Great Race report from Jonathan Hiott from the FT. Yargo Offroad Triathlon-
Couldn't wait for my second Triathlon and first off-road Tri . Alarm went off at 5am but snoozed until 5:30. Out the door at 6:08 and made it to race venue in Winder at 7:20. Mad dash to get bike to transition an get checked in to get my race numbers. It's amazing that I actually made it on time. Even had time to get in the water beforehand to warm up some. This race was an absolute blast and I can't wait for the next one. This despite a severe bike mechanical where my frame cracked and caused my chain to come off. I literally had to run my bike the last half-mile of the bike course.
Last summer I did a road Sprint tri and had a rough time with the swim, which was only 200 yards. Feelings of panic and total body shutdown. Since the swim cost me several minutes I decided to bolster up my swimming with training at the local aquatic center starting in January. That training paid off in Saturday's race, which was held at Ft. Yargo State Park in Winder, Ga. The biggest hurdle was just not panicking in the water. The swim was a 1/2 mile, a distance I am comfortable with. Water was 65 or so and definitely required a wetsuit. I started toward the back since I'm still a noob and getting used to the "washing machine" effect at the swim start. I passed a few people on the swim and let me tell you, the water was choppy and churning! Even several hundred yards into the swim was still chaotic with arms and legs flailing everywhere. No way to avoid contact with other people! Settled into my groove and sighted the first orange buoy. Thankfully the mist had cleared off the lake as the buoys were nearly obscured with the bright sun and mist. Finally had some room around me after the first buoy. We were going counter-clockwise and keeping buoys to the left. Reassuring to see kayakers out there keeping watch. Getting into a groove by the 2nd buoy and 1/4 mile in. Still some chop heading back to the shore and catching up with other swimmers attempting to draft off some behind and to the side slightly. Sighting was good. Finished up the 1/2 mile swim quickly and then made it ashore and began struggling with the wetsuit. I had practiced removing the wetsuit a few times but nothing can prepare for being wet and elevated heartrate, plus I couldn't find the release strap. My first transition took 3 minutes! I think next time I will try sitting down to remove the wetsuit.
Then off to the bike course. I was feeling good heading into the bike then my chain came off a mile or so in. The course is 10 miles so I was in for a long ride. My chain proceeded to come off another dozen times or so. Turns out my bike frame had cracked where the dropout bolts attach. This is the 2nd frame that I've cracked on this bike. I really must be a patient or determined person because for some reason I finished the bike course. I estimate that the bike issues added 6 or 7 minutes to my time due to all the stops. What's even more frustrating is that I kept passing the same racers and getting passed by them repeatedly due to having to stop for my bike!
Back to the transition area after an hour of fighting with the bike. Put on my run shoes then took off.
Run felt a little heavy and not so springy. There were several peeps in front that I eventually caught. It's nice to see fellow racers smiling in such misery and there were a few out there still cracking smiles. Also nice to give encouragement to each other usually happens when running and can't be underestimated. Grunted through the last few miles and finished up strongly. I feel like I left a lot out on the race course due to my bike but that's how it goes sometimes.
Overall I had a great experience and a really fun time. Triathlon is such a challenge, unlike any other sport I participate in including mountain biking, road cycling, and trail running. I can't wait for the next one!
Swim : 19:37 (Including 3 minute transition)
Bike (Mechanical): 64:51
Run: 42:41 (including transition)
71 out of 140
-Race Report by Jonathan Hiott
Race Report by Joe King- Three of us on the Angry Monkeys Racing (AMR) team traveled out to Lake Geneva for the Canopy Challenge, the first in a series of endurance mountain bike races (WEMSeries.com). All the WEMS races feature a simple format -- you can race 3 hours, 6 hours or 12 hours and you can race solo or in a team of two (with some variation). There are no age groups, "cats" or anything else.
The Canopy Challenge took place in a park used mostly for people looking for the experience of flying through the tree tops on a zip line. The mountain bike trails below are well maintained and thoughtfully constructed. If you enjoy and mostly ride flowing trails with sweeping turns and fast downhills you would love this course for being something completely different.
WEMS races start Le Mans style, which means we put our bike down in the grass, line up 100 yards away and run to our bike at the sound of a gun. This seems like a funny way to start a endurance event but this plus the long gravel up hill that followed did serve the purpose of separating the starting hoard before the trail narrowed into single track. With all of the bikes, there wasn't much room to run so I jogged over to where I thought I left my bike but didn't see it. It was just behind me of course so after a quick CX mount I was pedaling. Not more than five pedal strokes into the race the gravel proved to be too much for the person just ahead of me causing her to fall providing a early test of my balance and agility to avoid her.
