Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Riding With Rob

Rob sent me an e-mail last night and wanted to know if I was interested on playing "hooky" today. The answer was "Hell yes!".

We met at my place around one o'clock. From there we headed south around all that McFarland and Peterson's had to offer. When we were done with that, we headed back to my place for for provisions, and then headed north,. We went north on the Sopher's Mill trail, and then took the gravel to the the Anderson Canoe Access. After a while Anderson's got a bit mucky, and we turned around.

All told we got nearly three hours of seat time in, and I'm exhausted from chasing Rob around my home turf. I would have taken more pictures, but I was having trouble keeping up!

It was good to hang out with Rob, talk about the MOB, and chart the future. Good times!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sylvan = Me No Go

I've decided to bail on Sylvan Island this weekend. I've been sick all week, and I can't even climb a set of stairs without going into a coughing fit. That is too bad because Sylvan Island has been one of my favorite courses on the IMBCS circuit. It is flat and technical. Both qualities that I like in a mountain bike course.

The weather does not look real good for the weekend. Something like rain/snow/windy/fair to partly crappy. Sylvan has been blessed with good weather for the past couple of years. Maybe this is their year for crappy weather.

I'll race in mud (but I won't like it), and I'll race when I'm sick (but I won't like it), but I really don't want to race in the mud while I'm getting down with the sickness.

This will probably be the epic race that everyone will talk about for years to come. I guess that is my lot in life.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I don't know if it was the hard effort on Saturday left me with a weakened immune system, the lack of a flu shot in the fall because of a broken collar bone, or the bad karma that comes from bragging to anyone that would listen that, "I don't get sick. Ever, never".

Well, I'm sick. It is not debilitating. It started with a slight sore throat on Sunday morning that went away. On Monday morning the sore throat was more persistent, and kept me away from work for a half a day. By today it has settled into my vocal chords (I can do a pretty good James Earl Jones right now - "Luke, I am your father").

Now I can feel it settling into my lungs. Crap! So much for Sylvan Island. We will still go, and I'll still going to find a way to race, but my results will probably suffer. Finally I have an excuse.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

VEISHEA Race Report

My first mountain bike race of the season was today in my back yard at Peterson's. It was the VEISHA mountain bike race. This race was also my first ever mountain bike race back in 2003. Wow, five years ago. A lot of stuff has happened since then. I was looking back at the results from that race a few days ago.

Some names from that race in 2003:
Chris Maharry (Expert)
John Adamson (Expert)
Carl Buchanan (Sport)
Thad Neil (Sport)
Rob Versteegh (won in Sport)
Sean Myers (Sport)
Dave Krenz (Beginner)
Troy Tellinghuisen (Beginner)
Kyle Sedore (Beginner)
Nick Wooley (Beginner)
Scott Sumpter (Beginner)
Bruce Reese (Beginner)
Ron Degeest (Beginner)
Mike Lebeda (Beginner)
Bruce Neil (Beginner)

In 2003 I didn't know any of these guys, but they all seemed to be good friends. I was envious. This stuff looked like fun. I wanted to become one of these guys.

After a couple of year racing beginner class races at Petereson's (VEISHEA and Iowa Games), I decided that, in order to become a better bike racer, I should join a team. I joined Team 14 for both the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Late in 2007 Team 14 disbanded, and MOB Racing was born.

Fast forward to today.

I now find myself running a team of very talented bike racers. I don't exactly know how it happened. I could not have planned it if I tried. And yet here I am. Cool!

OK. Enought with the self examination. On with the race report.

At the race were Rob, Chris, and Scott from the MOB, and Taylor had also ridden up with Rob. I was also pleased to see several Bike Tech guys were there from Waterloo/Cedar Falls. This was our first race in the new MOB kits, and we were eager to make a mark. There is a write-up on the MOB blog about the overall MOB results, so I will concentrate on my race here.

I did a warm-up ride with Scott and the course looked great, except for the previously mentioned 50 yards of mud. It got better as the day went on, but it was still a mud bog. Here's a tip when riding in mud that I learend from my motocross day. Don't fight the ruts, flow with the ruts. I you try to control the bike in the mud you lose. Just try to keep forward momentum and let the bike find it's own path through the ruts. Sadly, I didn't remember this until lap 3.

I decided to ride my 'cross bike. I've wanted to try a 'cross bike in a race at Peterson's. Peterson's is mostly a fast, flat, and smooth course. I brought both the Dos Niner and the 'cross bike just is case. The deciding factor was the mud. My Dos Niner does not do a good job of clearing mud, so the decision was easy.

