Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Crusher was a crusher!!

Well, when I was on the line getting ready for the race start, I looked around at all the cyclocross bikes and a couple of the road bikes lining up with me and my Cannondale Flash.  Hummmmm....  I thought, maybe I was at the wrong race??  Or maybe I missed the memo about the preferred gear for the day??  Huh?! 

But, I was warned that this was half road and half mtb race and it would be a very fast off-road mtb venue.  What I didn't know was that, literally, the locals picked cyclocross bikes because they knew that there was more paved road than offroad, and the offroad was almost like it was paved.  In hindsight, it was the smoothest off-road trail I've ever ridden! 

As I looked around, I didn't recognize very many of the guys lining up with me.  The guys mostly had high end cyclocross bikes, and here I am ready to go, feeling less confident with each cross bike lining up with me, but I made the best of the day and had a blast on the fast fun course.  It was also a very painful day.

I'm proud of myself for fininshing 9th overall and did the best I could to survive the event.  It was at high altitude and I had my mtb gears set up with a 42, compared to the 50's on the cross bikes, and I also had knobby tires.  I was spinning my a** off!! 

When I was hurting the most was when the guys were catching up and passing me on the climbs.  But I was able to make some time up on the descents, even though I'm fairly cautious on the descents, but my Flash was like a rocket down the hills and during that part, I had the better equipment.  I knew it was the only way I had any chance to keep the loss as minimal as I could, so I did the best I could to gain a little just to loose it again when they caught me on the road.  Unfortunately, there were not enough descents to hold them off very long and so I just kept saying to myself...'here they come again', and kept spinning as fast as I could.  I think there were more climbs than descents.

Just wanted to say it was GREAT to be able to race with my teammate Tim Johnson, who also rides for Cannondle Factory Racing.  I've known him for  a long time but he's a cyclocross racer, and I had not previously raced him before.  It was great to line up with him.  He was looking strong and riding fast, but got a flat early in the race.  It was a long while until he caught me, but when he did, he was strong as ever.  It was an honor to ride with my teammate, and we finished together with him in 8th place.

So, did this prepare me for Leadville?  Well, you won't see many or any cyclocross bikes at the Leadville 100, so it was a super different race.  Like Leadville, the race was at 10,000+ ft, which reminded me that there is no way for me, who lives and trains at sea level, to show up a couple of days early and expect to do well.  I have to make sure to either show up the day before the race or acclimate for at least 7 to 10 days before the race.  The second or third day at altitude is always the worst for me, and it always gets me bad, so I know I will prepare by acclimating before Leadville.  It also reminded me about the road team tactics used at both races, and how I'll have to work to make sure and take advantage of that.  I also need to remember to eat and drink enough, because when I'm on my own like I was at the Crusher, I don't always fulfill the plans...but I'll have the Cannondale team support at Leadville, which is always a lifesaver. So the bottom line is, that any good quality, fast, hard race at altitude is excellent to help prepare for something like Leadville, so yes, I hope it helped.

I just want to thank Burke Swindlehardt, the promoter for having me there and for putting together a fantastic event on a fast course. It was fun and I learned a couple of new things! I better do my homework a lot more and read up on what the locals have to say about the race. I'm not much of a web lurker and I had no idea what to expect.  It was a last minute decision to participate, and as far as I knew, it was a mtb race, so I brought my mountain bike! Ha!  But this was a first time race, and I did not tap into the local knowlege as I should have.  Thank you to all the excellent volunteers, race sponsors, and staff.  It was a great race and I do hope you can do this again next year.  I'd love to see what I can do on a cyclocross bike!



