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Stamper's Black Hills 100 Race Report

by Jason Stamper

It all started with a message from Tony Lushanko "I'm signing up for this." After some research checking out elevation charts and other important facts I was in. I have never been in a area with that amount of elevation so I was a bit nervous. 

With the alarm set for three AM in order to make it to the start by six. I actually slept really good the night before,which is unusual for me. I got up, ate some Stoked Oats, prepared my gear that was not in the drop bags, and went to meet up with my ride. David Olheiser agreed to give Aga,Tony, and I a ride to Silver City. 

The course started off with a little jog on the pavement and across a meadow. It did not take long to get my feet wet due to the amount of rain that had fallen recently. After crossing the puddle-filled meadow was the first of many big ascents. It did not take long before I was sipping off my hydration pack and gasping for air that seemed to be nonexistent around 5,000 feet of elevation. This would have been the a good time for one of Eric Olsen's stories to get my mind off the pain. 

The first aid station was 7.5 miles at Pilot Knob. I refilled the 22oz bottle with Heed and took one of many Endurolytes. Around mile 10 was when my ankle started acting up. From there I hiked the majority of the day. This section was 13 miles of ATV trails. This is when I saw the first and only snake. He was not a very friendly fellow either. I gently removed him from the trail with a stick. 


I must say that the ATV riders were very polite and encouraging. One of them asked "Are there any big hills?" I replied with "All of them!" One of them jokingly asked for a push start! 

The third aid station was at Dalton Lake, which had a drop bag waiting for me restocked with gels and a fresh pair of socks. This was when I caught up with Aga. We made the next big climb together before she ran off. I did not see Aga again until the Crooked Tree aid station at mile 27.5. She was icing her knee which was scrapped. 

Continuing on my own toward Elk Creek the fifth aid station. I lost count of how many times I crossed Elk Creek. These crossings were bittersweet. The cold water felt great on sore legs and temperatures in the 90's but it was hard to find your footing in the fast current. At its deepest points the water was halfway up my thighs with only a rope strung across to save me from being swept away to watery grave. 

This area is when I had a TURBO moment. If you have never seen the show Boundless you know what I mean. My mind was my worst enemy. I quickly shook off the feeling of doubt and hobbled on. I then saw my Dad, he walked out to meet me. Dave and my Mom were there to. While helping me get my fresh pair of Hokas on I was asked many questions. They were hard to answer. I was in a world of my own 33 miles in, farther than I had ever gone. "Where is Aga? How are you? Are you continuing?" followed by my annoyed replies "she said she was coming. I'm good. Can I continue?" 

The last comment was directed at the aid staff. She said yes (this was a second time cut off). I can't say enough about the volunteers. Polite very helpful and encouraging. A big thanks to all!!!! So I chugged on and on. That aid station gave me new hope I CAN DO THIS!! 

I carried on with good spirits for quite some time. I don't know how many times I believed too be off course. It was marked well enough that I didn't, but many people did. This really plays with your mind when you want nothing more than a Burger a Bath and a BEER! This thinking got me to the Bulldog aid station. It was near the end for me. I was making little headway stumbling, sleepy and disoriented from the day's events. I pushed on after being informed that I needed to hurry to make the next Cut off. At Alkali Creek I missed the cut off. I was told I could continue. . . It took some time for me to really decide. I had had enough. 13 hours and 40 plus minutes, more than 12 hours moving, my feet hurt hell there wasn't much that did not hurt at that point. It was time for all the B's mentioned earlier.

Mullin's Cuyuna Crusher Race Report

"Shred the Red" had a number of meanings today.  First, the usual, actually riding the red dirt of Cuyuna.  Second, trying to shred skin when seeing if laying down on the bridge was faster than rolling across it (spoiler alert, it isn't).  Third, the extremely bright June sun trying its best to negate the SPF50.


Pre-Race

As mentioned yesterday in my underwhelming Sasquatch report, today I was racing the Cuyuna Crusher.  To prepare, Friday I went for a ride on the Woolly with focus number one being skills work and focus two being a workout.  Aside from a number of mechanical issues, I had a break through ride.

I've said it numerous times, I'm a bit of a chicken when it comes to riding my bike.  Despite decent fitness I get killed on the mountain bike because I ride the brakes down every hill or around every corner and then have to work twice as hard to accelerate back up to speed or climb the next hill.  The evenings focus was on riding without brakes as much as possible.  I've still got a long ways to go, but I made some huge strides in that area over the course of the evening.

