WORS is Underway, Summer is Not

WORS Iola Tim Racette 2013

With the Wisconsin Off-road Series kicking off the season with 3 straight weekends of racing I’m glad to have a weekend off. There’s a lot that goes into gearing up for a mountain bike race, most of which is mental, and hard to describe, but I’ll do my best.

After 3 races I’m sitting top 10 in the WORS overall, but that will certainly change as the season goes on. The first two races Iola, and Rhinelander were at the end of big training weeks so I was pleased with my results on somewhat tired legs.

Iola & Rhinelander

The best part of WORS racing is the people. For Iola Joe and I stayed with Lukas a UW rider and had a really chill evening making dinner and relaxing.

I flew solo to Rhinelander and met up with a few other people to camp out for the night before the race.

Weather was perfect, temps in the mid 50s during the night. We had a super relaxing evening sitting around the campfire listening to George play guitar as we ate smore’s and had some good laughs.

Sunday was another good day. After my warm-up I could tell I still didn’t have a lot of snap and my HR wasn’t responding that great, but managed to roll in for 14th.

The Red Eye Rendezvous

Wausau was past weekend, such a fun race. JPass and I drove up on Saturday to pre-ride, the course was really muddy and slick, but a perfect mix of technical single track and open fire roads.

Alex’s parents graciously offered to put us up for the night which was great. We all met for dinner at the Red Eye, a local brewery in town. This is usually the spot we frequent anytime we’re in Wausau, great food, good beer, always a good time.

Sunday didn’t see any more rain, but instead cooler temps and wind so the course dried out a lot overnight. My legs felt good during my warm-up and I was excited to get a #9 call up and 2nd row start.

The race itself ended up being kind of boring. Not exactly sure where things split apart, but after the long fire road section a few miles in to lap one I found myself all by my lonesome and finished the rest of the race that way.

Time to Recharge

With the weekend off, I’m looking forward to recharging my batteries, getting in some good training and gearing up for Camrock in two weeks. Not having to travel far will be nice. I had my best start there last year filing into the single track at 8th wheel after the relatively long climb.

With 3 races down there’s still a ton of racing to go this year and lots of gains to be made over the next few months.

Mt. Lemmon, MadTown, & Mtb Racing

Atop the Mountain

Well, back home in Madison, thngs are exactly the same as when I left, 30s and cold, seriously? Today I got word that the first WORS race of the season (set for May 5) has to be rescheduled due to snow, ridiculous. I did find another Illinois race taking place on the same day that I might do instead.

That brings me to last weekend’s racing, what a blast! It felt great to get the first race of the year under my belt and have a solid results, but before I get into the details let me share a little bit from my trip home from AZ.

The Beast – Mt. Lemmon

A couple weeks back my dad flew out to Arizona and we packed up my things, loaded the car and headed south to Tucson. It was a pretty typical day in the 80s and I was headed up the long 27 mile climb that is Mt. Lemmon.

Mt. Lemmon is probably my favorite road ride in all of Arizona, and probably the most fun climb I’ve ever done. This time though, I rode from a friend’s house to the base (about an hour) then started the climb. I ended up running out of water about halfway up which sucked, but the temperature dropped to the low 50s near the top so it wasn’t a total death march.

After climbing for two hours comes the fun part, the descent. Mt. Lemmon is super open with wide turns so you can pretty much cruise at 50-mph down a good portion of it. It’s actually the cars that slow you down.

Tucson, AZ

After Mt. Lemmon my dad and I made our way to Las Cruces, NM for the night and set out the next day for Austin, TX. We spent the day in Austin checking out downtown, stopped off at Barton Springs, and had an awesome lunch at this brew pub called Uncle Billy’s, some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had.

From Austin the plan was to head down to San Antonio to spend a few days with my dad’s aunt and uncle. It was nice to stay put for a few days and eat some home cooked meals. Riding in San Antonio was not so pleasant, traffic is a bitch, but hey at least it was warm.

On Thursday we drove north. It took two days to get back to northern Illinois, but it felt good to be home and see my family after 3 months in AZ.

Team Wisconsin Kickoff

The annual spring Team Wisconsin meeting kicked off on Saturday. It was nice to see all the teammates and get a little ride in.

I’ve only been back for two weeks and I’m already sick of Mother Nature. 40s and rain everyday is getting old fast, but whatever, just gotta suffer through it: riding outside in the cold, wind, and rain beats riding the trainer.

Team Wisconsin 2013

2nd Place Finish at Sylvan Island

So back to the race on Sunday, I came across this race in Illinois on the Mississippi river, near Iowa on MtbCalendar.com. I figured it’d be a good alternative to the GDVC crit in the rain so I decided to race MTBs.

It turned out to be an awesome day, 70 degrees and sunny! The Cat 1 field was small (compared to WORS), only about 30-40 guys. The only guy I knew from WORS was Kevin McConnell.

I’d never ridden the course before so the first lap I sat in around 5th wheel. The course was short, about 4-miles and we were doing 6 laps, plenty of time to find my rhythm. I was racing the Top Fuel with my same XR4/XR3 tire setup from Arizona so traction was no issue.

