Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pierre's Hole 50/100 Recon

I really like the diversity in the Pierre's Hole course because it exemplifies the riding we have here. We have some great singletrack but we also ride gravel roads, double-track, and pavement in order to link up sections of good trail. You will get a little of everything thrown at you in the Pierre's Hole 50/100 race on August 6th.

This is going to be a hard race. The starting elevation of 8,000', the amount of climbing, and the rugged sections of trail will take their toll on racers. If you don't take care of yourself you will be cryin' for your Momma late in this race. I underestimated the 50-mile version of this race last year and I suffered badly on Lap #2.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Targhee 5 Hour Race Report

Wooohoo, that was fun! Michelle and I teamed up for the inaugural Targhee 5 Hour lap race this past Sunday and we had a blast. Grand Targhee added a new piece of singletrack late last fall and I didn’t get to ride it before the snow fell so it was brand new to me. We climbed the lower cat track and descended the Lightening Ridge singletrack. The Lightening Ridge loop addition makes the lap about 10 miles and takes roughly an hour depending on how sparkly you are feeling. NOTE: The Pierre’s Hole course will climb the Lightening Ridge singletrack…nice!

Coed Duo Team Byers

The 5 hour lap format was a huge hit and I think this race could easily grow if we can figure out the best standalone date and bump the start time back a bit so the Jackson folks don’t have to wake up at 4 AM. Andy Williams always does a tremendous job with course marking, timing, and awards and this was no exception. Grand Targhee deserves a BIG thank you for continuing to support mountain bike racing in Teton Valley by putting on races and donating generously to the prizes (more on this in a minute).

The race rules state that you have to complete your last lap before 12 PM or it doesn’t count and Michelle and I really wanted to get in 5 laps. The plan was that I would do laps 1, 3 and 5 (hopefully). My first lap was a 54:30 and my second was a 53:42. As Michelle was out on our 4th lap I was getting nervous because I knew it would be close but I was stoked to try and beat the clock. She threw down another consistent lap, we tagged, and I was off with Metalica pulsing in my single ear bud (safety is no accident). I focused on railing the descents and pumping anything that could help me carry momentum. My Giant AnthemX 29er and I were “en fuego”. That last lap went by so fast and I crossed the line in 52:45 and beat the 12 PM cutoff. Team Byers takes 1st...High Fives...Stoked!

Ripping the lower Sidewinder in the early morning light

Michelle was descending like a blur

Speaking of Grand Targhee’s awesome support of races, Michelle and I won two passes for snow cat skiing at Targhee worth $349 each! How cool is that? In addition to giving away four snow cat ski days, there were great prizes from Mtn Khakis and Smith Optics as well.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Come to Teton Valley, ID this weekend...and bring your bikes!

There are a lot of cool cycling events happening in our little corner of the world this weekend! Blow off any other plans you have made come over to the west side of the Tetons this weekend.

The WYDAHO Rendezvous Mountain Bike Festival is the headliner and includes group rides, clinics, raffles, live music, and the Targhee 5 Hour Lap Race (solo or mixed duo only) at Grand Targhee. This race is going to utilize some sweet new singletrack that was built at the very end of last season.

For the roadies, we have the Grand Targhee Hill Climb time trial Saturday morning starting in front of Peaked Sports in Driggs. This a great event and Peaked Sports is always generous with the post-race raffle.

