Archive for June, 2012

Chequamegon 100 Report

30¢ Squad went up to north Wisco for a mountain bike race this weekend. It was a great trip, stayed at Lakewoods Resort, the host for the event. I booked a room in a huge cabin with 8 private rooms and huge common living area that somehow we were the only ones to get a room in? I will never understand that, but it was nice!

The race. So much happened out there, I don’t feel I can do a proper race report, here is some of what I remember. We rolled at 7am. Big group, I was sitting in the middle maybe? We took off and predictably the front hit it hard. 3 miles to trail and a few hills on the way served to separate things a bit. I lost the first group, (riding rigid 29’er singlespeed 32×18) then the second, and hit the trail somewhere just behind. Even with 3 miles to sort it out it was still a bit of a parking lot getting into the trail.

I relaxed and settled in for the long day. The first trail was awesome! Flowy, rocks, some cool features, and we just ripped it through there. I saw some early mechanicals, crashes, lost bottles and multitools. It started to spread out a bit and I got around some people and was just having a great time. Things kept seperating, and I found myself sitting on a guy’s wheel a lot. His name was Mick as I recall and he was riding just my pace and style so I just enjoyed the ride.

After a time we popped out at a parking lot and there were lots of people standing around eating and such. I rolled straight through, and hooked up with some Des Moines guys just as we went back into trails. I had managed to cram food in my mouth in the parking lot and it took me about 5 minutes to chew it and get it down. I was now sitting on a Salsa guy’s wheel, and was liking his pace, too. Then he took us off course. Just a bit, but we lost 5 places or so. Not a problem, I just went to sitting on a different wheel. This was about 20 miles in, and I started to not feel so good in the legs. I was expecting this to happen throughout the day so I just went with it and lost some ground to the riders ahead. Nobody coming up behind so I just tried to keep it smooth and let the legs come back.

At mile 28 we popped out of trail ( we had just done 25 miles of singletrack and a bit of doubletrack, it was pretty awesome!) and back onto gravel road. There was a tent here, I stopped for a moment, grabbed a Clif Shot from their stores, and took off. Into the rain. It had started raining while we were in the trees and I had not really noticed it yet, but on the gravel road it was easy to tell that it was coming down good.

I rolled the gravel mostly solo, my gear would not let me catch the group just ahead so I did not push it, just rolled and tried to stretch. After a time we got back into trails and it was still raining so things were getting slippery and sloppery. This was a super fun trail, lots of built berms and features by the trail crews. Then more singletrack, I was again hanging on some good wheels through here, and at mile 35 we hit the first super steep sustained slope of the day and I jumped off and walked it. Back on, more singletrack, then back on road.

This was a long section on the gravel to move us over to more trails. It was still raining and I was again riding alone. There were lots of bikes around, I was in the thick of it. It is hard to figure how long we were on the road, but maybe 7 miles? Jumping back onto trails at around mile 45 it was still raining.

This trail was a good deal sloppier than the last one I had been on. It was super fun though, flowy, and not too many rocks to dodge. This is all very confusing to me for time, but wherever the shelter at OO was I stopped and ate some food, there were a few other riders hanging out, then went back on my way. I rode well for a while, but sometime after mile 50 I started to lose it. The checkpoint and my cooler were at mile 60 and I had hoped to make it, especially with the food I ate at OO, but hunger was coming on strong, and I was starting to feel that I might cramp up on a lot of the climbs. So I stopped a couple of times to cram food in my mouth. Got passed by a couple of riders, tried to hang on but could not.

When you are cooked on trails it is amazing how long it can take to ride 2 miles. With the thought of my cooler teasing me and cramps threatening I just did as well as I could and hoped for a proper recharge at the checkpoint. It stopped raining, but everything was soaked,  and it kept dripping off the trees so it was just a wet and sloppy day.

Finally, the checkpoint! I got to the cooler, ate some food, cleaned up a small bit, filled my hydration pack, changed gloves, cleaned up the bike a small bit, and lubed the chain. I spent longer here than I wanted too, but it was the smart move for me, had to recharge for the 30 miles still ahead.

Took off and was feeling better but not great by any stretch. More trail, still muddy, very few people around, and onto the Birkie trail for a long run back up to OO. I have ridden the Cheq 40 a couple of times and was hoping I could roll this section strong but I quickly knew it was not going to happen. So I plodded along, got caught by a couple of people, walked a couple (few?) of the bigger climbs, and generally felt tired while I kept the pedals turning over.

