Wednesday, December 30, 2015

This is the end...2015

As we close out 2015, we just wanted to thank our sponsors for supporting us and helping us enjoy healthy and active lifestyles, while promoting the sports of mountain biking and cyclo-cross. The team had a very successful year both racing and being a positive contributing member in our community.  The team accumulated a total of 262 race starts across 6 states.  The teams favorite events based on participation included the Knobby Tire Series 9 to 5 race at Jug Mountain and the first weekend of the Idaho Waffle Cross Series in which the team has co-promoted for the last 5 years.  The teams "home, away from home" once again are Bend and Grand Targhee largely as a result of the High Cascade 100 and Pierre's Hole 100 races. On the community service side of things, the team accumulated over 200 community service hours through trail work of the Ridge to Rivers trail system, Eagle Bike Park and our annual Spring Clean Up of the Camel's Back trail systems.

Once again, thank you to all of our sponsors of 2015:  Eastside CyclesFit WrapzRRC ContractorsTrailhead ChiropracticMatt Green PhotoAthlete 360Habitat Veterinary HospitalMyoFly MassageSilverstone Family DentalRocky Mountain BikesCenotePolar BottleHoney StingerMaxxis Tires, Carbo Rocket,  Patagonia and Pactimo!

Keep in touch after the New Year to see what will be new and exciting for the team as we go into our 6th year!

Monday, October 12, 2015

2015 Eagle Island CX Race Report- Cat Pro 1/2

Gabriel KeckThis is one of my favorite courses of the season, and once again Reel Theaters didn't disappoint!  The course is always a fun mix of slaloming around trees, punchy climbs, beach sand, and fast double track around the lake.  The race started in typical fashion with a couple hundred yards of pavement followed by a hairpin turn onto grass to the first hill climb of the course.  It was a bit of a bump and grind around that first corner with Richard Feldman, Remi, Tad, Cory, Ian, myself, and Andrew Harris going in hot.  We quickly got sorted out after the hairpin whilst hitting the first punchy climb.  Then Ian who was at the front crashes out in the first technical corner coming off the hill.  We sweep around him, and somewhere around here Richard Feldman gets free of the pack and we only see glimpses of him for the duration of the race.  However, it becomes a bit of a throw down in the chase group.  Cory gets away by riding strong and smooth through the technical part of the course but once on the doubletrack, the pack closes the gap.  I was able to make a move to the front of the chase group about halfway through the fast double track section, and was then working with Tad and Harris (who is coming on strong this season!) on the road section.  After drafting a bit, I moved to the front and put in an effort.  As this was just a lap into the 8 lap race, I wanted to stay with the chase group, but when a gap opened, I decided to give it a go and see if I could get away.  

At every turn I saw that I was inching away from them, but Feldman was increasing his gap on me.  It soon became a race where I had no chance of closing ground on 1st, but very worried that I would be caught by the chase group.  At this point I tried to relax and simply ride as smooth as I possibly could.  No hard braking into corners, no aggressive turns, just focusing on keeping my heart rate down in the technical sections and giving it all I had on the flats and hills.  This helped the race go quickly, and soon it was bell lap.  I finished with Feldman nowhere in sight, but with Tad and Harris close behind to round out the podium.  Fun course, fun racing, and good times racing out there with Cory, who will be bringing some of the Cross Crusade fitness back to the local races!  


I've had a solid start to the cx season, and I think it has to do with my racing the Bogus Basin Hill Climb race for the first time.  It's one of the last road races of the season, and for me, a little over an hour in duration, pretty much like a cx race.  Doing the Tuesday evening Bogus Basin training rides that lead up to the race got the fitness dialed in.  And I was then able to maintaining this fitness with consistent mtn bike rides on Tues and Thurs evenings plus a Bogus hill climb or Lost River Cycling (LRC) road ride on the weekends.  This took me into the cx season with a solid base of fitness.  This doesn't mean that cx racing is any less painful, it just means that I feel I can recover more quickly from a hard effort or chase and then do it again... 

