Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Murphy's Law

            Ever since finishing third in this race last year, my goal has been to win it this year.  My chances were looking dim when I pulled into the parking lot and saw all the racers that were present.  Past WEMS champ Lee Unwin, Mid course champ Matt Millin, Illinois MTB champ and single speed cyclocross champ Mike Naughton, plus a few other faces I didn't recognize.

            I got started off in 4th behind 3 guys that were just flying through the trails, I was pushing my limits but keeping up.  Then about half way through the first lap "Murphys Law" kicked in and my chain came derailed.  It was tangled into a puzzle similar to the ones that old retired guys sit on a chair and spend all day trying to figure out.  I was throwing a hissy fit at the irony in that I would spend so much time preparing for this race but wouldn’t spend $50 for a chain guide.  One of the cool things about the WEMS races is that every person that rode by asked if I was alright, and Matt Millin even stopped and got off his bike to help.  I finally got it untangled after about 10 minutes and was back on course.

            Lap two saw me slowly catching back up to people and passing some.  Then while passing someone my chain came off again.  This time luckily it wasn’t a tangled mess but I had to stop and put it back on.  This happened twice more on the second lap.
            After doing intervals of sprint to catch up, then put chain back on, then sprint to catch up.  I stopped in the pits and opened up the tool box.  I am not sure how much time I spent there, it wasn't much, and I fixed the problem.  For the rest of the race my chain was in place.

            I made it past Lee Unwin, and maintained about a 15 second lead for 5 hours or so until lap nine of ten.  I heard the clank of rim against rock, then the hiss of air pressure being lost.  I was riding past a couple first aid guys on bikes at the time and hoped so badly it was their tires going flat, but it was not to be.  I pulled over and ripped the rear wheel off.  I watched as Lee Unwin passed by then the next guy.  I fixed the tire but I was defeated.  I didn't want to go out and finish the last lap, but Christina insisted.  So I finished but it wasn't pretty.
The tube around my neck and the look on my face pretty much sums it up.

            I am going to chalk this one up as a learning experience.  All the training in the world doesn't mean a thing if you don’t take care of your bike.  I knew that rear tire had a slow leak, but for some reason decided not to change the tube before the race. 

            As I write this its now Tuesday a few days after the race and I feel much better, I have been a regular negative nancy the last few days after my poor finish.  I guess that shows how good I have it really.  If all I can complain about is a bad bike race, then life must be pretty good.

-David Swanson

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tour de Crystal Lake

I heard about this race a couple months ago, and was interested in doing it but decided not to.  It just seemed expensive to pay $50 to race for 30 minutes.  Now that I have seen it in person though I have changed my mind.  I still think its overpriced, but I plan on racing this next year.  The course is .75 miles long and you basically go out and ride balls to the wall and hope you don't get dropped.  Here are some photos and videos...

Womens Cat 1/2 video

Mens Cat 5 video

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Wisconsin Endurance Mountain Bike Series Bear Paw 10 hour

We  got up to White Lake, WI a little after lunch time on Friday, and set up camp.  One of the friendly camp workers recommended we walk down and check out the river.

So we did... we didn't realize it was about 2.5 miles away though.  It was a fun hike, but we weren't prepared for 3 hours of hiking and should have brought water and snacks.  Evan loved skipping rocks in the Wolf River.

Christina practiced her camera skills
The kayaks in a tree to remember a tornado that went through the area.

After dinner I went out and pre-rode the course.  It was a really nice trail, lots of rocks and technical sections, separated by wider 4-wheeler sized trails that would make passing easy.
random bike in the woods

The little building in the middle of this picture is the campground.  I took this picture from the highest point on the trail, it took about 15 minutes of climbing to get here.  Then the down hill that follows gets us back to camp within a couple minutes.  My GPS said my top speed was 29.6 mph on this down hill, the trial was wide enough that if you drove a small car up it you would probably scratch both sides of the car.  This was my favorite part of the course.

After the pre-ride, I came back showered and hung out by the fire.  There were a couple fiddle players, a guy with a guitar, and a lady singing.  Good Stuff.

Morning came

Coffee was brewed

Then it was race time.

I got off to a good start, Chris Schotz and I finished the first lap in under 30 minutes, things were going good.  Then something happened around the 2-3 hour point and I am still not sure what my problem was but I bonked hard, Gatorade and water weren't working, I was to sick to eat anything, I couldn't concentrate.  I was really having a hard time, I came into the pits and told Christina I was done, I couldn't ride anymore.  I sat down took some IBprofin and a pepsi.  I watched third place go by, then 4th place, then 5th place, and finally Christina said go try one more lap.  I went back out slowly and the leader caught up to me and lapped me.

Then something clicked I stayed right with Chris, the leader and started to feel way better.  I passed back for 4th, then caught up to 3rd and passed him.  I got back to the pits, grabbed some fresh bottles and saw 2nd taking a break. So I guess I wasn't the only one having a hard time with the heat.  That made me feel even better, in one lap I went from broken and beaten to strong and in second place.  I eventually passed the leader to get back on the lead lap.  

Randy Wagner was not going to let me have second place easily though, I passed him around the 4 hour point he got me back at 5 hours.  6-7 hours in I got him back and finally made it stick, he was never very far behind but I had a small gap between us.

So that's how we ended up, Chris, me, Randy.  It will be a tough points battle for the championship this year.  

As for me I'm looking forward to going to work for some relaxation after this active 4th of July!  Thanks Christina for your constant support and thanks to Wheel Werks Bikes.