Monday, October 28, 2013

Who Are You?

As a general social rule, we are not supposed to categorize people and most think it rude and insensitive. Since cyclists are a different breed to begin with, we love to categorize ourselves so much so, we define ourselves by it. Are you a Cat 1,2,3 or 4? Road, Mtn or CX racer?

Well on a few recent rides I’ve come across other categories that have nothing to do with speed or skills and thought I would list out a few. I hope you enjoy and feel free to add to the list!

Riding with Headphones: Who are you?

The Rocker—Find that favorite song where the beat and cadence come together.

The Multitasker—The person who only has one ear bud in so they can still talk on a group ride while listening to their favorite music.

Antisocial—The person who wears headphones just so they don’t have to talk to anyone.

Mosh Pit—The heavy metal song that can get your prerace heartbeat spiked and ready.

Natural—No headphones.

Walkman—The old school rider who’s rocking with that sweet yellow Sony Walkman we all wanted as a kid! This really happened a couple weeks ago and was my initial inspiration for list list…and seeing this dude on the trail totally made my day.

As a Cyclocross Fan: Who are you?

The Carrot—“Good job, you’re gaining on them!”

The Stick—“You better hustle cause they’re catching you.”

The Cheerleader—Under 12 years old and yell “Go Eastside” every time you see a TEC racer. How cool is this!

More Cowbell—I’m out here just because I like more cowbell.

Boxers or Briefs: Who are you?

Who cares…We all wear Spandex!

-Bryan W.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

While warming up this past Sunday at Wafflecross #2, I was reflecting on this bike season. It has been an adventure from start to finish. I went into this year with no real goals for racing except to have fun! And the journey has been one that has taught me much and has spread into so many parts of my life. The biggest lessons learned:

• Look where you want to go. I have found this applies to everything in my life. I started the ski season last year after cross and noticed the ease I was turning and realizing my simple new strategy look where I want to go. It happens all of the time, when I am struggling with something, I change my mindset and start to focus on how I want to feel or what my end goal is and I look where I want to go.

• A team makes a difference. Riding has become my main source of enjoyment and hard work every week. Knowing that friends and team mates are out there cheering me on pushes me each time. As I’m struggling up the next hill and there is a teammate, friend, partner, or crowd member cheering and ringing there blessed cow bell, I push just a little harder up the hill. Watching waffle cross grow to having the largest weekend and days in the treasure valley this past weekend is amazing and it is due to Cory, Brian, Ham, Team Eastside, and Look!. It takes a huge commitment each year to put on the series and this team has done some amazing work. I am continually impressed with the passion in the team to put something together start to finish and increase the cycling community. Another time to remember life lesson number one.

• Breathe. Who would have thought breathing would be important. I’m a loud breather when I am working hard and I am reminded regularly by fellow team mates to breathe into the corners. Another life lesson, transitions are times to breathe, flow through the hard times and come out stronger and smoothly on the other side. Also, see life lesson number one.

• I learn by doing and watching others. There have been so many awesome riders, especially Cory, who have helped learn technique and push me to ride better each week. I love seeing new tasks get easier and easier, and watching everyone around me doing the same thing. It is so inspiring the dedication and passion the cycling community has for their favorite sport.

• My head can make for a good day or a bad day on the bike. That is when it is time for me to remember that this is fun and I get to relive my childhood roaming the foothills and neighborhoods on my bike with great friends.

• Having a supportive, dedicated, and endearing partner is one of the biggest treats of this sport. While, I mostly ride with the girls, I love being able to share in my partners passions and goals, while pushing to keep up with him on an “easy” ride.

Excited for the rest of the cross season!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Breck Epic – Race Report and Reflections…

Quick Stats:

• 6 days of racing
• 211 miles and approximately 33,000’ climbing (According to my Garmin)
• Longest stage = 43 miles; Shortest stage = 29 miles
• Racers from 35 states and 25 countries
• High Points – 12,507’ (Wheeler Pass), 11,585’ (Georgia Pass), 11,481 (Boreas Pass), 11,398’ (French Pass)
• Favorite stages = 3, 4, 6
• Least favorite stages = 1 and 5
• Experience = Awesome!
• Difficulty = EPIC!!

This past week I was fortunate enough to race the Breck Epic 6-day Mountain Stage Race in Breckenridge, Colorado. I have been interested in mountain bike stage racing for several years now and always followed racing coverage of the various mountain bike stage races such as the BC Bike Race, TransRockies, La Ruta, Mongolian Bike Challenge and the Breck Epic. The cost of these events are usually pretty expensive, but the opportunity to enter the Breck Epic at a deeply discounted early registration rate last August ended up being too tempting. At this time last year, I was pretty much finished riding my bikes for the season and waiting to meet with surgeons to discuss having a microdiscetomy on my lower back as it became increasingly difficult to go about my daily activities. I was hesitant to pull the trigger on the Breck Epic, but luckily, Beth encouraged me and even loaned me the money to register for this year’s event. I ended up having back surgery in late September, with the carrot of the Breck Epic looming in the distant future.

Fast forward 11 months and it was go time! I arrived in Breckenridge, elevation 9,600’, the day before the race was to begin. My preparation for the Breck Epic was really just riding my bike a lot. After spending 4 months off the bike recovering from the surgery, I kind of lost my desire to train like I use to and a whole lot of fitness! In years past, I integrated intensity via intervals to build fitness and power on the bike. Going into this year, my intention was the same, but when the time came to really train, I just did not have the desire. Instead, my training involved more of endurance rides and fun hard rides, rather than the more mundane hill repeats or interval sessions I had grown accustomed to. Even with the change of training protocol, I still struggled with the desire to even want to race, let alone ride a lot every week. So, my training thoughts quickly turned to getting in shape for the High Cascade 100 in late July and that should be good enough to do the Breck Epic three weeks later. Short story, stage racing and 1-day endurance races are very different!

Back to stage 0, the day before the race. Brent Gorman and I arrived in town and went over to the base camp area for the race week to pick up our race packets. Almost immediately, we ran into fellow Boise racer Todd Meir and talked with him for awhile. Todd had spent the previous week acclimating in Salida, camping and riding his mountain and moto bikes. After packet pick up, Brent and I went for a short ride before the mandatory rider meeting at 5:00. Immediately into the ride, I was breathing very hard, even though we were just spinning on one of the local trails. The rest of the day was spent attending the racer meeting and getting ready for the week of racing. Joining Brent and I in the week’s adventure were Boise racers John Odle and Matt Hanrahan and two of Brent’s friends from Alaska Tim Berntson and Jeff Ellis. Other Boise racers that made the trip, in addition to Todd, were Sean Hassinger and Matt Woodruff.

