geronimo k

What do you mean this is silly?

What is this “roadie” doing? Rattling 50 review.

I am blessed. I’m on a road team and yet I’m allowed to pick my own schedule. At this point in the season I’ve only done nine days of road racing and ELEVEN days of mountain bike (MTB) racing!
It’s still a lot less racing than the “full time” roadie days. Yet it’s already more than I had planned for the year and I still have cyclocross season just around the corner!  I guess riding/racing three main disciplines is a good problem to have?

This past Saturday I lined up for the Elite Open Class at the Rattling Creek 50.  A 50 mile mountain bike race title sponsored by Stan’s NoTubes and based in and around the trails of Lykens PA.
This place is a small gem. The locals are friendly and check out Kevin’s place.

The local mtb organization partnered with IMBA have constructed some amazing trails here. It’s PA so yes, it’s generally rocky, however, the builders have put in some nice flow too. Some of the rock garden ride lines are really well done!

Here’s a neat vid someone put together. It gives a quick sense of the trails:

The race went well. I was previously doing a build for Leadville (which was also this weekend) and the subconscious/automatic training program paid off and I had good legs.
I was patient and went away solo before aid three, 36 miles in. According to the pre-race meeting this left me with approximately nine downhill miles to go.  However, there was a minor snafu with the trail markings late in the day.  Since I was leading at aid three and barring catastrophe (worse than being lead off course) I was on track for the win.  I ended up doing two sections of trail all over again and riding an additional four miles of singletrack with a little bit of climbing too.  No worries because It was decided by my fellow racers that I would be moved to top step!  Amazing humbleness and sportsmanship by my fellow podium competitors Collin Becker (who I rode with and was crushing it most of the race), Jed Prentice, Ryan Heerschap and Chris Edmonds. Several of us were similarly lead astray but again, heads remained cool and honesty prevailed.
Mike Kuhn (Rattling 50 promoter) was uber bummed (along with his volunteers) about the course signage glitch but remained super calm.
True class by everyone involved! Choice radness!

Kuhn does a great job with his races. Attention to detail in many places: fast registration, easy parking and a roll out start from the middle of town (not too many mtb races can claim such a beginning). Post ride swag, food and beverage (at a real restaurant) is part of your entry fee too!

Great race in a friendly town with excellent support by Stan’s NoTubes, Toasted Head Wine, Cannondale and the town of Lykens!

I’m already thinking about when I can get out to those trails again.

Huge thank you and congrats to the volunteers and competitors!

Maybe next season I’ll dust off the track and bmx bikes too?
Cheers!

Wilderness of my mind 101 which led to Liberty!

WILDERNESS 101
This past weekend was my second ride at the Wilderness 101 (W101).   For me W101 is the original 100 miler.  I can’t think of anyone/anyplace that was doing a 100 mile mtb event earlier than 1991.  I remember thinking, “that is crazy.”

Michael Bush: 2012 Wilderness 101 &emdash;

Photo Cred: Mike Bush Vault

My bike, pre-race routine and nutrition was on check. The opener ride the day before went smoothly.  Morning of the race my legs and lungs felt fine.  However, five minutes into the start I was already hurting and breathing harder than I should have been.  “Uh oh…” was the first thought that came to my mind.   The second thought? I may want to turn around now.  I didn’t.

Countless times I just yearned to stop. Stop and sit down, stop and sit in a refreshing creek, stop and get into someone’s car, stop and hang out with the aid station staff (they were quite pleasant), plain ole quit. Why didn’t I turn around at the beginning?!  I can’t remember when I last suffered so badly and with so much more yet to go.
I tapped into all the mental visualization, verbalization and positive mind movies vaulted into my cognitive memory: “Get to the next section of singletrack, it will be fun….”, “Head up…flow through here…”, “Get to the next feed…there will be food and drink…”, “Just keep pedaling…”, “I am a machine…”, “I’ve done this before…”, “I can do this…”, “I will do this.”

I did it.

Photo Cred: bobs-photgallery

Mad respect for those that do this weekend after weekend. There is a real mental toughness to these things.  I’ve heard many endurance MTB stalwarts utter this mantra, “There are three guarantees in the 100 milers: 1. You will feel good and it won’t last long. 2. You will feel bad and it will last way longer than you want. 3. Both 1 & 2 will happen several times and you’ll probably be alone.”  It’s so true.   On this day I was #2 for 90% of the time.

The W101 is definitely crazy, yet I feel more sane for doing it.