I also took repeated shots at the rock gardens.  If you were in St. Croix Falls Friday evening around 6:00 you may have heard some strange hollering in the woods.  Don't be alarmed, it wasn't Sasquatch, it was me successfully clearing the rocks not once, but twice.  I followed that up with making the uphill switchback in the West Ridge for I think the second time ever.  So despite leaving with a bike in need of some work I was riding some huge confidence in my improving riding skills.

After Saturday's Sasquatch Dash and a little lawn mowing, I ripped my bike apart and put it back together.  I had a number of issues that were stacking up.  Frank had straightened my rear derailleur hanger Friday, but the shift cable and housing needed replacement, and the derailleur needed to be remounted again and adjusted.  I had busted my chain the evening before and after a number of trailside missteps in putting it back together I wasn't comfortable racing on it so I installed a new one.  The bottom bracket/crank had some play so I removed that, cleaned a ton of crud out, relubed, and resinstalled that.  Lastly my headtube was clanking again after I lowered the bars a spacer so that needed tuning up.  After all of that I gave the bike a good washdown and the bike and I were finally ready to race the next day.

Race

I watched my son race his third kids comp of the year first.  He finished last again, but said it was terrifying and fun.  I think Sidewinder made him a little nervous.  He's got a great attitude and I'm glad he seems to like hanging out and racing.  I got to see Starr off to start the Citizen race, but missed her finish as I went for a short ride to double check that my bike was put back together right and wasn't going to blow up on the trail.


The stated course was roughly 6 miles per lap, and I would be doing three of them.  On course there were two unexpected deviations, but not a big deal.  We didn't do Ferrous Wheel, and we kept going on Little Sidewinder instead of a detour onto the road.  The road would have been handy for another convenient passing location, but it all worked.  Per Garmin, I had roughly 5.33 miles per lap, give or take the accuracy of GPS on a course like this.

The race started with a climb up the road towards the lookout.  The idea of course to string people out before hitting the single track.  Ouch, roughly 90 feet of climbing in under half a mile.  It averaged 4.5% peaking at over 10%.  It did its job though.  I hit the Miner Mountain/Trammer/Hopper Hill section probably mid-pack, but on the end of a nice group.  It was time to put my new skills to the test and try to hang with guys on the downhills and corners.

It started out well.  There was a little snaffu when we hit the split on Hopper Hill where you could ride the expert section or the easy section.  I took the easy section since it was, well, easy and didn't have a distance penalty.  I merged back in, but the guy immediately in front of me flatted right there and I had to hop off and run up the few rocks.  This opened a little gap to the next guy, but riding down Easy Street I was able to close it down without going too crazy.

Cuyuna isn't flat.

Through Mucker Mountain I was successfully riding with a group of guys and it was fun.  I was using them to be attentive to riding efficiently.  By mid first lap at DirtWirx I was riding solo and getting blown away by the "more experienced" (older) riders starting in the wave behind me.  So I was pretty pleased with how things were going.

Little Sidewinder is a flat, but twisty stretch and again I was pretty dialed for me in riding without riding the breaks.  Sand Hog Mountain is a nice little climb about 2/3 of the way into the lap.  Nothing quite like 3 minutes at 95% max HR to make sure you aren't being too soft.  The ride back down was fun.  I'm not up to letting it rip without brakes on that level of bermy switchbacky goodness, but I'm getting closer.  Post race Strava inspection shows my 3 descents were PRs by 20 seconds.

I was pretty stoked to finish the first lap without getting blown out of the water.  I was still riding with guys from my wave and I don't believe I had been passed by any of the guys from the later waves yet.  This was a huge improvement over DirtWirx.  Grunting out the climb to start the second lap I saw Bill Schildgen just leaving the single track.  This meant I was still a minute plus ahead of him which was pretty good news.

I was working pretty hard.
Lap 2 was all about maintaining effort, focus, and efficiency, while remembering I still had another lap to go after that.  I didn't want to blow up and limp the third lap in.  There were a few points where I was disappointed with my execution, thinking I could have ridden them a little better.  That was OK though, I just kept on focusing on riding smart.

Bill finally caught me on the climb up Sand Hog on the second lap.  Over halfway into the race, I'll take that over half way into the first lap like a few weeks ago.  He went by and I went back to grinding away on the climb.  He got a little hung up in a pack on Sidewinder while I was getting a nice ride from someone and I almost caught up to  him again when we hit the road at the end of the second lap.  Once he got around though he was gone.

