From Lloyd McFarlin:
Vail Resorts has once again hosted the Outlier Offroad Festival. This event is both a demo opportunity with great representation from bike manufacturers and other industry vendors, as well as a two-part race series. On Saturday, September 10, I participated in the Scott XC Short Course race in the Cat 2/3 grouping for Men 35 and up. It was great to finally get a chance to race alongside one of my Angry Monkeys teammates as Jen Kates also participated in the same event. The course was just under 7 miles and I figured it would be a nice warm-up to the next day’s longer Enduro event. However, the climbing was definitely a bit more of a challenge than I was counting on! In the end, though, Jen and I both managed to win our divisions and we came home with some beautifully framed awards, courtesy of Vail Outlier, Scott, and SRAM!
With my first race down, I just now had to get through the Rockshox Enduro on September 11. It was an earlier start, at 7:30 AM but there was, like in any enduro race, lots of waiting before stages. I just love the enduro/downhill culture where things are just a notch (okay maybe a few notches) less serious than other formats, so the morning was full of folks cracking jokes and I think I made about ten new friends while I was there. We ran through three stages with the first mostly being a flow/jump line known as “Radio Flyer." Unfortunately, as soon as I was a quarter of the way through the first run, my quads were killing me. Okay, maybe the back-to-back race idea wasn’t the best. In any case, Radio Flyer was a ton of fun and that was followed up by PMT, which is one Vail’s gnarlier black runs. Being so steep, it was a fast run with several long drops, many in quick succession. I recently upgraded my enduro bike to a 170mm travel rig and I was very thankful for that here! Despite PMT being quite the bruiser of a course, I had the most fun on that stage. Something about race pressure making you lose all of those second thoughts before plunging downward just adds to the exhilaration. Finally, things ended on a relatively easy course for stage 3 known as “Fred’s Lunch."
Overall, I didn’t do as well at the enduro event, coming in near the bottom, and my quads took a couple of days to heal up again. Next year, I’ll definitely be back to come out on a different end of the results spectrum. That aside, though, both events were well run and a heck of a lot of fun to race in!
From Jen Kates:
Being new to racing (this was only my third race ever), the pre-race excitement definitely had my stomach doing a dance reminiscent of a 1920s Flapper, but - fortunately for me - seeing Lloyd's familiar face at the race start significantly eased my race jitters. After spending the summer enjoying temps in the 80-90s down in the Denver valley, starting the morning off with a brisk Vail Mountain temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit had my racing newbie mind question if I was dressed warmly enough in my AMR kit with arm and knee warmers. Needless to say, the initial climbs during the race immediately warmed me up, and the AMR kit was perfect for the cool temps.
As Lloyd mentioned earlier, the climbing was a bit more challenging than I anticipated, but the views of Vail from the top were epic (when I had a chance to look in-between alpine segments of the trail). Having spent very little time in the saddle this season, I realized that my quads, hamstrings, and glutes were still getting a lot of benefit from the strength programming that I was following for the past several months, but the grind up the mountain was a bit grueling for my unconditioned engine. This reinforced the notion that time on the bike is necessary over time spent with a barbell! The reward for grinding up the mountain was the downhill, and that reward was so worth it! The downhill was amazing and included a beautiful and flowy alpine jaunt on "Hank's Hideaway" that I wasn't accustomed to seeing in the Front Range mountains that I often ride closer to Denver.
Given the epic scenery, top-notch race organization, and fun, hoot-hollerin' course, I'll definitely be back to race this event again next year - but with more time spent in the saddle in preparation beforehand!
One of my favorite races of the year just happens to be the one closest to work. The past few months many of our Angry Monkey Team that works at a certain bike company have spent hours upon hours working on this course. It is our home field. We have blood, sweat, blisters and mosquito bites to prove our time out on course. From Derek, Brian and I moving large boulders to Corey and others cutting down trees and raking until our hands were damaged. We have also had the luxury to be able to ride the course during lunch and test new design ideas and really just have fun. Casey, Storm, Seth, Gregg and I have all made many strava laps on the ever changing course. I am excited that this will be the opener for most of our crew. Some will head to Milwaukee this weekend to get a race in before the Trek CXC, but the rest are getting prepped for the big day. If you are in Wisconsin or around the area you should be here. If you are not, you should watch the pro races live online at Trekbikes.com. IF you haven't registered for this epic prequel to the two WORLD CUP races that will happen later that week, then you better get on it. #Crossiscoming #Crossishere Come see the Angry Monkeys Racing Team at TREK CXC September 17th/18th. http://trekcxccup.com/
Ride Across Wisconsin, on August 26, 2016, began in Dubuque Iowa, and follows scenic, low traffic roads 175 miles across the bottom of the state and ends on at Simmons Island Beach along the shore of Lake Michigan in Kenosha. Angry Monkeys Racing had 6 members participate this year. Joey & Carl doing it for their second year in a row. Casey, Gregg, Storm, & Corey also finished the 1 day ride. 175 is quite the base miles for cyclocross, so why not. #crossiscoming Riders rode along side greats like Jens Voigt, Frank Schleck, and other members of the Trek | Segafredo Team.
