Midwest MTB Racing Recapby Jay Richards
July 24, 2012
The races are starting to click away as summer begins to wind down. Not words most people like to hear but a break in the heat would be a welcome change. This week's recap includes a report from King of the Buck Hill, Brendan Moore, cycling opportunities in Cooke City, MT area, a few thoughts on the available cycling apps and a look ahead to the last weekend of July!
Buck Hill was host to yet another event, this time hosting race #5 in the Minnesota series, Buck Hill Birch Bump. Brendan Moore notched another win on the seatpost and provides a nice report with a little historical insight:
Buck Hill in Burnsville, MN is definitely the most raced XC mtb venue in MN history. There are, and have been for 20 years or so, the weekly Thursday Night races for 12 weeks during the summer hosted by Penn Cycle, the MNMBS has raced there almost every year, and in the "old' days before my time there was even a 24 hour race there! Buck Hill holds a special place in my racing past, as it was the first "big" race I did back in 2003 (I had only done a couple very small local non-series races the previous fall prior). I did my first and last Comp class race that day in the spring of 2003, got lapped by my friends Doug Swanson and Jeff Hall, and finished middle of the pack. The next year my first Elite class race was at Buck Hill too....I didn't get lapped =) Ok, enough on history, you get the point... I have raced there a few times, as have most MN racers.
This past weekend was the MNMBS race at Buck this year. This race happens to be a short one due to the short trail they have out there (~12-15 min x 5 laps for elite racers). They shortened our race to 5 laps due to the heat. While the temperuratures weren't absurd at ~90F, the humidity/dew point was pretty oppressive. It really didn't feel to bad until you were working and breathing hard; then it felt like racing at altitude (breathing through a straw!) Pre-race, I was thinking 6 laps would have been better, but after the race, we all agreed that 5 was plenty as we all tried not to toss our cookies. The race itself started fast and furious and goes pretty much straight up 200 feet or so with a few flat spots. I led us out with Jesse Reints, Owen Thoelle, and Paul Hanson following closely. I put ~15 seconds into Jesse each of the first 2 laps, and he was holding strong. On that note, he is carrying some good fitness and is setting himself up for a strong CX season after a pending break....both Jesse and I are advocates of never loosing too much high end fitness no matter what time of year it is (for CX and XC racing this is key). Anyway, the gap grew in subsequent laps, but the finishing order stayed the same as the lead out for the top 4. Now I am off for 3 days before I race at Buck again Thursday night ;) Rumor has it that Hollywood and his band are playing with a background of pyrotechnics!
Skinnyski stopped by for the morning races and results
Cycling in Cooke City
This past week, I took a trip west with my two oldest boys, Jake and Jon. We didn't have an agenda but a car full of gear including bikes, skis, rollerskis and hiking boards. Our ending destination turned out to be Cooke City, MT as car trouble at the top of Beartooth Pass (where we were able to burn a few turns) put us in the historical mining town on the edge of the east side of Yellowstone park for five days.
As it turned out, it was a beautiful place to move the wheels, both on and off the road and log some climbs in the high country and road miles on the majestic highway 212. Mountain biking was limited to myself as Jake recovers from a wood splitting accident earlier this summer but I was able to explore some of the hundreds of miles of forest roads including a little singletrack, just outside Cooke City. A couple of areas to highlight include the Lulu and Daisy Pass areas where trails ribboned through the beautiful backcountry for what seemed eternal.
Bottom line, the beauty of the bicycle is that no matter where in the world you might be, as long as it has wheels and rolls, there are adventures to be had.
There are probably very few cyclists that don't track everything possible to track. There are smartphone apps such as MapMyRide, Endomondo and Strava to name a few. I think it is safe to say most cyclists have at least a cyclometer. I will admit, it is pretty neat to track everything there is to track, and being connected with fellow cyclists and athletes is not only fun but also a bit of a motivator to keep the wheels moving because your friends are. Both Jake and Jon and myself jumped on board the Strava craze and had a fun competitive battle between us who would be the KOM on the categorized climbs on our trip west.
Adam Emanoff wrote a great blog post about Strava and can certainly see how sometimes things can be taken too far. It will also be interesting if something such as Strava would ever affect race participation. My opinion is probably not as there is nothing like racing but Strava challenges definitely allow riders not able to race to feel like they are "racing".
Pat Sorensen, President of Penn Cycle, has announced that on Thursday, July 26, Penn Cycle's Buck Hill Thursday Night at the Races will be a benefit for the new Minnesota High School Cycling League. Penn's Thursday Night Series at Buck Hill, held for more than 20 years, has provided mountain bike racing action for kids of all ages in a convenient Twin Cities location At the benefit event, the MN League will also announce their new 100 x 100 Fundraising Campaign to secure donations for the purchase of an equipment trailer. More details about the 100 x 100 campaign, which will run through mid-August, can be found on the MN League web site minnesotamtb.org.
Minnesota series goes back to back moving north a bit to Elk River for the Singletrack Attack. Voted race of the year in 2010, the course only features 100 ft of elevation change but the course has been strategically built to include around 1000ft of climbing per lap, featuring punchy climbs broken up by fast flowing berms on the tight and twisty.
If you missed it in the last report...registration is still open for the 24 Hours of Wausau, if anyone is looking to ride for a long time this weekend!
The Summer Olympics are set to begin and next week's report will feature a preview of 2012 riders named to the Olympic mountain bike team: Todd Wells, Sam Schultz, Georgia Gould and Lea Davision.
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.