Come lap three I was still riding with people.  It was definitely getting thinner though.  Around Mucker Mountain I made a pass and there wasn't anyone in front of me.  This was really the first time all day I didn't have anyone to pull me along or for me to chase down.

My steed was well dialed and treated me right today.
Things were continuing to go well until the short little bridge section on the downhill off Mucker.  I'm not quite sure what happened, but I got a little too aggressive on the turn into the bridge and went down.  While I tried to shred skin and bleed to spread some red I managed to not do that.  What I did do was have momentary panic that I had broken my leg.  I had excruciating pain in my lower leg, but it only took a second to puzzle out that my calf does not have a bone to break.  I think what happened was my downtube hit my calf and it immediately locked up into a huge charlie horse.  Five or ten seconds and a sprint to get off the bridge and out of someones way and I was back on the bike again.  So, per the above spoiler alert, sliding across the bridge is NOT faster than riding on it.

My handlebars were a little crooked, and I was a little thrown confidence wise after the crash, but I now had someone to chase down again.  I was able to latch on by the base of Sandhog and after checking he wasn't in my age group, I successfully tagged onto him and he pulled me to the finish.

Post Race

I was very pleased with my ride.  Without looking at any results I felt I executed well, felt good, and had made a substantial improvement in just a few weeks.

My son and I took a nice dip in Huntington Mine Lake at the new beach.  The revamped trail head is really impressive.  Bike wash station, water fountains, changing booths, bathrooms, bike tools, parking, signage, its awesome.

Cuyuna Tan Lines
When the results were finally posted I was in an astonishing third place in my age group.  So we had to stick around for awards.  Sadly, when they went to announce third place, it was Ben Ogren, not me who got called.  The final results added that Ben, before this Ben.  Oh well.  A little disappointed I didn't get hardware to go with Starr's second place in her age group awards, but I'll survive.

Once the results are up later, I'm going to plunk them into my hand dandy, race comparison spreadsheet and see how they stack up against DirtWirx there.  I'm sure they are better, but we shall see how much better.  Otherwise I'm thrilled with my progress on a mountain bike.  It's easy to make gains when you aren't that good, but then again, making gains is fun so it's all good.

Mullin's What's Next

St. Croix Fat Cat Triathlon is July 11th.  Should be a fun event.  The run and bike thing I can handle.  The whole kayaking thing will be a real wild card.

As far as mountain biking goes, I don't have anything else I'm targeting.  I think I'd like to do another race this year, but we shall see what lines up from a scheduling and availability perspective.

Thanks for reading.  Say hi on the trails.

2015 Sasquatch #3 Results and Mullin's Race Report


On a muggier than expected late June morning (this morning as a matter of fact) the third edition of the 2015 Sasquatch Dash series went down.  The course was nearly identical to one last year, with just a little extra climbing thrown in for fun.  Up through WI Interestate on the Horizon Rock and Skyline trails, and then a detour on the return trip to hit up the Hospital Esker Segment of the Ice Age Trail.

Turnout was lighter than recent events with only 9 people showing up.  I'm not sure if this was a post Grandma's thing, poor advertising (I didn't get the Facebook event made or the course posted much in advance), or just one of those weekends.


The course, while being relatively simple, wasn't without it's possibilities for getting off course as was accomplished by 3 people.  Unfortunately that included myself.  You'd think the guy who put the course together would be able to follow it.  Using race directors discretion I've altered the three times in question by scaling them according to the distance cut.  My time ended up being just a few seconds in front of Sean.  This seemed particularly unfair, so I bumped my time a few seconds slower yet to give him the win.  I'm not sure I could have won a heads up race.

Without further ado, the full results with He and She Squatch interleaved:


And while we are putting up results, here is what I captured from the City of Trails.  If you see any mistakes be sure to let me (benjamin.t.mullin@gmail.com) or Ben J (bj@cyclovaxc.com) know and we'll get the results fixed up.


Lastly, here are the standings through three races and the pre-order/shirt bonus.



Mullin's Race Report

I haven't been running much.  I spent most of the last week at scout camp with my son.  I ran once and felt miserable.  I biked several times and really enjoyed the Wisconsin smorgasbord of pavement, gravel, and ATV trails.  I'm feeling great on a bike, but not so much on two feet recently.  I'm also signed up to race Cuyuna tomorrow, so I've got a big weekend on tap.

I started with Alex and Greg.  I was even in the lead down the ladder tank.  Up the road under Hwy 8, Alex passed me and just walked away.  Greg hung just over my shoulder up Horizon Rock.  When we hit Skyline he passed me and I gave momentary chase, but he pulled away.  Unfortunately Greg and I took the ski trail instead of the Horizon trail.