Gabe calmly reeling in Harris
In addition to the consistent training, the other key has been a dialed in cx bike.  This is the first season I Belgian taped my tubies on my wheels, and now I can run lower pressure without fear of rolling a tire, which has plagued me for several season in a row now... So if you want to know how to glue on a tubular tire with Belgian tape, hit me up!  I have the process dialed, and yes, there are a few tricks...  And many thanks to Ryan, the fearless leader at Eastside Cycles, for getting me the shifters and drivetrain parts necessary to get my season started off right!  

Friday, October 9, 2015

Crash Happens

And so it begins the start of another season of Treasure Valley Cyclocross! 

We opened up the season with Waffle Cross on September 26th/27th. 

We knew it would be tough.  We didn’t know how we would do.  We didn’t plan on crashing…


Saturday we worked out the kinks and gave good efforts, Sunday we poured out what we had left, took some chances and tried to improve on Saturday’s results.  And – we crashed.

My crash happened early on in the first lap.  Luckily, aside from some pretty good bruises that are just now starting to go away, two weeks later, I lucked out and avoided any major injury for the type of crash I encountered.

Lessons Learned:

1)      don’t pass a ‘roadie’ on a straight-away (they tend to go very fast – and drafting may be the better option)

2)      Be leery of a wide course – may not be the right place to pass – hidden obstacles exist.  Leaving the bead of the trail could have some adverse consequences.

3)      Find those wheel swallowing holes and avoid them the next lap if you’re able to continue! (I found one, but was unable to continue…)

4)      Watch out for you fellow racers while spectating – crash happens!  Lend a hand, check in, make sure the racer is okay!  They may not be!

 Thanks to the folks that helped me on course and Ryan (Eastside Cycles) for helping my bike.  We were a dusty mess – but happy to be alright!

See you on the course! (SICX: Sandy Point #1/#2 October 24th & 25th)


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Smoke and Fire 2015, Boise’s Ultra Endurance Mountain Bike Event @ 444miles – A Review.

Reflecting on my completion of this second annual event I am left thinking about two things:  Gratitudes and Goals. 

It takes a lot to plan a route through rugged Idaho terrain.  There are thousands of forest service roads, area highlights and single track worth riding at least once when passing through an area (although maybe not on a fully loaded bike J ).

My hat goes off to Norb DeKerchove and Tyson Fahrenbruck for their efforts to create a local route of this nature, for this I am grateful. 


To the friends, family, team sponsors and strangers who lent us GPS units, tracked us online, met us at restaurants, met us on Fisher Creek to take photos, waited hours for the last decent into town and at the finish, offered to rescue us on route whenever, to the local business sharing our excitement for the event and all of the racers on course – you truly made this event exciting while pushing our mental and physical limits, thank you.

I certainly had challenges – from exposed, hot, long, asphalt climbs to moon dusted backraods full of large semis and locals cruising somewhere leaving heavy, green snot to hack up in the evenings and mornings from day one till days after the race.  But my body held on.  For that – I am grateful.


I set off on this event with very loose goals.  Finish, and don’t waste too much time.  I had lofty thoughts of where in the pack my ‘goals’ would land me, but I was ready to let the trip unfold and adjust accordingly.  This last point is becoming very important to me and other racers out there that must adjust goals.  Several friends this year were unable to finish and had to adjust their goals and/or forfeit them altogether.  This is a very mature thing to do, by that I mean; Difficult, Calculated and Smart.  You have to be true to yourself; your body, mind and ego.  You see it all too often:  The stubborn, the perpetually injured.  And of course, the unlucky.  But to be able to adjust and make the best call is really what an event like this draws out of people.  Gear and bodies fail, decisions forced and injuries can occur.  What you do with these unplanned failings is a big mix of mental and physical monsters that can leave you in despair.

A top racer this year sat in a Fairfield bar awaiting a ride from Boise as his rear wheel and frame contact was to the point that the wrong decision may leave him stranded in an isolated area with minimal gear.  A calculated risk leading to a scratch.  And he got to drink beer for near two hours as the rest of us calculated what it would take to leave the bar at all… 

An experience gal, passing faster riders at night, spent 3 hours icing, stretching, fueling and contemplating the decision to scratch over a knee injury at Galena.  She knew it would be a bad decision to continue but still struggled over the forgone conclusion as she chatted up all the racers catching up to her.

A 2014 S&F420 finisher scratched just out of Ketchum with swollen knees, certainly a hard decision, but one that didn’t leave him further injured. 

