Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pierre’s Hole is this Saturday, August 3rd!

To say that I am stoked for this one would be an understatement.  Sure, this used to be my backyard so I am biased.  Regardless, Grand Targhee in August is pretty special.  Racing an NUE 100-miler at Grand Targhee in August is just friggin’ awesome!  The Pierre's Hole race continues to evolve and get better each year.
Sweet new logo for 2013 with a nod to the bears that live in the area
What’s new for 2013? 
  • Sweet new Logo!
  • 3 Laps instead of 4
  • 7 miles of NEW singletrack on Peaked Mountain (built during late summer of 2012)
  • Over 2,300’ of nearly non-stop descending from the top of Peaked Mountain to the bottom of Mill Creek in Teton Canyon.  Hell Yeah!
  • New rerouts around old, rutted trails in Rick’s Basin
  • Grand Targhee's own Andy Williams is now the sole race director, so you know it will be done right!
  • Better race flow through the base area
  • Aid #1 & Aid #4 are only a couple hundred yards apart so your support crew can easily take care of you while covering less ground
As of today, the race day forecast looks good! 

NOTE: This is the Tetons.  Pack your rain jacket, wind vest, arm warmers, leg warmers, and puffy just in case.


Does the 100-Mile Race really have 18,000' of climbing?
No.  There has been some concern regarding the previously advertised 6,000’ of climbing per lap.  The actual amount of climbing per lap is somewhere between 4,500’ and 4,700’ according to the most recent Garmin files I have seen. 

Will finish times be faster this year?
This one is hard to predict with accuracy but I am guessing that the Open Men’s winning time will be 45’ to 60’ faster than in 2012Evan Plews won the 2012 Men's Open race in 8:44:56.  Will someone go sub 8 hours in 2013? 

Is the Dry Creek Climb really that bad?
Yes. Wrap your brain around it 'cause you will do it 3x.

According to the Garmin Connect files, it looks like the race is less than 100-miles. Is this correct?
Yes.  Andy Williams could have added some extra trail to make it 100 miles but this race is going to be plenty hard as it is. 

Is the 50-Mile course different from the 100-mile and 50K course?
The 50-mile racers do not descend Bustle Creek or Climb Dry Creek. For both laps, 50-mile racers will climb Ski Hill Rd from Teton Canyon to Grand Targhee Resort.  

Let's Break It Down, Shall We?

GPX files from Garmin Connect:

2013 Pierre's Hole 100-Mile Laps 2 and 3

2013 Pierre's Hole 50 & 100 Mile Lap #1 PRT Climb

2013 Pierre's Hole 50-Mile Lap 2

For Your Visual Stimulation:


Well, are you in?  You have until 11:59 PM MST tonight to register on Athlete360.  See you bright and early at the Ghee on Saturday.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

2013 High Cascades 100 Race Report

Quick Stats
Place: 11th, Solo Men 40+
Time: 9:40:43Miles: 97-ish (I don't know exactly because the Garmin 810 gets very poor reception in the trees…and we were in the trees a lot) 
Elevation Gain: 10,000-ish (see above)

I absolutely will go back to the High Cascades 100 in 2014.  The 2013 edition didn’t go the way I envisioned it would and I am going to need redemption.  On one hand, the High Cascades 100 was a first-class event, held in a cool town, and attended by a bunch of fun people.  It was everything I look for in an endurance mountain bike event.  On the other hand, I did not have the race I was looking for. 

This was an “A” race for me and I prepared accordingly but for some reason, the “sparkle” didn’t materialize.  I have no tales of epic bonks, no ass-over-tea-kettle crashes, or mental melt-downs requiring post-race psycho-therapy.  I was flat, my legs felt heavy, and I simply was not fast on this day…and the “why” is bugging the shit out of me.  Fast is a relative term.  It would be more accurate to say that I did not have “my fast” on this day.  At least I am stubborn. 

The dust was brutal early in the race
The Pavement
The 5.5 miles of pavement that start this race is definitely the calm before the storm.  In this case, it is the calm before the dust storm.  I really thought there might be some aggression on the pavement to spread things out a bit but the pack just rolled up the road in one big blob.  It was really strange to look down at my HR and see 120-130 bpm 20’ into it.  I am not the guy to go to the front of a 100-mile mtb race and attack in the first couple of miles.  Where was JayP when I needed him?