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Triple Crankset press on the Crusher in the Tushar race this weekend

Wow - maybe I'll bring my booties!  Hope to see y'all out there!
Posted by • July 7, 2011
Salt Lake City — An unusually large amount of snow has forced a decision to re-route the "Crusher in the Tushar," race course, while two-time Olympic mountain bike racer Tinker Juarez is the latest renowned rider to sign up for the half dirt, half road race on July 16 in Southern Utah.
Race promoter Burke Swindlehurst said there was a "1 in 100 snow year" in the area, with roughly a 300 percent increase in total accumulation. The United States Forest Service made the final decision that a re-route was necessary due to the snowfall.
"Trust me, there's nobody who is more disappointed about the need to re-route the course, but Mother Nature has taken it out of my hands," Swindlehurst said. "I received word from the U.S. Forest Service yesterday that it would not allow the event to go over Big John's Flat Road until they had cleaned the debris from a large avalanche on the backside of the course. Unfortunately, that's not something that can be done before the race."
Still, Swindlehurst believes participants in the first-time event will be satisfied with the adjusted route.
"The alternate route I have is actually the first version of the race I drafted up," Swindlehurst said. "It also maintains all the attributes that make this event a 'Crusher.' It is 69 miles and has more than 10,000 feet of climbing. I rode it last weekend and it nearly broke me."
Juarez joins an already diverse group of marquee riders that includes Canadian Olympic cyclist and speedskater Clara Hughes, two-time U.S. national cyclocross champion Tim Johnson and domestic road professionals Tyler Wren and Nick Frey (both of Jamis/Sutter Home) and Paul Mach (BISSELL Pro Cycling).
Juarez is a fan favorite whose 35-year professional cycling career includes Olympic appearances in 1996 and 2000, three cross-country national championships, a Pan American gold medal, and a Masters world championship in 2010. He said he signed up to race the course that fits his racing style and schedule perfectly.
"A friend recently called and asked if I'd heard about this crazy new race that Burke was putting on, so I checked out the website and and saw quickly that it was the perfect prep for Leadville," Juarez said. "It looks like it has a ton of climbing at high elevations and it's exactly a month out from Leadville. The photos of the mountains look amazing and I can't wait to explore a beautiful new place on my bike."
Wren said he also knew immediately he wanted to be a part of the first edition of the event.
"Burke and I have many similar tastes," the Salt Lake City resident said. "Namely, we both love the Utah landscape, all kinds of bikes, and to suffer mightily on those bikes."
Swindlehurst said Johnson, who raced 11 years professional on the road in addition to cyclocross, was the first big name to sign up. Swindlehurst, who is the BISSELL Pro Cycling assistant director sportif in addition to the Crusher race promoter, knows both Johnson and professional racing well.
"I'm so stoked to have him at the event," Swindlehurst said. "We've known each other for quite a while, having raced against one another on the domestic circuit for so many years."
For more information on the race re-route, the latest confirmed riders, how to register, or other topics involving the Crusher, visit

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 2011 Race Season Update

Wow, what a busy year it's been so far...and it really did just get started.  Below is a little update in pictures and videos of some of the events I haven't had time to cover in the first half of 2011.  Also, here is my race schedule through September.  Yep, it's a big year!  I will try my best to keep up on the blog stories.  (and if anyone has photos I can share, please send them to me!!)
I hope to see you on the trails.

July 14-17 Beaver, UT Crusher in the Tusher
July 28-31 Butte, MTL: Butte 100
August 3-10 Big Bear, CA: altitude acclimation to prepare for Leadville 100
August 11 - 15, Leadville, CO: Leadville 100
August 18-22, New Hampshire: Mt. Washington Hill Climb and New Hampshire 100
August 27, Fontana, CA: US Cup 6 hour mtb
September 7-19, Timor, Indonesia: Tour de Timor
September 29-October 3, Colorado Springs, CO: 24 Hour National Championship
October 5-9, Roc d'Azure: France

April 2011 Lexus of Valencia Bike Skills Camp with me and Aaron Chase

June 2011: 12 Hours of Temecula
Joshua taking the win in that's my boy!

June 2011: Kenda Cup West Finals at Big Bear
This is me coming in for the win
I love sharing the podium with Joshua!  He always asks me to win a medal so he can come up too.
Joshua, me, and Tom Spiegle of Team Big Bear

June 2011: Racers and Chasers at Sycamore Canyon.  I ended up winning the race and it was a ton of fun! 

Thursday, July 07, 2011

MTB Action Top 25 Most Influential People in Mountain Biking!

I am humbled.  Check out who made the MTB Action mag Top 25 Most Influential People in Mountain Biking!
Thanks MTB Action!