Joey King had this to say about the event: "Dinner was really especially fun because we got to sit at the table next to Jens, Rider, Frank and team. All I wanted for the day was to be with a big group of good cyclists. My experience last year told me that sort of group will form near the front. I also wanted to avoid chasing wheels that would eventually be too much for me. I realized how much easier it is for me to ride with a group when there are hills. Those big guys from flatter lands would push hard into the wind at the front. My willingness to participate in the paceline was greatly reduced when the person after me raised the pace. I pushed to keep the line together but this also meant no one could cycle through to the front and the cross-wind started to take it's toll. It was pretty amazing that everyone in a group of 15 to 25 riders did work at the front at least some of the time. That might be the coolest thing. So amazingly, my plan came to be. I invested heavily in the beginning in the hopes that this would be a good group and that investment paid off. We finished in close to 10 hours and, according Mia's Strava, we averaged 19.3 MPH when we were moving. That's the sweetest way to tick off 175 miles, if you ask me. "
Corey's favorite part of the day was riding with a new group from Minnesota, who were using RAW as a training ride for Lotoja. He said it was good group and great to hear their story. I think Corey might want to do that race next year.
Carl had these words posted on social media:Yesterday, 700 people (70+ of them from Trek!) rode their bicycle across this great state of Wisconsin, experiencing the full taste of what Wisconsin has to offer in a single day:
There was cold, rain, shifting winds, fog, prevailing sun, high humidity, and finally, the cooling lake breeze as the sun set. There were hills and descents, bad weather riding, headwinds, tailwinds, tears, smiles, laughter (...LOTS of it at a prank played against me...), fear, excitement, joy, saddle sores, tan lines, tired legs, sunscreen, sunburns, pace lines, and solo stretches. There were bad drivers and bad bike riders; honks of support and law-abiding cyclists. There was homemade lemonade and homemade Wisconsin cheese pizza, local fruit and local brews, amazing grilled veggie sandwiches from local food vendors, and even a Van Holyen pickle-in-a-pouch. Entire communities came out despite the weather to welcome us and cheer us on through their town; local police, firefighters, and paramedics worked diligently to ensure our safety and the safety of those around us, and-most importantly-our God watched over us all.
What surprises me about these crazy events, though, is that I always learn *so much* more about myself from what I learned about OTHERS than from any effort or accomplishment of my own. I am truly, truly, TRULY blessed to have shared this day with so many amazing, inspiring, and generous people, and I thank God for giving me front row tickets to such amazing character development. I love you all, I am proud of you all, and for that I toast this massive chocolate-malt-filled frozen RAW goblet to you! Job well done! #cheerstothat #trekbikes #rideacrosswisconsin #secondofmany
We are all very proud of Joey, Carl, Casey, Gregg, Storm and Corey. Glad they were able to participate and all were safe throughout the day. See below some of the photos of the riders from social media and a few head shots by Jeff Kennel. Corey is the guy in the AMR kit, the rest were in other kits for the day, it's not a race.
Congrats to Storm Schmitt, an AMR member, finished his third year doing the Ride The Rockies. We love that our members are passionate about many causes. From Trek 100's fight against Childhood Cancer to Davis Phinney Foundation that sponsors programs that provide the information, tools and inspiration that can be used to live well with Parkinson’s today. Storm raised $2500+ for the foundation as a member of the Davis Phinney Foundation (30 riders total) who participated in the Ride the Rockies event together. Ride The Rockies in itself is a cause, and event of The Denver Post Community Foundation. The Denver Post Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, serves to improve and enrich the lives of those in our community by raising and distributing funds to metro-area and Colorado nonprofit agencies serving the areas of arts, youth, education and human services. For more information, visit denverpostcommunity.com. The ride this year was 6 days, 400 miles and 40,000 feet of climbing with 2,000 people participating.
Best part of all this. Storm got engaged on Independance Pass to Shea his now fiancée. Congrats to both of them...hopefully she will join the team too. :)