Sponsored by Giant Bicycles and Liv/giant

Archive for March, 2015

2015-03-29 – TBF MTB Celebration Race Report – 1st Place Pro Open by Ron Shevock

Yesterday, TBF Racing held it’s 5th (!) and final MTB race of the Winter/Spring series.  Since these races start so early in the year (first race occurs in mid-January), and I needed a little bit of a break following a long cyclocross season that also stretched into January, I’ve only attempted to show up to the last two races to see how the legs are feeling.

The first race I showed up for a few weeks ago wasn’t a good indicator as I burped a tire on lap 2 and basically DNF’d, so with this one I was just hoping to put in a strong training effort, and finish the race.

Bike Setup:
Giant XTC Advanced SL 29’er
SRAM XX1 Drivetrain with a a 36T front chainring matted to a Quarq powermeter
RockShox SID XX World Cup front fork (100mm boosted to 120mm)
Nox Composites XCR-29 wheelset
Continental Mtn King front tire
Maxxis Ikon EXO 2.2 rear

Link to my Strava File:
https://www.strava.com/activities/276061912

Lap 1:

The race was 4 laps of a 6.5 mile singletrack circuit with a long gravel start and finish sprint from the timing arch along the shores of Folsom Lake.  As usual I got a bad start and in the first few hundred meters of gravel found myself mid-pack and boxed in but I wanted to get to end of this gravel in the lead so I could be first into the singletrack. Halfway down I was able to break outside and hit the gas to launch to the front and create some separation before the singletrack.

After settling down a few moments later, I noticed that it was already just myself and two other racers peeling away off the front with the other two being the brotherly duo of Curtis and David Duncan.  Satisfied with that separation, I let up a little and the 3 of us rode up to the bench and then down through the next few miles of rolling singletrack towards the Beek’s Bight parking lot.

As we hit the parking lot, I knew I didn’t want to be responsible for pulling all 3 of us around all morning so having a hunch that one of the two Duncan’s would gladly accept a pass if I swung wide in the parking lot to forego the curbside bunnyhop jump back onto the trail, I did just that and rolled back onto the dirt via the slighly longer route through the boulders.  Sure enough, just I’m doing that both Curtis and David both take the faster line popping the curb and then hit the gas.  Perfect 🙂  I then jumped on their tires, let them set the pace a bit and watched their lines.  For the remainder of this first lap, we stayed together and Curtis was at the front setting a pretty high pace.

Lap 2:

The three of us rounded the corner beginning the second lap all together and it was here that David moved to the front.  Then it was Curtis, then me.  We rolled through some flat singletrack twisters and my sixth sense began barking at me that these two guys, being brothers, could possibly try to work together to drop me.  So just as I’m thinking this, whether intentional or not, it seemed as though Curtis left off the gas a little and David was pulling away.  Not wanting any part of those (potential) tactics, I kind of forced a pass around Curtis and then jumped right back on David’s tire to avoid any blocking.

David kept up the pace as we went through the neutral water station on the pavement and I looked back and noticed that Curtis was beginning to drift backwards.  So what I thought earlier could have been team tactics, was more of Curtis just backing off the pace a bit.  From there on out, our gap grew and it was just David and I racing together for the remainder of the race.

Lap2 David and I 2

Lap2 David and I 3

Lap 3:

This lap was fairly uneventful.  David and I stuck together, trading places here and there.  The only meaningful event that occurred to me on this lap was during our climb back up to the bench.  The middle of this climb tips downward for just a bit through a pretty fun rock garden.  It’s nothing crazy technical, but if you hit it just right you can create a small gap causing other riders to burn a match to catch back up and I was able to do exactly just that here.

For those of you on the team that attended our little MTB clinic at Granite Bay back in February, this is the first section that we stopped at to spend some time practicing on  and discussing lines.  Here is an example of when practicing on the MTB really did help!

Rock garden teaching

After riding through this rock garden I glanced back and noticed that I had created a bit of a gap between us (#foreshadowing). For a second, I toyed with the idea of just gunning it right there trying to drop David.  But with another lap and a half to go, I thought I’d wait, and settle for David having to burn some energy to catch back up.

Lap 4:

So now on the last lap, we started the climb to the bench one more time with David in the lead setting the pace.  With what I learned by going through the upcoming rock garden section at the front of mind, I snuck around David and made the pass just before we started the short descent into the rock garden and then tried to fly through this section as quick as I could.

