell 6 laps 6:30:51.861 2 Sherry George 4 laps 5:50:15.552 Youth Female (17 and under) 1 Sophie Clyburn 5 laps 6:42:51.058 Marathon - Duo 1 Paul’s Specialized Hope Ann & Jay Walsh 6 laps 5:31:40.657 2 Skeleton Crew Ryan Freeman & Robert Niemeyer 6 laps 5:38:21.279 3 Cycle Therapy/Sparkies Curtis Keeler, David Tesh 6 laps 5:57:24.058 Multi-team 1 Cycle Path Evans, Evely, Stuart 5 laps 5:54:18.677 2 Inland Construction Bailey , Frye, Pezzimenti 5 laps 6:21:33.858

Amateur A Female (18-29) 1 Lovina Roy 2 laps 2:34:03.654 Amateur B Male (30-39) 1 Noel Kirila 6 laps 5:05:56.257 2 Ronnie Dean 6 laps 5:42:22.989 3 Mark Sackett 6 laps 5:48:13.992 Amateur B Female (30-39) 1 Marcey Rader-Rhodenbaugh 5 laps 6:49:31.633 2 Mia Griggs 2 laps 2:26:47.146 Masters Male (40+) 1 Christopher Cyr 6 laps 5:06:09.998 2 James Shelton 6 laps 5:15:12.626 3 Rich Dillen 6 laps 5:35:35.702 Masters Female (40+) 1 Paula Lamberson 6 laps 6:48:13.498 2 Sally Edwards 5 laps 5:44:32.747 3 Leah Ranney 5 laps 6:06:03.551 Single Speed Male 1 Dejay Birtch 6 laps 5:08:44.829 2 Eric Hagerty 6 laps 5:18:53.371 3 David Hall 6 laps 5:19:21.908

Men’s Men’s winner winner Harlan Harlan Price Price crosses crosses the the line. line. XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE


The The Specialized Specialized King King and and Queen Queen of of the the Mountain, Mountain, Rebecca Rebecca Rusch Rusch (Specialized/Red (Specialized/Red Bull) Bull) and and C ontinu ed > Jafer Jafer Beizer Beizer (Jittery (Jittery Joe’s Joe’s U25 U25 p/b p/b XXCMAG.COM







W hen I did the G rand L oop in ‘07 it w as a com pletely consu m ing affair. E verything abou t it w as so new , so foreig n,so prom ising ,so frig htening I w as g reen to m u ltiday self-su pported racing (still am , really). H aving that first one in the books rem oved m u ch of the u nknow n abou t the event this tim e. B y far,G rand L oop ‘09 w as all abou t the internal stru g g le of m u lti-day racing . I knew that at the start, yet still g ot m ore than I expected in that departm ent! I had g oals and expectations. First and forem ost w as sim ply to finish on the SS. T he second w as to do it faster than I did the first tim e arou nd and set a new record m ark for the rou te.L ittle did I know that Jefe B ranham w ou ld be hitting the rou te w ith sim ilar aspirations pu tting in a record ride on his SS… T he m ore tim e I spend on a SS the m ore I realize that,especially for long er events,they can be faster even thou g h they seem to be su ch a disadvantag e at tim es.G oal#2 w as tied in w ith this theory. A llshiny and new for the start. I g ot as m u ch on the bike (and not on m y back) as possible.T his tu rned ou t to be a g reat strateg y for the m ost part as pack w eig ht never tu rned into a sore back - a concern w ith all the standing requ ired. A s for the g ear, I stressed over that a lot… of cou rse… and had pretty m u ch settled on a 33.22 (29er). T he day before the start I felt so frig g in g ood I chang ed and w ent w ith a 33.21. T he nice thing abou t leaving the start is you don’t have to think abou t g ear choice anym ore. R ide,eat,sleep ifya g otta,repeat. A h,the sim ple life. T his is the year for everyone to do the “race” on their ow n term s. Scott M orris and C had B row n did the rou te backw ards (actu ally a consistent them e for Scott this year), w hile others started at variou s tim es. I chose to start at W estw ater. It w as closer to hom e,it w ou ld split the desert section of the K okopelli Trail - and since it w as cooler in g eneral an early m orning start m eant starting w ithou t being sleep deprived, som ething all bu t Jefe, Jim L eikert and M att took advantag e of.T he conditions this year w ere anything bu t traditional. XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE



