6/28/12

10 Years of Mountain Bike Racing!!!

This summer season marks my 10th year of giving it a go racing mountain bikes. It's hard to imagine it has actually been 10 years of racing, but it has. I had wanted to try a race or two in Vienna, but my contract wouldn't allow me to race mountain bikes and I was on "special watch" after tearing my knee playing basketball. I didn't want to jeopardize my job. But when I moved stateside, I began the process with a slight dipping of my toe in the water to see if it was too hot or too cold to jump in...

2003 - I did my first ever XC mountain bike race shortly after moving from Austria to Iowa. My first race? The Sugar Bottom Scramble. Result? I had to DNF after the first lap because it was raining and the mud was so greasy I could not keep the bike on the trail as my wheels gummed up with enough peanut butter clay they wouldn't roll any more.

2004 - Tried the Scramble again the summer of 2004 for my 2nd mountain bike race and went OTB, broke my helmet in half and got a Grade 2 concussion. In addition, we began our family camping vacation that summer with an overnight at Sugar Bottom so I could do the race along with the kids wanting to do the kids race. Upon arrival at our campsite, I sprained an ankle unloading something from the Yakima carrier on top of the van when I stepped down and misjudged where I placed my foot. The next morning, believe it or not, I sprained the other ankle loading up the car!!! Unbelievable what fate was trying to tell me. I went to Walgreen's and bought two ankle braces to lace my feet up nice and tight. Zack and Alexa raced in the kids race and Zack was about to win in the final sprint when he slipped in the gravel and went down just 50 feet from the finish line. Alexa took 2nd in her division. I had decided not to race due to the ankles, but when I saw the kids, I changed my mind and signed up to race. The OTB and concussion was not a good thing as the rest of the vacation I was dazed and confused.

2005 - I tried 3 races in 2005 as a beginner at Camp Ingawanis, Seven Oaks and Andy's Rodeo at Washington. I finished all three events (even made the podium twice) and was hooked enough to try the 2006 IMBCS series.

2006 - I did the IMBCS in the Sport 35+ category and was one of two $100 winners of the 1st annual Iowa Mountain Bike Championship Series (IMBCS) Bikeiowa.com most improved new rider(s) of the year' award. Paul Varnum was the other winner of that award that year.

My first official "race bike" was the 2nd Generation Salsa Dos Niner...

Race29

2007 - I raced Sport Open in the IMBCS this year and branched out to do 4 of the Nebraska Psycowpath Series races. I did a total of 12 races that year. No podiums, but a lot of good experience.

Looking sporty in my plain red jersey from Performance - NOT! - back in 2007...

BBraceNE

Although I didn't consider myself "team material", I was invited to join Team 14 Productions and proudly wore their kit...

IMBCS #4

I met one of the most kindred spirited people in the Midwest - Matt Gersib - thanks to racing. Matt's a great guy and it is always a pleasure to see him at any event and chit-chat with him. Here we are posing with our Dos Niners after a Psycowpath race called the Maskenthine Classic outside of Norfolk, NE... . I look cooked by the heat and sun, Matt looks fresh and chipper.

BB&Matt

I even did the macho thing and raced a rigid steel frame at a few events before my back had a major sit down discussion with my mind...

KMPostIowaGames2

2008 - I continued in Sport Open and did 14 races that season. 1 DNF due to a torn sidewall, 3 Podiums (two 1st place, one 3rd place), and raced in the Black Hills and really enjoyed my first Wisconsin race (Chippewa Falls Valley Firecracker) in their excellent series called WORS. I ended up with enough points to finish 3rd Place in the IMBCS Sport Open Category for the season. This is also the year I hosted my first ever mountain bike race in an attempt to give back and participate on that level for all the fun I was enjoying at everyone else's events. I believe we had 41 racers that first year which was a good start, but small.

My back started to win over my mind and I began racing full suspension bikes more often...

SugarPostIngawanis

Team 14 Productions morphed into M.O.B. Racing (Men on Bikes Racing) for the 2008 season and I still raced the Dos Niner at most events...

Hitting the Wind

My smile after getting my first 1st Place Podium spot at the Black Hills Fat Tire Festival XC race in Rapid City, SD...

FatTirePostRace

Grinding it out at Ponca's Revenge in Nebraska...

GrindingUp

Migrating more and more to full suspension...

LeadingTheGroup

Not willing to give up on Cyclocross Hill at Sugar Bottom...

CycloCrossHill

Lake Ahquabi's scenery...

OneOfTheBridgeCrossings

2009 - This was the year I increased my scope by doing 18 races including The Bone Bender endurance race in Missouri, some races in the Minnesota Mountain Biking Series, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska. I was facing ever increasing competition in Sport Open and made no podiums in 2009, but had a lot of fun traveling and racing at new venues. I discovered I could compete in my own age class in Minnesota and Wisconsin to line up toe to toe with guys my own age and really enjoyed that new aspect. I quickly realized that some of the older guys - age 40 and above take it pretty seriously and are very fast (and light). Once again, I hosted the Lake Ahquabi race and saw 50% growth in the number of racers coming to the event from the previous year. We had a total of 61 racers participate.

