Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Decorah Time

This was my first time heading down to Decorah Iowa for the 24th annual mountain bike time trial. The course was marked the day before, so Brendan and I went out for a lap to check it out Saturday morning. The trails were amazing, more technical, steeper climbs and descents then anything we have around the twin cities area. The course was just over 9 miles and had 1500ft of climbing! I took the 5th start position was able to catch 4 of the 5 in front of me in the first 2 miles only leaving Devin in front of me by a minute or more. Around the halfway point there was a rocky descent which I managed to nail my rear tire on pretty good and within 30 seconds my tire was almost flat, race over. I rode a little ways back down the trail where a few people were hanging out and borrowed a pump. After 10-15 minutes of trying to get air into my tire and having a cold beer with the group, I just rode out the rest of the trail to finish 15 minutes off the eventual winner Jeff Hall who won by almost 2 minutes!

This was my first race on my new Foundry Broadaxe, and I have no complaints, this thing absolutely rips the singletrack. We also saw a pretty cool ice cave and some mini horses right by the trail.  Can't wait to come back to Decorah next year. Next weekend is my first WORS race in Iola, should be fun!

entrance to ice cave

Brendan trying to get a picture with the mini horse

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ragnarok 105

This was my first time getting a chance to do the 105 mile gravel race in Red Wing, MN that they call the Ragnarok 105. I was pretty excited having heard all about the hilly course that sends you up some of the steepest and least traveled (MMR) roads in the area. The one hill I will remember the most, at mile 90 is called Heaths Hill, and knowing Heath's riding style the hills name makes a lot of sense. It was pretty much a 4-wheeler trail with muddy ruts at a 8% grade that went for about a mile, brutal. What most people probably remember from the day was the weather, It was 40deg, raining, 15mph winds, and a few lightning strikes that added to the drama.

Checkpoint #1 getting the next set of cue sheets

Thankfully the rain stopped at the half way point in the race and it started to warm up. We were in a lead group of 6 or 7 working well together, not pushing the pace too much, just riding and chatting some. After every large hill we would drop one or two riders, or we ended up waiting at the top of a hill for someone who had a dry set of cue sheets. Mark was the last one to drop off, as we pushed ahead in a cross wind the soggy gravel took its toll. Now we were down to the just three, Jesse, Charlie, and myself for the last 30 miles.
Final Checkpoint, 25 miles to go. Group of 3.
By the end we were all hurting in one way or another as we rode the final miles. Jesse and I hit the final climb up to the finish with Charlie 50ft back, I couldn't climb in a sitting position without the cramp twinges, so I stood. In the end I had the most left in the tank taking the last climb to the finish by 10 seconds or so. I'd like to say thank you to the race organizers for putting on an awesome race through some beautiful country that I tried to look around at between lightning strikes. Also thanks to Angry Catfish Bicycle shop for the hot coffee and free swag. Finally my bike, a Foundry Harrow B1 was the perfect tool for the job. The Harrow is a great mix of super stiff lightning fast race bike for snapping up steep climbs, yet it managed to smooth out the rough gravel road for over 100 miles. Can't wait till next year!

Muddy Foundry Harrow

The Rok trophy