I w as m oving faster this year than in ‘07 - by a lot m ost of the tim e.It’s hard to w rap m y head arou nd, actu ally. C ool tem ps, big w heels, experience, I ju st don’t really know . A fter the ‘07 ride I knew it cou ld be done faster cau se I stopped a lot to m ake coffee… bu t w hen I w as riding I w as riding fast, or so I thou g ht.D oing the m u lit-rider playback analysis in Topofu sion w ith the ‘07 and ‘09 files is eye-popping . If it w asn’t m u ddy I w as ju st faster this year. I tossed on 2.35 ram pag es front and rear w ith the idea that g oing w ith su per low pressu re in the rear w ou ld m aintain traction u p sandy clim bs. T his w orked g reat and I only w alked in 2 short steep bits on the shandies,and very little on the w ay to N orth B eaver. I hit the Paradox (from D ew ey) abou t 1 hou r 50 m in faster than in ‘07! I didn’t know at the tim e,only after the Topofu sion analysis. T he w eather started brilliant bu t qu ickly deteriorated. C ool tem ps w ere g reat - bu t cam e w ith lots of m oistu re. It w as a m ixed bag for su re. Su re enou g h,hig h in the L a Sals the storm s hit in earnest. Fast riding tu rned to u nrideable m u ck. So m u ch for that shiny new bike. Su ddenly those 2.35 R am pag es w ith m inim al clearance becam e a liability. U g h! T he only w ay to g et throu g h this area w as m eadow hopping .L ots ofbou lders and sag ebru sh to dodg e,I look u p and O M G there are tw o cyclists com ing tow ards m e doing the sam e!! N o w ay, it cou ldn’t be… su re enou g h, XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE

“H ollyw ood”(C had B row n) and “M r. Topofu sion” (Scott M orris) w ere doing the sam e,looking rather sog g y too! It w as su rreal to be su rrou nded by m y ow n breathing and thou g hts for several hou rs and then ru n into a pair doing PAGE 21

the sam e.C had and I had a m om ent u p there,and I g otta say he looked fresh and frog g y. L ookou t, this new kid on the block is on the rise! XXCMAG.COM

W orking throu g h those m eadow s took forever. T here w as one last big nasty m u ddy clim b, m ore m eadow hopping , before thing s im proved. Several hou rs later I ran into M arshalB ird ou t on his birthday ride. H e seem ed u nfazed by the w eather and fu lly prepared. In fact I w as doing a lot of w alking w here it looked like he w as riding m u d. H e’s g ot m u ck su per pow ers! M arshal and I rode tog ether a little and shared a few tales. T hen he says “w ell looks like no records this year eh?” T hat w as a big blow . It w as on m y m ind,bu t I w asn’t w illing to face that. T he m u ck event took a lot ou t of m e,I can’t lie,and this w as a low point of the ride. Shortly thereafter,I cou ldn’t fig u re ou t a tu rn and lost another 15 m inu tes - G PS track and all. Som e tim e later rolling throu g h the Paradox valley I w as becom ing aw are of som e voice inside that w as telling m e not to be discou rag ed, som e u nderlying optim ism that a g ood ride w as still to be had. T he phone at the B edrock store w as ou t of service - another big blow (hey I ain’t sing le these days!) - bu t that ju st served as a lau nch pad to attack this rou te w ith everything . I w as starting to feela little crazy and w anting to g et jig g y w ith it.So,I u nleashed m y secret w eapon: Java Ju ice and M & M s. Stoveless this tim e, the caffeine fix cam e from these little packets of heaven.B etter than G U hands dow n! C hasing copiou s am ou nts ofM & M s,w ellthat w as the kick the tu rbo needed. B edrock to Pinto M esa took allof 6 hou rs,the hardest section of the Paradox,in the w itching hou rs.It w as su ch a blast. L ot’s of hike a bike,at tim es ru n a bike that Java Ju ice is strong stu ff and at tim es I had to consciou sly pu llin the reig ns. 3:40 A M ju st below Pinto it w as tim e for a cou ple hou rs shu teye, the first thu s far.I’d been pu shing for abou t 22 hou rs at this point. T hat m eant G lencoe B ench for the su nrise! A g org eou s spot,su rely m ade allthe better by sleep deprivation and exhau stion. You can barely m ake ou t the L a Sals in this pic.Yep,this rou te covers som e g rou nd.(see top left photo). U p,u p,u p.H ou ser road w as pretty tou g h above 9k on the sing le speed and I did a fair bit of hoofing .Yet,the Topfu sion com parison stillsays faster than ‘07.I’m tossing allm y g ears aw ay,they don’t do any g ood anyw ay! T he prize for the last 60 m iles of clim bing ? N early u nrideable sing le track dow ned trees,snow cover - the u pper Tab is sim ply not ready. I had tw ing es of g u ilt riding as it w as rideable bu t m u ddy, know ing w e w ere not doing the trail any g ood. XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE



