Highlights from the 2006 Race Season

My 2006 race season is paralleling the Michigan economy: sluggish with plans to retool and and return to profitability in 2007.The epiphany came at midnight during the 24 Hours of Boyne. I had a decent lead, but felt my motor skills slipping from exhaustion. Riding a handful of laps at Boyne is pure fun. Beyond that it transitions to a struggle. Riding for 24 hours is no longer a challenge and doing the same ol’loop gets old real fast. I need more spice. I’ve been doing this Boyne race year after year. I need try some new races.

24 Hours of Boyne (Boyne Mountain Ski Resort, Michigan)

Did the singlespeed thing again, but basically stopped around midnight when the fun dropped out. Somehow, I only dropped to second place.

Hanson Hills (Grayling, Michigan)

I really enjoyed this race. I’d never ridden at Hanson before and it was just a great Michigan trail, but especially for singlespeeders. The pace was blistering at the start with Niel Scharphorn just laying it down. As he disappeared off the front, I hung on to second place. Third place eventually caught me and we traded spots back and forth. At the massive sand pit before the finish, he totally outsprinted me. Conclusion: he was faster at sprinting and his 29’r tires did better in that sand. Hmmm.

Leadville 100 (Leadville, Colorado)

This was my third time doing Leadville on a singlespeed.  Unfortunately I couldn’t reproduce the results from last year’s victory.  Still I can’t complain about finishing in 9.5 hours under worse conditions.  The Boulevard was a muddy mess and painfully slow. Gear: 32×18

Highlights from the 2005 Race Season

Trans-Iowa Race (The northern third of Iowa!)

How nuts is this? A 315-mile race across Iowa on dirt roads with only one aid station. It was an absolute blast. A strong wind was our face for most of the race and the temperatures dropped below freezing at night. For the most part, we rode together in groups and shared the workload. But, for the last 100 miles or so, I was on my own. I was in a mental funk from 4am until daybreak, when my body totally picked up the pace automagically. I finished fourth overall and won the singlespeed category running a 38×16 gear. Yeehaw!

24 Hours of Boyne (Boyne Mountain Ski Resort, Michigan)

I came back again for more pain and ran a slightly larger gear (38×18) than what I should have. I won the singlespeed class, but my buddy Dale Plant from Kona beat me on a singlespeed. Fortunately he raced the 40 and up class.

Lumberjack 100 (Manistee, Michigan)

This was the innaugural race and the first 100-miler in Michigan. The singlespeed class was stuffed with studs, including Mike Curiak and Dan Jansen. I raced well but not great, largely due to some questionable nutritional plans. (Hey, I thought since it was a ‘lumberjack’ race I should race with maple syrup.) Still, I can’t complain about a fifth place finish just a short ways behind Mike. Gear: 38×18

Infiterra Triathlon (Shelby Township, Michigan)

I didn’t have the best XTERRA race at Brighton a couple weeks earlier, so this was the chance to produce a little better result. For not having swam much lately, I came out of the water near the front. I picked off others on the bike and kept with a small elite group into transition. I was the first in the group to get into my running gear and hit the trail. I had a small gap and held them off, though I was unable to chase down Jim James who won the event. Still, I can’t complain about being the race runner-up.

Leadville 100 (Leadville, Colorado)

Last year’s singlespeed race at Leadville was to be a one-time thing. Well, the promoter added a singlespeed race category this year, so I had to try it again. I’m glad I did. This was one of my best races ever. I won the class in a tight back-and-forth race. And, after a furious final sprin, I barely beat the nine-hour big gold buckle by six seconds. It was a crazy, crazy finish that I won’t soon forget. Gear: 32×18

Looking ahead to the 2005 Race Season

2005 ScheduleThis year’s schedule has been about improvisation. All I knew in January is I’d be back to Leadville seeking my 8th buckle. I also figured on some MMBA mountain bike races and XTERRAs.

Out of the blue comes a low-key race across Iowa — how could I say no? The next surprise announcement was a 100-mile mountain bike race in the Manistee National Forest. That was a must-do event.

I’m just very fortunate that I have the opportunity to jump on these opportunities when they pop up. Next year I may plan my schedule early on and stick with it — naw!

Highlights from the 2004 Race Season

Potawatomi Trail Half-Marathon (Pinckney, Michigan)

My run training went very well through the beginning of April, when I got a shin splint. I took a week off and felt good enough for 13.1 tough off-road trail miles. Bad decision! While finishing a close second in my age-group, I hurt my shin much worse meaning more time off from running. Boo.

24 Hours of Boyne (Boyne Mountain Ski Resort, Michigan)

Originally I’d planned to do this race simply for the training. Twenty-four hours of mountain bike riding can do wonders to ones abilities. However, after the promoter announced the singlespeed winner would go to the World Championships, my focus changed to winning. And that I did by 30 miles. I rode 18 laps (186 miles, 19,000 feet of climbing) in a 34×17 gear. Two solo geared racers beat me so there’s room for improvement.
XTERRA Eastern Championships (Richmond, Virginia)

The shin splint wasn’t kind to my run training and neither were the last minute changes to the Richmond course. The overnight rain caused the river to flood so the swim course was changed, which added a couple more miles of running. Bleeh! I finished a disappointing sixth place in my age-group but the bright side is I didn’t have shin pain.

Leadville 100 (Leadville, Colorado)

I finished my first Leadville 100 on a singlespeed. Not having a bunch of gears made this race feel a lot like my first one. Could I make it up the climbs? Could I ride for 100 miles? Fortunately the answers were ‘yes’ and I finished in 9:28. Everyone thinks I was the first singlespeeder across the line, but without having a separate race category, it’s not official.

24 Hour Solo World Championships (Whistler, British Columbia)

After spending some quality time in Vancouver and Washington, we headed north to Whistler. These trails sure are fun, even after 24 hours of riding. I had a fairly good race and hung with leaders until the early morning. I ended up in third place and one lap down on the two leaders.

Looking ahead to the 2004 Race Season

This year began without many goals for the year except returning to Leadville. Slowly the goals are coming into focus…Leadville Trail 100August brings a return to Leadville but for only the bike race. The goal is to get four more buckles to get the ten-buckle buckle. Last year I had an absolutely crummy race. More stomach issues and not enough training miles ahead of time. I’m in much better shape this year and may try this on a singlespeed.

You can bet I’ll be back on the XTERRA circuit gunning for another Regional Championship title. It’s going to be extra tough in my new age-group with new, superfast competition.

I’ve got a new Kona singlespeed and I figured I’d really test it at the 24 Hours of Boyne race. If I do well, I may qualify for the 24 Hour World Championships near Vancouver, British Columbia.

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