The Dust
Going into the race, I knew there would be dust early on.  I was not expecting the total solar eclipse that occurred when we hit the dusty two-track as a giant peloton though.  There was carnage immediately.  Defending champion, Barry Wicks, broke his collarbone at mile 8.  Another rider piled it up just in front of me and I am sure there were other countless near-misses.  You simply could not see the ground and had to hope that the guy in front of you could see…all while trying to go as fast as possible less than an hour into the race.  Yikes! 

The riding in Bend, OR was awesome

No, I am not just describing the riding.  The trail is actually named Funner…and it is.  We hit Funner about an hour into the race and I was able to ride all but one of the tricky rock sections.  If you were unlucky, you could easily get stuck behind a conga-line of riders choosing to dismount frequently in this section so I was stoked to breeze through it quickly.  Pre-riding this section was a good call.

Smiles at the Aid Stations
I had planned to be self-supported at the HC100 and packed my drop coolers accordingly.  Our friend Beth Bolen was in Bend to support her hubby so I was pleasantly surprised when she offered to help me with a quick transition at the Swampy Aid, and every aid station after that.  It was super helpful and definitely an energy boost to see a friendly smiling face at all of the aid stations.  Thanks Beth, you rock!

Check out my Sick Air!
Happy Valley is a Happy Place
Holy shit, that area is beautiful.  From what I am told, this part of the course can only be used during years when winter snowfall is less than normal because there is typically still snow on the trail in July.  I got a little bit of mojo back around mile 40 and I distinctly remember thinking that the trail from mile 45 to 55-ish was just incredible.  We rode through giant Douglas Fir trees, huge green meadows, snow drifts just off the trail, high mountain river crossings, and loamy dirt.  When I visualize riding my mountain bike in Oregon that trail is exactly what I will think of from now on.

The Final Leg
What little bit of mojo I had conjured quickly left my body as I left Aid #5 for the last 21 miles.  On paper, we had already knocked out most of the climbing so how hard could it be?  Plus, there was 5 miles of pavement to finish it off.  No problem right?

My traveling buddy AJ and I had pre-ridden one of the last pieces of singletrack called Tiddlywinks on Friday and I couldn't wait to get on those banked corners and table-tops and send it.  For a little video of Tiddlywinks, check out the Start/Finish Preview by Dirtwire.Tv.  In fact, the entire trail after Aid #5 is great.  The problem is that you are so hammered by the time you get there you can't fully enjoy it. Ha!  Having something left in the tank late in a 100-mile race is usually my specialty but not on this day.  I was crawling up the climbs after Aid #5 and just surviving.  In my mind, if I could just get to Tiddlywinks I was home free.

Tiddlywinks did not disappoint and I did, in my feeble state, attempt to “send it”.  Now for the cruel twist to this part of my story.  AJ failed to properly describe the last piece of singletrack, Storm King, to me.  I had it in my brain that it was a very short piece of trail used to get us onto the pavement and back to the finish line.  In reality, it is a long damn trail.  I don’t know how long I descended but I have renamed the trail, “Storm King Never Fucking Ends Trail”.  My triceps were on fiiiiire.  Storm King did finally end and I banged out the final miles of pavement by channeling my inner Jens Voigt.

As I rolled under the Kenda arch at the finish, a smiling volunteer handed me an ice-cold wash cloth for my face (a very nice touch by the way) and AJ gave me a high-five.

The Finisher Growler 
Random Post-Race Thoughts
Mike Ripley and Mudslinger Events nailed it.  Having been to races of all shapes & sizes, I truly appreciate it when a race director takes care of the details:  Great course markings, good info leading up to the race, awesome aid stations & volunteers, good finish line scene, free food for racers, free beer for racers, great schwag, and timely results.  

An added bonus to the trip was traveling and sharing a room with my Fitzgerald’s Bicycles Teammate AJ Linnell from Victor, ID.  AJ absolutely killed it and won the Singlespeed Open race.  AJ is getting to be kinda famous and now has to do post-race interviews.

The Deschutes River is a glorious place to soak immediately following a hot, 100-mile mountain bike race.

AJ Linnell, so hawt right now

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pre-Race Jitters at the High Cascades 100

I am feeling a little nervous as I sit here thinking about what else I need to do before I try to get a little sleep.
The bike is dialed, the drop coolers are prepped, and the map has been studied.  It's almost showtime here in Bend, OR where the High Cascades 100 starts tomorrow at 5:30 AM. 

This is a new race for me and my first time riding the singletrack around Bend, OR. From my short pre-rides, it is going to be fun, dusty, hot, and fast riding...and did I mention dusty? More tomorrow after the dust settles.

A clean bike is a fast bike. It will be clean for the first 6 miles of pavement at least.

PRO number plates 

We cover a LOT of ground in this race