After the rocks I glanced over my shoulder and saw that I may have had an even bigger gap this time then I did on the previous lap, and so NOW it was go time.  I stepped up the pace a bit and started to put some distance between us.

last lap alone

For the remainder of lap 4 I just tried to keep the pace high, and not make any mistakes.  Working smoothly around lapped traffic without delay and being careful not to totally blow myself out just in case I needed something in reserve for the end if David happened to catch back up.   But luckily I was able to maintain that gap to the finish and hold on for the win.  David cruised in behind me just 40 seconds or so back so it was good that I didn’t let up the pace too much as I would have been upon me in an instant.  David is super fun to race against and is getting faster and faster so he’ll be threat to keep an eye on for the remainder of the year!

podium shot

Next up…..some good ol’fashioned mid-week Prairie City racing starting Wednesday and then some USAC races in April with Napa Valley Dirt Classic and the Sea Otter Classic where I want to try and qualify for XC Nationals in July.

Advertisements

23rd Annual Cool MTB Race Report by Ron Shevock

After a week of sunny warm temps, the weather was finally calling for a slight chance of rain and some darker skies today which, in March, can only mean one thing….it must be the time for the annual Cool MTB race!

For 23 years this race has been a ‘season opener’ of sorts for lots of folks in the area and always does a great job raising funds for trails in the Auburn SRA.  It nearly always brings mud, rain, guaranteed wetness with multiple creek and bog crossings and sometimes even snow.  This year was mostly dry and fast but you still had to deal with the 2 or 3 usual creek crossings which left your bike looking like you just finished a cyclocross race.

Last year, I raced in the Single Speed class, but this year I slapped a SRAM 1×11 drivetrain with a 36 tooth front ring on my Giant XTC Advanced SL 29’er and stepped up into the Pro class.

The Pro field here usually draws a decent field and this year was populated by last years’s winner, Justin Thomas from Reno looking extremely fit and fast, past winner Clint Classen from Team Santa Cruz Fox, Brian “the legend” Rouse (yes, Brian, I just called you a legend haha), Sam Guzman and Aron Yevuta from Victory Velo, and several other very fast looking folks on the line from the Cat 1 age groups as well including local HS racer, Nathan Barton.

I never seem to be a good “starter” and I’m generally no threat to contesting a hole shot and today was no different.  But the start was clean at least and I settled into 5th place through the opening twists and turns and opening short punchy climb.  Justin Thomas set the pace for the first few miles, with Yevuta on his heels, then followed by Clint, Rouse, Me, then Nathan Barton.  After the first mile or so we seemed to be getting a gap and I figured that these guys would be my riding partners for next 2 hours or so.

Cool is generally fairly tame trails but at around 2 miles, you hit a fast descent that is just littered with loose rocks and a few ruts that always seem to cause a flat tire or two amongst the group.  Just before the descent, Clint cruised to the front to have a clean shot without any flying debris getting in his way (smart) while the rest of us bounced and clanged our way down on his heels to Salt Creek.

After Salt Creek, you hit a heinous steep climb that no sane person would ever look forward to.  It only takes a few minutes (3 – 4 normally), but with several pitches of 20 – 25%, it just beats you down.  The four of us settled in behind Clint with no one apparently wanting to push the pace too hard or attack too early at this point.  Which was fine by me, but it became apparent while watching Justin Thomas climb that he was just kind of having a walk in the park at this point as he seemed to spin an easy cadence with little effort.

We soon hit the next descent to Knickerbocker creek and I moved around and took the lead here.  I descended fairly cautiously and set myself up for the creek crossing and we all cruised through it uneventfully.  On the long climb out of Knickerbocker, Nathan Barton tested us and threw in some small attacks that we had no choice but to respond to and it appeared that this tactic served to put Clint just a bit off the back of our train and we were now down to four of us (me, Barton, Rouse, and Thomas).

Near the top of the Knickerbocker climb, Barton and Thomas began to get a gap on me and Rouse….and then as we flowed through the rolling terrain over the next few miles Thomas got a bit of gap on Barton and seemed to really be picking up the pace now.

Seeing this, me and Rouse started working together and we caught back up to Barton, while Thomas kept his pace high and probably dangled about 15 seconds or so ahead of us.  The 3 of us start working together on the rolling terrain and mild grades taking some turns putting efforts in to close the gap.  I ended up on the front of our little train on a really fast downhill, and unfortunately, my eyes started watering like crazy and my left contact lens just kind of popped out!  It found a home on the inside of my sunglasses for a bit and then it just fell off.  There was nothing I could about it at this point and figure that I would just have to deal with a lack of depth perception and light blurriness….dang it.