If you are not into mountain bike racing Sunday morning at the Ghee, zip on over to Wilson, WY and do the Teton Pass Hill Climbs. I would link to it but despite my searching I cannot find any online info. Maybe they should use Athlete360 in the future?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Park City Weekend

We spent a great weekend in Park City and enjoyed some hiking and riding. While riding Sunday morning I goofed around with the time-lapse mode on the Drift170.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

2011 Cream Puff 100 Race Report

As of July 2010 I had owned a singlespeed for a little over a month but when I finished the Cream Puff on my geared hardtail last year I knew that I wanted to attempt the Puff in 2011 on a singlespeed. I only have two long races under my belt on the SS, and I still have a lot to learn about singlespeed endurance racing, but so far I dig it.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous about how I would feel late in this race. Three weeks prior to the Puff I did a six hour training ride with Fiddee Cent in Jackson and we climbed Ferrins Trail three times on our singlespeeds. On that third time up Ferrins, as we were gruntin’ and snortin’ and thrashin’ our way up the hill with a ridiculously low cadence, Fiddee said something that gave me pause. He said, “I’m gonna pray for you” with an unspoken reference to the amount of climbing in the Cream Puff.

This year’s Cream Puff used the classic 3-lap format which sends you up a long gravel road climb, continues to climb on singletrack into the Jedi Forest, descends a bit, then climbs even more, and finally ends with a ridiculously long singletrack descent on the Alpine Trail…3 times. I have to say that this was by far my favorite course of the four different Puff courses I have raced.

Receiving the coveted "finisher's cap" from Scott Taylor

Lap 1
Trying to keep up with the fast geared riders on a singlespeed during the 3-mile “neutral” rollout on pavement is pretty comical. In hindsight, I should have sought out a 220 lb linebacker-type and just glued myself to his rear wheel. Ha!

My opening climb went great and although I was climbing while standing for most of it I felt like I was within my limits. As usual, my teammate Hami was up the road already and out of sight but I was focused on my race. I yo-yoed with Namrita O’Dea a bit and we broke up the effort with a little chat about her big road trip out west. Even in the cool morning temps I was conscious to drink at least one 24oz bottle of Carbo Rocket per hour plus some EFS Liquid Shot for extra calories. Later in the lap I mixed in a bottle of CR 333 for easy-to-reach calories in the singletrack. The singletrack climbs after Aid #3 were just on the edge of what was rideable for me with my 32x20 gearing but I cleaned all of it which gave me some added confidence. I knew I was having a good day when the trail pointed down at the top of the Jedi Forest and I quickly passed a few riders who had been dangling out in front of me for the past half hour. Descending at the Puff had been a weakness for me in the past and I consciously worked on my cornering before this race. I remember saying to myself, “How freakin’ good is this!?!?” as I was swooping down the Alpine Trail surrounded by giant old growth trees and luscious green ferns. I have to say that the lack of chain slap and overall quietness of the SS doesn’t hurt the descending experience one bit either.

My body felt good and my stoke level was high as I rode into Aid #1 at the bottom of Lap #1. The aid stations are so good at the Puff that it would be easy to get sucked into lollygagging in the buffet line. However, I ignored the buffet and found my drop cooler, grabbed two bottles & a gel flask, lubed the chain, and was out for Lap #2 pretty quick.

Lap 2
Near the end of Lap #1 I passed my teammate Dave Saurman on the descent. Saurdude made a quick pit as well so we rode together on the North Fork Trail and settled into a climbing groove together up Rd 1910. Dave was climbing really well and even mixed up the cadence with some standing climbing. However, I do think it was totally rude of him to ride away from me in his big chain ring when the gravel road pointed downhill for short sections. A polite teammate would have coasted along with me to keep me company since I was spun out.

I did eventually pull away from Saurdude on the way to Aid #3 and I couldn’t wait to shred the Jedi Forest again. Did I mention that I felt really good descending in this race? While flying down the Alpine Trail on Lap #2 I had a flashback to a scene from Talledega Nights:

Susan to Ricky Bobby: You need to grab a hold of that line between speed and chaos, and you need to wrestle it to the ground like a demon cobra! And then, when the fear rises up in your belly, you use it. And you know that fear is powerful,because it has been there for billions of years. And it is good. And you use it. And you ride it; you ride it like a skeleton horse through the gates of hell, and then you win, Ricky.

Is it wrong that I think of random movie quotes as I am descending at a rapid rate of speed in the middle of a race? I digress.

