Welcome our newest member to the family, Lucy. She’s a sweetheart!
Lucy is a 2-1/2 year old Pitbull mix. We got her from the Humane Society in town.
She’s been a great dog. Incredibly athletic and loves to cuddle.
Welcome our newest member to the family, Lucy. She’s a sweetheart!
Lucy is a 2-1/2 year old Pitbull mix. We got her from the Humane Society in town.
She’s been a great dog. Incredibly athletic and loves to cuddle.
The first big race of the season is in the books (Whiskey 50), new travels are on the horizon, and summer will be here before we know it!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update. March was a whirlwind of local weekend races, including a trip to SoCal getting that first bit of early season race prep in the legs. Things around Pinetop have started to bloom and the trees and grass are becoming greener.
The seasons blend together quite a bit here, winter was colder with highs in the 40s and 50s, but plenty of sunshine. We had a pretty dry spring (along with a dry winter) and now we’re seeing consistent temps in the 70’s, but other than the blooming flowers it’s hard to tell a lot has changed.
Upcoming travels are a short trip back to Wisco for my best man Niko’s wedding, Durango for the Iron Horse Classic and then Grand Junction for the GJ Off-Road, really looking forward to this one. I hear it’s a lot of challenging technical rock riding, a real mountain bikers course. After that we’ve got a weekend planned at the Angelfire bike park, Colorado Springs for some family time and another round of the U.S. Cup and then Mtb Nationals in Mammoth, CA.
Our ski area Sunrise, has a DH park that will open memorial day weekend. We’ve walked some of the runs, they’re pretty cool, lots of roots, big rocks and steep drops! This weekend we’re headed to Sedona for a skills clinic with pro DH/enduro riders Lindsey & Kirt and Voreis. So lots fun stuff happening.
I’m in the process of finishing the new Racette devStudios website, but in the meantime I’ve added some new items to my portfolio section of the blog, check it out and let me know what you think!
Until next time…
Last week I took the opportunity to explore two really cool roads, the Coronado Trail and the Salt River Canyon.
The Coronodo Trail (scenic highway 191) starts in Alpine at 8,000′ and heads south to Clifton at 3,500′ swooping through forests, amazing vistas and large trees that slowly turn to shrubs, then cactus.
I did this as an out an back, but you could do it as a one way from Clifton to Alpine, for a 90-mile 12,000′ climbing day (it’s been added to my list!). All in all it was an awesome ride. 4.5-hrs 8,000′ of climbing and I only saw 4 cars all day.
On Sunday I capped off the week with a ride into the Salt River Canyon, a road that drops off the Mogollon (pronounced Mug-E-own) rim towards Phoenix. I got stated at sunrise and again there wasn’t much traffic. Rollers take you up and down from 6500′ down to 4,500′ and then the road drops you into the canyon bottom at 3,500′.
The climb out was pretty cool, steady climbing for about 1.5-hrs, then a few rollers, and the final climb back up to Show Low where I began. All in all another great ride capping off the 22-hr week on the bike with a total of 29,000′ of climbing!
The weekend prior Evie and I participated in the 24-hrs of Old Pueblo with some friends from Fountain Hills and McDowell Mountain Cycles. We did the 5 person coed and ended up 2nd on the weekend. All in all it was a good time, we got some miles in on our new race bikes and most importantly we stayed healthy. The real racing begins in 4 weeks with the Fontana ProXCT.
And finally, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be representing McDowell Mountain Cycles for 2015 with support from Scwhwalbe tires and Mike’s Mix Recovery drink. Looking forward to an awesome season!
Finally getting around to a blog update, first one of the new year!
Winter in Pinetop has been downright balmy as compared to Wisconsin. We’ve only had 2 snow storms pass through that dumped 6-8″ each, but with the sun shining, the roads were clear the next day. The ski resort has had its fair share of snows, but we haven’t been over there yet.
Evie and I spent Christmas with my parents back in Antioch, it was nice to visit, but I’m pretty sold on Arizona at this point!
3 reasons you should move to Arizona
I’ve explored a handful of the roads in the area and when you add in the 200+ miles of singletrack plus endless fire roads there’s a ton of riding options right from the house. Driving 45-mins gives you tons of more options from 2000′ climbs to bombing DH style singletrack.
Adjusting to Arizona life has been pretty easy. Along with exploring the White Mountains we’ve spent a few weekends in Sedona and Phoenix, both within a 3-hr drive (for those familiar with Sedona’s “White Line” trail (stunt) I marked the turn with the blue arrow!
The MBAA (Mountain Bike Association of Arizona) equivalent of WORS started up last weekend. They have a 7 race series that includes a wide variety of courses from desert to dirt. I’m by no means ready to start XC racing, but with Whiskey 50 and Grand Junction on tap for this year, I’ve definitely shifted my training up to be on form in late April.So far it’s been pretty easy to train here with 40 & 50′ degree temps during the day.
