Tag Archives: Endurance racing

Diabolical And Sadistic

6 Sep

Those two words describe not only the course but the race organizers of the PCPP to a “T”. But first the first of the story.

I don’t know if Kenny is more excited for the race or because Natalie let him wear her daisy dukes.

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Racing the PCPP for Team Fatcyclist required that we smile. We really have no idea what we are in for. The last time you’ll see us smile for over 8 hours.

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I had a goal of finishing under 9 hours and beating Kenny. My plan was simple, start easy for the first few hours and then burn it to the finish. It worked out reasonably well until it came time to light the matches and they were all wet.

At hour 4 I was done, all the climbing was taking its toll. I had nothing left and had to stop and take off my shoes and walk around for a few minutes just to ground myself back in reality. For what lasted an hour but seemed more like days whenever the pitch was steeper than flat I was forced to get off my bike and walk. That course was never flat, ALL uphill. No descending, none, just climbing.

You know how you get so tired sometimes that you can’t clip in or out of your pedals? That’s where I was. So tired that you start crashing into everything and don’t care at all? At one point I fell over between 2 trees and got my rear wheel jammed between them so bad that I couldn’t get it out. A couple racers had to hike it around me.

What do you do? Keep moving forward no matter how slow. After an hour of despair and darkness the heavens opened up and light shined down on me and lit me on fire. For the next 3 hours I was superman and did nothing but pass racers, I was on fire! I was sure I was going to catch back up to Kenny.

Here’s my pre-darkness look at aid station #1 after a nice hard rain, just enough to soak my gloves and shoes clean through.

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As if the race wasn’t hard enough at about mile 73 you end up close enough to the finish to hear the announcer and music blaring and you think the suffering is over. Of course it just has to be over because you can’t pedal another revolution, it’s all downhill. Wrong! Those sadistic diabolical race organizer bastardos make you climb another 1,000 feet right before the finish just to make sure it was hard enough. Thanks a lot. I really appreciated that.

I never did gain back all the ground that I lost but finally, a smile again. Judging how clean Bart and Kenny are you can probably guess they both beat my sorry ass.

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The fast guys porch. This is as close as they’d let me get.

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Just like I predicted Friday night and even the right order, your top 4 finishers overall. Alex, Bart, Chris and Kevin. Congratulations!

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Here’s Sonya Looney having had better days and just moments before she gave me the bird, too bad I missed that shot. She did awesome and came in 4th overall in the Women’s Pro class just behind my favorite CarboRocket addict KC Holley, better get on the CR Sonya!

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The overall women’s winner and 5th place overall, Pua Sawicki posing with Race organizer Jay Burke. Huge applause for the efforts Jay and Shannon and their army of volunteers for putting together a 1st class awesome event that will be around for a long time. Thanks!

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The SS class proved to be one of the tightest (and best looking) races of the day with the top 3 all finishing within 7 minutes of each other. Next year Kenny, next year.

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Butte 100 Race Report Part 1 of 2

4 Aug

I just got back last night and haven’t been able to sit down long enough to write up anything.  You see, my ass just stopped oozing pus late this afternoon and only now can I sit without worry of any seepage.

We, and by we I mean Tasha, the girls and myself,  arrived in Butte Friday evening and registered at the Outdoorsman.  That’s correct, I registered for a 100 mile mountain bike race the night before.  Where can you do that anymore?  Montana, duh.

We drove out to Basin Creek campground and set up shop, about 7 miles outside of town.  We were lucky enough to park next to Pete Behrens, last years 2nd place finisher, who I would end up riding a good portion of the race with.  I also finally met Bill Martin, super crazy enduro junkie, that just finished the 24 hour world championships in Canmore the weekend before and here he was about to do a 100 miler 6 days later.  They grow them a little crazy in Montana.

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When it comes to pomp and circumstance the Butte 100 is the polar opposite of the Leadville 100.  No day before racers meeting, no medical check-in, no before dinner, no red carpet at the finish line, no start canon, no fully stocked aide stations, no personalized hoodie with your name and time, no long drawn out day after race awards ceremony and no Ken Chlouber.