Similarly, a strong teammate suffered some Achilles pain that forced the decision to safely scratch just 50 miles shy of the finish.

These decisions did not come easy, nor were they ‘black and white’.  We all intended to finish.  We all had things crop up.  Some were manageable or fixable and we were able to continue.  Others had harder decisions.  Would continuing be safe?  Would I do permanent damage?   Will the pain subside?  Will I be stranded?  I’m grateful in all of these scenarios everyone wound up safe and not further injured.  Well done.

Trackleaders & Stats

What a wonderful tool.  Making an event like this even more exciting for family and friends.  You could track us real time on a map, on an elevation profile and in table form, continually calculating our statistics. 

Here you can see Josh Krattiger didn’t turn off his tracker post race – I heard he was a bit mentally taxed at the top of the last decent – maybe there’s a story here?  (Josh crushed the last 20 miles – taking back two positions just before the finish – finishing strong)

Would sleeping longer make me ride ultimately faster?  Or should I sleep less and keep moving?  Well, you can compare racer statistics:

Lets compare our top finishers: 1st place, calling himself “The Buffet” and 2nd place Rebecca Rush:


Both ride times were about the same, but Rebecca stopped just under a hour longer than The Buffet, thus coming in second.  In this case, the sleep deprived wins! (Different level of racing).  Let’s compare more local teams:  Eastside vs. Meridian Cycles….

Here you have racer #1 who rode 1day, 16hrs, 49minutes and racer #2 1day 21hrs and 25 minutes…did racer #1 beat racer #2 by 4 ½ hours?  Well, how long did racer #1 stop?  1day, 1hour and 29 minutes!  Wow, that seems like a long time…. Racer #2?  19hours, 36minutes!  (6 hours less stop time).  So did racer #2 beat racer #1 by (6hrs-4½ hrs = 1½ hours?)  Only if they averaged the same speed…. Racer #1 is faster. :-)  But….came in just over an hour behind racer #2.  Nice Job Jeremy Whitman!

I personally like to view the Race Flow part of trackleaders.  You can really see how sleeping/stopping effects your placements – or where and when people pass eachother – sneaky night  moves!


Here is the overview of the Male racers this year.  You can see at the bottom of all the traces three pretty distinctive flat areas.  People are sleeping (well, some of them anyway).  The first long flat area at the bottom of the graph are, at that time, the last place racers (myself included) sleeping just below Dollarhyde Mountain.

Here is a close up:
I was 13 ½ hrs in at mile 143 with 3 other riders.  Stopping so early (about 7:30pm) allowed 6 people to pass – only one of which I would later pass back.
Here is another good example of stopping too long, or waiting for and or eating food at an establishment.

Rolling into Fairfield I was in 9th place overall.  By the time I left: 14th place. Of course moving into 20th+ place by the time I woke up the next morning…  However, this allowed me ample rest for a big climb and energy to make it to an 1hr 20min breakfast in Ketchum!

Things to consider if considering this race

I packed about 5 power/protein bars 444miles that I couldn’t manage an appetite for.  Know what you’d want to eat.  Many of us suggest ‘real’ food.  This can be a challenge if you are in a hurry (racing for a top spot and wanting to minimize stop time as ordering and eating food averaged me about 1 ½ hours per stop – Fairfield, Ketchum, Galena and Redfish ~ 6hrs to order and eat somewhere on route).
What to wear and when.  Warm clothes for camping or cycling?  Cycling at night?  Enough battery for lights and warm gloves and booties?  Staying in Stanley basin?  Warm bag/thermal layers?
Bringing your own food to avoid the 6+ hours of food waiting/eating?  Room for stove, food and fuel?  Are you going to have a night away from a population center or push through a 112mile stretch?
These things demand some time to think about and pack for.  If you wing it or have to adjust your plan, it hopefully will only cost you time.  Adjust and get what you need before and during the event.
I’d say training for this thing is only a mental comfort and almost a mute point – a potential to set you up for a mental failure based on training expectations.
My suggestion if interested?  Determine you minimum comfort gear and riding conditions and - Just Do it.  Keep a positive attitude and be realistically smart.  This will allow you to eat/drink regularly and turn the cranks to complete the loop.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Smoke and Fire 420


Next week will be a first for me.  The longest ride I have ever done.  Call it a race, call it a ride.  Either way, call it an adventure.
Elevation Plot

This is the second annual Smoke and Fire 420 departing and ending in our downtown Hyde Park in Boise, Idaho.