Stage 1 – Pennsylvania Creek (35 miles / 5,500’). The house awoke at 6:00 with great anticipation for the first day of racing. According to the racer meeting, this stage was one of the two rockiest stages of the week and some seasoned Breck Epic riders even considered it the hardest. The race director also described this stage as ‘Classic Breckenridge’ riding. The race started with a 2-mile climb up Boreas Pass Rd before jumping onto single track. Immediately into the race, I found myself redlining and gasping for air. My thoughts quickly turned to doubt that I was even going to finish this stage let alone the race week. The gasping for air and difficulty breathing would last the remainder of the stage. I even remember wondering if this is, what it was like to have asthma.

On the first descent, mechanicals and mishaps were already occurring. A pro rider from Japan, who had taken 7th at Leadville the day before was on the side of the trail with some sort of mechanical. Shortly after, a few riders were tending to another rider who had crashed at the bottom of the 2nd descent and was bleeding from the back of his head. He ended up getting 11 stitches and was ok, but we were only maybe 5 miles into the week long race. After a few short descents, the trail pitched upwards for 4 miles. The trail was similar to the climb out of the Lava Lakes section of the High Cascade, but longer, rockier, steeper and much less frequent plateaus. Already, many racers were practicing their hike-a-bike, which we would all utilize during the week at different times. I finally reached aid 1 around 14 miles and a volunteer was waiting for me with my aid bag in hand. I stopped and tipped my head back to drink the rest of my water bottle before taking a new one and almost passed out with my vision temporarily going to blackness. This was going to be a long day, 14 miles down and 21 to go. The rest of the stage mellowed out slightly, but it was littered with steep climb after steep climb. We ended up climbing up to 11,000’ four times during the stage. With 1 mile to go, I began to cramp while going DOWNHILL and had to stop for a few minutes. My right hamstring and quad were both seized up and I couldn’t move. I finally got myself down to the finish and was wasted. This was the hardest 35 miles and 5.5k of climbing I think I ever experienced on the bike due to the technical trail and altitude. My finishing time was 3 hours and 55 minutes for a 14th/28 finish in my age group (30 – 39). Todd Wells (day after Leadville) and Alex Grant did the stage in 2:46……..AMAZING! The rest of the day was the beginning of the daily routine for the remainder of the week; race, drop bike off, eat, shower, put on compression socks, stretch, rest, pick up bike, racer meeting, eat, and sleep.

Stage 2 – Colorado Trail (37.4 miles / 5,300'). The next stage was described by the race director at Sunday’s night racer meeting as ‘Classic Colorado’ riding compared to ‘Classic Breckenridge’ riding the day before. The trail was to be much smoother and not as hard. I awoke to feeling a little fatigued and was worried about how the day would go with altitude, since the prior day was so difficult for me. After getting out of the starting gate, the days racing felt much better. All of the trail rode was really cool, but my favorite was riding these sections of rocky spines of old mining flumes and yes there was a ton of steep climbing during the day including Heinous Hill. While the riding much smoother than day 1, we all decided that the race director must be a ‘crunchy’ vs. ‘creamy’ type of peanut butter connoisseur since the ‘smooth’ Colorado Trail loop was still much rockier and technical than we are used to in Boise and Alaska. This assumption ended up holding true for the remainder of the week. Day 2 ended in a time of 4:00 hours and 13th in my age group.

Stage 3 – Mt. Guyot (36 miles / 6,564’). After the 2nd day going better than the first with the altitude, I was excited for stage 3. Stage 3 was originally considered the Queen Stage of the race, but racing the whole week, stages 4 and 5 are just as hard or harder. The stage was actually described as 38 miles and 7,774’ feet of climbing, but racers Garmin’s recorded otherwise once finished. To me, stage 3 introduces the real ‘flavor’ and uniqueness of the Breck Epic. During the day, we would climb and descend the continental divide twice via French Pass (11.398’) and Georgia Pass (11,585’).

The stage started like any other day, a short neutral roll-out on the road to a steep 2-track climb. The first 10 miles consisted of really fun singletrack and a descent down Little French, which we had climbed up on day 1. Little French is basically a very rocky and slippery old mining flume that you hope not to crash or have a mechanical in. At the 10-mile mark, the 1st of 3 aid stations arrived before starting the 4-mile long climb to French Pass. About a mile or so from the pass, the trail opened up above tree-line and you could see the solid line of racers pushing their bike straight up hill. The hike-a-bike lasted about 0.5 hour. While cresting the pass, a handful of local bikers were present to cheer racers on and even offering a ‘taste of the rainbow’ thru a pitcher full of skittles! After loading my mouth full of skittles, I began the steep and rocky descent off of the pass through the alpine tundra. At this moment, the word ‘ridiculous’ came muttering out of my mouth and I felt like I was part of a really cool group mountain bike ride rather than a race. From French Pass, we descended back down to 10,000’ only to climb via Middle Fork Rd back up to Georgia Pass.

The climb was maybe 3.5 miles long and towards the top, the storm clouds let loose with rain and hail. Luckily, I had planned for the long day above tree line and had my vest and arm warmers in my jersey pocket. I stopped briefly to put on the extra layers and continued along the ridge in the hail to the pass. After reaching the pass, some more Breck Epic ‘superfans’ were there offering up shots of espresso. I took a quick shot and then proceeded to bomb down the very long and steep descent from the continental divide down to 9,800’. After exiting the alpine, into the trees, the singletrack was covered in hail. My glasses became quickly covered in mud and spent the rest of the day without sunglasses. The last few miles of the descent consisted of really rocky trail, similar to the rockiest hiking trail you could imagine. The word I muttered for this section was ‘gnarly’ after realizing that it was becoming endless. I ended up riding most of it except for a small portion towards the end. The rest of the stage consisted of more cross-country type of riding back to Breckenridge. With about 10 miles left in the stage, I realized that half of my spring from my right pedal was missing. Luckily, the cleat mechanism still worked enough to somewhat keep my foot attached to the pedal for the rest of the stage. The stage ended with another strong thunderstorm about 4 miles to the finish. The day was done with a time of 4:40 and another 14th placing.

Stage 4 – Aqueduct (43 miles / 6,332’). Day 4 consisted of more of a cross-country style loop that brought us to the backside of Keystone ski resort. The stage was also the longest of the stage race, in terms of miles. The previous day was fun, but ended up being the stage where I lost the most amount of time. Day 3 I didn’t feel really fresh, but Day 4 I was feeling a little spunkier. On day 3, I began eating two lunches , which I carried on the habit for the rest of the week. The stage consisted of 6 significant climbs, which included another trip up Heinous Hill and a trip up Vomit Hill (1.2 miles / 800’). This was probably my overall best day of riding and I finally found the big ring on the climbs. Short story – 4:39 hours and 11th (missing a top 10 by 6 seconds).

Stage 5 – Wheeler Pass (29 miles / 5,013’). Day 5 brought us to the high point of the week at just over 12,500’. After having a good day on the bike the day before, I felt confident of my abilities of having an even better day. This quickly changed once the race started. My legs felt completely ‘flat’ and I did not have anything for the entire day.

