Friday, August 31, 2012

24 Hours in the Sage 2012

I gave it a go at another 24 hour race which I have not done well at in the last few attempts. I'm hit or miss with these events and this time I was not right on. Sure I had 8 laps at 11pm and was looking to crush it but a crash at 3am took me off my game and I called it quits after lap 10. Darin took the singlespeed solo win with 12 laps with me in second and Jamon (winner last year) in third. I busted up my right XT brake handle and I took some good bruises in the fall. Also the rear wheel came out of the drops and I still cannot say what the hell happened. I was tired. Could have been worse. I installed the replacement XT brake handle this morning and got it bled so the Selma is ready for the Vapor Trail 125 in Salida next weekend. I'm hoping for a great ride and to go under 17 hours this year. Bring it.

Solo single speed podium

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bike Packing the Plateau

I finally had a chance to ride up on the Uncompagrhe Plateau this past weekend.  I was headed over to do some training for work at the  Delta Tech College and wanted to incorporate an over nighter bike pack trip into the mix. TR was up for it as well. It was not what I expected. I really did not know what to expect to be honest. The trails are rocky and rooty. Yeah there are lots of dirt roads to tie it all together for a hundy but it has some real nice singletrack to shred. I was of work at 7am on Friday morning and I beat feet straight to Montrose to crash a few hours at TR's casa before we set out on our adventure. I squeezed in a few hours of sleep and we started pedaling at 1pm. Fritz, a local Montrose biker was to join in as well. He is an experienced bikepacker and climber dude. The more the merrier.

The three of us pedaled out from TR's casa all on full rigid 29ers with TR and I running our single speeds with a 32x20 setup. Fritz was on a geared setup. I wasn't sure if it was a good gear to go with but it turned out to be good enough. That is, if you think "good" is pedaling/hiking a 40+ pound bike 10,000 feet in 93 miles. While I was sleeping TR picked up some burritos to pack in with us for dinner and I soon had the alcohol stove heating up our dinner. The alcohol stove did a great job heating our food as well as the water for coffee and grits I had packed in. And light weight to boot, but I think I will purchase a titanium pot to cut some weight. We hung out eating dinner and made a fire and I was pretty tired with only the three hours of sleep after working a 12 hour shift. I think I was beyond tired and TR and I stayed up until 11pm or so before we crashed. During the night as I slept I would wake up once in awhile and hear this rustling noise under my ground tarp near my head. I thought maybe a grub or some rodent was stirring about. It turned out to be a salamander that I found the next morning while packing my stuff up. Odd for sure especially at almost 10k and in alpine terrain. Whatever.

We finally got rolling about 9am on Saturday after making some coffee and grits. Yum. I was in no real hurry as I was tired. We still had about 50ish miles to tackle with the heavy bikes. Great CTR training in my book which I will tackle next year. The time off is on the books. We rode some epic singletrack all wet from the previous days rains. A bit sketchy at times with the extra weight while negotiating the rocks and roots. And with a front rigid fork the roots were very techy to ride at times. We rode Dry Creek, Aspen, Buck, Little Red, Clear Creek, Dented Door and Spring Creek. Truly great stuff. We didn't see any other bikers and not even a moto. Some hunters is all.

If you never have ridden up on the Uncompaghre Plateau get up there and ride. You will not be disappointed.

TR mapped out this route with detail and  we hope to incorporate into the Colorado Endurance series. 93.5 miles and just over 10,000 feet of climbing. GPS track as well if anybody wants to ride the same route. Just give me a holler. It took us 11 hours total to pedal it. No bad with the heavy bikes.

TR on Clear Creek

Little Red

On Rim Trail

Camping time

TR descending

Pedal pedal

Fritz on the descent

Fritz and TR filtering water.

Fritz and TR

TR and myself

Naked Lady Tree

Time to get after it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cortez Journal Writeup of Escalante Days XC Race