A local bikepacking event highlighting some beautiful Idaho backroads, towns and climbs.  Images and more information from:

Feel free to follow the brave 56 or so registered riders real-time next week from 6am Wednesday morning, September 9th departing from Hyde park in Boise, Idaho till when we cross the finish – back where we started.  Likely we’ll be a bit worse for wear, low on calories but full on memories.

Elk Meadows, Bogus Basin towards the end of the route
Check back mid September for what I hope to be some great stories and reported finish.



Monday, August 17, 2015

Eastside Bender - 2015

A few of us slipped over to Bend this past weekend while other team members enjoyed the Sawtooths for last time rides in the Whiteclouds and swimming at Redfish as well as a handful of racers completing Pierre’s Hole endurance race at Grand Targhee resort on the Idaho/Wyoming boarder.

In Bend we enjoyed each other’s company on the well thought out trails systems that Bend, Oregon has to offer.  If you have not ridden here, or have only ridden here on race day, do yourself a favor and put it on your list!  Post ride we had almost too many choices of where to eat and quench our thirst.  Additionally we cooled off on the river while paddle boarding and relaxing for a picnic on expansive grass, huddled under the shade of trees next to the Deschutes River trail at Riverbend Park across from the Deschutes store house.  And to top it off, we strolled across the street to sample brews at the Bend Beer Fest!  The only thing we were lacking was additional days to stay!  But – we had to get back to Boise to attend our annual Team Cross night! J
No selfie-stick required when you're with Rick!

Stats: 0 flats, 7 smiles, 1 sprained wrist, 2 rides (31mi/2,850’ & 12mi/800’), 1 route ending closed trail, 1 beer fest, 3 beautiful Designated Drivers, 1 trip to remember….

Things to note:

Bend accommodations can become expensive and availability can be scarce if you look to go last minute.  For this trip we booked camp sites 6 months in advance at Tumalo State Park, a quick 10min drive to downtown and area trails. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Moab Spring Break 2015

Recently, the Filler Family went down to Moab for our spring break trip. We figured since we all have a pair of pedals between our legs we could get some fun biking/hiking in. Andy and I didn’t have too high of expectations for getting out on too many epic rides but were happy to get what we could. We were able to meet up with fellow teammates, the Zubers while we were down there. Having gotten there earlier, they had discovered Dead Horse Point State Park/Navajo Rocks areas.

View from Dead Horse Point Visitor Center

Dead Horse Point
And what a great discovery. These trails were developed in 2014 and they are super fun! Out at the state park there were trails for the whole family to enjoy. There were fairly short loops which were great for the kids, and longer 1-2 hour loops with excellent scenery of the Colorado Canyon and the Great Pyramid along the way.
Dead Horse State Park: You'll find fun trails for the kids!

Getting there:  About 10 miles north of Moab, turn west off Highway 191 towards Canyonlands National Park on Highway 313. Drive 14 miles and turn left toward Dead Horse Point. Four miles later, pay your entry fee ($10 per car in 2015) at the gate house and drive another two miles to the visitors center. The trailhead is at the north end of the parking lot.

Prickly Pear Trail
Navajo Rocks
I didn’t have a lot of time so I opted for one of the shorter loops, Ramblin’ - Rocky Tops Loop, approximately 8 miles. I started with Ramblin’ on the north side of 313. 75% of the trail was slick rock and just plain fun the whole way. You are constantly twisting and turning through the maze of slick rock. Once I crossed the highway heading south over to Rocky Tops the scenery and trail completely changed. It required a bit more focus. I found myself pedaling around beautiful sandstone rims, traversing across an off-camber slope of rough sandstone at the foot of a 50-foot wall, and twisting and dropping through the Navajo outcrops.

Slick Rock on Ramblin Trail - Navajo Rocks

Getting there: The entry to the parking area is on Highway 313, the road to Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point (313 starts 10 miles north of Moab on Highway 191.) Drive 6.1 miles uphill on 313, watching for a dirt road on your left. These trails were also developed in 2014.