killing m e. T he leg s w ere done, and w hen that happens on a SS there is only one thing to do. W alk. It w as ag onizing ly slow , I w as pissed at how inefficient this w as… the eyes cou ldn’t focu s rig ht and I w as starting to halu cinate… and finally abou t m idnig ht pu lled the bivvy ou t. 6 hou rs later I w as m oving ag ain bu t the dam ag e w as done. Too tired to g et m u ch of anything dow n the hatch,I w oke stillpretty bonked ou t. A g ood long w hile rehydrating and fu eling at D om ing u ez helped bu t it su re felt like I had slipped into su rvivalm ode. T he rest of the day w as allabou t w alking as little as possible. I knew it w ou ld hu rt bu t w ou ld be faster to keep riding . I cam e this year to g o fast and I g ave it w hat w as left. N ot m u ch, bu t the W hitew ater to L L section w as still u nder 3.5 hou rs, and the N o M as clim b faster than ‘07 w hen I sw ear I flew u p that thing .

Snow and trees notw ithstanding , it didn’t take very long . It seem ed long … bu t the file says otherw ise. T he infam ou s R ou bideau w as next, 16 drainag e crossing s, m u ch of the u ps are hikes, all ru bbly, all drop dead g org eou s and teem ing w ith critters of all kinds.I took a nap u nder a tree du ring a show er,bu t other than that it flow ed by m ag ically. M u ch easier than I recalled!T he only issu e w as that m y chain w as developing a sqeek - m y lu be escaped from the pack abou t 120 m iles ag o,doh! H eading u p L ove M esa it looked like I’d hit the top in daylig ht. N ever having seen the view from u p XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE

there I w as m otivated to do so,and w hen it started to look tig ht I ram ped it u p som e m ore, and really ham m ered the final 45 m inu tes or so. A nd didn’t eat… and ju st m issed the su nset at the top. D ang it. It w as cold at the top, and I w as pretty m u ch bonked w ith m ostly dow nhill g ravel road for the next few hou rs. Shit. Sam e thing that forced m e to stop last tim e. I pu t on w arm g ear I brou g ht specifically for this section, know ing this cou ld happen. I w as certainly w arm ,sw eating even,bu t I w as toast.D om ing u ez w as the g oal bu t the few hills before the drop in w ere PAGE 23

B u t w ait - there is m ore! Traditional G L racers are done at the L u nch L oop trailhead,bu t since I started in W estw ater, I g ot to ride pavem ent ou t to Fru ita,interstate to L om a,then 40 ish m iles of the K okopelli that I hadn’t yet done. T hat m eant the Salt C reek hike a bike w as com ing soon. R ig ht abou t here is w hen I pau sed to reconsider the (lack of) w isdom ofm y start point. To prepare, I took advantag e of the M cD onalds passing in Fru ita. $10 of g arbag e dow n the hatch, I (thou g ht I) w as fu eled and ready. Trou ble is, M cD s is nothing like I’d been eating for the last 4 m onths or so and it tried to escape allthe w ay to W estw ater. Sore tired leg s and bad g u t notw ithstanding , I knew w here I w as tim ew ise - rou g hly 7 hou rs ahead ofrecord pace - and ju st had to g et’r done. T he pressu re w as off and I fu lly enjoyed the cru ise to W estw ater. XXCMAG.COM