Racing Escalante

14th annual mountain bike race among Dolores weekend festivities

Racers take off down Central Avenue in Dolores for the Escalante Days Mountain Bike Race on Saturday morning.Enlargephoto
Journal/Sam Green
Racers take off down Central Avenue in Dolores for the Escalante Days Mountain Bike Race on Saturday morning.
It was hot, dry and dusty.
But those conditions are typical in mountain bike racing.
Jens Nielsen took a nasty spill in Bean Canyon during the 14th annual Escalante Days Bike Race in Dolores. But that didn’t stop the Durango resident from completing the 35-mile expert category trail through the San Juan National Forest.
Nielsen, 41, fended off Ted Compton to win the geared expert class in his first Escalante Days appearance. He finished the grueling course in 2 hours, 2 minutes, 4 seconds.
“It’s a fun event with fast trails,” Nielsen said. “There’s definitely some technical sections. I did crash in one of them. I hit a tree with my (right) hand. I just kind of fell into the bushes. I thought I was going to die I was going so fast.” Nielsen took home $400 in winnings and praised the annual race that’s apart of Dolores’ celebration of the Old Spanish Trail Dominguez-Escalante expedition of 1776.
“The payout’s amazing,” said Nielsen, who rides a Santa Cruz highball 20-speed. “This is awesome that the community puts this race on. A ‘Shout out’ to the city for doing this.”
Reigning singlespeed expert champion Dave LeFevre returned from Telluride. LeFevre left as singlespeed champion once again, his third consecutive Escalante Days win. The 32-year-old Wagner Custom Skis designer finished at 2:10.26 on his Salsa singlespeed.
“It was pretty dry out there, but another clean race. No technicals, no flats, and stiff competition as always,” said LeFevre. “Bean Canyon is where I work my magic. It’s a good crowd down here. It’s a fun course.”
Another Durango racer displayed why her town has the strong mountain biking reputation it’s known for. Professional cyclist Teal Stetson-Lee, 26, competed in her third Escalante Days race. She is in her first year as a member of the LUNA Chix Pro Team. Stetson-Lee looked every bit the professional winning the women’s expert class in 2:14.09. Her finish was more than a minute ahead of runner-up Krista Park (2:15.42).
“I’ve always loved this course here. It suits me really well,” said Stetson-Lee, who rides a Orbea Alma hardtail 26 bike. “I love how flowy it is. It’s got some technical sections to it, but it’s got some really fun single track. All of that is great because it’s kind of a power course. I can just hammer the whole time. I felt good today. It all came together really well.”
The pro had added motivation to win her final endurance cross-country race of the season Saturday. Stetson-Lee’s LUNA teammate, Georgia Gould, won an Olympic bronze medal in London a few hours earlier in women’s mountain bike cross country racing. It’s the first medal in the event for the United States since 1996.
“That was something that was going through my head while I was out there today, too,” said Stetson-Lee, who will race cyclocross in the fall. “I knew that I had to throw down, too.”
Roughly 100 athletes made the 2012 Escalante Days race a success once again.
The annual event is sponsored by the Dolores Rotary Club and Dolores Chamber of Commerce, and proceeds go toward Rotary Club Projects.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Escalante Days XC Race 2012

I rarely race XC anymore but once a year the Escalante Days race comes around and I feel the need to support a local race and to fly the team colors. I am a sponsored rider so the obligation is there. And it is only 35 miles down the road to Dolores. The competition is always fierce and it was no different this year. Even though they break it down in age groups its always about the overall win in the single speed class. This year my time was the same as last years but I was down a few spots in the overall SS class. I took 2nd in age group and 5th overall. Not horrible at all. I felt good throughout the race and rode my bike like I stole it. The Salsa Selma is a great race bike. No complaints. I ran a 32x19 which is what most of the racers in the single class rode. It was a battle to the end with one single speeder (Colavita rider) overtaking me on the gravel road back to town after I had lost a few seconds crashing in a mud puddle. My bad for thinking I could ride through it. I believe a 3D racing guy beat me in my age group. I had caught him in Bean Canyon but he got away from me. Jeff Fox from my team was right on my wheel throughout and I just kept pushing the pace while riding clean through the rocky sections to put a gap on him and hold it to the finish. Dave Lefevere from Telluride won the single speed class for the third year in a row. He had a time of 2:10 while I was back at 2:15. It's tough out there I tell ya!!! Teammate Terry Gorsuch took second overall with a time of 2:11. Good race and good times with good people.

Me, Jeff Fox, Chris Horton and Terry Gorsuch.
The 29er Salsa Selma Ti single speed. Race ready!

It's always about the hardware!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Staying Local

I had a great three days of riding high country around Rico. I got off work at 7am on Saturday morning and Laura and I took off to go ride up Hillside Drive up to the Colorado Trail and come down Salt Creek Trail. Shawn Gregory joined in a bit later and rode the same route. The ride was 37.5 miles and  4448 feet of climbing.I rode the full rigid Airbrone with a 32x20 setup. Laura was on her usual Ti 29er geared 2x9. Any bike is good for this ride.  It is a great training ride with gravel roads and super epic singletrack. We seen a few CTR riders and encouraged them on. I'll be there next year. The vacation time is already secured.

Day 2 I brought out the fat bike and rode from Rico north to the Dunton Road and on to Eagle Peak Road, hiked up the East Fall trail to the Calico. From the Calico I headed south to Horse Creek Trail. Down Horse and back to Rico. The weather was ideal with some threatening clouds and lighting nearby but nothing on top of me. Just epic riding. This ride was 28.5 miles and 3817 feet of climbing. Horse was in rough shape.

Horse Creek drain in the background where I would soon drop down into.

Almost 12k up.

Day 3 I again brought out the fat bike and rode from Rico south to Hillside Drive, up 13 miles and came down Rough Canyon Trail which dumps you onto the Roaring Fork Road a mile from HWY 145. I rode back to Rico with no weather to speak of. Ride states were 36 miles and 3131 feet of climbing. I felt it.

Rough Canyon Trail. Sweet singletrack.

In the three days I covered 102 miles and over 10k of climbing. The fat bike is a great training bike being that it is heavy. The gears are nice to have on that beast. Time to taper off a bit for this weekends XC race in Dolores and the  next weekends 24 hour race in Gunnison. Solo single speed! Time for redemption.