The Liberty Criterium Presented by Philadelphia Ciclismo
I made the three hour trek to home straight after the 101. Got up the next morning, barely, and headed out to the Liberty Criterium. I was questioning myself, again, the whole time but I was registered and told people I’d be there.  I re-packed what I needed the night before so I ate some breakfast and headed out the door.

My legs were much much better today but I didn’t realize it till mid way through the 30 mile race.  By then it was too late and the break of three, whittled down to two, would not be seen again.  I surfed some leadout trains snagged 4th in the field sprint and 6th overall.  Took home some good bounty.  I’m cool with that.

IMG_1882

Photo Cred: cycleraces

The Liberty Criterium is a sweet event and I’m humbled to be friends and a part of the crew that assembles this race (albeit they do most of the leg work).
Props to Liberty promoter Jamie Harris and his rock band of: Jason Eicholtz, Darrin Miskiewicz, Geoff Rezvani, Jason Gabriel and Wes Beers for pulling off a great day.  Cheers to all the racers, volunteers and sponsors to0!  Lots of people step up and much attention is given to the  details: good directions, easy parking, clean and abundant port-o-johns, fast registration, good prizes, quick results, quick pay out, quick podium pictures, available swag and etc…  Thank you for everyone that came out to race and may those that involuntarily played with pavement have speedy recoveries!

The goods.

Notes:
*Now that I’ve done a few mountain bike races I must say the pro/top guys are way more friendly, take the time to talk with people, competitors than I’m used to seeing. Much nicer vibe and much less ego heads.
*Not only does Stan’s NoTubes make great products but there employees actual ride/race! Even with their busy schedules Mike Bush was riding around all day taking pictures. Richie Rich completed yet another 101 while Rich Straub finished his eleventh W101!  Awesome crew.
*Liberty Criterium Sponsors: Moshulu, Kimberton Whole FoodsToasted Head, Walton Endurance, Railroad Street Bar and Grill, Dogfish Head, Java’s Brewin, SRAM, CANNONDALE and of course Philadelphia Ciclsimo.
*Equipment for the W101: Cannondale Scalpel 29er w/ Stan’s NoTubes Crest Wheels, SRAM Grip Shift and SRAM Type2 Rear Mech. NO FLATS!
*Equipment for the Liberty Criterium: Cannondale EVO w/ Stan’s NoTubes Alpha 400’s w/ Hutchinson Intensive Tubeless Tires, SRAM new RED group. NO FLATS!
*Please forgive me if I forgot to mention someone!

Thanks for reading and Rock on!

Five Races in Ten Days

After not gaining entry into Leadville I got the itch to race some road events.  Perfect opportunity presented itself with the ChesCo Grand Prix.  Based on my schedule, motivation and interest I chose four of the eight events and capped it off with the Iron Hill Twilight. *Teammate Karl came down for these too.

Oxford Criterium: The townspeople were really into it!  Course was just over  1km in length with seven turns (one of them was a sweeper).  This was the hardest night for me.  Total system shock to go from endurance mountain bike events to the repeat repeat and repeat threshold efforts of criterium racing.  Did not get dropped did not get lapped and turned in a rather invisible 12th place.

Malvern Criterium:  Shorter course and six turns.  I was a bit impatient and went waaaay too fast into a turn.  Front tire pushed out and onto the pavement I went.  I get up, check bike.  Put chain back on. Ride to pit to use the free lap rule. There are six other riders there!!!  What!?!?!  Nobody crashed but me and it was my own fault. Ahh, par for the course with these short courses.   Annoying? Yes! Usually these guys don’t last much longer anyhow.

I hang in there, do not get dropped, do not get lapped and turned in another mediocre finish of 11th.

Phoenixville: TOUGH but AWESOME course!  1.3 mile lap with a climb (little ring almost every lap climb)!  Best Criterium of the ChesCo series that I participated in.  My teammates JLo and Margarite rode superb and represented the early break and shut down ones we were not in.   When the winning move went it was my turn to go and hesitated.  I felt bad (still do).  I hang in there, do not get dropped do not get lapped and another 11th place.

ChesCo Road Race/PA State championships: Course was a beautiful rolling loop in Chester Country horse country.  Many of the roads are part of the Saturday morning Willowdale ride.

JLo and Margarite are here for this one too.  No hesitation on this day, it was my turn to go and I make the early break.  Starting out with 16 dudes and it whittled down to seven.  I straight up get beaten on the climb and false flat drag before the line.  I end up sixth and 2nd PA rider.  I was content with this result.

HUGE props to my buddy Wild Wester and Tothinator for the feeds all day.  Bottles and ice!