A n am azing thing happens w hen you ride you r bike for days on end w ith m inim al sleep. You becom e one w ith that m achine,the bars,fork,w heels all an extension of you r body. B ike handling becom es so extraordinarily crisp it is alm ost like an ou t of body experience.I loved the techy sing le track leading to Salt C reek. A nything that didn’t requ ire a lot of pow er, that is! T here are long sections betw een R abbit V alley and B itter C reek w ith tons of flow , realripping dou ble track and those w ere a blast.T he desert w as cool this afternoon/evening , and ju st before W estw ater I actu ally had to pu t on m y arm w arm ers.G o fig u re! R ig ht as I rolled u p to the railroad overpass near W estw ater - the start and finish of m y loop - an A m trak train sped over, fu ll of onlookers, all cheering m y finish. A t least that’s w hat m y addled m ind told m e. T his can be a lonely sport - solo starts, solo finishes - bu t m eeting u p w ith other riders on rou te and the A m trak cheering section w ere certain hig hlig hts. T he G PS file tells m e these tim es: 2 days,12 hou rs 44 m in for the traditional (bedrock) rou te. For the com plete loop (inlu ding the typically u ntim ed section from the Tab trail head to L om a) it w as 2 days 15 hou rs 39 m in. T hat’s abou t 6.5 hou rs faster than the ‘07 record ride and this year’s conditions w ere qu estionable at best. A nd SS - g u ess w hat I think abou t that?? T he event this year saw lots of action. T here w ere so m any tire tracks ou t there I cou ldn’t keep them allstraig ht! M onday m orning I g ot online in Fru ita and saw that Jefe w as abou t to finish and he w as hau ling the m ail, du e to finish w ell u nder the previou s record. Instead of heading hom e,I drove back to G J and the Tab T H to m eet him - C at M orrison and Z ack w ere already there and Jefe w as onrou te to eating a w hole chicken and then XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE

som e… sim ply aw esom e to chat w ith the 3 of them in the perfect tem ps of the m idday desert. H e pu t in a phenom enalride,also on a SS! H is energ y and enthu siasm for the experience w as contag iou s,I sw ear he did not ju st finish the G rand L oop! A s for m y recovery… I w as com pletely shelled post event. A fter finishing I headed straig ht for Fru ita,the su per 8 w as calling lou dly and the W estw ater m osqu itoes w ere w ay too hu ng ry.T he m irror there told the story of m y race. I did not see a 44 year old du de I knew 3 days ag o,w hat I saw w as an ag eless du de w ith not enou g h layers to hide a sing le piece of m u scle fiber or vein. Indeed w hen I g ot hom e the tanita told m e bodyfat w as at 2.4% . It is rising qu ickly bu t that pace I don’t think w as su stainable for m u ch long er. It really m akes m e think abou t strateg ies for long er events like the C olorado TrailR ace. I’d be rem iss if I didn’t show som e appreciation here. M ike C u riak has long provided the inspiration to do this sort of event, in fact this exact event. O n top of that, he has bu ilt bu lletproof w heels on w hich to do them ,and even helped m e qu ickly acqu ire the L enz M ilk M oney (w hich he had a larg e role in desig ning ) w hich tu rned ou t to be the ideal bike for this difficu lt rou te. Scott M orris’ Topofu sion & bikepacking .net have becom e enorm ou s contribu tions to the endu rance racing scene.Saving the best for last,L ynda is an inspiration on m any levels. O ne is sim ply to keep u p w ith the g al, the second is sw eet thing s to daydream abou t on long su ffery clim bs. T he entire endu rance M T B crow d is su per g rou p of folks I’m happy to consider as fam ily.



Michael Boyes at the WVMBA Wayne Ultra. Photo by Alicia Mathers,

The West Virginia Mountain Bike Association has arguably one of the longest running, biggest and best XC race series on the east coast. In 2008 they added an Ultra Marathon Series and it continues on in 2009 with 4 races in 3 different states, bringing together a host of endurance freaks from the West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio areas. The four races in the series vary in length from 38 to 50 miles, and include everything that you would expect from a WVMBA race: Roots, rocks, mud, big climbs, hike-a-bikes and probably a little blood along the way. The first two races in the Ultra Series are in the books and

included the Massanutten Hoo-Ha Waynet The 38 oft “Itmile ’sjHoo-Ha u st fou rhou rs aw and aythe from he art he Cow bellCha llen ge went down on June 7th and had Sue Haywood the win on Sornson Mtaking arat hon rathecewomen’s an d side, thewith temCheryl perat u reini2nd sa lrea dy speedin g pa st75 and Betsy Shogren in 3rd. The Men’s XXC race was won by Jesse Stevens (see hisw race page inty 3:45, by keepspa ce at90% . degrees hilreport e theonhu m27) idi m followed ore than ” Ben Klimas in 2nd and Kyle Lawrence in 3rd. On June 28th the series moved to Marietta, Ohio for the Wayne Ultra. The Wayne gave racers 45 miles of single track and steep back road climbing. The single track included some super steep, brake pad burning down hills filled with numerous tight switch backs. The course would take the racers back up some of these same trails later in the race for one of the hardest, slowest hikea-bikes many have ever encountered.