We also got a fat bike! We don’t have any snow right now, but riding on the frozen trails is a blast. Looking forward to taking it out on some snow pack soon.
In other bike related news, we’re riding Scott’s this year. Evie and I both got Scott Spark 700 SL’s along with a Genius 740 their 150mm trail bike. Both bikes rock! 650b wheels and 120mm of travel on the Spark makes it a super fun bike to ride. A great climber and awesome on the descents.
More in the coming weeks…
Thanks for reading!
Living in Arizona has so far been pretty awesome! Not only is Pinetop a cool place, but we’re super close to many other great destinations.
A few weekends ago Evie and I took a trip to Sedona for the weekend to do some riding with Chad and Tricia. We’d both been to Sedona before (that’s where we got engaged), but had never ridden there. We left Saturday morning and headed out for the 3-hr drive. We made a quick stop in Flagstaff where we rode to the top of Mt. Elden for a quick trail ride down the Upper and Lower Oldham trails. After our ride we stopped at a few breweries to refuel and fill our growler. Finishing out the day with the remaining 45-min drive put us in Sedona for the night.
The next day, Chad, Evie, Tricia, and I headed out for some Sedona fun! We ripped around all morning and then met up at Over the Edge bike shop downtown where the guys and girls split off into their own rides for a bit. The day kept getting better with more exposure, awesome rocky descents, and amazing views. In 4-hrs we just scratched the surface of what Sedona has to offer, but being so close, we will definitely be back!
After a fun weekend it was back at it, getting caught up on work stuff and finally feeling like I have some sort of routine again. My parents came to visit the next weekend and my dad and I did some projects around the house including building the best bike workbench to date. This is our third one we’ve build and I think we have it dialed. From the depth, width, shelf height, it’s just about perfect.
Then it was off to Durango to meet up with my good buddy Dave, who was spending some time on the front range in Denver. About a 5-6 hr drive for both of us, Durango made perfect sense. We had great weather and explored some awesome trails including Horse Gulch, Telegraph, Sale Barn, and my favorite, the Colorado Trail.
We made it up to “high point” on the Colorado trail, about 9500′ before the snow and setting sun had us turning around for the 3000′ descent. Along the way we rode some rally cool side trails that had some wicked fun berms. The dirt was perfect all day and we rolled back to the car by moonlight. Hard to stop when you’re having that much fun!
Sunday we drove out to Big Lake, which is an hour east of Pinetop. We found this really cool trail along a river that we hiked for a while, Thompson Trail. Makes you forget your in Arizona. We also got some good views of Mt. Baldy, the highest peak in AZ outside of the San Francisco peaks in Flagstaff. Mt. Baldy rises to 11,400′.
Well, it’s been 3 weeks since Evie and I moved to Pinetop, AZ. We’ve had a little time to explore some of the area and all I can say is YEAH! This place is awesome!
When you see a new part of the country for the first time or visit a small town during a bike race it always seems like it’d be a great place to live, but it’s always in the back of your mind as to what’s this place really like without a big festival going on, or when I’m not visiting on vacation. Pinetop was kind of the opposite…
Upon our first visit to the town of Pinetop-Lakeside (it’s actually two towns that merged), we were not overly impressed. Once we met a few of the locals and began to explore the area more boy were we blown away! This is a total mtbers training ground paradise! More on that later.
We arrived in Pinetop on Oct 1 and got the keys to our new place that we’re renting. Our house sits just behind Woodland Lake Park, a really quaint little park about 1 square mile that has a small lake and some really cool mountain bike trails. So far Evie’s commute consists of a 20-min ride on singletrack!
Luckily we didn’t have to drive the moving truck out, that arrived on Friday (along with TJ and Chloe) who came to stay for the weekend and ride in the Tour of the White Mountains, a race put on by Epic Rides, the same people who put on the Whiskey 50, Grand Junction Off-road, and 24-hrs in the Old Pueblo.
A course marking error sent the lead 12 or so guys the wrong way, so once we all stopped to chat with race officials we decided to just cruise and enjoy the ride. It turned out to be a great day! I didn’t really have any expectations, just a good way to checkout the local trails.
So Pinetop is a lot like Bend, OR, only a little higher in elevation (Pinetop sits at 7000′). The trails are a mix of rocky technical slow sections and fast smooth twists through pine trees. There’s a good amount of elevation gain, about 1000′ per hour when you’re just out riding.
Since Pinetop sits on the edge of the Colorado plateau (right on the Mogollon Rim) you can head south and begin to drop in elevation really quickly. There are a half dozen or so Cat 2 climbs to be had within a 50-mile ride, lots of clean roads, endless gravel fire roads, and about 200-miles of connecting mountain bike trails.