When Greg was the first one coming the other way at the turn around I knew we had gotten ahead of Alex.  He wasn't too far behind though and he caught me before I made it back to the top of the hill.  I figured he would catch Greg too, but in the end Greg held out.  My time adjustments made up for that though.  Great racing between those two though.  Alex better watch over his shoulder.

My race sort of imploded at that point.  My legs were tired, I wanted to do well Sunday too, and my head just wasn't in it.  I'm usually pretty good about not losing a race mentally, but I definitely did today.  By the time I hit the Hospital Esker I was out of it.  I opted to hike the big hill instead of running it.

I'm a little disappointed in myself for not giving my full effort today.  However, I hope to redeem myself tomorrow at Cuyuna.

What's Next

I think I already mentioned, Cuyuna tomorrow.  I'm going to do the St. Croix Fat Cat triathlon in a few weeks.  The next Sasquatch Dash comes up July 25th.  Mark it down now.

Happy Father's Day! Grandma's Marathon 2015 Report

This photo is from the 5k
Hey Folks!

I hope those of you who are fathers are having a great day! My lovely daughters gave me a card, but of course all you ever need from your kids is to simply be around them.

Yesterday was another Grandma's Marathon, and man, did it kick my butt. Marathons always do that though...some might say that's the point. I was about a half hour slower than last year despite the fact that I had fooled myself into thinking I'd prepared better. I'll have to think about it for the next few weeks. Every marathon is different and it's pretty hard to guarantee a consistent performance (when you're not a full-time, professional athlete that is). It is sweet when things come together and you fly down the course, I've had that happen about twice in 20 attempts.

As always, you know it's Grandma's when you pull up to the DECC and you see Eric Olson's sweet bus sitting there.
Hanging out at these races with Eric is fun because he's Mr. Marathon and everyone within...well the continental United States really...knows Eric and comes over to say Hi. Incidentally, Eric is also the race director of the Gandy Dancer Marathon, you might have heard of it (the event features a relay this year).

We set up the bus, got our bibs, then headed over to the sweet spaghetti dinner:
Now, normally my high-performance athlete diet doesn't allow me to eat servings of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, but it was the night before a marathon and you could have as many as you wanted...so I had six.

We crashed early and we all woke up before our 5AM alarms. The forecast called for torrential rain, and for once the weather people were correct. The clouds were rolling in as we queued up for the bus, and by the time we had finished our first trip to the starting area port-a-pots, the first drops had begun to fall.

Fortunately there was a first aid tent where little old ladies offered us overflowing tubs of Vaseline with little wooden applicators sticking out at all angles. We huddled together watching the rain thunder down. Some of those tiny little runner people needed to affix themselves to guys like Eric and I to keep them from getting blown away by the wind. 

Eric was content to wait in the tent, but I get all excited for Grandma's and I headed out like a moron to stand in the start area and get soaked for 20 minutes before the race started. As I was waiting for the starting gun, who should tap me on the shoulder but Jim Thanig! What are the odds that he would happen to find me in a crowd of almost 4,000 people? I told you that Cyclova gear stands out.

We were shivering pretty good when the gun went off, and I always figure it's best to start a race way faster than you can maintain, blow up, and then limp in like a wounded animal. That's been my race tactic for years and I'm too old to change now!

I blazed through the first half in under 2 hours, which is a personal victory for me. I've only done two sub 2 hr half-marathons in the last 20 years, and they've both been during the first half of Grandma's (in the last two years). Last year I was able to hold the pace decently, but this year I faded at 13.2, and had to run/walk in. Fortunately there were a lot of frat boys out there with beer this year. Every time I saw them I'd scream "WHY IS THERE NOT A BEER IN MY HAND!" and then I'd berate them and make them do push ups as they cheered and I guzzled the beer. Frat boys love it when you abuse them like that.  You're welcome frat boys of Duluth.

I saw the Kelby family out there, they came trotting by right when I was starting to feel the effects of my "blazing" first half. They apologized for not having been at the first two Sasquatch runs, but assured me they'll be at the next one. Incidentally I saw that they ran a negative split, first half in just over two, and second half under 2 for a sub 4 hr total. I didn't think that was possible! Obviously they weren't using the patented method of "run way faster than you're capable of running, then blow up and suffer."  I should teach them that method and observe the massive, positive effect it has on their marathon times.