AXA Sponsor Ride: I enjoy these rides a lot.  I like meeting fellow cyclists, hearing about their riding.  Listening to their “I used to race… or I’m not fast enough to race…” stories.  No matter what our goals we have a common thread in turning the pedals and letting the wind refresh us as we smile, laugh and share our lives.  Many of these guys came out to cheers us on later that night.  It’s so appreciated!!

I’m not in the picture cause I took the picture.

Iron Hill Twilight:  I’ve always liked this race.  The course suits my abilities.  Short, 1KM, four turns with a slight rise to the finish.  My team Stan’s NoTubes has a full squad of six registered and I’m chosen to start.  I’m pumped!

Race starts, I’m moving through the field, I have a mechanical, am out the back, fix mechanical, chase back on and subsequently work (again) through the field and then it happens.  I blew up.  I could not recover.  I could not mentally suffer.  I got dropped.  I was pulled before I was lapped.  No excuses ample humble pie force fed into my mouth.

Humble pie (HP) never tastes good but I do believe it’s necessary to eat every once in a while.  It’s fuel for evaluation and direction.

So after Iron Hill Twilight’s serving of HP will I being doing more road events this season?  Nah…after an evening of evaluation I’ve determined my road itch has been sufficiently scratched.  Time to return to other cycling adventures.

Things I’ve learned this week (there’s always something to learn):

1. The ChesCo series has real potential.

2. I have awesome teammates.  Always positive and understanding.  You guys rock!

3. I HAVE GREAT FRIENDS IN THE CYCLING COMMUNITY.  Giving up your time, energies and sometimes your own ambitions to cheer for and/or help me in my races.  Y’all rock!

3.  “One bad day does not equal suck.” – Jeff Appletans   This is a real gem.  Gotta remember this one.

See y’all out there.  Keep on keeping on.

*Karl “Genghis” Rahn suffered from wicked allergies all week and was not himself.  He’ll be back.

Why I am not going to Leadville this year.

As some of you know I had the privilege of “racing” in the Leadville Trail 100 or LT100 last year.  There was a brief post about it here.

Wild West, myself and some newly interested friends entered this years Leadville lottery (as all riders are supposed to).   I or Wild West did not get a spot.  We thought this was odd, especially since there’s a high degree of promotion dedicated to telling people; “…you are now part of the Leadville family.  It’s our goal to get you back here, year after year…”  Some of our first time friends got in through the lottery and I’m genuinely stoked for them.

This takes us to this years Wilmington/Whiteface Leadville Qualifier.  Wild West talked me into this in 2011 and it was a blast!  I really enjoy the town of Lake Placid, the race was again fun but way tougher.  For 2012 there was additional single track, mileage and climbing.  Here’s the link for a race map/data via my *Strava page.

When we registered Saturday morning I was asked if I was “PRO.”  Several thoughts went instantly through my head:

1. I am technically not “PRO.”

2. If I register as an age grouper (40+ category) I could potential take a spot away from countless others super motivated 40+ dudes and worse case scenario take a spot away from Wild West or our other buddy that joined us, Steven H.

I then blurted; “Yes, I’m a pro.”

Fast Forward to Sunday:  The race itself goes well. Everything goes as I planned/prepared and I am very pleased with my performance.  I earn 7th overall (out of 300+ riders) and 4th in the “PRO” category.  I quickly go back to our hotel, jump in the pool, clean up and ride back over to watch and congratulate my friends finishing the race.

I’m just off the podium and now begin to wonder how many Leadville spots will be given in the “PRO” class.  Meantime, all my friends finish exceptionally well, even with some crashes, flat tires and leg cramps.  I was stoked for all of them.

Awards begin and only three Leadville entries are given in the “PRO” class.  I miss out.

What bothers me the most?  Wild West doesn’t get an entry.  They gave away 12 spots in the 40+ category and Wild West was three positions away from getting his entry.  He really wants to earn the BIG belt buckle (sub 9 hour time).  Wild West was the reason I had these cool adventures.  He deserves to try for that big belt buckle.  Not cool man, not cool at all.

Me?  I’m staying home.  No better start position, no chance to improve on my time.  No worries.  I’m actually a bit relieved.

Oh yeah, Anyone need a place to stay in Leadville?  I have a room, in a rental house, two blocks from the LT100 start, already paid, with other cool folks and for the week leading into, race day and day after.

*My Strava account is private.  If you have a Strava account send me a request to view and I’ll add ya.

Cheers!

2012 Trans-Sylvania Epic Recap

I’ve been thinking about how to best describe the awesomeness of the Trans-Sylvania Epic.  It’s quite simple: Mike and Ray (the promoters) really have a gem and genuinely care about the race and the riders.  If you love the challenge of Mountain Biking than put the TSE on your bucket list of races.  It’s a great blend of technical east coast rocks, fun flow and demanding climbs (and descents).  Truly an east coast MTB delight.  Not for the meek.  You’ll meet great like minded people too.