The stage began with climbing right away on dirt service road at the base of Beaver Run at the Breckenridge ski area and up into the alpine. Within the first 5 miles, we were already above 11,000’. The hike-a-bike was even longer on this stage then on day 2, but I think you could ride a lot more of it on a non-race day, without so many people. With that said, even the top pros hiked a large majority of the upper trails of the pass.

After topping out over Wheeler Pass and passing by the bacon feed from more ‘superfans’, it is a 3,000’ descent in less than 3.3 miles. My forearms were getting so blown that I had to stop half way down to shake them out, so I could keep a grip on my handlebars. Once at the bottom, a 8-mile time trial or pace line (if you were lucky) on the local bike path to Frisco proceeded. Once at Frisco, we jumped back onto dirt road and trail back to Breckenridge with one final 1,500’ climb, which was new to the course this year. It turned out to be one of the least enjoyable climbs of the week and consisted of steep grades along a cobbled / boulder strewn road. Then, once we finally got to singletrack for the last 5 miles, the trail was littered with tree roots making this section nothing like what we had ridden the 4 days prior. Finished the stage and felt the most beat up than from any other stage. For me, this was by far the hardest day on the bike of the week, followed by stage 1. I got back to the house and proceeded to ‘bitch and moan’ to Brent on how ‘stupid’ this stage was. Looking back, it is a cool stage minus that last climb! 13th place and finishing time of 3:50.

Stage 6 – (31 miles / 3,416 feet). Last day. Holy moly, this has been a long and tiring week. Beth arrived the day before and got to see firsthand how beat up everyone was with their altitude cough and sore legs. The last day was a festive atmosphere and I think everyone was ready to celebrate such an amazing week of riding and racing. The day would take us up and over Boreas Pass twice, but with a much more reasonable amount and pitch of climbing. Starting the stage, I was worried how my body would respond. My legs were very tender to the touch from day 5 and I ended up not sleeping very well the night before.

The stage started with an uphill grind up Boreas Pass road before jumping onto singletrack. Surprisingly, my legs were responding well and I was big ring climbing once again! At about mile 9, deep in the woods, I began to hear music and thought we might be getting close to Boreas Pass. Instead, around the next switchback, my favorite ‘superfan’ of the week was on the side of the trail playing the banjo in a tuxedo t-shirt and lycra bottoms. This ‘superfan’ road up on his bike and provided some great music to all the racers on the last day. Shortly after, we popped out onto the dirt road and the pace line was on to the top of Boreas Pass. From there, we descended the super fun mining flume of the Gold Dust Trail before climbing back up to Boreas Pass a second time. At Boreas Pass, the Team Ergon van were doing PBR hand-ups. Going over the pass, I grabbed a PBR and slammed about half of it before choking on it. I was now prepped for the 7 mile descent to the finish. The descent was super fun and fast and ended in 2:39 and another 11th. Beth was at the finish line to greet me and all racers were congratulating each other on finishing up the week.

All in all, the Breck Epic was awesome and actually epic! My goal for the week was to have fun, not break my bike or any bones. I succeeded on all levels and escaped the week without any mechanicals. My racing performance was average, but it is hard to tell what your body will do at altitude. Also, the field was super strong and deep. 7 of 12 riders in front of me in my category were from another country and riding extremely fast. The local Boise riders all did awesome, finished all 6 stages and held their own in the thin air against the Colorado locals!

So, brings me to several questions:'Would I do it again?', YES; 'Will I do it again next year', MAYBE; 'Would I recommend it', DEFINITELY; but get yourself a full suspension! My Rocky Mountain Element rocked all week and worked flawlessly! Everyday I was amazed that people were racing their hardtails! The week was by far the hardest week of riding I have ever done and I am a better rider for it. Also, some of the stages were some of the hardest rides I had ever done. MILES AND VERTICAL DO NOT COME EASY IN BRECKENRIDGE!

For additional pics of the week, check out

If you do sign up for the Breck Epic, beware of the infamous Stage 7, it will sneak up on you!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Oh, the Places You'll Go ......

Summer is almost over and Team Eastside Cycles have been busy the first 8 months of the year racing locally and regionally. To date, the team has racked up 102 race starts in 32 events across 8 states and 2 countries. In addition, team members have found themselves on the podium 33% of the time! The team is equally active in cyclocross as they are in mountain biking and are looking to double the number race starts by end of year. A big thank you to all of our sponsors: Eastside Cycles, Trailhead Chiropractic, Cartridge World of Boise, Flatbread Community Oven, Verde Fulfillment, Habitat Veterinary Hospital, Riverbend Preschool, Matt Green Photo, Boise Fry Co., WestWater Research, Thornton Oliver Keller, GU Energy, Honey Stinger and Maxxis Tires.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

9 to 5 – From the Pit

As many of you know, preparation doesn’t start the day of the race, even for the “pit crew”.  The Schafer team meeting was held the night before the race (though general instruction had been taking place all week).  The “team” filled the food bags, made sure bottles were prepared, put together “optional” food for satisfying urges throughout the race.  Strict instruction was given to “make sure I eat”!

6:00 AM Race Day:  The alarm clock goes off.  This is earlier than I get out of bed for work and I am up getting ready to watch grown men race around in circles on a bike without a motor.  Probably not the best decision I have ever made.

7:00 AM: We leave the house.

7:35 AM: We arrive at Avimor and start walking stuff to the pit.  (Thankfully we run into Bryan Warnock and Andrew Gendler who help me carry the heavy table.)

8:30 AM:  Last minute instructions were given on nutrition.  I do believe he just told me the bottles were in the cooler.  I must have IDIOT stamped across my forehead but I will let it pass as I was in the room when the bottles were being placed in the cooler.  I ask others if they need help or have certain items which need to be handed up instead of stopping to grab on their own. 

Bryan Warnock has bottles labeled “Base” and “Water” in his cooler and will yell out what he wants with a quick stop.  To make a bottle of “Base” it is two scoops and one tab.  I better start writing some of this stuff down.  A paper plate and a red pen work perfect.

Andrew Gendler was well organized as well with bottles, food wrapped in foil and marked.  He had bottles set up on a table but might need me to grab food and replace as requested.

Jeremy Frei had his system set up as well.

Cory knew exactly what he was doing and didn’t think he needed any help.

Beth was ready to go and would ask for help as she came into the pit.  She was on the “two lap” plan.  She used a camelback so she would stop every two laps to rest and fuel with a goal of six laps.

Zuber was all set and would yell if he needed anything. 

Steve had what he needed.

9:00AM: Race time.  Ahhh…peace and quiet with enough time before the racers come in to do a little reading.