What does the Butte 100 offer?  None of the above but hands down the greatest mountain biking trails of any hundred miler out there.  I have never ridden such fantastic trails whether it was a 100 miler or not at a race venue in the last 18 years.  It’s that good.  I must have ridden 100 switchbacks both up and down the course.  Roots, rocks, swoopy downhills, technical treacherous downhills and lots of really buff single track.  If you want a mountain bike race on a mountain bike trail the Butte 100 can’t be beat.

The race started out kind of like Leadville with some gravel road that turned to climbing and then to a barely legible single track climb and eventually down to some pavement for a few miles.  We then hit some more trail and lots of climbing that eventually spit us out on some more pavement for about 5 miles.

At about mile 20 any similarity to Leadville ended abruptly.  For the next 80 miles it was non-stop climbing and descending some of the roughest and buffest trail I’ve ever ridden.  I started to get nervous every time there was a nice descent because I knew I would soon pay for it with an immediate uphill.  The climbs were frequent and relentless.  Switchback after switchback and mostly single track.

Pete and I rode together for the first 20 miles or so and then I wouldn’t see him again until mile 75 because he took off and I didn’t.  I don’t know what happened but I was bonking.  After just a couple hours I was hurting pretty bad and feeling like there was no way I could ride another 80 miles.  I wrestled with thoughts of dropping out but would always re-focus after realizing how far my family and I had come for this race and I couldn’t quit.

I took my time at the 40 mile aid station to eat and drink and think.  That was the turning point for me and while I suffered at times over the remainder of the race I never felt as bad as I did between miles 20 and 40.

The finest moment of the day came at mile 70.  As I passed mile 60 one of the volunteers mentioned there were a bunch of crazy people screaming and cheering all the racers on at mile 70.  As I approached mile 70 I could hear the screams and cheers and it got me pumped up.  Turns out the only people there were Tasha and my girls but it was like an entire schools pep squad.

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I got toweled off by Tasha and cheered on by the girls and all of a sudden I felt like super man.  Within a few minutes after leaving the family I caught and passed 6th 7th and 8th place riders to settle into what I thought was 5th place overall.  I flew by them on the climbs so fast that I felt like I needed to apologize.  I was on fire and could not be contained.  I just can’t understand how a person can go from almost completely bonked after a couple hours of racing to feeling invincible some 5 hours later, must be the CarboRocket.

That was all about to change as I ran across some Kryptonite at mile 97.  More about that tomorrow.

2nd Annual Gooseberry 100K

23 Nov

I can’t believe it has been one year since I posted about the Inaugural Gooseberry 100k.

For 2009 the 100k will take place on January 31st. For all the folks headed down to Old Pueblo two weeks later this should be a great training ride/race.

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Last year nobody finished the full 100k although Kenny Jones and Kris Holley gave it a good run. This year the course will be slightly different.

We will camp Friday night on the North rim by the windmill and the ride/race will start at 9:30 a.m. We will NOT be descending the North rim like last year as it proved a bit dangerous but will instead be doing the Gooseberry Mesa loop first and in a counter clockwise direction.

I will post a gpx file with the route within the next month and everyone will be on their own for route finding and support. I highly recommend you get a mapping GPS or have a ride partner that has one and knows how to use it and doesn’t care that you you are tagging along.

The following map is just a preliminary idea of what we are doing. It does not include the section through Apple Valley to the JEM Trail and has the North rim drop that we will NOT be doing.

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The basic route is pretty straight forward. After doing Gooseberry counter clockwise the route will travel through Apple Valley and then cross the highway and hook into Goulds, Jem, Rim trail which will also be done counter clockwise with the Jem descent being done twice, yahoo!

The route will then head towards Rockville and eventually across Bridge Road and up the nasty climb back onto Gooseberry finishing at the windmill.

I think it should be close to 100k and 6-8 hours of ride time. Of course, I could be totally wrong which will make for a great adventure.

Any questions?