There were some deep water holes on the trail, and some downed trees, too, but nothing that could not be gotten around, just more slowing down and momentum sucking. I rode not with, but near a woman for a while and we had a couple of those painful laughs that come so easy in these situations like how I was walking a climb about as fast as she was riding it…

Finally the return to OO and I decided to take another breather, now 73 miles or so into the course. There were some “civilian” riders here so we chatted and a 100 mile rider who had called it a day, and then a guy rolled in and just laid down on a picnic table with his hands over his face, and then Tim Ek came barreling through, looking peevish, and then my 10 minutes were up and I was ready to ride my last 20 miles so I took off.

Back into the Birkie then back to singletrack. I don’t remember much of this section of trail, we hit road again and then were maybe on trail but anyways we wound up back on a fireroad and it seemed really familiar to me and the road sign said something about a fire tower. As I said I have ridden the Cheq 40 a couple of times so I was despairing that we were going to do that climb which for me at this point in the game was just going to be a loooong walk. But no, we rode up the backside of the climb, much more rideable! So I rode it, topped it, and down we went back to more trail. I was ready-ready-ready to be done with singletrack, but this looked like it would have to be the final section. I had a Salted Nut Roll, Clif Shots and drank a hearty pull out the hydration pack before diving in.

I don’t remember if indeed this was all singletrack all the way to the edge of town or not, I only remember that the last 10 miles were very hard for me in my current condition. Rocks, climbs, downed trees, I was moving slowly and feeling lowly. Then, at mile 84, I saw a bear! It was coming at me on the trail and as we locked eyes I said, “Whoah Bear!” and it kind of made a rearing turn into the brush and thundered off into it as only a bear can do. I was pretty excited to see a bear during the race, and a mile or 2 later I thought  I was seeing another one, much smaller, scurrying around the base of a tree, but this turned out to be a Porcupine! I stopped and yelled at it as it was right next to the trail, and it just walked out into the trail and lumbered away from me, right down the path. I followed at a respectful distance and kept yelling at it, but it just kept lumbering. Shit, I thought, I am never going to finish, when he dodged over a few feet so I jumped on and yelled as I started moving, it scurried away and went back to it’s day.

That was pretty cool! But then the reality of 4 or 5 more miles of trail got in my face and I was back to suffering it home. Which I finally did. Popping out on the last road was a good feeling, riding no hands and less than 2 miles to finish was a great feeling, and when the road turned to pavement it was all I could do to not get down off the bike and kiss the ground.

Rolled it in, lots of pretty clean bikes on cars, happy looking folks standing around drinking beers and I was done! Just under 11 hours total, they told me, and 40th finisher. I’m good with that.

Chequamegon 100 by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

Big thanks to the organizers, CAMBA, and all the sponsors and other riders for being part of this, it was a great big day out on the bike that I will not soon forget. I had no crashes, mechanicals or serious navigational challenges, just a couple of stops to look around and be sure where I was going.

As I was falling asleep that night I could not stop riding singletrack in my head, dodging rocks, carving corners, hopping logs. It was strange.

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100 Mile Cheq to Cash

Alright, the only reason to look at this blog lately is to waste time. So waste a little looking at the gear I am going to use for the Chequamegon 100 this Saturday!

I would ride this bike if I were cooler.

But I am not cooler, I am exactly this cool. So I will ride this bike. 32×18, we shall see. Not sure about the bag yet. Going to use a big old hydration pack with 100 oz, plus 2 bottles on the frame. Not sure what to expect for weather yet, I won’t trust the forecast until Friday, or maybe Saturday night… Of course I can adjust right up to go time, but this is the plan.

I put on some new tires. The old ones are old, the rear was especially worn of course. Plus the new ones have bigger logos!

Big logo! Treadier than before! Also, after a looong wait, I got a new pair of mtb shoes. I am not sure this is a good idea, and I only started wearing them last week.

I am a big believer in the don’t rock the boat Jettero Heller theory of if it is working just relax, it will keep working. But them Sidi shoes had been worn out years ago, and my toes were paying the price. So I got some Giro shoes and so far I like them fine. They fit better, the insoles are not destroyed. The cleat area is much more solid, too, I have long been worried that I was going to pull out of pedals or just rip out the bottoms. That is what happened to my last pair of mtb shoes, back in 1999 while warming up for a cx race. Got my entry fee back, which is better than I usually fare when I race!

Okay seriously, how cool would this ride be up there? Pink pedals, ready to roll. Maybe I will bring it along. Or there is always the 40!

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