Words: Jason Mahokey Photos: C byonti Alicia nuMathers ed >




Gerry Pflug crosses the line for the win Photo by Alicia Mathers,

Fresh off of his win at the Lumberjack 100 the week before, endurance race veteran Gerry Pflug took the win in a time of 3:49 after battling with Tim Carson for most of the race. Carson found himself on the edge of a bonk in the race’s final miles and faded to take 2nd, with Ben Ort coming in 3rd. The Women’s XXC winner was Michelle Johnson with a winning time of 5:21, followed by Anna Seno in second and Meredith Erlewine in 3rd. Complete results, photos and coverage from both the Hoo-Ha! and The Wayne Ultra can also be found by visiting the WVMBA web site at Up next in the series is the 50 mile Big Bear Lake Ultra on August 8th in Bruceton Mills, WV. The four race series will close out with the Revenge of The Rattlesnake on September 26th in Davis, West Virginia. You can be sure that the Rattlesnake will have ALL the gnarly rocks, slick roots and pain you can handle and will be an epic way to close out the Ultra series. For more information on the Ultra Series check out and Men’s 2nd place finisher Tim Carson chasing down a “Pfluger” Photo by Alicia Mathers,

Michelle Johson (left) rocking her Trek 69er to a victory Photo by Alicia Mathers,




The decision to make the trip to Massanutten Resort in Virginia for the 4th round of the Kenda Cup was a difficult one. The previous weekend was full of excitement with the Mohican 100 and a local XC race in Eleanor, WV. The next weekend was to bring the 24 Hours of Big Bear followed by the Lumberjack 100. Needless to say I was wondering how many of these events my body could endure before the rebellion began. That being said everyone reading this knows how the story is going to end, a way is found to rationalize the attending the race. I called up the crew, secured a hotel room and started prepping the Ellsworth for punishment that only Harrisonburg, VA can dish out. At 11am on Saturday we set off on the 5 hour drive to Harrisonburg to do some pre-riding and to get settled into our Motel 6 for some Z’s. The drive down was un-eventful except for the part where we coast into a gas station on fumes, apparently 4 bikes on top of a Subaru forester doesn’t help the gas mileage. Gas acquired and a stop at Panera bread for lunch we head out to the course for


some recon of the course and the tension started to build a little. I should mention at this point that the “crew” are not accustomed to riding very technical rocky trails, our normal riding areas are very fast and very smooth. We had all heard stories about the kind of riding we were going to experience and it did not sound promising. After talking with some friendly riders who had just finished riding the course we think we have a pretty good idea where to go and head out. The first short lap was depressing, the legs never feel great right after a long ride in the car and a bike racers mental state can be fickle at times so none of us are feeling super confident. Rolling around the fast smooth short lap made everyone feel at home and relieved quite a bit of worry about the trails we were gonna be racing on the next day. The relief didn’t last long as we scaled the rocky technical first climb and started down some trails that looked like they were designed for Steve Peat.



Photo by JR Petsko




Race Day. Standard race day breakfast of a double waffle at the Waffle House complete with an entire container of syrup. Everyone is jumpy at the start and Gunnar Shogren even starts prematurely and is called back (silly Gunnar). Finally the race is underway and as usual it starts harder than it should for a race that’s going to take 4 hours. In an attempt to neutralize the advantage that some of the more experienced racers were likely to have over the very technical descents, I strike out immediately on the fast short loop and ride hard up the first technical climb and get a good gap. As I feared however a more competent descender caught me on the first long downhill and then another. Now in 3rd place I feel like my fears are becoming reality. Until we make a left turn onto a fire road and the course marshal says “3 miles to the top and make a left” and my spirits are bolstered as I make full use of the big ring. Reclaiming my 1st place with half the race over gives me a great mental boost and I start pushing harder over the extremely rocky and technical sections until something unimaginable happens. On the trail in front of me I spot a man on horseback and the horse does not seem to like having a skinny sweating manimal coming up on him from behind. I loose 3 minutes behind the rider until he can find a place to get off the trail and let me go by. Probably the most bizarre thing


I’ve ever encountered in a race and I wonder how the 50 or so XXC racers are going to get by. Another long hard technical climb and suddenly I see that the 3 hour mark has passed and hope that this years course is like last years with the leaders finishing around 4 hours. As I pass through the start/finish I have a grim realization, we have to climb that first climb AGAIN? I tell myself “that’s good for you, get more time” and I suffer up the climb and subsequent descent while trying to get around droves of Sport, Expert and beginner riders who are out on the course. Crossing the finish line in first place there is a moment of disbelief as I’m trying to figure out if I’m happier that the race is over or that I won. This was undoubtedly one of the hardest 4 hours I’ve ever experienced on the bike both physically and mentally. The race was organized excellently and the atmosphere was festive. Big props to Rocky Mountain and GT for showing up supporting the even. So, race done and long trip ahead we slip out to get some grub before hitting the road and I’m reminded about my promise from the day before “if I win Iíll pay for the celebration” I have a feeling this is going to cost me.