Just after my contact lens popped out, we seemed to be making some ground on Thomas closing the gap to 5 seconds or so when I stuff my tire into a rut that I didn’t see and I  had to unclip and stop at the bottom of a small hill.  Luckily Barton and Rouse were able evade me and they powered on, but just like that they were 20 seconds up on me as they made contact with Thomas.  So where just a few moments ago, there were 3 of us working together to catch back up to Thomas, there were 3 of them ahead of me working together to drop me!  Crap.

So I rolled through Lap 1 4th overall (3rd Pro).  Lap 2 was mostly uneventful for me as I rode the entire lap solo wondering if I could catch back up to those guys but riding a lot more cautiously as I was trying to get used to me new “adjusted” eyesight with only one contact lens.  Every now and then I would take a glimpse over my shoulder and catch sight of Clint maybe 15 – 20 seconds back so I knew I couldn’t just give up or let off the pace too much.

Luckily I survived Lap 2 without any crashes, and began to get some confidence near the end of the lap that I was feeling pretty good despite my eyesight.  I could no longer see Clint patrolling behind me, and on the few open stretches where I could see far down the trail, I would catch glimpses or Rouse’s red kit so I started to chase in earnest.

At the start of Lap 3, I snagged a donut handup from my from Kelly and that gave me a nice punch of rocket fuel to reel in Rouse.  I got within range of him on the steep Salt Creek climb, then finally found his wheel after we crossed Knickerbocker for the 3rd and last time and climbed to the top.  We said hello, gave each other some encouraging words, then each made a few attempts to tear the other’s legs off.  HAHA.

We both realized that neither one of us was really going to drop the other one of us and we just hard mostly together for the last few miles.  We approached the final steep climb with yellow house on the right and I put in pretty hard dig up this that sent SEARING SENSATIONS through my legs and I thought that would have been the end of Brian, but it wasn’t….he still dangled about 5 seconds back and as he recovered on the last rollers and down into the last mud bog by the crowd, he found my wheel again.

Luckily however, I had the advantage going into the mud bog, and I took the safe bridge route to the left.  While I was halfway across the crowd started yelling “he’s going for it!”  and I look over and Brian is trying to pioneer a new line straight through the bog, and I got worried for a second that he was gonna make it but the water mud and slop proved too deep and I was able to exit the bog area first and sprint on ahead to the finish where I just wanted to collapse.

Justin  Thomas ended up staying away off the front to defend his title and Nathan Barton had a solid day finishing 2nd overall. Nathan raced in a Cat 1 age group, so that put me into 2nd position in the Pro field with Brian Rouse 3rd, and Clint Classen not far behind in 4th.

Driving home and trying to text updates to everyone with one contact was even sketchier than racing with one lens.  (KIDDING)
Ron

 


