Geneva CX- Post by Derek Slates
This was my favorite course last season, and it did not disappoint this year. They added an extra over under. Removed the rollers, and one barrier that was at a 180 hairpin turn. It was supposed to be cool fall day which turned out nice and warm. Glad I did not pack the long sleeve jersey.
The course is held at a youth camp. The start is “downtown”. You went up a paved road and turned right into some fast flat trail with plenty of turns. In the morning the lines were not as smooth/run in. As the day went on the section got faster. After those turns came a long false flat on a gravel/pavement mix (false flats, looks flat but are a gradual uphill pedal). Once you made it to the top of the false flat it was back to low cut fast riding grass. You took a left turn with maybe 75 feet to sprint up to the next turn. The upcoming left turn was perfect, flat on top, with a small dip to the outside. You could find a great line in that corner. It would set you up perfect for the 3 foot roll down to the under part of the over/under. (over/under is just as it sounds. You get to ride under a bridge, and over the top of a different trail.)
As you pass through the under portion there is a buck statue waiting to greet you with music blasting. On the other side you had to climb back up about 5 feet and circle around a white building. On the back side you had to be careful as there was a water main cap sticking up. It was only 10” wide, but stood up almost an inch above the trail. One wrong place wheel and you were going to be running to the pits to replace a flat tire. You had one more left turn, and you had to climb up the “Over” section of the trail.
Once on top you had a great view out to the lake, bungee tower, and most importantly the AMR tent. You cruised down the back side into a long straight sprint. But, you had to make sure to look right to see Shimano hanging out. You had a ton of speed near the end of the straight away, but had to be careful. There was a quick left right turn that took you from perfect grass trail on the left. As you leaned back over to go right it dipped down about 6 inches onto pavement/gravel. All between some pine trees. 100 yards worth of pavement to one of the more technical parts of the course.
At the end of the concrete there is a sharp 10 foot downhill. It was perfect for cross. Tore up and muddy! You came into it with plenty of speed, but needed to weight the front wheel the moment it dropped so you were not caught in a mud rut, and taking a bath. At the bottom of the hill was a sharp right turn taking you past the pits. After the pits there is a long straight damp section leading to the next bridge over a ravine. There was an option to ride through the ravine. Although they had built up the sides more, and it rode like a dirt up. If Bobby was there he would have gone for the double. The bridge was the faster option.
After the bridge was a tough muddy “spline” or like riding over a berm. Off-camber on each side. It was wet, muddy, and very greasy. The line through it seemed to change every lap. Once on the other side, you had a long steep climb up a gravel road.
Once you made it to the top, you are back on pavement trying to gain as much speed as your lactic filled legs would let you get. You went around some beautiful camp houses, shot down and up a ravine. Coming back up you had a ton of speed. Pushing the big ring, but have to be careful. A sharp left turn that faded away. Leading into a 10 foot muddy drop. It was a fun roller coaster. After you hit a 180 turn, and the only set of barriers on the course.
Why do they have to put barriers at the bottom of a hill? As if a super steep hill is not bad enough to try to ride, they force you into a run. At the top of the hill you remount. Head out on a speed way of concrete. Into some more fun twisty off-camber trails past the pits and back into the trees.
You can hear the heckling, you can hear the cheering, the cow bells, and you can hear the laughing. You push through the up and down of an off camber hill side to climb up to the sand pit. Now you attack the sand push as hard as you can, and hope they do not end up laughing at you. Once out of the sand, you circle around the trees, and gun it up the pavement to the start finish line. Thank god, I finished the lap. Wait, did that sign just say 5 laps to go…
Angry Monkeys Racing
Other Results for the day:
Shannon Mortimer raced the early race and earned her podium place 2nd in CX Womens Masters 35+.
Brandon Andrews & Derek Slates raced in the Single Speed Category placing 24th & 28th out of 36 Single speeders.
Shannon & Laura Andrews raced in the Women’s Cat 3 Group placing 9th & 11th.
At the end of the day three AMR racers Brandon, Laura & Derek jumped into the CX4 race as a second race to the day to finish out in 31st, 38th, & 39th respectively out of about 45 riders.
Photos below are of Shannon and Laura:
Chequamegon 40 Race Report, 19 September 2015
Why would you do that? That was the question I was asked most often -- answered below in three parts.
Why do a 40 mile mountain bike race on a single speed? If you've raced single speed, you probably get it. If not there's probably no good way to convey what makes racing a bike with a single gear attractive. Let's face it, having one gear means spinning out on the easy parts and it turns every hill into a muscular challenge. On several hills I pushed as hard as I could on the pedals while pulling as hard as I could on the bars to just barely make it up the hill. I probably could have walked faster near the top. As it happened, the gear I chose was adequate for most of the hills. I jogged and walked up most of the fire tower hill and one other because of steepness. It was super fun passing people on the last couple of climbs -- barely turning over the gear while others spun away. There's no doubt it adds to the challenge and when I look at the times of comparable riders I know, gears could have made my ride 10 minutes faster. So why do it? You'll just have to try it yourself to truly understand.