9:35AM:  Crap the lead racers are coming through already.  After lap one I am supposed to hand up a perpetum bottle, I better be ready just in case….here is he, 9:38.  He is going out too hot but there is no need to say anything.

Bryan hands me one of his bottles and tells me to refill it.  Uh…you handed it to me full.  Drink it next time then I will fill it.

Jeremy comes in and gets off his bike.  It is a race, what are you doing?  Get back on the bike and go.  He isn’t feeling well.  Sitting, standing, nothing is working right for him.  Getting back on the bike wasn’t going to do it.

Everyone else comes through and heads back out.

10:10AM:  Those finishing Lap 2 are now coming back in.  I am prepared with my bottle of water with a Nunn tab in it.  After last’s year debacle of being told that when he says he wants water it doesn’t really mean he wants water, I have figured out that a Nunn tab or similar MUST be included for this race.  I also have the pack of food that he said he MUST eat every lap.  As he comes in fast he yells…JUST WATER, NO FOOD.  “You told me to make you eat.”  “I don’t want it.”  (At this point it is clear I will no longer be wasting my time with team meetings the night before a race.)  Sigh…it will prove to be a challenging day.

Bryan Warnock stops briefly to switch out bottles. 

Andrew Gendler switches out bottles and grabs a quick bite to eat and off he goes.

Zuber and Steve grab new bottles.

Cory asks how Beth is doing as he makes a quick stop.  (She is doing great!! Only 65 minutes for her first lap!)

The laps are starting to get a little longer at this point.  I seem to have a rhythm down for getting everyone what they want. Who knows what time it is.

Beth came in after lap two looking GREAT!  She had a little food, something to drink, a little rest…then I kicked her out.  She told me 10 minute breaks and that is what she gets.  She had a goal, I am there to help her meet it.

As Mark comes in for his fourth lap he yells “No food.  Need lube next lap.” Just a “water” bottle is handed up and off he goes.  Mrs. Oppenheimer (Josh Oppenheimer’s mom) laughs.  “He sure is direct.  At least you won’t mix it up.” 

Throughout the day the riders come and go.  Wives and children come and go.  I get to chat with Jeremy’s wife and twin boys.  They drew wonderful pictures on paper plates. 

Angela arrives to take care of Eric.

Bryan’s wife, Sarah and the girls stopped by and they were ready to help.  As Bryan rolls in she asks what he needs and he says “Sarah and I have it worked out.”  Ouch!! I grabbed bottles for him and prepped the next round.  Luckily he took some fruit and the “good luck” kiss from her as he pulled out of the pit.  I think that put him in a little better place with the wife.  Bryan, just as a future note, let your wife help.  It means a lot for us to do just the little things.  It hurts when we are told someone else is there to take care of you.  (Though by now everyone knows, I did not do a good job of taking care of Bryan.  More about him at the end.)

After lap 6 Andy comes in.  He says his feet are cramping and he can’t get back on the bike.  He sits in Ron’s chair for a bit with his feet up and ice on his back then he is back to his chair…taking a nap!!  Yep, middle of a race and we have a man taking a nap. 

Kirsten and the girls show up with water guns and start spraying down the racers that are by this time wanting nothing more than to be off the bikes and cooled down.  What a wonderful idea!

Cory comes in around lap 8 and starts chatting.  Not much time left in the race but there is enough for him to get back on the bike and get another lap in.  I ask if there is anything he needs.  He says no, he is good.  So I tell him “You know, this is the point in time were I would tell Mark to HTFU.  Get back on the bike and get the next lap done.”  Evidently Cory isn’t wired the same way as Mark because instead of firing him up to get back on the bike, he wanted to cry.  He thought I was being mean.  I will note this for the next race.  Kind words work much better for Cory.

One of the best parts of the race for me happened between lap 9 and 10 when Mark came into the pit.  He knew he was going to make his 10 lap goal so he took a couple of minutes to grab a few bits of food, some soda and chat.  Before he pulled out of the pit I received a kiss and a thank you.  The day was worth it.  (Come to find out the next day, I should have told him to get back on the dang bike and pedal.  He missed 3rd overall by 2 minutes…the time he used to thank me.)

Beth did an excellent job and met her race goal of 6 laps!!! 
She even came in with time to spare.  Beth you should be very proud.

 Overall it was a wonderful race and everyone did really well.  Heck, I didn’t even attempt to get on a bike so I am proud of everyone who did.

It wasn’t until we were all getting ready to hear the race results that Mark points out to me something is wrong with Bryan Warnock.  I thought Bryan had left a long time ago so I start looking around to find he is hooked up to an IV.  Dang.   I walk over to find out what was wrong to hear that he is dehydrated.  (It was that full bottle he handed to me!)  After letting the EMT know what I had been putting in his bottle he says he is doing much better and not to worry.

All in all it was a pretty successful day.  Only one took a nap, only one cried and only one ended up hooked up to an IV. 

Excellent job Eastside.  Thank you Broken Spoke for the beer and food.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Life Beyond the Ridge Road -> In search of the Gardena Bridge.

It was a goal to ride dirt from Boise to McCall in a day utilizing the many backcountry roads in order to avoid highway riding.
Stage 1; cross Highway 55: success, alternate route preferred…
Stage 2: McCall:  another day…
We started from near Highlands Elementary School at about 6:15am and started to climb Bogus Basin Road.  The start was spring chillingly refreshing, warming slowly as the sun rose over the ridge.  Traffic was light and the weather perfect.
We stopped at Simplot lodge to fill up on the day’s water needs (in total close to 30 water bottles between us).  Continuing beyond the Nordic lodge we climbed up and over our first ridge (the Nordic extension to you Nords out there).  We rolled along the ridge for an hour or so as Bogus loomed behind us.  Seemingly a short time later we crossed the first/only major road of the day: Harris Creek, leading directly down to Horseshoe Bend. 
Our goal was to continue on the ridge a bit further to find the path less traveled by, ultimately to drop down as close to Gardena as possible to catch the bridge across the Payette River.  Having not seen a road that fit our ideals, we rolled beyond Hawley Mountain Lookout enjoying the views and mashing our cross bikes up the steep sections of the ridge road.  We found a spring near the lookout which would have negated carrying all of our water from Bogus, but good thing to remember for a future trip.

In the end we dropped down a pretty worn road that battered us up pretty good on the CX bikes before we turned south and headed back to Gardena.  We knew we were a bit too far north for the preferred road we wanted, but not knowing if any road bailing off the ridge to the West would dead-end, we chose a better known exit that put us at 67miles by the time we made it to Gardena with an additional 8miles exploring the ridge and the various roads that may or may not be shorter routes to the Gardena Bridge.