With a little cold and snow in the winter means you’ll keep your toughness, while still being able to ride year round. Plus if you do wanna wimp out, it’s only a 3-hr drive to Phoenix and 4-hrs to Tucson. Not to mention you ride 30-miles south and it warms up 20 degrees as you drop off the rim!
Thus far it’s been in the 40s in the morning and 60s/70s during the day. Winter’s can dip down into the 20s at night, but then back up into the 40s and 50s during the day. Summers in the 70s and 80s, but dry, and NO BUGS!
We’ll see some snow in the winter, but not a ton, and any snow that does stick won’t last too long since it warms up during the day. Sunrise Ski resort is about 25-miles to the east of town and rises another 2000′ so the base is at 9,000, summit at 11,100.
We went over there a few weeks ago to hike and checkout the fall colors, along with the downhill mountain bike trails! In the summer they run lifts so get ready to do some big hitting! We walked some of the DH runs and they were sweet! They have a really neat Whistler vibe. Trees, roots, big boulders, etc. Can’t wait to ride ’em.
Evie started work on the 15th and I’ve been busy finishing up a new project for some friends of mine who opened a new bike shop in Fountain Hills, McDowell Mountain Cycles. We’ve had a chance to meet a lot of people in town and are looking forward to more exploring!
For a town of 5000 they sure have a lot of awesome restaurants and cool little shops. With the endless system of trails and so many other cool places nearby like Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Durango I could see calling Pinetop my home for a long time so come visit! We have a spare bedroom waiting!
This year has been pretty incredible. It started off with 3 months in Arizona, followed by my buddy Steve’s wedding in California, Sea Otter w/ Evie and the Linear Sport Crew. That momentum carried me into the racing season placing 2nd at both the Fontana and Wisconsin ProXCT’s. I once again stood on the podium at mtb nationals, and to top it off Evie and I got married! It’s been a busy year to say the least.
I’m excited to begin my newest adventure, which includes a move to Pinetop-Lakeside, AZ sometime next month.
The journey started a few months back when Evie saw an opening for the town manager position. She applied and next thing we knew we were flying out to AZ for the final round of interviews.
Pinetop-Lakeside is an interesting town. It sits at 7000′ up on the Mogollon rim (the southern edge of the Colorado plateau) about 2-hrs east of Flagstaff, 3-hrs NE of Phoenix, a great location. The little mountain town of 4500 people sees cooler temperatures than Phoenix in the summer, but still get’s a little bit of snow in the winter.
The town’s motto is ‘Celebrate the Seasons’ and that’s exactly what the area offers, outdoor activities for every season.
Mountain bike trails out your door, endless fire roads to train on. Long gradual pavement climbs that take you up past 10k feet.
The town itself has a lot of cool little shops and restaurants including a brewery, olive oil shop, and numerous ski shops.
Sunrise Park is about 40-miles from town and offers downhill skiing in the winter with a vertical of 1800′ plus XC skiing at the base. In the summer they run lifts for down hill trails, woo! Excited to check these out.
Overall the area has a lot to offer and Evie and I excited to start a new chapter in our lives. We’ll certainly miss our friends back home (which is only a plane ride away), but we know you’ll want to come visit 🙂
The next few weeks will be filled with finding a place to live, packing, and finishing out the WORS mtb series.
We just got back from the Dakota Five-0 in Spearfish, SD an absolute blast of a weekend. The trails, the people, the food, they’re all amazing. I ended up 12th with a time of 3:59 after a wrong turn took me off course to Old Baldy Summit and back down. Evie finished 4th overall in the women and took home some cash, a sweet flask, and a brand new Quarq XX1 power meter, yeah!
I know I probably won’t get to see everyone before I leave, but rest assured I’ll be back.
Here’s to old friends & new adventures!
As the biggest race of the season comes to a close, I sit down on the couch and let out a big sigh, what next? Here’s a look at my trip to mountain bike nationals.
This being the second year nat’ls was held at Bear Creek, I knew what to expect coming in and I knew that played to my advantage. Coming off a 2nd place finish at WORS Cup I also knew I was riding strong.
East coast riding is littered with bowling ball sized jagged rock gardens for days. Rocks big enough that you can’t just motor over them, you have to use your whole body to pump and finesse the bike. While fitness comes into play, it’s more bike control and riding strong enough equipment.
I was lucky to have plenty of practice this winter in Arizona ripping trails, descending South Mountain and Bell Pass gave me a lot of confidence on my bike. The Trek Top Fuel was once again amazing! With the new Fox CTD shock I’m running this year I had the advantage of a rear remote which was fantastic. You don’t want to take your hands off the bar even for a second at Bear Creek!
While another 5th place finish and spot on the podium was great, I certainly had the potential to do more. After hitting my pedal and leading the prologue lap I dropped my chain coming into the first climb. That was the first of many dropped chains in my race.
