Subaru Cup ProXCT

Wow, July has been a whirlwind. WORS, Subaru Cup, peaking for Nationals. I’ve finally had time to wind down and think about the last few weeks. I’m guessing this will be a two-parter…

This season’s focus was around mountain bike nationals in mid July. Leading up to nat’s was the Subaru Cup ProXCT a great primer the week before nat’s.

Joe and I drove up to the course the Weds before to get in some hot laps and really get to know the course. Doing this earlier in the week was really helpful for two reasons. We had time the rest of the week to visualize the course, which spots to attack, which spots to rest. It also allowed us to ride at race pace without worrying about going too hard for too long if it were the day before.

Coming into the weekend the legs were feeling awesome I could tell I was peaking. I wasn’t 100% sure on the timing of the exact day of the peak, but when you’re training for 6 months leading up to a big block of races feeling good on race weekend is close enough. Mentally I was psyched and ready to go.

The course at Subaru Cup was pretty much the same as last year with 1 or 2 small alterations. When the gun went off we climbed a short, but steep climb into the first section of singletrack. I put in a solid dig and filed in for 2nd. As soon as we rolled the Bontrager boulder in the amphitheater I could see we and opened up a small gap on 3rd wheel.

During pre-ride, while it’s helpful to get a feel for the entire course, it’s that first section of single track that really counts. Knowing which line you are going to take off the line and how hard you need to pedal to be where you NEED to be is something I’ve really come to understand after this last month of racing.

The pace on lap 1 was really high. I could tell I was riding just outside myself, but new if I wanted to win I would have to hang with the leader as long as I could. After the first lap I began to lose contact and that was the last I saw of him.

On the start of lap 2 Trevor Olsen put a dig in on the climb that I went with, but I could tell I needed to slow the pace down if I wanted to hold my position. On lap 3 I was caught by Ben Jenkins and Tyler Jenema and felt my pace starting to slow a bit going into the last lap.

In the end I rolled in for 11th. Not the result I was hoping for, but I went as hard as I could to stay with the leader as long as I could so I was satisfied. After the race I talked with the winner, Dario Frederick. Turns out he’d won nat’s the past 4 years and runs the Whole Athlete/Specialized team. Super talented group of kids.

For short track on Sunday my legs felt pretty good, but a dropped chain multiple times kept me from the podium. All in all a super fun weekend good friends, good eats in town after the race, and lots of laughs.

It felt good to shake out the nerves. Next up the big one, mountain bike nationals in Bear Creek, PA.

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 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!