The Sport race started off and found myself in the front of the pack going into wind for the first leg of the race. No a good place to be. I was trying to figure a way to get off the front, I hit a root on the trail, and I went down - HARD and FAST. Problem solved. I went from first to worst just like that.

I got up, got back on my bike, was suprised to see my bike was still ridable. I tried to get back in the race. Within a 1/2 lap I had caught back up with Kyle Williams, who was in second place. He and I went back and forth for 5 laps or so. We could see first place from time to time, but we could not make any progress catching him. I was digging a pretty deep hole keeping up with Kyle, and finally in the 5th or sixth lap he passed me and made it stick. I tried to keep him in sight, but I was fading. In the six or seventh lap (of eight) I was also passed by Nate Harp. Once again I tried to keep him in sight, but I was fading fast. By then riding the cross bike was taking a toll. I finished in 4th of eight. I'll take it.

As far as I'm concerned, I was a great first outing for me, and for the MOB. I've been doing a 2-3 hour gravel ride on most weekends during the winter. I have not been doing much in the was of focused training. Given that, I'm OK with this result.

Next up is Sylvan Island in the Quad Cities next weekend.

Friday, April 04, 2008


Veishea is a GO! I rode the Peterson's trail tonight. Almost everything is in great condition! It is amazing how it recovered from yesterday's rain. However, there are two trouble spots. The first spot in on the east/west trail on the river side. There is about fifty yards of trail that was flooded when the river came up a couple of weeks ago. That spot was terrible on Wednesday, it looked almost ridable tonight (but I didn't try it), and I think it will be OK by tomorrow at noon. The second trouble spot is actually two spots. There are two trees down across the trail. One on the east side and one on the west side. I can think of ways to route around both of them if the Veishea people are interested in my help. I offered help, we'll see if they respond.
The word on the street is that Rob, Scott, Taylor, and Chris and all making an appearance at the race tomorrow. Hmm, I'm gonna have to work hard to stay out of last place!

Below are a few cool shadow pics for your enjoyment.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Let's Get Dirty

I took my first ride in the dirt today, and it wasn't too bad! It had been a couple of days since it had rained, and usually that is enough for Peterson's. Today was no different. It was a little soft in spots because of the freezing/thawing, and I was a little soft from a long winter with too little riding. Oh, well. It will have to do.

It was great to get back in the dirt. I was also my first real chance to get the new kit out without covering it up with something else.

The river is up, and it has caused a little minor flooding in the usual low spots next to the river, but that is to be expected this time of year.
The trail between the east and west sides that is closest to the river is impassable because of this. All else was ridable, at least until it rains again.
And the beavers have been busy, causing me to work on my cyclocross dismounts. Nothing wrong with that.
The VEISHEA mountain bike race is going to be at Peterson's in three days. I'm as ready as I'm going to get.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

VEISHEA Mountain Bike Race

Well the kids at Iowa State havn't been real aggressive about marketing it, so you probably don't know that the annual (except in years where there was a riot the previous year) Veishea mountain bike race is this weekend. The race will be held a Peterson's Pits (my back yard) this Saturday, April 5th at noon. Pertinant details can be found here. I'll also cut and paste the details later in the post.

This race is in my back yard, is on a course that I could ride blindfolded, and also is a course that does not expose my main weakness (climbing). I gotta do this one. Sure it is the first race of the year, and my early season training this year has been anything but disciplined, but oh well. It'll be fun. I think a couple of other MOBsters are also coming out for the race.

If you come to the race, and decided to come because I told you about it, tell them that a the scoring tent. Maybe they will figure it out for next year.

Join us for a fun day of Mountain Biking at Peterson Park in StoryCounty. Peterson Park is located approximately 4 miles north of Ames on Hwy69, then 1.75 miles east on 180th St. This is a NORBA sanctioned event soparticipants will need a NORBA license. Daily NORBA licenses may purchased atthe event for $5.

All participants will receive a Tour de VEISHEA shirt and the winners of each division will receive a VEISHEA tournaments champion shirt as well. Food and refreshments will be available for racers and their families. The route consists of approximately 5.1 miles of dirt trail with several climbs, descents, and turns. Number of laps will be determined at race time pertaining toconditions. The race can be canceled if the race officials declare the coursenot fit for race conditions. If the race is canceled, the entry fee will berefunded. For more information or questions contact tourdeveishea08@iastate.edu! (editor's note e-mails to this ID bounced last night)

Junior Men (12-18 yrs old),
Junior Women (12-18 yrs old),
Beginner Women,
Sport Men,
Sport Women,
Expert Men,
Expert Women (Alldivisions 19+ except junior division)

Location: Peterson Pits Park (North of Ames)
Date: Saturday, April 5
Arrive By: 10:30 AM
Event Start: 12:00 PM
Fee: $20