The course is 98% tight single track. Which I figure will probably keep me from biking too hard in the early part of the race. The first part of the single track features the only small bits of flow in the roughly 5 mile loop. This section also features a downed tree which is about 2.5 feet in diameter with a wooden logs providing a ramp up and over. There's also a detour around the tree. The rider ahead of me chose the detour giving just barely enough space to accelerate for the ramp which went smoothly. I'm guessing the rider on my wheel either got confused by the bifurcation of riders or failed to accelerate for the ramp because from behind I hear the clamor of crashing bikes and yelps of surprise. So just like that, there's some space in front and behind me.
For much of the race I rode with a group of two XXX riders. We talked some and didn't kill each other. I was more comfortable on the up hills and they were much better at the twisty downhills. This worked well until we got behind some one going so so slowly on a steep section I just fell over and couldn't get unclipped. It was good to have company most of the time but these two had difficulty with a section of trail that snakes down a drainage. One rides the banks of this deeply cut drainage crossing it twice on short wooden planks. The first time all three of us ran down because our leader lost it immediately. On the second attempt he did not even try to ride but I managed to stay on the bike even though I missed the first plank causing me to cross through mud and water. Not until I was alone on my forth lap did I properly negotiate this scary-but-fun feature.
There was one feature that seemed destined to produce an ambulance ride. It was a large man-made wooden hump placed strategically on the edge of a gully in the woods. Two out of the four times past I saw riders trying to crawl their way out of the gully. One had the demeanor of some one who was done for the day. I remembered my trip to Moab where getting behind the saddle is essential but it still surprised me to see my saddle pop up between my thighs every time over this feature.
There were numerous other challenges to keep your attention such as very tight tree-lined turns, steeply off-camber turns, logs and bridges. One long bridge had entrance featuring large rounded stones and a 30 foot drop on one side. After about an hour and half of this three hour race I began to settle in.
The format of the race is 3 hours so you are scored on how many laps you can do in that time and then by time. Near the end of my second lap I started to realize that four laps are possible so I timed my third lap carefully and calculated that this lap must be completed before the 2 hour and 18 minute mark in if I am to have a chance at completing four laps in the allotted time. This is important because if you go over time, the lap doesn't count. Crossing the line at the end of lap three my watch tells me it's 2:18:40 -- oh no! It's too close to not try but it's far from certain that I'll make it. I'll need everything to go right, unlike the first lap when I had to stop to adjust my saddle which was turned 30 degrees to the left. Sure enough not more that 5 minutes in I would get my share of bloody marks for the day. It could be that the few riders attempting similar a feat just behind me were panicking because the usual very courteous communication prior to passing was suddenly dispensed with in favor of muscling past in the narrowest of opportunities. One such fellow sent me in the bush scratching my right hip on a brambles. After that, however, the overtaking riders dwindled and it was my turn to over take a few, clearly hoping to complete 3 laps. I refused to look at my watch and concentrated on keeping my pace so when I crossed the line I stopped immediately and looked back at the scoring table. The young man at the computer smiled and said the words I longed hear, "you made it."
"We had a great time, and the trail was very challenging with big jumps, tight corners and wooden bridges. If we don't learn mountain biking from this, we will never learn." -Arild Haugene
Report by Brandon Andrews- On April 19th an early Saturday morning a few of the Angry Monkeys joined about 270 other riders for a gravel ride in Southwest Wisconsin. The Dairy Roubaix is a Grass/ Dirt/ Mud/ Gravel/ Tarmacdam?/ Unsupported ride as it proclaims on the website. Thankfully due to amazing weather the Mud was not apart of the ride this year. I secretly had hoped that the course would have been muddy, but now looking back and recovering from
the ride I am very thankful it was dry. The Day started out at 5:30am. I
somehow convinced Laura that we should do this ride after knowing a few
other members were going to be there. Bobby Miller also decided to join a few days prior. And some how Tyler Reeder
was convinced less than 12 hours before we were expected to leave at 5:30am. Oh did I mention 5:30am was the time
we were suppose to leave the house. SO at 6:15am we ﬁnally left Madison and started towards Wyalusing State Park
in Bagley, Wisconsin. A couple of notes about driving with Laura, Bobby and Tyler. 1. Bobby needs coffee, 2. Tyler
speaks ﬂuent Spanish, 3. Its a good thing we had a cable through the wheels on the roof rack as one came out of the
wheel holder on the highway. We stopped to ﬁx the wheel, and allow Bobby to get coﬁee...and a doughnut and
breakfast burrito at the gas station. (great fuel for the 54mile ride he was about to do) Those food items lasted for
