Midwest MTB Racing Recapby Jay Richards
July 17, 2012
This weeks recap includes first hand reports from the Telemark Forest Drive, another report from Nationals, and the look ahead as mountain bikers continue to endure hot and steamy conditions.
Telemark Forest Drive
Telemark Resort near Cable, WI was host to a mid summer mountain bike race held on user friendly ski trails, logging roads and quad tracks. As advertise, Birkie winner Caitlin Gregg toed the line for her first mountain bike race in 14 years and provides an exclusive report:
I had a great time at the Telemark Forest Ride. This was my first bike race in 14 years and I am hooked.
I rode a fair amount when I was younger chasing around the fast riders while in High School back in Vermont but it has been a long while. I planned on riding my commuter bike which is a rigid Bridgestone, however Keeley Jackson offered to let me use her bike after she completed the 14 mile race. Riding a 29er was sweet and I felt fantastic. The lead pack was unbelievably fast and really took off from the start. I didn't realize it but Rebecca Sauber, the woman who won, was in that pack.
I worked my way in to the race and found myself catching other riders throughout . It was really fun because many of the racers were skiers that I know who are competing in the CXC Triple. I am taking an intensive Anatomy and Physiology course this summer so my training has been limited but I was amazed at how good I felt. It really made me realize how great of a feeling it is to be fresh. Several spectators cheered me onward with the encouragement that Brian was not too far ahead. We have a fun long standing bet for if I ever beat him in a race. I still have some time to make up but we are certainly closer on a bike than on skis.
On the second lap I caught up to one of my CXC male teamates and we were able to work together to move up through the field. The course was great, consisting mostly of double track or dirt roads. I am proud to say that I stayed on my bike the entire race. I actually felt better on the downhills even than on some of the climbs. I am looking forward to my next race and am looking forward to riding with Rebecca in the Cities to help raise my abilities.
Female winner Sauber, comments:
The Telemark Forest Mountain Bike Race was great! The mix of gravel roads, ski trails, and snowmobile trails was super fun! It was great training for Chequamegon 40! I highly recommend this race for years to come. Great group of people and fun racing Caitlin and ALL the other XC skiers!!
Nationals Story from Eric Oftedahl
This was my first trip out to Sun Valley, let alone Idaho. Sun Valley is the Hollywood of ski resorts. Fancy cars and houses are abundant in the area. After my pre-ride on Friday I took the gondola and chairlift to the top of Bald Mountain for lunch at the "Roundhouse Restaurant". While waiting for my food, I wandered about looking at the old pictures of Sun Valley and the restaurant from the early 40's when it first was built. Lucy even made a film featuring Sun Valley. It was a great place to relax and take in the scenery while enjoying some good food.
The course profile looked like a mountain itself; climb for half the race then descend for the second half. The second half also had a couple short climbs but they weren't too bad. The "ameture course" was one 18 mile lap around the mountain. I really wanted to check the downhill part so I took the gondola to the top of the mountain and rode a connector trail to the top of the race climb on the back side of the mountain. Where the trails met was also the first feed zone. I laughed when I heard we had to fill our own water bottles from the Gatorade jugs provided. It was so remote all they could do is get 3 jugs back to a picnic table. How they did it I don't know, because there was no motorized vehicle access back there. Anyway, I was feeling fine and the downhill was quite hazardous so it was a good decision to do the downhill and get a feel for it.
What I found interesting about this race was 100% of the singletrack is mountain traverse, much like the last section of single track at Red Wing. However, this terrain was much rockier and sandier. One slip of the tire or wrong move could send you off the side of the mountain and it was always a long and steep way down. It was still a blast and I had a smile on my face all the way down.
My race started at 8am so it was nice to start in the cool mountain air which was key to not getting dehydrated with only 1 water bottle. On the start line I was 2nd or 3rd row which was fine with me. I haven't been as fast as previous years and I knew it was going to be a very long climb so I had plenty of time to move up. When the gun went off I had one of my worst starts in modern history. I couldn't find my cleat for the life of me and missed like 3 or 4 times which put me in the back. We did a short prologue loop around the chalet area and then were sent down a flat paved bike path for 2 miles. I had to burn a few matches and put it in TT mode to catch the lead group right before the climb. Oh, did the climb hurt too. I found myself near the back trying to get into a good rhythm and run my own race. It took me a full hour of non-stop climbing to reach the top, going from around 6,000ft to 8,000ft. The gravel road and doubletrack were brutal. There were a couple kickers in the beginning to sap the legs before the looooong gradual singletrack traverse to the top. The downhill was fun and I rode within my limits to stay safe. I passed a few guys with broken chains and flats, feeling fortunate not to be one of them. It would be a long hike a bike back if I was. The bottom section of singletrack that the pro course was on an even steeper hillside with lots of rocky, rutted, and loose switchbacks. I arrived at the finish with no one around me finishing in a time of 1:48 and in 21st place. The results didn't matter for me, only to have fun and stay safe which I did.
It is a good experience to go some place and ride trails that are so foriegn to us midwesterners and meet new people. I love riding out west and hope to make it to another Nationals someday.
Woolly Club Skills Clinic
Over 20 women attended a skills clinic led by retired Minnesota Pro, Kyia Anderson, at the Woolly trails this past weekend. "I had a blast. Happy to share and impressed with the desire to learn" stated Anderson as participant Alicia Fisk echoed similar sentiments from the other side "Thank you for an incredible event! Fun was had by all"
Looking AheadIf you have missed out on the Thursday night racing action at Buck Hill in Burnsville, MN. the Minnesota series makes a stop this weekend to slice and dice on the remaining trails of the southern metro alpine ski area in the Buck Hill Birch Bump. Short fast laps makes for World Cup feel like racing and great spectating opportunity to boot.
Pre-registration for the Wausau 24
closes this Friday. Pre-registrants get dibs a great swag bag, and the new 2012 Wausau 24 custom T-shirt while saving money. Registration will be open, however, until the day of the race.
Keep the wheels moving!
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About the author...
Jay Richards maintains a very active lifestyle. He somehow finds time between managing a full-time resort (Maplelag) and bringing up a family of four boys with his wife Jonell, to compete in both mountain bike and a few cross-country ski races. Jay rides for Maplelag Resort, manages the Maplelag/Paramount mountain bike team and enters his 22nd year of racing and promoting mountain bike races.