This is the year that had me on a new race bike, the Niner JET 9...

Chillin' with Andrew and Brandon pre-race

The full suspension JET was light, fast and a smile inducer...

BBisRacingatMt.Kato

The bike really changed my racing for the better...

Bluff Riders Charge at Mt. Kato

But I still reached for the Dos Niner at certain races and here is one where I must be nuts smiling on the grueling opening climb at the old Trek Border Battle between the Wisconsin and Minnesota Series...

Border Battle Opening Climb


2010 - Probably the year I started taking training a bit more seriously and realized the importance of it for XC racing. I cut back to 14 races and once again hosted the race at Lake Ahquabi where racer participation grew to 133!! That number of racers overwhelmed my timing system, food supply and certainly introduced some pleasant growing pains. There were no podiums for me this year, but I felt continued growth and progress in my racing.


2010 had me join the newly formed team, BikeIowa.com - and mysteriously grow a chin beard that irritated my children every day until I shaved it off...

Mt. Kato

I still was reaching for the Dos on certain courses...

ElkRiverRace

This bastard changed our lives and most importantly, the lives of our friends. It put the obvious kabosh on the rest of my racing/training for 2010...

Indianola Tornado 7/23/2010

I managed to sneak in a fall race or two before hanging up the race bike...

And we're off....


2011
- I moved out of the Sport Open Category and officially started racing in my age group in all the series (Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin). I only did 13 races last year, but they were all hand picked for a nice variety of travel and fun. I only had one DNF when I blew my rear hub at Sugar Bottom on the Cyclocross Hill climb. I made 4 podiums and did well at the Bone Bender where I got 4th in the 3 Hour race for the 50+ crowd. I ended up with enough points for CAT 2 2nd Place for 45+ overall series and was 4th for the Minnesota Series for the 6 events I did (they count your top 7 events, so I was one short). We had a record 155 racers participate at Lake Ahquabi in October with perfect weather, a season ending party and hopes that mountain biking fun is alive and well in Central Iowa. To handle some of the growing pains encountered from the previous year, I sampled electronic chip timing, rented port-a-potties, had a beer garden, engaged CITA to do the food for a fund raiser and had custom designed awards coupled with cash payouts for Marathon and CAT 1's.

I started the 2011 season fat and sassy, for sure as I had ballooned up a good 15 pounds over the winter...

Smiling...

I trimmed up a bit for the Bone Bender and kept working on the girth...

DSC_8637

I was slim and trim again by June - in spite of spending the month of May in Italy...

Bluff Riders Charge banking the turn

Having forgotten to wash and clean my BikeIowa.com kit at home, I had to dig out the old MOB Racing kit for an excellent trip to Duluth (1st time there for a race)...

Great Hawk Power Grind Corner

The Dos Niner was fun in Red Wing with the big fat 2.4 Ardents...

Wheelhouse Drops


2012 - Ten races under my belt this season and it is only June! I've got another dozen to 15 on my schedule that I would like to do, but we'll see how many I actually end up doing. I trained differently this year - if you've read my blog posts - thanks to the non-winter allowing me to put in a larger base phase than I have ever done before. I have 7 podiums thus far, but most of that compared to a few years back when I was in CAT 2 Open has to do with me being in my age class in Nebraska (50+), Iowa (45+), Minnesota (50+) and Wisconsin (50-54). And my nasty OTB spill at Tranquility was nearly a season ending injury, but I had 4 weeks to recover and figure out if I could continue to participate or not. My shoulder and neck have improved to the point that I am functioning fine (even played golf this week for the first time this year). I will host the Lake Ahquabi race on October 7th and am in the process of getting things lined up for that as well.

This seems to be the year of camping and having Tara want to accompany me more often on some of these weekend getaway trips. It's really fun having her along and I think she is starting to enjoy camping. It is also the year where I have decided to do several back to back weekend races (one on Saturday, one on Sunday) which is difficult to do, but a fun challenge for me.

Climbing up on the podium with these 2 seems to be happening in Nebraska on several occasions - although the order is not always the same as I have a 2nd and a 4th as well...

Top Podium Spot at Tranquility

And here we do it again...

Revenge Podium

BikeIowa.com updated our kits this year to a cool design that continues to get a lot of compliments wherever I go...

2012-06-24 11.38.45

This past weekend at the Summerset Shootout where I managed to get 1st Place and poison ivy all over my arms, legs, chin and stomach as well...

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That's the 10 years, folks. From dipping my toe in back in 2003-04 at Sugar Bottom, to a full out spring/summer/fall participation "hobby" for fun and physical well being.

Minnesota and Wisconsin both have older age categories I can participate in as I age (yes, even older than 50+), so we shall see what the next 10 years look like for me in terms of XC mountain bike racing....

1 comment:

Iowagriz said...

nice history. I'll have to get my blog going again and try this as well. lots of old pics (i think)