We have a few roads to explore to ensure connectivity, but the possibilities for a shorter ‘day’ route to McCall is not off the table!
The Climb out of Gardena in the distance

Yesterday's Transportation
Gardena Ranch

Saturday’s 75miles of exploring the end of the Ridge Road was fantastic.  Next time we’ll be carrying less and on our Phat Knobbies with renewed focus of completing the first section and moving on past Smith’s Ferry!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

12 Hours of Disco – Team 970 Holla-back! (by Cory Bolen)

A group of us traveled up to Salmon, Idaho for the 2nd Annual 12 Hours of Disco race.  I remember seeing pictures of last year’s event and thought it sounded like fun to do a ‘grassroots’ style event before it got too big.  The event seemed to be already a quite a bit larger than last year with teams travelling from Montana, Boise, Teton Valley and Utah.  This would be my 2nd 12 Hour mountain bike event ever, with the first one being the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde in 2009.  This year I partnered up with fellow teammate Michael Shaw to form ‘Team 970 – Eastside Cycles’.   970 not only refers to the area code of my phone number, but also to the sweet new Rocky Mountain bicycles (Vertex and Element 970s) both Shaw and I purchased this year from Eastside Cycles.  Other teammates in tow include Eric Zuber (w/ Tim Phillips), Angela Haener (Pit Boss) and Beth Fortuna (w/ Jon Odle).  Close Eastside friends that shared our pit spaces for the day included Dave (Pit/Mechanic extraordinaire) and Michelle Byers, Nancy Odle, Brent and Lisa Gorman and Mike Sherman.

As the race got closer, the forecast got less desirable for a 12 Hour race.  We left Boise with high hopes for dry weather, but as we pulled into Stanley, we received an email from the race director that the event was still on, but due to heavy rains the event may be shortened to a 6-hour race.  The closer we got to Salmon, the weather got worse.  We arrived in Salmon mid-afternoon, and picked up our race packets.  No additional information was available about the potential length and actual course to be raced on the next day.  Bentonite soils in the area turn to a sloppy, sticky mess when mixed with rain, making riding a bike impossible.  We met up the Zuber van shortly after picking up race packets and drove out to the race venue to stake out canopy spots for our various teams and friends.  At the race venue, the race official and course director were discussing options and it sounded like the most probable choice would be to do a 4 to 6 mile gravel road circuit instead of the original 8-mile single-track course.  Potential race lengths also were being mentioned in the 4-hour range.  My personal goal of this race was not necessary a good race result, but rather a good intense workout of longer duration.  I was disappointed to think of the original 6 hours of racing I was going to get as a 2-person team was potentially going to be cut down to 2 hours.  The USA cycling official was very receptive to hearing opinions and we voiced our preference of doing at least an 8-hour event, trails or no trail.  Shortly after leaving the race venue, we received another email from the race director informing us that the event would be an 8-hour event and run from 10 to 6.  Course was still to be determined. 

We awoke Saturday morning to partly cloudy skies and it seemed like the overnight forecasted rain did not come.  We arrived at the race venue about 8:30 to set up our canopy and race pits for the day.  At 9:30 we attended the pre-race meeting where it was announced that we would be racing on the original race course with a slight modification.  The lap would be slightly longer to avoid a stretch of bentonite soils.  This was a surprise, since we had all resigned ourselves to racing on the gravel roads for the day, but we were excited for the opportunity and hoping for dry weather for the duration.  The race started with a Le Mans start and Shaw was going to get us started.   Our plan was to start with 2-laps each and then probably change to 1-lap turns.   Each lap was 8.3 miles and 900 feet of climbing.  We estimated each lap to take about 40 minutes and thought it might force us to pace ourselves better if we did 2-laps at a time early on.  Most teams, including Zuber/Phillips, chose to do 1-lap turns.  

The race started with the chaos of the Le Mans start, shot gun start and with Zuber getting on his bike first, sprinting a ¼ mile up the road to a 180 turn onto the race course and through the start/finish area.  Zuber was going for the fastest lap prime and had a good shot at it by getting the whole before the course turned to single track.  The leaders after lap 1 came in around 35 minutes with Zuber in 2nd place behind a very fast Teton Valley racer.   Shaw came in a minute or two later in 7th, but was also pacing himself for a 2-lap effort.  Shaw rode a very strong first two laps and then I was off with our team in 5th overall.  My first lap was kind of sloppy and I was trying to big ring the entire course and grind it out.  I wish we were able to pre-ride the course the day prior, so I would have known what to expect.  This resulted in my back starting to get fatigued and me continuing to ride sloppy.  My first lap ended (3rd team lap) in about 38:00 according to the Garmin and I decided I needed to ride smoother and go back to my natural spinning style instead of trying to grind it out.  The 2nd lap went much better, and I felt a lot more fluid in my riding.  The course consisted of mostly single track with rocky descents and a lot of short sustained climbs.  The course was in great condition, with very tacky conditions.  The end of each lap consisted of a really fast and long downhill leading to a short dirt road climb back to the start/finish area.  My second lap ended up being about 30 seconds slower than the first, but was still 38:30 minutes.  Tim Phillips caught me at the end of the lap, which was exciting since the race was now on between Team 970 and Zuber / Phillips.   My average speed for the 16+ miles was 13.1 mph, which I was very happy with.

Next off, Shaw took off (team lap 5) with Zuber having about 20 seconds on him.  Shaw went out in hot pursuit  of Zuber.  I cooled down for a few minutes and then checked the leader board.  Zuber/Phillips were sitting in 3rd place with Team 970 in 4th.  During my 2 lap stint, I had decided that we should switch over to 1-lap turns, but failed to communicate this to Shaw as we transitioned in my half-state of delirium.  Shaw pounded out a very fast 5th lap having spent the majority of the lap riding with Zuber.  Zuber tagged off to Tim and Shaw came through all guns blazing as well.  I yelled at him as he neared if he was going out for another, hoping he would slow down and tag out.  Instead, Shaw came through en fuego in hot pursuit after Tim.  Unfortunately, the 1-lap turns of Zuber/Tim got the best of us and they opened up a 2-minute lead on the 6th lap, and we fell back to 5th place.  Shaw finished our 6th lap and I was out. 