After 2 laps I put in an attack across an open windy straight and got a small gap on the field. I lead laps 3, 4, 5, and most of lap 6. We were a group of 5 for the first few laps, but by the last lap we had dwindled down to 3, myself, Kevin, and Kevin’s teammate Aaron.

Towards the end of the last lap we came to a long straightaway where the prior laps I was putting in some big digs to keep a gap, making the other guys work just as hard, but this time I could feel Aaron hot on my heals.

He shot inside right as we hit the single track and I followed him into the finish line, sprinting with Kevin for 2nd.

2nd Place Finish

All in all I was super happy with the race. Good to know my fitness is coming around, my legs and HR were solid through the entire 1hr 50 min race.

Looks like the next mtb race will be another Illinois race, then hopefully we can get WORS underway!

Things Are Heating Up, Oh and I Bought a New Bike

My New Bike

I left off with preparing for my trip to New York City to speak at the Trader’s Expo. All in all it was a pleasant trip. Temps were in the upper 30s, low 40s, nice for walking around the city. I decide to stay at the Tryp hotel after reading a lot of great reviews.

The modern décor gave off some great vibes and using a few of my ninja travel tricks I booked my room for the same rate as the holiday inn! Another win for the thrift savvy.

Tryp Hotel Room NYCAs for my presentation, I had about 80 traders show up to hear my 45-min talk on how to develop a winning trader’s mindset. It went great, in fact even better than I expected. I had people coming up afterwards thanking me and some even saying it was the best talk they attending during the entire event. That meant a lot. All the hard work, rehearsing, and preparation paid off.

NY Traders Expo 2013

The big Apple was fun, but after 3 days I’d had enough and was ready to get back to AZ and riding. Eating out 3x a day really sucks. Even with Yelp and Google restaurant reviews it’s so hard to find healthier options in the city. I did manage to find a Trader Joe’s and a little Asian place, Yum Yums that was really good, along with a few stops in for a cold beer.

Time Square New YorkEntering the Last Phase of Base Training

With the weather here in AZ starting to heat up, so has my training. I started a new block this week (Base 3) and am beginning to increase the intensity. I’m looking forward to jump in the Saturday group ride this weekend.

With training intensity starting to build, so is the excitement for racing. Team Wisconsin has been super fortunate to have some great sponsors over the years including Dennis Klumb of KS Energy Services. On top of that, I’m super excited to have another huge sponsor on board the Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (MOSH).

This additional 3 year sponsorship allows for the team to do a whole lot more and provides a lot more race support to the elite guys, more than we’ve ever had in years past. With more support and fellow teammates travelling to bigger national level races, I may be joining them.

My New Toy…

Yes, I bought a new bike.

This was totally unexpected, sort of. I’m super happy with my current bike (and latest purchase) my Trek Top Fuel. In fact, I absolutely love it for riding out here on Arizona’s rocky desert trails.

So here’s how things went down. After making some new friends at the shop and getting out to shred the trails the subject of wheel sizes arose (as it always does). After spending last season on a 29er I was super content with my new 26″ wheels.

McDowell Mountain ParkWell, one of the guys just bought a new Cannondale Scalpel 29er and was selling his old bike (a 2010 S-Works 29er) and let me take it out for a spin. I’d never ridden a top of the line Specialized rig before. I was totally and completely… blow away. It handles more like a 26er and climbs like one too.

On top of all that he offered it to me at a great deal (I’m talking smoking ridiculous deal, thanks Brent!).

Out here it’s a necessity to have full suspension if you want to be able to ride for more than 2-hrs without trashing yourself, and I’m a pretty tough dude and for that I love my Top Fuel.

After taking both the Top Fuel and the S-Works out on the McDowell race loops and up some serious 20 minute climbs the S-Works 29er HT will be my bike of choice for specific WORS races and of course, Chequamegon.

2010 Specialized S-Works 29er HTNothing will ever climb like my old Giant hard tail 26er, but this new S-Works comes closer than any other bike I’ve ridden.

The technology in the new 29er full suspension bikes is pretty incredible though. If I had the same deal in front of me for a Superfly 100 or Epic 29er full suspension and it rode like this thing does, I may have considered.

Here are the Specs:

2010 S-Works sz M
Fork:  Brain w/ Pro Tune (it’s basically a full rigid until you hit bumps, it’s amazing)
Drive Train: Full Sram XX 2×10 (So far I’m impressed)
Brakes: Avid XX World Cup (They do the job, but I may end up switching to XTRs)
Wheels: Stan’s ZTR Race (They’re not carbon, but at 1370g they’re frickin’ light)
Weight: 19.0 lbs
Cost: Too good to pass up.

Yes it is a Specialized and haters gon’ hate, but let me tell you she is unlike any other 29er I’ve ridden. Thanks to Jake over at Fountain Hills Bikes for hooking me up with 170mm crank arms and Doug for always throwing some extra goodies my way.

All Good Things Come to An End

Only 3 weeks left in AZ before I start my trip home. I’m actually super excited to get back. My dad is flying out at the end of the month to help with the drive back. Our planned route is to head down through Tucson so I can have another go at Mt Lemmon then swing over to Texas to visit with my aunt and uncle in San Antonio then north to the (hopefully) dry and sunny Midwest.

For now, I’ll let the good times roll.

~Pura Vida