Photog superman Abe Landes puts together a slide show each and every night.  An amazing task considering the timing and quality of work involved.  I believe his videos best reflect the race and community of the TSE.  Only four of the seven videos are currently posted on Abe’s YouTube page but I think you’ll get it.  I believe in y’all.

Enjoy.  I have and still do.

* A competitor from Colorado brought his family.  His 12 year old boy participated in the “experience” category.  The boy was very impressive, several men and women were not able to finish the event and yet this 12 year old was able.  You’ll see him in the slideshows.

* Equipment choices: Cannondale Scalpel 29er for all but one stage (rode the Cannondale Ultimate hardtail on the Coburn stage and really missed the Scalpel).  The Scalpel 29er is magic.

Stan’s NoTubes Arch wheelset.  NOT ONE FLAT IN SEVEN DAYS.

Tires: Schwalbe Racing Ralphs/SnakeSkin (fast all-arounder) for first three stages Cannondale WTB protype rear tire for Raystown (cool feel and drift abilities) and Continental Mountain King for the remaining three stages (great hook up in the loam and rocks).

A very important build and a race update.

Today I completed a very meaningful bike build. My rock solid CAAD9 has been a backbone steed for several years now and it’s time it moves on.

The black CAAD9 is going to one of my friend’s teenage son. The teen has kinda lost his way. I’ll forgo too many details and summarize: the kid has made some mistakes. He reminds me a bit of myself when I was at that age; lost.

Hopefully this bike (which his parent made the boy rightfully earn) will deliver what a bicycle did (still does) for me: clarity, purpose, peacefulness, meaningful friendships, a sense of accomplishment and ownership to my life. Image

In other news (racing):

I was 9th at the Turkey Hill Road Race. My teammate Joe Whitman earned a fine third place. Joe earning third was quite excellent.

In the French Creek “On The Rocks” Endurance race (four hour timed event) I rode into second place. I was quite satisfied cause the rest of the podium are regular endurance event champs.

Next up is the Transylvania Epic. I’m nervous.

Michaux Maximus Rad VS Bad

RAD: Challenging course with a taste of everything east coast mountain biking has to offer.

RAD: Perfect weather

RAD: Great atmosphere complete w/ camping, food and picturesque layout.

RAD: Hanging with my buddies.

BAD: I’m old so us “vet” guys get staged and released almost two minutes behind “seniors.”  Kinda weird but no worries.

BAD: Miss turn. Go down big hill. Figured it out, turn around and climb.

BAD: Catching back onto the leaders I flat.  Odd piece of metal went directly into the crown of my tire and it split like a butterfly cut.

BAD: My spare tube is a 26″.  I’m riding a 29″ Doh!

RAD: Topher saves the day and gives me his spare tube.

RAD: I’m back in action, rolling well, enjoying the trails and re-catching many that passed me.

BAD: Flat #2.  Totally my fault, pinch flat on a steep rocky decent.

BAD: I start walking, many re-pass me.

RAD: Topher rolls by again and slows down.  I immediately tell him to keep going.  There was no way was I going to take his last tube.   Topher is the type of guy that would have given me his last tube (risking his own race).  He’s good people.

BAD: Some time goes by, I’m still walking and nobody has a tube to lend me.  No worries and I don’t blame them.  They are racing too.  It’s my own fault I’m in this position anyway.

RAD: Charles K. rolls by and without hesitation gives me his back up tube.  Class move #2 of the day.  I owe Topher and Charles K. big time.

RAD: I’m back in action and no more issues.

RAD: Finish time was 4:14? but my Garmin GPS says I averaged 10 mph for 38.9 miles and finished in 3:52

RAD: Race loop was actually 37.9 miles.  So I got in an extra mile?

BAD: According to Strava I lost two minutes with my wrong turn.

BAD: Flat changing time was 19 minutes (again according to my Garmin).

RAD: I earn third place in the Vet class.

RAD: Vegan Rob crushed it and took the W in the Vet class.  Another good dude.

RAD: Don’t know who won the “senior” class but his finish time was 3:46?  Excellent ride!

RAD: My buddies: Wild West, Misk, Mascelli and Dragon finish up with respectable times and a big grins.

RAD: Great riding to anyone and everyone that finished the Maximus.  That was some serious technical stuff!

RAD: There were doggies everywhere!  Love doggies.

RAD count: 17

BAD count: 9

RAD wins!