Riding 1-lap was a joy and very fun to rail the entire course and know what to expect allowing me to push my limits.  I came through and held our 5th place position.  It seemed like we were down 3 minutes to 3rd place and only 1 minute on 4th place.  Shaw took off and I was very hopeful to start reeling in 4th place as we switched over to 1-lap turns.  After cooling down, refueling, I was ready and waiting to go back out; 1-lap hammer fests were fun!  As I waited for Shaw to return from his lap, it began to get much colder and drizzle.  Tim came through and Zuber was back out on the course.  I believe at this point, Tim had caught Pro Leisure Team #1, putting them in 2nd place overall in the duo category!  I expected to see Shaw in the next few minutes.  The 4th place team rolled in 3 minutes after Zuber, so I was expecting to see Shaw at any moment now.  At this time, it seemed like we had a very strong hold on 5th place and had the opportunity to battle for 4th place and maybe even 3rd in the remaining 3 hours of the race. Additional minutes passed and both myself and 6th place Pro Leisure team rider Aaron Nelson were wondering where Shaw was.  Aaron’s  teammate came thru and informed me Shaw had flatted shortly into his last lap,   Bummer!  More minutes passed and still no Shaw!  A few more minutes and Shaw arrived telling me that I would most likely have to do 2-laps since he had torn his sidewall open.  As a result of the mechanical, we lost about 13 minutes.
I went out on our 9th lap and chose to ride a little conservatively in case I did have to do back to back laps.  The weather started to turn and the entire lap consisted of a light drizzle.  The course condition was still great until I exited the final single track of the lap and got back on the last 0.5-mile or so of dirt road back to the start/finish area.  The road was super slick and I began to immediately accumulate mud turning my lightweight full-suspension race machine into a heavy, mud-caked blob.  I came thru the transition area in 40 minutes, hoping to see Shaw, so I wouldn’t have to go out on another lap.  I came thru and did not see Shaw, so I continued.  About 20 seconds into the lap, Shaw yelled to me, and we switched riders.  At this time, it was now pouring and I was convinced the race was going to be ‘called’ if it continued to rain like this.  The rain continued and about 5 minutes later, the race was ‘called’ and no additional racers were let out on course.  Shaw pounded out a very wet and muddy last lap ending our 10th lap with a sprint finish with another solo-category rider, which ended in Shaw sliding thru the transition area in the mud.  The great thing is, Shaw didn’t even know the race was cancelled and was just going out for a fun sprint at the end of a lap.  A few minutes later, Shaw came back to the pit area and asked why I wasn’t on my bike.  I informed him the race was canceled and then proceeded to take pictures of a very muddy and messy bike and rider.

The 12 Hours of Disco ended with 6.5+ hours of racing, but it was still a blast!   I was glad the race was cancelled early, mainly since I did not want to go back and trash my bike in the mud for another lap or two!  It continued to rain heavily for the next few hours, and time was spent cleaning mudding bikes and swapping stories with other racers.  12 Hour races as a duo-team are super fun and intense.  Going forward, I think I will definitely try to do a 12-hour event each year as part of a team.  Definitely a different style of racing, sort of combining XC and Endurance into one event coupled with lap strategies and pit logistics.

A total of 34 duo teams raced and we ended up 5th overall.  Shaw was an amazing teammate and his positive personality is a huge asset to Team Eastside.  Zuber/Tim did awesome and ended up 2nd overall, while overcoming 2 flats on laps 2 and 3 (I think).  Finally, Beth finished her first endurance mountain bike race!  Her and Jon Odle completed 7 laps total and finished 22nd overall.  This included Jon being delayed for 1.5+ after providing 1st responder care to a hurt racer on the course during the 1st lap.  It turned out the racer broke their nose and neck and ended up being taken to the hospital via Life Flight.  Kudos to Jon for seeing the ‘big picture’ and stopping to help!

Great job to all the racers and it was a great pleasure to meet more riders from Boise.  Big shout out to Team Pro Leisure, you got a great group of riders and are super fast!  Even though the race was cut short, it was a blast to hang out with so many friends in a new area!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fruita 100K recap

    Just returned from my second go at the Fruita 100K on the Kokopelli Trail.  I won the women's division last year with a time of 5:10.  Finishers in under 5 hours get a special gold medal and I really didn't think I could eliminate 10 minutes off my time from last year considering how spent I felt the in final hour of last year's race.  All this sounds impressive but this is a small venue, low key race that only attracts about 60 racers mostly from the Denver/Boulder area.  Seems like locals participate in 18 Hours of Fruita or 12 Hours of Mesa Verde which are much larger attractions.  Fruita 100K  is an out and back course of mainly double track with some steep rocky sections,  jeep trails and a 5 mile road section to connect the trails.  My Garmin read about 4300 ft of climbing in 66 miles. 
    This year's course was much faster thanks to several days of rain that made for hard packed sand and cooler temperatures compared to last year.  I used my same strategy as last year by trying to start fast and get to the 1st section of rocky descent while you still have a choice of lines.  My main goal was to keep a steady pace, focus on nutrition and finish stronger than last year.  All was well at the turn around when I realized I had several minutes on the next female rider and everything was going as planned. I could continue my "ride smart" approach.  I got to the last aid station and realized I could make the 5 hour cutoff if I pushed the pace.  So my strategy went from "ride smart" to "race is on."  I was making my way up the last steep rocky climb on the way back to the finish when my legs were cooked.  I was ready to bale and walk the last ledge when I looked down and saw a snake.  I'm pretty sure I levitated up and over the ledge as the adrenaline kicked in and I kept up the pace all the way to the finish.  Since my Garmin time and gun time were different I didn't know how much time I had to make the 5 hour cutoff but my time off the bike was minimal.  I turned the last corner and saw the clock…4:59:28.   I was happy that I made a race out of the race and went for the time.  I'm pretty sure the snake was real and  I wasn't having visual hallucinations at that point in the race but will remember that during my next hard race when I  need an extra boost.  I hope I represented Eastside Cycles well. I received many favorable comments about Boise.
    I think this is a good early season endurance event to put on the calendar.  It's not a technical course so all levels of riders would enjoy it.  The scenery was beautiful and there were well stocked aid stations with helpful volunteers.  Almost everyone finishes the race with the exception of those who suffer mechanical issues.  The day ends with a BBQ and cold beer at Singletracks, the local shop.  The trip is even better if you can get into Fruita a few days early and enjoy some of their great single track.

Ride On,

Friday, May 3, 2013

May in Motion/National Bike Month!

Happy May in Motion/National Cycling Month!

May 1st turned out to be a good one for this cycling guy!  A chilly morning commute on the bike donning my Eastside Business socks, comfortable temps for the ride home and rolling the knobbies with 16 other bike centrics in the evening!
Rolling with the Wednesday Crew
Riding with large groups is a pretty cool thing.  I love to hang back and watch the trail guide meandering riders over ridges and down gullies one after another.  My goal is to catch a good piece of trail with this perspective on video someday!

Resting after chasing Shaw up Hardguy and failing to keep him in sight!
Of course May continued to be full of bikey fun: May 2nd (a Thursday!) TNR, while numbers were surprisingly low due to soccer and work commitments, left the parking lot jammed with BYRDS in route to the ridge.  On the way we came across 3 lovely ladies (Nancy, Beth and Cara) enjoying the beautiful, warm, sunny spring weather.  Our numbers slowly dropped as a few of us bailed off the planned route leaving only 3 of us on the ridge at the ½ way point on the ride.  We lost our final rider (Dave Byers as we passed too close to his home tractor beam) and only Shaw and myself remained as we headed for the Red Headed Finn to rendezvous with other delayed TNR regulars.

