Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Fat Tire 2009

I tell ya, these point to point races are truly special. The more I experience
them the more I realize how unique they are. Whether you're racing
B-Matter( ) style for 1st or shooting for 501st, it's
impossible to finish without some great battle stories. I thoroughly enjoy blog
surfing the week after such events.

Erin and I set sail on Thursday morning for the long HAUL up to Hayward. Before we hit Chi-town we made a pit stop in K-zoo for lunch and stocked up on post race recovery beverages.
THANK YOU Bell's Brewery!

Not long after slogging through the big city traffic I received a surprise phone call from a old friend. Geri Lynn was back from some world travel and returned to her hometown of Hayward. Chequamegonville! The race weekend had now turned into a fun reunion as well. She and her family took great care of us and we can not thank them enough for their hospitality.

Friday, after a great nights sleep and a lazy lakefront morning, we packed up
for a little Fat Tire recon. Erin, who's still healing up, enjoyed a hike on some
of the sweet CAMBA trails while Geri and I rolled the first 10 miles or so.
Check out my new Quiring point-2-point assault weapon!

Memories from my first Chequam last year and nerves for this year started to
form as I bumbled along through Rosies Field, ripped up and down the Birkie and cruised along the dirt roads and trails towards Hwy00. The course was dry and hella-fast. The pre ride was followed by a quick clean up, race packet pickup and dinner at The Waterfront . Geri's family owns and operates this fine establishment. Try it next time you're in town. Be sure to ask for the twice baked potato's.

I awoke Saturday morning to a perfect morning on the lake. After breakfast I rode the 7 miles into town for a nice peaceful warm-up. I arrived to find swarms of eager cyclists. It's an incredible sight. I continued to roll around wondering if there'd be a spot for me at the start. I managed to squeeze in 3 rows back from the 4 wheelers. Similar to last year, some of the heavy hitters arrive fashionably late and roll up to the front next to the rumbling ATV's. Everyone nervous and white knuckled, the rollout parade through downtown Hayward began. I would guess I was in the 20's until we made the right turn towards Rosies and everyone hit the gas. We were roaring up the highway at 30+ with the Fat Tires-a-hummin'. I went from the 20's to the 40's and maybe even 50 riders back. I was struggling with the pace. There's fine line at this point. I may have had a little more juice to propel past a dozen riders or so but was it safe? It's insane! I held on and hoped for the best as we made the left into Rosies Field 40 back or so. Through the field and onto the Birkie it was full gas. I'd pass then get passed. It's war out there at this point and once again I don't remember much until we hit HWY00. I was with a group of around 20 that seemed to shrink with every passing mile. I could sense the Firetower Climb ahead and started to work my way forward in the group. I was in a good position at the base of the climb and immediately started to distance myself from other riders. Up ahead I spotted Mike Simonson(Fisher 29er Crew) and worked hard to bridge. Coming down the backside of Firetower it was myself, Mike and few others. A solid group that pushed each other to the end. In the final mile Simonson attacked hard and took the 3 others with him as I struggled. I rode smooth keeping them in my sights but couldn't get back onboard. Mike rolled in for that 15th spot with the other 4 riders grabbing 16th...17th...18th...19th and, finally, me just cracking the top 20 with 20th place.

I would say my performance was similar to last years Chequamegon ( I can't complain. I was, however, hoping to better my result which is only natural I suppose. I didn't do it though and that means I must try again. Since I managed to crack the top 20, it's a done deal. If a rider makes the top 20 here they are automatically registered for the following year. No hassle, no lotto. Which means I can start planning my trip to the north woods of Wisco immediately.

Thanks for reading. Have a great fall everyone!
And, I hope you enjoyed our Fat Tire "race" photos.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Summer's Still Alive

I can tell summer is coming to a end as my Oberon stock is shrinking. Say it
ain't so! The good news, however, is the added inventory of those other tasty
Bell's flavors. Oktoberfest, Two Hearted, Best Brown and, in a few months time,
HOP SLAMMMMmmmmmm. I love beer. In addition to polishing off my final few summer
brews I've managed to pack the last month with lots of racing. Since my rear
rotor meltdown at Big M I've scored a lackluster 24th at Ore to Shore, a
meltdown at the Pontiac lake XC, a head cold at the first annual Milford Crit,
tree collision at the Fort Custer TT, podium spot in the Tailwinds Michigan USAC
MTB Finale and a couple sprints for 3rd place at some local Labor Day weekend
road race action.

(photo credits to BroBriberon Brzuchanski)

Lots of fun was had. Especially during the past few weeks as
I've been rolling on my brand new custom Quiring steel 29er. Thanks to Scott
Quiring, Bell's Brewery, Keith Riege and Paint Creek Bicycles, Stan's, Oakley,
Crank Brothers, Garneau, Geax and Aberdeen I've been slicing and dicing the
trails all around Michigan and even giving the CXers a run on the dirt roads of
Oakland County. This thing is light, quick and, my favorite part, sexy. I love
mountain biking.

Hopefully everyone is feeling good and ready to charge into some late summer
action. Be careful not to overdo it though as we have lots to do this fall. You
may want to dig out some groovy duds and dust off those dancin' shoes as there's
another massive bash in the works following that bike race in November. Party
plans are in the works, band has confirmed and, rumor has it, the bar has added
another pile of draft lines for our Bell's sampling pleasure. I don't know about
you but I'm pumped! Add to that all the special guests, celebrities and host of
heavy hitters rumored to be racing to TC this year. Ohhhh yeah! Stay tuned for

This weekend I'm planning on heading to the Addison Oaks XC. One of THE most
entertaining trails around and a final tune up for my 2nd run at Chequamegon.
Dun dun dun! Chequamegon is on the horizon. Last year I was 14th. More
importantly, I beat Lummis. He and I haven't spoken in weeks. Nerves are high.
Lot's of tension. Covert training. It's on my friends! I'll give you a report as
soon as we return.

Have fun everyone. Thanks for reading.