T heodore R oosevelt once said “I never w ou ld have been President if it had not been for m y experiences in N orth D akota.” N orth D akota is filled w ith big spaces,enchanting landscapes and w ildlife.I’ve spent considerable tim e in N orth D akota.E ach tim e I g o and ride,I see m ore and m ore cyclists enjoying the M aah D aah H ey trailand the big cou ntry ofN orth D akota. T he M aah D aah H ey is an incredible 100+ m iles m ou ntain bike trail that ru ns throu g h the heart of the B adlands.It’s ru g g ed.It’s rem ote.It’s beau tifu l.Sou nds like a perfect place to g o to recharg e and experience the land that influ enced the

life,politics and philosophy ofou r 26th president. O ver the years, I’ve ridden alm ost every section of the trail. I’ve never had the opportu nity to ride it end to end on the sam e trip. W hile 100+ m iles of sing le track m ay not sou nd like that m u ch for an endu rance cyclist, riding the M aah D aah H ey isn’t like riding any other trail.I’m su re for som e it is possible to ride in one day. H ow ever, riding the trail in one day doesn’t allow you fu lly experience the environm ent.T he M D H terrain dem ands you to g o slow and stim u lates each ofyou r senses.Ifyou g ive the M D H enou g h tim e it w illrew ard you .

“Ifyou givetheM DH en ou gh tim eitw illrew ard you .” C on tin u ed > XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE



“Few thin gscom pa re to bein g su rrou n ded by m iles a n d m ilesofla n d a n d seein g a perfectsu n rise.”




“It’sru gged.It’srem ote.It’sbeautifu l.”

T his year I pedaled ou t of M edora,N D at 4:30A M .R iding ou t of tow n to the trailhead in the dark freed m e from m y big city life I left behind the previou s day.I g rew u p in the cou ntry.I felt at hom e.M y desire w as to find that perfect spot to view and photog raph the su nrise. Few thing s com pare to being su rrou nded by m iles and m iles of land and seeing a perfect su nrise.M y effort paid off and I w as rew arded.A s the su n rose,the black landscape cam e alive.O rang e,g reen,w hite and blu e stim u lated m y eyes. T he fresh and w et g rasslands titillated m y sense of sm ell.T he w ind soothed m y ears and m ind.T he rem oteness com forted m e.I fou nd m yselfalone w ith beau ty allarou nd m e.

A few tips for those considering riding the M aah D aah H ey:

T his ride on the M aah D aah H ey w as special. A fter several hou rs of riding , I left recharg ed and w ith g reater clarity. I left long ing for tw o day end to end trip w ith a nig ht in the big cou ntry.M y 2010 fam ily trip can’t com e soon enou g h.

T he soilis not rideable ifit rains.B ring a slick set oftires or second bike to ride the road or g ravel.T heodore R oosevelt N ationalPark has a 40 m ile loop that is incredible and there are m iles and m iles ofg ravelroads to explore.


B e prepared.B u y a m ap from D akota C yclery and carry it w ith you . Plan for su b 10m ph averag e for the leng th ofthe trail Plan for lots ofw ater –T his land is cru shing and u nforg iving .T here are w ells bu t you need to have a plan for w ater ifyou are riding end to end Trailers are challeng ing du e to trailerosion.T he sides ofm ost trailers bottom ou t on the trailm aking riding even m ore difficu lt.






T he Park C ity Point 2 Point race w ill take place this Septem ber 5th in the W asatch M ou ntains of U tah.T he race w ill featu re over 75 m iles of sing le track, over 10,000 feet of clim bing and som e of the best trails in the Park C ity, U tah area. C ateg ories inclu de Solo M en, Solo W om en, Sing le Speed, and a D u o division. T here w illbe cash pay ou ts in the O pen M ale and O pen Fem ale categ ories.T he first 200 entrant w ill receive a PC PP G rou nd Tech T shirt and a bu nch of other g oodies.A llracers w illenjoy su pport from 2 aid stations stocked w ith fu elfrom the g ood folks at H am m er N u trition, a tasty post race B B Q , a concert at T he C anyons R esort and m u ch,m u ch,m ore. T he cou rse is not final yet, bu t shou ld be in the com ing w eeks. Stay tu ned to for details.R eg istration is now open at and capped at 300 racers,so reg ister today to m ake su re you ’re on the starting line for the 2009 Park C ity Point 2 Point! Tw o video cou rse preview s are available at the X X C m ag .com B log .

