Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pictures from this weekend.

Cathy really starting to pick up speed on the downhill sections!

Even though the race was really spread out it seemed like there was always a battle going on.

This section was alot smoother during the XC race than it was Saturday morning for the Super D.

The sticky conditions made pedaling hard but made the single track just killer fast.

Just before this as I was crossing the big mud hole my rear wheel washed out. Thomas Bender caught me just as I was getting back on the bike and it was a sprint finish.

Monday, August 28, 2006

On the Podium!!

Cathy has really made short work of moving up through the Expert field this year. On only her 5th race as an elite she had broken into the top 10 and this past weekend was standing on the podium with a 6th overall and 3rd in her age!! The race really played into her favor, lots of climbing and not overly technical single track. She started out sitting mid pack for the first climb and first decent. Then as early as the second climb on the first lap she started making her moves. On the second lap she hooked up with a comp rider and paced off him for the rest of the race. I seen her a few times and was getting reports from the sidelines that she was having a really good race. Finally about 1 mile from the finish I passed her and she was riding strong. Then just as she was finishing two Elite riders came into a corner way to hot and tangled handle bars. They went down HARD and Cathy had to do everything she could to keep from getting tangled up in it. She was really happy with her finish and really felt like she was racing instead of just surviving.

My weekend was a little longer. I did the full stage race which started out at 11 on Saturday. The days before the race were really wet and Saturday morning was about 120% humidity. We literally couldn't see more than 100 ft in front of us as we rode up to the start line. Everyone was second guessing their tire choice, some were running semi-slicks, some had skinny mud tires, and I was running a wide dry tire. Turned out handling would trump tire choice. The trails were just grease so if you were ok with riding forward/sideways/backwards, you would do ok. I caught my minute man about 3/4 way through and really felt like I had a good run. When it all shook out I came out 17 seconds off the win! It was a tough 20 minute flat out sprint so my legs were pretty tired. We ran into town to get some lunch and just chill out before the Short track that afternoon. I ran my 9.8 with the rigid fork set up with a 42 tooth gear up front. We took off and I moved to the front. I was pushing but felt good and on the second lap had opened up a gap on the field. Then I dropped my chain, I got it on as the main field was going by. Then again it dropped. Now I was chasing. Just as I caught back on it dropped again and then one last time just for a nice even 4 times!! I pulled in a couple stragglers but was way off the pace I was hoping for. The final race in the Stage was the XC main event. The course had really dried out by Sunday and went from greasy slop to sticky peanut butter. Carlos and I had a good race going until he crashed really hard on the second to last lap. I was definitely feeling the first two events as I climbed the hill for the last time. As we came in for the finish my rear tire washed out in huge mud hole sending me over the bars. I quickly jumped up and seen another Expert rider coming hard. I jumped on the bike and we bumped elbows just hardly holding him off through the finish.
Sorry for the sparatic report Mondays are tough enough and I don't think this one is going to go any better!
On a course that most people love to hate both Cathy and I walked away really enjoying the weekend. I managed to pull off 4 in the Stage race and broke even on the weekend and Cathy walked away with her first Expert medal.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Maxxis Tire Review

I called up Maxxis for some extra stickers and they sent me a truck load!! Anyone that wants some let me know!

This is my second year rolling on Maxxis tires. This year they did away with the Larson MiMo. The new tire that was replacing the void is the CrossMark. This tire has a little of everything. An almost solid ramped center tread that rolls like a road tire on hard pack. When the trail gets rough or loose then the square spaced tread like on the Larson TT takes over. If you get your self in a bind and need to get around a tree in a hurry then the late MiMo round tread pulls you to safety. Because of it's high air volume I am able to run it tubesless (with Stan's) at about 28 psi. I don't have a computer on the bike so I don't know the exact mileage but the tires haver really lasted well. I was going to rotate the tires front and rear but the front got a hole worn in it from my trunk rack...kinda weird. I threw a new tire on the rear and put the rear on the front. This year has been pretty dry so these have been a perfect choice. I have rode them in wet conditions a couple times and even though they can hold there own they are by no means a Medusa!!