Why fully rigid? Why would anyone do a rocky, bumpy course without a suspension front fork? I mean yikes! If I had a single speed bike with a suspension fork I would most definitely have used it. That course is bumpy and rocky but there are no drops unless you go off course. Fully rigid adds some risk to the day but so long as I could see what was coming, it was all under control. There were two bumpy, grassy descents that shook my head so violently I couldn't see well at all! This was unnerving and caused me to add brake which of course increased the shaking. In 40 miles, two sketchy descents is not bad, however, it takes only one to ruin your day. I recommend a suspension fork.
Why drop bars? What? That's right my single speed bike, Flo, is configured for cyclocross. Flo is a single speed mountain bike with drop bars. For the cheq40 she wore Racing Ralph mountain bike tires. Good tires with low pressure are key, especially on a fully rigid bike. Flo did great all she ever asked from me was to stop using the brakes and I mostly obliged, judging from several Strava PRs earned on downhill segments. The drop bars didn't matter except for the need to tape up my hands before the ride to prevent blisters which can be caused by sliding back and forth on the brake hoods. The Rocky-style tape job pre-race had the added benefit of psyching me up (play theme song).
I set out to ride well and didn't worry about racing. Afterall the average age of the single speeders is probably 25 and my age is more than double that. It was with some disbelief and complete surprise that I finished 13th out of 55 in the SS category in 2:46:50. Overall a super fun day on the bike. Would I do it again on a single speed bike with no suspension and drop bars? You betcha! -Joey King
NOTE: Joey was not the only AMR racer at the Cheq 40, Nick and Brett were also racing. More updates to come!
Note from Founder: There are not many rides out there that can claim epic or almost epic status. Yes true there area some out there that are truly "epic/dumb crazy rides" but those really are not what we are talking about. I am talking about epic rides that are amazingly well planned and organized. Ones that the average joe doesn't do but could with the right determination. Rides that we look at and say "I could do that" but it would hurt. This is one of those. I really wish I had planned and trained to participate in the first RAW - "Ride Across Wisconsin" the 175 mile one day ride put on by the Wisconsin Bike Fed. After watching Angry Monkey Racers Carl Bakker and Joe King have a fantastic time on this ride it made me jealous. I missed out but can't wait to try this one out. This is one of those rides that AMR is all about, really uniting the Cycling passions with some fantastic friends and epic journeys. Proud of Carl and Joe King and their accomplishment as well as Bob Morris a former AMR and a number of good friends who participated this year. Read and enjoy Carl's experience below. -Brandon.
What a day! After days of changing forecasts and impending storms, the day dawned with wet pavement and consistent drizzle. Our group of 12 rolled out with the rest, but at a nice easy pace. We kept it casual for the first 10 miles, but then suffered the first of 4 flats. After a quick repair and a little ‘standing breakfast’, we were back on the bike and rolling along well. 2 miles later we suffered the second untimely flat…but again, we were up and moving right away. With the team clipping along at 18-19 mph, the real trouble began as we started to catch others; the group quickly swelled to around 50 riders. By mile 65, we were braking forcefully on the downhills (and with the rain, slick roads, and grime/splatter flying in our faces, it made for some white-knuckled descents) and having to stand on the uphills, as the group would slow to a halt at each climb.
After the rest stop at mile 65, A few of us decided enough was enough, and we let the big group go. From there on, our group of 5 stuck together and decided to enjoy the ride and support each other. Somewhere in the mid-70’s, we hit a flatland that lasted a blessed 45 miles (with a few well-supported rest stops in there) before steadily rising upward to the final “climb” of the day at mile 130. The “super-secret rest stop” at mile 130 will always be a great memory – Josh McKinney was waiting with a few ice-cold Miller High Life’s. It seemed like an epically bad idea to have a beer, but I couldn’t insult the guy that drove all that way…a beer turned out to be exactly what we needed. With a little extra “pep in our step”, we took off with relaxed shoulders and wide grins, ready to tackle that last two “lunch rides” (20ish miles x 2) of the day.
Our final rest stop, between miles 150-155, set a wall of exhaustion right in our path. Saddle sores, hot spots, and general aches and pains of 10+ hours on a bike added to the gloominess of the grey late-afternoon skies. Faces determined, we set out on our death march. Time did its thing, though, and a little over an hour later, we rolled into Kenosha. Tired smiles and drooping shoulders were met with hot pizza and cold custom RAW mugs of beer. Another perfect day in the books! - Carl
Photos below are from Carl's adventure via Facebook and social media.