Navajo Rocks Trail Map: Good news, the maps are generously posted at the trail heads!

These two trail systems got a thumbs up in my book. They scored extra bonus points in that I didn’t have to stop and pull a map out here and there, because there are trail maps at every intersection and all the trails are color coded. It’s impossible to get lost. In addition, while these trails have some steep pitches and drops, there aren’t many sustained climbs or descents, which also contrasted nicely to the typical rides we do in the Boise area. These two trail systems are an excellent choice for those traveling to Moab who want to get the slick rock experience and scenery without the risking life and limb!

Kate Shanahan

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

2015 Echo Red to Red

I don't think it was on anyone's race calendar when Steve G. fired off the e-mail to rally team members to the 2015 Echo Red to Red XC race. It has pretty long miles for an early season race, but I was lucky enough to visit family in California in early February, and got in several longer rides. So I freed myself from a ski trip and signed on for Echo. Mark S. and Mike A. also joined in.

Steve furnished the crew with
This is how we roll.
premium travel and housing. We left Boise ~10AM with the intention of a partial course pre-ride in the afternoon. Echo greeted us with a chilly, drizzly, grey day. So instead of gearing up to ride, we tasted some wine, car-scouted the race course up to the trailhead, and set up camp – as it turns out, much too close to the railroad.

We stumbled on a restaurant gem in Echo – The Wheat and Barley Pub.  Small menu, on the pricey side, but locally sourced organic food and well prepared. I look forward to bringing Patty there next time we head West. My roasted brussels sprouts and pork belly pasta were outstanding. The lamb shank and rib-eye steak dinners looked good too.

Our waitress informed us of the pool table in the basement... sounded like the right thing to do,
especially given the limited options in Echo. It was rustic down in the basement: sump pump, water
heater, storage, wiring, plumbing, soda kegs. A
Basement of Wheat and Barley Pub
collection of classic vinyl and a stereo system from the
'80s kept the music pumping, and the atmosphere
festive. Steve must have done some significant billiards
time because he was unstoppable.

Pool hall rules hung on a chalk board:
1. Clean up after yourself.
2. Keep the door closed.
3. No urinating in the basement.
4. Winner chooses music for one game.

We abided by the rules to the best of our ability.
Eventually we wound down the party and returned to
the trailer by the railroad tracks. During the day, the
train traffic was pretty light. At night, it seemed like
every 30 minutes a train would roar by. Lesson learned.

Saturday morning, we ate at Echo's only diner, in final
preparation for the 11AM race start.
TEC Battle Preparation

Race time: Page Rost traveled
separately to Echo, and we saw
him during warm-up. Mark,
Steve, Mike and Page started with
the Cat 1 32-mile race. I started
20 minutes later with the Cat 2
because I thought 25 miles was
enough for an early season race.

There were ~400 total racers. So
Echo's population of 700 nearly
doubled. For such a small town,
the trail system is truly
impressive. Several miles of
single track meander the drainages
Cat 1 Start
between agricultural plots. Huge
kudos to the race organizers,
sponsors and volunteers! We're
grateful to all who made this race
happen, and look forward to

My race went pretty well.
Immediately after the neutral rollout, the pace surged way beyond my level. I counted 25-30 racers in front of me by mile one.

Once we hit the single track, I started picking off riders. I ended up 4th in the 40's age group of 40 racers, I think 8th in the whole Cat2 group.

Passing on single track was problematic for everyone. Going off the single-track into sage and
rodent holes is taxing. It's typical for someone getting passed to accelerate. I once got straightarmed by another racer after I made a clumsy attempt to pass. I eventually got a clean pass opportunity, and never saw him again. The course was bumpy and turny, demanding a lot of focus... first time I checked mileage was at mile 19. I didn't drink water during the whole race – another lesson learned: camelback for technical races. Mercifully, weather was perfect: cool and dry, but not cold or dusty.

Finish: Mine was uneventful. One guy passed me on the flat time-trial road section. I was able to
catch his wheel and he was such a hammer that he carried me past two riders.

Here are Mike A. and Mark finishing.

Mark represented the Team on the podium – 3rd in a tough single speed field. We collectively got
skunked in the raffles. In summary, the early-season race gave us a good indicator of strengths and opportunities for improvement. We all had fun and all finished. Good times!