23rd Annual Cool MTB Race – 2nd Place Pro

After a week of sunny warm temps, the weather was finally calling for a slight chance of rain and some darker skies today which, in March, can only mean one thing….it must be the time for the annual Cool MTB race!
For 23 years this race has been a ‘season opener’ of sorts for lots of folks in the area and always does a great job raising funds for trails in the Auburn SRA.  It nearly always brings mud, rain, guaranteed wetness with multiple creek and bog crossings and sometimes even snow.  This year was mostly dry and fast but you still had to deal with the 2 or 3 usual creek crossings which left your bike looking like you just finished a cyclocross race.
Last year, I raced in the Single Speed class, but this year I slapped a SRAM 1×11 drivetrain with a 36 tooth front ring on my Giant XTC Advanced SL 29’er and stepped up into the Pro class.
The Pro field here usually draws a decent field and this year was populated by last years’s winner, Justin Thomas from Reno looking extremely fit and fast, past winner Clint Classen from Team Santa Cruz Fox, Brian “the legend” Rouse (yes, Brian, I just called you a legend haha), Sam Guzman and Aron Yevuta from Victory Velo, and several other very fast looking folks on the line from the Cat 1 age groups as well including local HS racer, Nathan Barton.
I never seem to be a good “starter” and I’m generally no threat to contesting a hole shot and today was no different.  But the start was clean at least and I settled into 5th place through the opening twists and turns and opening short punchy climb.  Justin Thomas set the pace for the first few miles, with Yevuta on his heels, then followed by Clint, Rouse, Me, then Nathan Barton.  After the first mile or so we seemed to be getting a gap and I figured that these guys would be my riding partners for next 2 hours or so.
Cool is generally fairly tame trails but at around 2 miles, you hit a fast descent that is just littered with loose rocks and a few ruts that always seem to cause a flat tire or two amongst the group.  Just before the descent, Clint cruised to the front to have a clean shot without any flying debris getting in his way (smart) while the rest of us bounced and clanged our way down on his heels to Salt Creek.
After Salt Creek, you hit a heinous steep climb that no sane person would ever look forward to.  It only takes a few minutes (3 – 4 normally), but with several pitches of 20 – 25%, it just beats you down.  The four of us settled in behind Clint with no one apparently wanting to push the pace too hard or attack too early at this point.  Which was fine by me, but it became apparent while watching Justin Thomas climb that he was just kind of having a walk in the park at this point as he seemed to spin an easy cadence with little effort.
We soon hit the next descent to Knickerbocker creek and I moved around and took the lead here.  I descended fairly cautiously and set myself up for the creek crossing and we all cruised through it uneventfully.  On the long climb out of Knickerbocker, Nathan Barton tested us and threw in some small attacks that we had no choice but to respond to and it appeared that this tactic served to put Clint just a bit off the back of our train and we were now down to four of us (me, Barton, Rouse, and Thomas).
Near the top of the Knickerbocker climb, Barton and Thomas began to get a gap on me and Rouse….and then as we flowed through the rolling terrain over the next few miles Thomas got a bit of gap on Barton and seemed to really be picking up the pace now.
Seeing this, me and Rouse started working together and we caught back up to Barton, while Thomas kept his pace high and probably dangled about 15 seconds or so ahead of us.  The 3 of us start working together on the rolling terrain and mild grades taking some turns putting efforts in to close the gap.  I ended up on the front of our little train on a really fast downhill, and unfortunately, my eyes started watering like crazy and my left contact lens just kind of popped out!  It found a home on the inside of my sunglasses for a bit and then it just fell off.  There was nothing I could about it at this point and figure that I would just have to deal with a lack of depth perception and light blurriness….dang it.
Just after my contact lens popped out, we seemed to be making some ground on Thomas closing the gap to 5 seconds or so when I stuff my tire into a rut that I didn’t see and I  had to unclip and stop at the bottom of a small hill.  Luckily Barton and Rouse were able evade me and they powered on, but just like that they were 20 seconds up on me as they made contact with Thomas.  So where just a few moments ago, there were 3 of us working together to catch back up to Thomas, there were 3 of them ahead of me working together to drop me!  Crap.
So I rolled through Lap 1 4th overall (3rd Pro).  Lap 2 was mostly uneventful for me as I rode the entire lap solo wondering if I could catch back up to those guys but riding a lot more cautiously as I was trying to get used to me new “adjusted” eyesight with only one contact lens.  Every now and then I would take a glimpse over my shoulder and catch sight of Clint maybe 15 – 20 seconds back so I knew I couldn’t just give up or let off the pace too much.
Luckily I survived Lap 2 without any crashes, and began to get some confidence near the end of the lap that I was feeling pretty good despite my eyesight.  I could no longer see Clint patrolling behind me, and on the few open stretches where I could see far down the trail, I would catch glimpses or Rouse’s red kit so I started to chase in earnest.
At the start of Lap 3, I snagged a donut handup from my from Kelly and that gave me a nice punch of rocket fuel to reel in Rouse.  I got within range of him on the steep Salt Creek climb, then finally found his wheel after we crossed Knickerbocker for the 3rd and last time and climbed to the top.  We said hello, gave each other some encouraging words, then each made a few attempts to tear the other’s legs off.  HAHA.
We both realized that neither one of us was really going to drop the other one of us and we just hard mostly together for the last few miles.  We approached the final steep climb with yellow house on the right and I put in pretty hard dig up this that sent SEARING SENSATIONS through my legs and I thought that would have been the end of Brian, but it wasn’t….he still dangled about 5 seconds back and as he recovered on the last rollers and down into the last mud bog by the crowd, he found my wheel again.
Luckily however, I had the advantage going into the mud bog, and I took the safe bridge route to the left.  While I was halfway across the crowd started yelling “he’s going for it!”  and I look over and Brian is trying to pioneer a new line straight through the bog, and I got worried for a second that he was gonna make it but the water mud and slop proved too deep and I was able to exit the bog area first and sprint on ahead to the finish where I just wanted to collapse.
Justin  Thomas ended up staying away off the front to defend his title and Nathan Barton had a solid day finishing 2nd overall. Nathan raced in a Cat 1 age group, so that put me into 2nd position in the Pro field with Brian Rouse 3rd, and Clint Classen not far behind in 4th.
Driving home and trying to text updates to everyone with one contact was even sketchier than racing with one lens.  (KIDDING)