Images courtesy of Jay Burke XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE



To contribute to XXC or for advertising information contact XXC at XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE



fou nd rides

by jason m ahokey




This su m m er (at least the m o nth o f Ju ne and the first w eek o f Ju ly) here in W estern Pennsylvania w as anything bu t ideal.W e had a to n o f rain,and m o st o f the lo caltrails w ere a slick and m u ddy m ess.Su re there’s ro ad riding,bu t to o m u ch tim e o n skinny tires, dealing w ith cars (o r I sho u ld say drivers?), and do ing the sam e o ld lo o ps, can leave m e a bitbu rned o u tand m o re than a tad bitcranky.




O ften w hen the trails are to o m u ddy I head to the m o u ntains to hit u p a bu nch o f fo rest ro ads, and the better draining sno w m o bile trails to get m y fat tire fix. Bu t lo ng rides bo o kended by 50 m inu te drives can be tim e co nsu m ing. So I’ve been lo o king ato ther w ays to pile u p so m e m iles o n m y m o u ntain bike.W hatI’ve fo u nd is the realizatio n thatso m etim es the “trail” and the “ride” is allw hatyo u m ake o fit. XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE



I lo o ked at w hat m y little co rner o f the w o rld has to o ffer m e. I have access to hu ndreds o fm iles o frailtrails no t m o re than 4 o r 5 m iles fro m m y ho u se,and o ffo f tho se trails are so m e lo w traffic ro ads,u tility access ro ads,so m e nice clim bing,and w hat I affectio nately callW estern Pennsylvania “shit ro ads”.I’m talking the kind o f back ro ads thatpass fo r paved ro ads o n the m aps,bu tin reality are strew n w ith gravel and po tho les,and are ro u gh eno u gh to alm o stgetfu lltravelfro m a su spensio n fo rk. U nless yo u have so m e dam n fine ro adie skills (I do n’t) yo u ’ll be dam n happy to be riding fatkno bbies and no tskinny slicks w hen yo u ’re o n the “shitro ads”.




“Im ightbeOK w ith a littlelessroad side un derw ear,butalltherestIcan deal w ith,aslong asitm ean sI’m spen ding tim ein thesaddle.”




Su re, I lo ng fo r epic rides in the dirt. Single track, w ildlife, m o u ntain view s and tim e in the w o o ds.Bu tw hen schedu les are tight, tim e is sho rt and M o ther N atu re is being an u nco o perative,rain m aking hu ss,I know I w illbe ju stfine w ith lim esto ne bike paths, bo vine blo cked farm ro ads, u n-scenic view s,and ro ad side u nderw ear litter.O K ,I m ight be O K w ith a little less ro ad side u nderw ear,bu tallthe restI can dealw ith, as lo ng as itm eans I’m spending tim e in the saddle. Ihave o nly ever been called an “o ptim ist” in jest.M y repu tatio n fo r view ing life’s glass as “half em pty” is w ell kno w n am o ngst friends,fam ily and the blo go sphere.Bu tin this case I can tru ly say thatso m etim es yo u go tta ro llo n w hat’s available to yo u and m ake the best o f it.So m etim es yo u have to take advantage o f things like rail trails, gravel ro ads, and a state’s cru m bling infrastru ctu re to get in so m e m iles o n yo u r m o u ntain bike and have so m e fu n. I u sed to be pretty against riding m y m o u ntain bike o n the ro ad.I felt slo w and stu pid.Bu t w hen yo u find yo u rself w ith a nasty endu rance racing habitand a lu stfo r alltires fat,yo u find yo u rselfdo ing a lo t o fthings yo u never tho u ght yo u w o u ld.So the next tim e yo u ’re bu rned o u t o n the ro ad, o r faced w ith u nrideable trails, I enco u rage yo u to lo o k aro u nd and get creative.A “ride” is o ften clo ser than yo u think.




XXC is happy to introduce Enduro Nut Corner, by Sports Nutritionist and Topeak-Ergon endurance racer Namrita O’Dea, MS, RD, LD. Each issue Namrita will help us cook up some quick and nutritious recipes to fuel long days in the saddle or just jump start some recovery. This issue’s recipe has been prepared in the kitchen of XXC Mag a few times already and is fast becoming a pre ride favorite. I believe the phrase is “Yum-oh”!