You may or may not have noticed that I have yet to mention my arch rival and teammate Hami. This is where things get interesting. At the very bottom of Lap #2, I saw Hami leaving Aid #1 to begin Lap #3. Hami made it into the select group at the front of the race on the opening climb and I hadn’t seen him since but now we were only three minutes apart. When I saw him at the end of my euphoria-filled descent I couldn’t help myself. I should have just kept my mouth shut. Or, if I had been thinking more clearly, I should have played an Ali vs. Fraser “Rope a Dope” and faked a viscious bonk or something to make Hami think I was on the verge of quitting. Instead, I looked Hami square in the eye and said, “Oh yeah, it’s on!!!

Hami and I after mortal combat

Lap 3
As I began the long climb I could see Hami ahead in the distance climbing out of the saddle. We were running the same gearing so there was no surprise there. I really wanted to try to chase him down but I also knew it was a long lap and I thought I had plenty of time to make my move. Hami had other ideas and I am 99.5% sure that he wants to beat me every bit as bad as I want to beat him. Near the top of the long climb he found another gear and just like that he was out of sight. For the rest of the lap I was chasing a ghost that I was sure I would see around the next corner…but I never did. Hami threw down a great race of his own and beat me by four freakin’ minutes! Just to recap, in the last 18+ hours of head-to-head racing (Boise 9 to 5 + Cream Puff), that skinny gluten-free singlespeed hardman has beaten me by a combined 5 minutes. This calls for drastic measures. I am not sure what they are yet but rest assured they will be drastic.

What an awesome day of racing!

Team Fitzy Post-Puff

Cream Puff Pre-Ride

Michelle and the North Fork of the Willamette River

Captain Cream Puff commands attention at the pre-race meeting

Monday, July 11, 2011

SS Stoke

Scott Taylor, aka Captain Cream Puff, still greets every finisher after 15 years

My fourth Cream Puff was by far my best for many reasons that I will elaborate on later in great detail.

Quick Stats:
- Time: 10:49:00
- 8th Place Open Singlespeed
- 4 minutes behind my hero, I mean arch rival, gluten-free SS hardman Hamilton Smith
- No bonks, no mechanicals, no low moments...just pedal to the metal for almost 11 glorious hours
- Longest ride on the SS to date (and my body is feeling it)
- Best course of the four that I have raced

I love the Puff!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Trash Day comes a day early this week!

Trash day in Victor is usually on Fridays but the Cream Puff week is upon us and I simply cannot let the opportunity to talk a little trash slip by. Since this will be my first attempt at the Puff on a singlespeed, I will direct the trash at my fellow one-gear pushers.

Let me start off by saying that I find it very "convenient" that Fiddee Cent chose to race in Park City this weekend instead of bringing that Kona SS of his to Oakridge, OR. A couple weeks ago I "let" Fiddee Cent ride in front of me, sometimes waaay in front, while climbing Ferrins and I complimented him on his "Ricardo Ricco-on EPO" climbing abilities. My Jedi mind tricks did not work though and he chose to avoid a rematch with me my by signing up for the PC50.

And then there is my teammate Hami. Ever since Hami got his Siren John Henry SS last year he has been on fire and riding it very rapidly all over the west. Most recently, Hami pushed his 32x19 for nine laps at the Boise 9 to 5 and nipped me by one friggin' minute to take second in the SS category! Will Hami try to get in my head and launch himself up the first climb like a missle? Are the nerves in his hands still shot from a dumb experiment with a rigid fork? Will Hami try to see the entire Alpine Trail again on his pre-ride and over-cook himself before the race even starts? So many questions. In all seriousness Hami, I heard that due to so much snow this year they have rerouted the course and a 32x16 is now the perfect gear choice. I would suggest saving room in your kit and don't even bother bringing any spare cogs.

To ramp up the stoke, here is a little vid of the Alpine Trail which is part of the Cream Puff course.