about ten minutes until we saw a McDonald's and stopped for more food. It is amazing how much Bobby eats. We
ﬁnally arrived at the park and were able to start getting ready about 25 minutes before the ride started. We were a bit
slow getting ready and were still pumping up tires when the entire 270+ group rolled by us. Joe King also joined us
and road out with the group. As we were leaving the parking lot we picked up Muse Davis who had also been running
late. The group waited for Muse at the start after everyone had left, we dont leave a monkey behind unless they are
just too slow like me, but that's later. :) The course was hilly, more hills than I have seen the past almost year living
here. I was very surprised. the road conditions and gravel conditions were great though. Very hard packed gravel that
made riding relatively easy. Laura and I were on our Crockett's, Muse switched to a geared CX bike, which I am sure
he was happy to have gears, Bobby and Joe were on 29ers mtb and just running circles up and down the hills, Tyler
(again decided to come 12 hours prior) was on a borrowed Crossrip. We did pull the rack off his bike to save weight
and he borrowed some shoes to clip in. We had other friends on the ride to that we would chat with and ride with. It
really was just a fun ride. The ﬁrst 26 miles to the rest stop we all sorta stuck together. Bobby would ride ahead
because he had way too much energy and then we would pass him and he would catch back up. At one point Laura
and Tyler were riding thinking Bobby was ahead and he was not, this was the moment we made Bobby work hard to
catch us. Again the weather was fantastic the cool breeze in the morning with sun shining down. Our group even
stopped to help a group of coworkers who had busted a chain as they were trying to pass us. Bobby kept a bag with
tools, food, water, and a small sink in it. He was excited to help those in need and rub it in to them for being without
tools. We traveled along the side of the flooded Mississippi banks. We went up and down and all around. As we pulled
into the one and only water stop I could feel my legs getting sore and starting to cramp. I have had some serious
cramping issues on long rides in the past, normally about 60miles in, but this was way too early to have those pains.
Leaving the rest stop Joe King was back with the group as we climbed out of the small town where we got water,
bananas and I ate one of those bunny peeps. The climb out was tough and steep. I wanted to have one more gear to
get up that climb. It was not my favorite. As I got to the top and reached Bobby, Laura, Muse and Joe I realized the
rest of the day I would be on my own. They could go ahead and I would just tug at the slow pace to keep the cramps
down. Tyler and I hung back and rode together the rest of the day. Laura, Muse, & Joe stuck together until Muse took
off at a blistering speed according to Laura. Bobby had way too much energy from all the food he ate so he was gone
with a ﬁerce pace. My cramps would come and go, I rode with another guy who was having the same issues, he went
ahead of me and then I saw him on the ground with cramps, he was ﬁne just cramping. I knew if I stopped I would
have been on the ground too with cramps. I would get a burst of energy and gain some speed on the gravel only to hit
a road section that would slow me down? Not sure why that would happen. Tyler and I stopped just before the last
long hill to talk with some other friends about the ride and grab some water. The last climb was long and steep. Not
something I wanted to do. Muse had circled back in the car just to check on me and see if I needed anything, I was not
feeling great but thought I had one more push in me. I continued up the hill and down to the park entrance. I waited for
Tyler and then we could ride in together. The fun part was the last bit where we had a "Cyclocross" course set out for
the ﬁnish, quick spin in a sand pit (volleyball court), around a few trees and through the ﬁnish. A cooler of beers and
cold drinks awaited. We hung out at the end for a few minutes before hitting the road again back home to Madison. Bobby had already started to eat 5 power bars after the ride and we needed to feed him. This was still an adventure because we stopped to eat and also got pulled over for speeding. Thankful the ofﬁoer had had pitty on our salt crusted faces and worn out bodies and let us go without a ticket or waming. All in all it was some great times with the team as we prepped for the upcoming year. We have some talented riders who are just great people too and that makes the team experience just that much better. -Brandon Andrews
"l'd say many thanks to teammates hanging at the back so I had someone to ride with when I showed up late! The
atmosphere was great, and the road was (mostly) awesome. Great run through a long hollow on the way to the MS
river. Even better rolling run along the river, watching bald eagles flying around waiting to eat my remains. After the
break, there was a murderous series of climbs to get back out of river country, followed by a very welcome tailwind-
assisted farm tour northward. Then more descending. Then an insultingly relentless climb. Then a short CX-style ﬁnish
with two coolers full of beer at the ﬁnish. Good times.‘ - Muse Davis.
Sorry we did not get a lot of photos, too much time riding and having fun instead. Living in the moment without our phones.