Almond Butter and Banana French Toast Prep time: 5 minutes, Cook time: 5 minutes This recipe is quick, delicious, and easy to change up depending on what ingredients you have around. French toast is not just for breakfast, it’s the perfect pre- or post-workout snack!

Ingredients: 2 slices multigrain bread 1/4 cup soy (or almond) milk 2 egg whites 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbs almond butter (or peanut butter) 1 medium banana, sliced 2 tsp honey or maple syrup, optional Cooking spray

Directions: Mix together the milk, egg whites, and vanilla extract. Dip the bread into the mixture and saturate. Spray skillet with cooking spray and cook the toast over medium heat until each side is browned and the toast is cooked through. Divide the almond butter and spread on each half. Top with sliced banana and honey (or maple syrup).

Nutrition Info:

Almond butter, no honey: Calories: 403 Total Fat: 13.1 g (27%) Carbohydrate: 58 g (54%) Protein: 18.8 g (18%) Almond butter and honey: Calories: 445 Total Fat: 13.1 g (25%) Carbohydrate: 69.4 g (59%) Protein: 18.9 g (16%) Peanut butter and honey: Calories: 438 Total Fat: 11.7 g (23%) Carbohydrate: 69.1 g (59%) Protein: 20.5 g (18%)

Image by Jason Mahokey




“A Sunday In Hell” for endurance freaks?

By Jason Mahokey

T his past spring I took the tim e w atch L a C ou rse E n Tete,T he G reatest Show on E arth and A Su nday In H ell. T hese m ovies are arg u ably som e of the g reatest road cycling docu m entaries ever m ade.I loved every second of w atching these classics,and have w atched them m u ltiple tim es in the past few m onths. A s I w atched these film s I fou nd m yself thinking - “C ou ld 24 Solo be A Su nday In H ellfor endu rance m ou ntain bike freaks? Take ou t E ddy M erckx,and R og er D e V laem inick, pu t in C hris E atou g h and C raig G ordon. G et off the cobbles and skinny tires and in the w oods,on m ou ntain bikes,for 24 hou rs!

24 Solo w as released over tw o years ag o, and m ost all of X X C ’s readers su rely have either seen or heard of it,I m yself have w atched it nu m erou s tim es and I have to say I ST IL L find m yself popping in the D V D to w atch a chapter or tw o from tim e to tim e. I believe the m ovie w ou ld have su cceeded even if it w ou ld have been nothing m ore than a g lim pse into E atou g h’s qu est for a 7th W orld Solo C ham pionship.B u t it w as so m u ch m ore. H aving su ffered like a beaten and kicked dog throu g h a handfu lof 24 hou r Solo races m yself, it w as am azing to w atch a Solo u nfold from the vantag e point of one of the g reatest endu rance m ou ntain bike racers of ou r tim e, as w ell as variou s other w orld class racers.

24 Solo has som e am azing race footag e,a solid orig inalsou ndtrack,and behind the scenes interview s w ith E atou g h, his su pport crew , leading Solo racers, and m ou ntain bike leg ends like John Tom ac and John Stam stad.O n top of all that, the u nexpected race dram a betw een E atou g h and G ordon at the film ’s conclu sion continu es to su ck m e in,tim e and tim e ag ain. W atching 24 Solo m ig ht fire you u p for you r next Solo or m ig ht inspire you to try you r first. O R it m ig ht m ake you say “H E L L N O ! N O SO L O FO R M E !” E ither w ay the film cu rrently stands pretty m u ch alone,“solo” if you w ill,as the best endu rance m ou ntain bike film available. If you are that one endu rance freak that hasn’t seen it,do you rselfa favor and w atch it.N O W ! XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE



Do The Right Thing Photo by Alicia Mathers XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE



Signs Of The Season Photo by Andrew Carney XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE



5 Minutes Post Breck 100 Garth Prosser Gets Fetal - Photo by Jeff Kerkove XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE



Signs Of The Season II Photo by Jason Mahokey XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE



“Ithin k thatthebestridesaretheon esthatscratch som ein deliblecyclin g im prin t in to you rbrain thatyou can callu p on a gray M arch aftern oon w hen thew orld seem saboutto en d.‘You rem em berthattim ew hen w ew ereridin g back from ...?’ Thedistan ceislessim portan tsom etim esthan som eparticu laroccu rren ce butlon g,tirin g ridesseem to im partthem ostm em ories.” -C h ristoph er K och




XXC #3  

XXC is dedicated to the sport of endurance mountain biking.

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