Next weekend is the WORS Devils Head Stage Race. The weekend starts off with the Super D which is a XC version of downhill. The trails around Devils Head are all generally hardpack littered with rocks. I plan on running a wide 2.35" Larson TT tire. The TT is a very fast rolling tire and the extra volume will offer insurance at speed over all the rocks. I have never done a Super D before so I hope this is the right choice...I guess there is only one way to find out!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A little break from the races

Well this is a change, no racing last weekend and nothing planned for this weekend! The past two weeks have been easy at the beginning of the week the hard weekend rides. I feels good to have a few days of easy riding/rest days. Cathy is working early hours the past two weeks so I have been commuting into work from her office. It is a really nice 30 minute ride to wake up the system. The morning weather has been absolutely PERFECT!!
So this past weekend we headed up to Minnesota for my cousin's wedding. It was good getting to see everyone again. Anyone who knows me knows I am not a shrimp, but when I get around the Swanson family I am by far the shortest one...even out of all the girls!!!
This weekend my parents are bringing my bro and his wife down. My mom got a new bike, and Jenny got a new bike so we are going to hit the Madison trails and try them out.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Top 10

This was the last of 4 races in a row. I wasn't sure what 24-9 was going to do to me and after my TT intervals on Monday my legs had had enough! Tuesday it was everything I could do just to turn the pedals over. Wednesday was back to the grind with Power Intervals which didn't feel the best but at least the power was there. The rest of the week felt pretty good so I was confident going into the race.
We decided drive up Sunday morning. After getting hopelessly lost in Fon Du Lac we somehow found 151 again. We left in pouring rain and the forecast was rain all day at the race. As we got closer though the rain had stopped and the sun was out. When we got to the course the citizen racers were hosing there very muddy bikes down. The sport guys were out at the time and it looked like the course was drying really nice.
After a short warm up the time had come to line up. I got a 14th spot call up while Cathy got a 10th position! We had about a 1 mile road lead out which is always sketchy I made a move to get a decent spot into the single track. After the lead out we jumped on to the course I dropped my chain. I got back going and attacked the hill really hard, Cory was ahead of me so I hit the gas and went to give him some help. He jumped on my wheel and as I upped the pace and kept an eye on him. He looked like he was hanging but after the race he said he was blowing up HARD! After about a half lap of this I had to kick it. He dropped off and I floored it. By the end of the lap I had caught Jesse Lalonde and the two of us battled it out the rest of the race. He would take me on the climbs and I would pull/gap him on the flats. On the last lap I crested the grassy hill first and made my move to gap him on the flats, I don't know how fast he was spinning but I ran out of gears trying to get a gap before the final climb. I hit the final climb first with only a few second gap. I heard Jesse coming and tried to respond but the legs were already spent. We had a decent gap on the other guys so I sat up and enjoyed the last set of single track before the fast down hill finish.
I seen Cathy a few times throughout the race and she looked like she was having a good race...looks were deceiving though. On her first lap breakfast wasn't agreeing with her and decided it would rather sit on the side of the trail. After getting sick for a little she got back on her bike and kept going. Then on the first climb of her second lap a comp rider crashed next to her and put his pedal in her back leaving a really nice knot! At that point she wanted to quit. She kept going and finally started feeling better. Her last 1.5 laps everything just came together she took off and closed a HUGE gap on Anna Fink. She was riding Anna's wheel until a comp rider wedged his way in between. The sprint from the last single track to the downhill just wasn't enough for Cathy to get around Anna. Turning another 8th place finish was good enough to move up again in points!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Photo Blog

Well this wasn't what we were expecting when we set up camp.

Turns out the race would end the same way it started - WET!!

Cyclist should really stick to the bikes.

There that is better!

We did a lot of planning leading up to the race, one thing we forgot though was organization.

Slippery roots at 2:30am = a trip to the hospital and 9 stickes....after finishing her lap!