Happy Roller

We reconnected with Nancy, Beth and Angela (who happened to met up with the other gals in the Shanes/Bucks area).  Shortly thereafter Steve and Rick came by after their hard solo efforts having had other commitments to satisfy.  Our numbers were back up!  Always remember – if you don’t make the start of a ride, there’s always another opportunity to meet up for a beverage, food and good times post ride(s)!

Thanks for making cycling so much fun everyone!

See most of you at our Team BBQ this weekend!



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Team Eastside Business Socks

I love to ride bikes.

I love exploring different roads and trails. I also love the self-exploration part that biking allows. How hard can I push myself? How long can I go? How much pain can I endure?

Most importantly, I love my family. As a married father of three and a cyclist, I am often torn between family commitments, work and riding time. How does one honor all three when daddy-chauffeur duties prevent even bike commuting?

Team Eastside business socks!

I pack my bike and riding gear into the car in the morning and make sure to wear a pair of cycling "Team Eastside business" socks along with my work clothing. The Business Socks serve as a tangible reminder that I need to get my ass out of the office and do that mid-day ride. What they lack in style, they make up for in motivation, fun, and hopefully fitness. As fall approaches, I may explore the realm of office skinsuits. Team order anyone?

Happy riding,
Andrew Gendler

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

As our wheel's keep turning so do the day's !

"Nothing Compares To the Simple Pleasure of A Bike Ride" -JFK

I can't believe it's going to be May already this week! It seems like time is just flying by ( as it usually does ) and the summer heat will be on our faces in no time and with that, a pretty consistent weekend race schedule come June and July.

As I think back to winter, I'd say for myself it was over all was pretty weak for snow, the skiing I would say was " so-so" however, turns are turns and that's all that matters.  I was still able to get some pretty gnarly fun snow rides in on the lower foothills and one up on Watchman after I got back from Chicago just after the New Year came. So when Spring sprung and some decent early season riding temp's came, I was excited to get out on my road and mountain bike and get some good rides in.  A few of us ( Usual Suspects ) through the winter / early Spring when the trails were ride able stuck to the weekly super fun hammer fest of TNR! A ride I look forward to every single week.  There were for sure some cold brisk night rides that made the beer and pizza down at Sun Ray taste that much better ( as if Three Picket Porter could get any better ! ) Even though, some of those rides were in the mid 20's, and there were night's with cold brisk wind gust's that reminded me of walking and running back home through downtown Chicago in winter season when the wind would rip through the buildings and make you wanna jump into the nearest coffee shop or bar.   It wasn't all that bad because I was with friends who enjoyed the thrill of it all just as much as I do and we were riding our bikes having a blast with the lower lights of  Boise as a back drop. To add to that , it always got pretty warm and sweaty as one of us took off into the darkness of a climb.  As much as I enjoy night riding and cold weather riding , hot summer riding and the opportunity to be riding up in the hills to almost 10pm sounds pretty darn awesome!
*A early season night TNR*

The beginning of February and March brought some good long road rides and a early season XC race in Echo, OR.   I was headed to La Grande to hang with my good buddy Zach for a few days so we made it a extended race weekend.   Red 2 Red in Echo was a all around blast of a time and solid race.  It sure felt great to get almost  30 miles of single track in with incredible early season 60 degree temp's! With a turn out of 500+ total racers and one heck of a rad single track course it was no disappointment.   I left Red 2 Red pretty bummed and disappointed with my result but had a lot of fun and took some positive things away from the race to use in the future.  If  Red 2 Red is in the cards for next year, I would for sure go back and race in Echo.  It was a great time, shared with some good friends and other fellow Eastsider's.  Nice work! * Steve, Page , Nate , Geneva, and
friends Deb and Zach *
*Eastsider's at Red 2 Red XC  * Nice racing!

Going back about a week before Red 2 Red XC race, we had our Team Eastside meeting at the brand new shop location. What a shop it is and how lucky we are to have Eastside as our shop and main sponsor.  A big thank you and much appreciation to Ryan for all he has done for us.  During this meeting besides, introducing  some new members, talking about future races, social team/club events coming up, and reflecting on fun times from the last mtb season and fun cross season ( OUCHY! ) Cory, our team director asked us to share some goals for the up coming riding season and race season.  I guess for myself one would be to keep up with Zuber on a TNR on of these days! I swear the dude is a secret night single track ninja!  ( you will see him and then just like that poof! he is gone! )  .  Some other goals, would to take racing and riding a little more serious perhaps ( no idea if it will happen ) . I have never liked the word " training " or followed any type of plan.  Pretty much just like to ride as much as possible when I feel like it, go hard when I feel like it,  have fun , drink good tasting beer, eat lot's of cookies, doughnuts, pizza, candy, and not worry about certain " training " rides and such things that I think sometimes take away from the fun of riding a bike.   That said, as some bigger races come this season and the summer season for riding comes, I wanna try and tweak my ways of the past.  I look forward to being somewhat a little more disciplined if you will. A few races I am really looking forward to this season and have high hopes for are------> *** 12 Hours of Disco , ( Team 970 here we go ! Cory and myself rocking a duo team ) , Jug MTN- XC, Galena Grinder -Marathon, Bogus Basin - Marathon , 9-5 - Solo , HC 100, and the Bogus Basin hill climb and The Werst Race hill climb in La Grande ***  It should be a super fun summer of racing . Looking forward to draining myself and racing with my good buddies on Team Eastside Cycles as well as other good friends in the area.. Best of luck to all ! Keep it fun, keep on peddling and ride fast!

Earlier I stated I look forward every Thursday , because with that , it brings TNR at 6pm !   It seems like for the last 6 or so I have thought " man that was a great TNR and one to look back on and talk about over a beer or two "  The last two weeks we had a great turn outs of 16 or so I think at the start and it was a ( T. of. T ) to the ridge kinda of night! Always a great TNR when you get up into the tree's in my opinion. The Sunday after, a few of us did the Ronde Van Boise as others did a solid day on the dirt. The Ronde was a great day of hammering hills with buddies Mark, both Andy's, Broken Spoke friends of Patrick and Tim. A day of total exhaustion and a good reminder of what the races will feel like come May, June, July and August. Awesome work guys , I think we represented Team Eastside pretty darn good out there on the road.