Turns out my clutch had broken on my rear derailleur. Brian at Shimano got me fixed up after the race, but unfortunately it was after the fact. On the plus side, while dozens of riders littered the trail fixing flat tires, my Racing Ralph’s w/ Snake Skin were flawless.
Super happy with the way I was riding and ripping through the rocky descents. After falling to last place at the start of the first climb I moved up to 3rd by the time we got halfway down the descent. I was ripping, handling my bike great, but I knew the two leaders (guy’s I’ve raced against earlier this season) would be tough to catch.
I pinned it down the descent and across the start finish straight and began lap 2 of 3. At the start of the descent on lap 2 I came around a corner real hot and lost my front wheel. That sent me sliding pretty good and it took me minute to get moving again after the impact. I’m glad my only crash of the day was on a fast corner and not down one of the jagged rock gardens. Regardless, I was passed by Brad and another rider and it took me a good 5-10 mins to get any sort of rhythm back.
I rolled through the start/finish ready to go out on my last lap feeling defeated. I muscled my way up the climb and then rode down the descent at a conservative pace.
I’m certainly no quitter, but that race had me questioning whether or not I’d finish, call it bad luck or what-have-you, sometimes it’s just not your day. I had the legs and handling skills to win, but I was out of the race before it even got going.
While my result wasn’t quite what I was looking for, it was still a fun weekend. Joe and Brian both did super well in the pro race, Evie podium’d in all 3 of her races and Brad took 3rd in the XC race. Good times with good friends (and family!)
Thanks to Lynn Senkerik for all the cheers and awesome photos!
The big day has come and gone and I’m now a married man!
Evie and I tied the knot on July 5th in Watertown, South Dakota. The day was just perfect. Warm, sunny, surrounded by good friends and family.
A big thanks to Ken and Connie, Evie’s parents for doing an incredible job getting the house and yard ready for the wedding and putting together so many creative touches.
Evie’s band that she sang with in college, Poker Alice rocked the night away and people had a blast playing lawn games. All in all it was an incredible weekend followed by an amazing few days of riding up in Hayward on our mini-honeymoon.
Here are some pictures from our amazing photographer Kat. You can checkout more of her work at KatherineMcclure.com.
Goodbye winter, hello summer!
Somehow we missed spring, but that’s alright because the trees are blooming and WORS racing is in full swing.
With WORS racing, training for nationals in July, and wedding planning, things are getting pretty crazy. I’m trying to stay focused and be as efficient with my time as I can.
WORS #1 kicked off at Iola which is always a fun race because you get to see so many faces you haven’t seen all winter. Evie, Marc, Kristina and I caravanned up to the race and camped at Iola Pines. We had a good time and love our new camp stove! The race itself was just alright, didn’t have the greatest start and rolled in feeling meh, for 20th.
WORS #2 Rhinelander turned into another camping trip, meeting up with a handful of other teammates and friends made it a great weekend. The trails were awesome, fast and flowy singletrack. A lot of people make comments about it being a bumpy course, but my Top Fuel was butter and I railed every turn coming across the line 10th.
WORS #3 Camrock put even more fuel in the fire having ridden the trails quite a bit. Lots of single track and short punchy climbs. Race day was hot! Spending so much time in Arizona I tend to thrive in these conditions. I also have a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to prepping for the heat.
I had a pretty good start, having practiced the start climb a half dozen times the week prior. I slotted easily into the top 10 before the first section of single track, made a tactical pass into the next section and never looked back.
After riding solo for laps 2, 3, and most of lap 4 I rolled up on Tristan which made for an exciting finish. Matching my effort from last year, I was 7th once again. Happy with that.
What I was most pleased with in my race is the consistency of my lap times. My first lap is always the fastest, the middle are usually just a bit slower, and the last lap a touch faster. At Camrock my first lap was the fastest and my last 3 laps within 20 seconds of each other, two were just 1 second difference. Pretty solid.
My Top Fuel once again rocked. I’ve never felt better ripping through single track so I’m really excited for the next race in Wausau, a course that has bigger rocks, and a few more challenging sections than Camrock.
The weekend prior to Camrock I shot down to Burlington, Iowa for Snake Alley, a road crit up a cobble switchback climb. It’s a super fun race unlike any other crit out there. I had a pretty good go and ended up 5th in the Cat 3 race out of 70 some racers.
The race stuck together early on, so I was able to move up from the back after 2 laps, and riders started dropping off halfway through. I was pretty consistent up the climb and closed down a couple gaps on the flats fairly easily mid race. The legs were good.
Evie also raced, her first road race and got 2nd in commanding fashion.
Next up WORS Wausau, Eau Claire and then our wedding on July 5th in South Dakota!
Till next time…