Trek 100 Success! We raised money, we rode bikes, it got hot, but we had a great time. We saw Brett Farve and Bo Jackson. :) There were a number of Angry Monkeys out riding for the Trek 100. Travis, Julie, Chris C., John, Carl and a few others were riding the 100 mile ride. Hayden, Mio, Casey & Chris B's family did the 19 miler. David and I did the 36 along with Josh who "joined" the team for the day. Our "Team fundraising" raised about $677. Although other riders who raised money for other groups made our overall contribution to the Trek 100 well over $1000. Thank you to those who supported, you can still donate as a few of us still need more funds to the cause. :) Just go to our "Team fundraising" page and donate. Here are just a few pics that were on our instagram page.
Most of us in the Madison area know the trails at the southern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. The John Muir trail, connector trail and the Emma Carlin trails make for a nice day one a mountain bike. The WEMS race uses all of the Emma Carlin green loop plus a bit of the connector to create a loop which is about 8 miles in all.
I've been doing the long-solo race at these events as part of my preparation for the Leadville 100. Not expecting to ever place, I've been surprised by a 3rd at Alpine Valley, 2nd place in Wausau and another 2nd at Emma. These fields, however, are so small on one occasion I was both 2nd and last (Wausau). At the Southern Kettles race I earned 2nd in a field of three where the third person dropped out after one lap -- it being more technical than he was expecting.
It took 9 hours and 4 Camelbacks of drink to complete 10 laps on this hot Saturday. The dramatic increase in consumption of sports drink was a good lesson for Leadville and made me realize my plan for that day could be insufficient. It was during lap 8 that two thoughts popped into my head, first "it's so hot do I really want to keep going" which was immediately followed by, "it's perfect being so hot, this is just what I need to be prepared for Leadville."
Lap 8 was not the worst. It was laps during 6 and 7 that the heat seemed to impact me the greatest. I became completely disorientated. I wasn't sure where I was on the lap, how many laps I've completed or even how many laps the race was. Is this a 9 lap race or 10, I kept asking myself. Asking others on trail was worthless since nearly everyone else was riding the mid-distance race or part of a duo. When I asked duo-rider I know how many laps they completed all he could tell me was how many he completed. Asking to add his partners laps was just too much. To make matters worse when I asked the scorer to call out my lap count, he shouted out 5 when in fact I had completed 6. How I manage to rebound from this crazy mental mayhem I'll never know.
I felt great about cleaning the long loose gravel climb 8 times out of 10 attempts. On only two occasions did I clean an extremely tight uphill switchback, however. That limited success has me wanting to return for more. Not today though.
MT Morris was a challenge of mixed climbs, forested single track, fast descents, and rock gardens. It started off with a bit of climbing that descended down into single track flats in the woods. Coming out of the woods again with a fast little section and the more climbing. The second part of climbing caught me off guard. Day started out with Nick, Brett and myself (Brandon) driving up from the Madison area to Mount Morris about an hour and a half away. We were able to get there early and registrar for the races. Brett and I are in the 35-29 Citizen group and Nick is racing the Clydesdale under 40 group. We did a little section of the course as a pre ride before trying to figure out the other sections of the map. The course had changed slightly from previous years. Brett and Nick are doing the series race for WORS so every race counts.
Our race started with Brett on the call up line. I was seated right behind him at the start. The first hill was rather long and steep so we knew that some people would struggle. I had also done 36 miles the day before in the Trek 100 charity ride so I wasn't sure where my fitness would be. The race started and you could tell some people were struggling up the hill. Brett sat back just a bit and I came around on the climb and tried to stay on the first 5 people's wheel. We went into the woods section and stayed together, jocking for positions. Just before coming out of the woods I was able to move into the 3rd position. The first two guys had taken off and the gap had increased. I started the second series of climbs not realizing the distance. I went to hard too fast. Toward the top I was passed again by the third place finisher and then by Brett. Another racer passed me but since Brett was in front I just sat on his wheel waiting for any chances to pass at the end of the race. I didn't want to help him catch my own teammate. Sure enough on the second lap through the rock garden he took a bad line and I was able to get in front of him and stay in front. Brett finished about 40 seconds in front of me. We took 4rd and 5th place in our age and 29th & 31st overall. Nick had a fantastic ride finishing 1st in the Clydesdale group. The day was a success and we had a great time.
Romp in the Swamp
Nine Mile Forrest Wausau, WI
When the WEMS calendar came out, one race SCREAMED at me. Romp in the Swamp. Wausau has some of the best cross country bike trails in the state. It also, holds my favorite event of the year. Wausau24. Having the opportunity to ride the trails longer than a normal short WORS race, I couldn’t pass this up.
The week leading up to the race was wet and rainy. Forecast was calling for thunderstorms for the race. Doesn’t matter, this is Wausau. I was loaded up and on the road by 7. When I got to registration I saw a couple of the 9 hour racers come through covered in mud and brakes where howling. Today was going to be a long slow, slippery, and sticky day.
I signed up for the 6 hour single speed race. Not many people made it to the race, as I feel the weather kept them away. Who wants to replace an entire drive train after one day of riding? Thankfully I am riding single speed. Not much to replace. There were about 18 people who raced the 6 hour event. Both 9 hour and 6 hour had a longer 15 mile course. Vs. the 7 mile course for the 3 hour riders.
The trails are a mixture of double track XC ski trails, and single track. Over 75% of the race is on single track J The trails vary to terrain. Some trails are sandy with pea gravel covering them, others are nothing but rocks and roots, and then you also have some perfect packed dirt with berms in every corner. There is the Ho Chi Minh climb long and rocky (long for WI standards). Being able to climb this clean in good weather is a victory to most riders. It is a very technical climb.
Under better weather I know I can ride every trail and climb. With the rain we had there where puddles of standing water, mud holes in corners, and the sandy pea gravel was like glue to the tires. Add in mud and wet rocks under the trees it was a very slippery day, and almost impossible to climb without dabbing a foot here or there.
The laps where slow, most people where completing laps in an hour and 45 minutes to two hours. I was right at 2 hours. Wow was it a tough day in the saddle. I had two silly low speed crashes in the rocks.
I finished the race officially with only 30 miles. I could have, probably should have gone for a 3rd lap, but chose to skip the rock sections again. After I checked out and took my race number off. I figured I should check out the short course. Turns out, they just skipped all of the fun hard stuff and climbs.
I cannot wait to get back up to Wausau and ride. Hopefully it won’t be so wet for Wausau 24. Either way I got to spend a day in my happy place.