Back to the dirt! just last week we again made it to the ridge, however a few funny not planned issues came up!  My buddy Zach came along and I guess as we were headed up the pavement to the bottom of Bobs we gaped some people in the group. Zach was in the back talking and mingling ( no surprise there ! ) He said to a new comer " Well nice meeting you I'm going to catch up to those guys so this gap does not get bigger " The person ( don't know the name ) looked at Zach in total confusion why a gap would be forming and asked where are they going and why would they drop us. Zach simply said because it's TNR!  That isn't actually true, we usually wait for all to make a junction or finish a climb.  We then were headed to lower Corrals and the start of Hard Guy on a fun narrow technical  super beat up mine field like infested cow poop of a  trail and I thought it would be a good idea to come to a front wheel stall, go off balance to the right and luckily get my right foot un clipped, but it was to late..... Shaw on a brand new bike was heading straight into a HUGE thorn bush and over the edge! Ouch, sting, ouch, there I lay helpless. A picture would of been awesome but the feeling of a ton of thorns in my body was not the best feeling so I reached out pretty quickly ( I would of been in such big trouble if I was solo ) Mark and Zach both dragged by big doughnut eating butt out of that thorn bush.  The bike and beer was safe and sound ( thank goodness! ) so all  was good just leaving me with a bunch of thorns sticking into the Lycra and my from my fore arm's, calf and butt tox!   It felt nice and tingly for the climb up Hard Guy, it sure didn't help though as I got dropped like a sack of potatoes  As we finally made it up Hard Guy and ended the ridge road climb, I broke out some heavy bottled "special water" because Mark and Patrick both called me out and I could not disappoint!  Something was going totally wrong with my stomach half way up HG and I knew I was in BIG trouble!  Starting the descent down the ridge road , I had to stop and start a few times. Oh wow, did it not feel good,  I came up on the whole group stopped as Tim got a flat and that was my perfect chance to go get in touch with nature.  Good thing for pine needles and a plastic bag, no need to say any more !  Well, from then on all was good and pretty much smooth sailing to we hit Sun Ray.  While at Sun Ray.... Mark, Tim and Zach started going off like junior high girls talking about boys on the topic of Strava and times and who beat who on what day and who has what KOM and is behind or in front of on the leader board  Oh how it was super entertaining for myself and good friend Carl to witness.  Some how a two pitcher bet came up with Mark and myself to Zach that he could not clean Trail of Tears on his SS the next Saturday as we had a big ride planned and saving  ( T. of. T ) for the last climb! More on this later ......  

A gorgeous Saturday morning came and I found myself climbing up HG again, luckily this time not packing anything too heavy with the stomach and legs feeling great! ( thank goodness! )   For some reason no Eastsiders could make the ride , due to a road race the following day and family obligations. So Zach and I had a plan on climbing HG then going left on the ridge up towards Bogus till we hit snow then flip it and do Dry Creek, then onward to a lot of the lower foothills trails to make it a big day of riding in some amazing late April weather . Yea!!! well ....... the plan did not go as thought out. ( I will partially take the blame for it ! )  As we were climbing the free of snow ridge, pretty amped that we were back in the tree's, a younger kid named Daniel on a SS came up along side of us and asked if we were headed to Dry Creek.  I said we were thinking of hitting that on the way down! He looked at me funny and said " on the way down!? ., where are you guys headed? " I said well it's kinda of a exploration ridge road ride till we hit snow. We came up to one of my favorite trails Mahola !!!  ( Zach not being on it before and the temptation of going to check it out was to great once we came across it ) We invited Daniel to join us and he was all about it , with a excited go-get er attitude of finally knowing where and riding the great Mahola trail he had heard about! Warning him ahead of time I had no idea what it could be like and I assured him we would most likely run into a lot of brush, snow and it could very well turn into a adventure.  As it most defiantly did.....  He and Zach were all about it so we pressed on and scoped it out! At the start it was all clear, a few ankle deep snow patches but mostly clear of snow and the normal winter brush fall on the trail . It was such a blast and great feeling to be riding single track up under the tress letting cheers out and some " whoop whoops , hip hips " and laughter rocking grins ear to ear. Well let's just say that ended pretty darn quickly..... Not even close to half way of the loop , huge long snow drifts that seemed to be popping up all over the trail. Yet again I found myself post holing through thigh and high knee deep snow trying to roll the bike across and find some dirt! It came and went for a long period of time.  Sometimes getting lost and not being able to find the trail because the snow was so deep and long , side hill-ing worked for a while.  Good thing because at certain times the knee's and toe's were getting pretty numb! First tracks for sure, but will not go seek it out again for a awhile. We eventually made it back to the ridge where Mahola pops you out at the upper part and we were at a stopping point for a decision. Daniel had to get back down so we gave him some of our water and he went down the ridge to hit  Dry Creek. What a trooper he was. Cheer's buddy ! After some time trying to clean the bikes and talking we decided to not go up any further and head down to Dry Creek.  Finally! a almost fully ride-able singe-track trail in the tree's, with only a few big trees down and a few you had to do the roadie descent tuck to avoid smacking you're back.  Playing on some of the bridge's and smashing through some of the creeks sending water waves knee high we flew down Dry Creek happier than ever.  Just near the end, a not so friendly hornet got stuck in my jersey and " BUZZ! BUZZ!BUZZ! " I felt a few great stinging sensation's once again!  Coming to a quick skidding stop, I jumped off my bike and ran around like a fairy trying to get the hornet out, I whacked it away and that was that .  Chest stinging, swelling up quickly, bikes kinda of a gritty mess, out of H20, leg's a little out of sort from the snow hike and beer thirsty we decided to call the ride and head to Sun Ray!
* Snow hike on the back side of Mahola *
*Army crawl about to do down*

Getting down Dry Creek and BB road free of any more shenanigans we made it Sun Ray and got some Za-Za and brews.  Running into Nate and Saddie we shared great conservation, lunch and a few pitchers. The chatter of a T. of . T climb not happening and Zach not attempting it yet on his SS brought some fun banter to the mix of things!   After about 15 minutes of debating if we should go climb it or not we thought one more pitcher would make sense before we decided. Well it came and went pretty fast and next thing I knew , we were headed to Orchard and up Trail of  Tears at about 8:00pm.  Zach motored ahead on T. of. T as he was on his SS and I was following behind.  Not feeling good at all from the brews and feeling a little fuzzy things started getting blurry. I could not wait to get this dang climb done with and get to the ridge to sit down!   Finally we came together at the top and Zach had cleaned it on his SS (32-18) Ouchy!  and in a darn pretty fast time considering the day's ride earlier of 32 miles and 5k+ of vertical and then a Sun Ray intermission.  Bravo Zach!  . Feeling in a total daze up on the ridge we hung out for a bit then decided we better get a move on because we were losing light super fast ! Descending T. of  .T with just barley enough day light left to see the trail was sure a rush and one heck of a good time! Getting down to RC road off of Orchard just in time with no light left. All in all one heck of a day of riding , not the big ride day we were looking for , but still some great riding, good times, good laughs , some good snow hiking, meeting of new good people, lunch with friends on a gorgeous day and of course fun stories to tell and think back on!

* In a total DAZE! * 
* It was his idea for T of  T climb * 
Well as summer nears and races start up  , I look forward to seeing everyone out racing and riding with you all!   Until then keep it fun and ride hard !   See you out there and head higher !

Best- Shaw