Eventually, as it always does, the finish line materialized and I collected my massive, awesome medal and my finisher's shirt. I'll be wearing that shirt for the next six straight days. The rains rolled in again after I finished, and it felt good to get into some warm clothing.

The 2015 Grandma's took it out of me. Last year I finished and was able to attend 2 different weddings, this year I finished, changed my clothes and went to bed. That's the way it goes! In fact, everybody was slower except for Tammi who set a PR with a 2:57 (she uses my method...she just never blows up).

Memorable day! Along with the Birkie, the Gandy Marathon, and the Twin Cities Marathon, Grandma's is one for the "must attend" list. The party starts on Thursday or so, and doesn't end until Monday when work starts again (too bad I slept through most of the party).

In honor of father's day, here's my sweet youngest daughter modeling my finisher's medal. See y'all at the next Sasquatch Dash (I'll be there in spirit).  Oh, and also put the "Trails to the Ales 5k" on your race calendar!




Trails to the Ales 5k- Saturday July 25th, 2015





TRAILS TO THE ALES 5K

Join us on July 25th for a fun 5k run, followed by a beer & music festival! All 5k participants that purchase a $35 Brew Ha Ha ticket will be upgraded to VIP ticket holder and will be allowed to enter the festival during the VIP hour and will receive a special "Trails to the Ales" t-shirt, in addition to a beer mug, all-you-can-sample beer from over 18 breweries, appetizers, and live music all night including White Iron Band.


What: Free "out-and-back" style 5k group run. Primarily on paved trails, with approximately two-tenths of a mile on hard-packed crushed limestone. Course Map. Hydration station at the turn around point on the course.
When: Saturday July 25th, 2015 @ 3p.m. Day of event registration & check-in opens at 2 p.m. All participants will need to sign a waiver the day of the event. 5k participation is FREE, however, to enter the festival or receive any swag you need to purchase a $35 Brew Ha Ha ticket. Check out the Facebook Event page.
Where: The course starts and ends at The Dalles House (location details), ample parking will be available on site. Runners are upgraded to VIP ticket holders which will ensure premium parking the day of the festival.
Why: For fun (This is not a timed event.). For BEER! To have access to the Brew Ha Ha during the VIP hour, and get a cool "Trails to the Ales 5k" t-shirt. (Purchasing a $35 Brew Ha Ha ticket grants access to the festival, but only participants in the 5k will be allowed entrance during the VIP hour.)
How: Buy your ticket to the Brew Ha Ha today and declare your entry in the 5k at ticket purchase. Tickets are on sale at the Dalles House Restaurant and Bar, Dalles House Bakery & Cafe, and from yours truly, Kristen at Cyclova XC. Stop by any of these establishments before the entry fee increases. Feel free to email kris10living@gmail.com (subject line: Trails to the Ales) with questions/inquiries, to reserve your ticket/pay in advance to pick up your ticket at a later date. 
And: Volunteers needed! You will be rewarded- message me for details. I need people to help distribute and collect waivers before the run, to work the water station, and to manage a few road crossings or sweep the course on a bicycle. kris10living@gmail.com (subject line: Volunteer) if you'd like to help behind the scenes and still be a part of the fun!

Cheers~ 
Kristen
















Mullin's City of Trails Race Report

This is my personal race report.  I'll be back soon with updates on the Sasquatch Dash standings.

Prep

The two days prior to the race I actually ran.  This was a taper of sorts.  With the bike racing over the weekend, a hard Woolly ride on Tuesday, and the CyclovaXC sprint ride on Wednesay I had 4 hard bike rides in 5 days.  Friday I ran at Elm Creek for the first time.  I was really impressed with the diversity in the area I ran.  Beautifully manicured paved trails, double track ski trails, and dirt roads where I was and I only scratched a fraction of the park.  And the best part?  I didn't have to go in little tiny circles like I did all winter long.

This was my first time making it to the City of Trails 10k and it was a fun time at packet pickup and walking around pre-race.  After a couple of years hanging out in the valley I'm starting to know more and more of the really cool people that make up the outdoor community.  I'm still working on putting names to some of the faces (I'm genetically predisposed to forget names, just ask my kids and I live with them!).

Lining up I said I wasn't feeling great, but that I would probably feel better once on course.  Give me a few paragraphs and we'll see how that turns out.

Race

This was a pretty typical "local" 5k type start.  A bunch of kids sprinting off the line only to slow down 400 meters later.  If it really bothered me, I guess I'd take off like Tammi and the other front runners did.  Holy cow they were flying towards the Interlink trail!

I haven't even gotten off the line and I'm way behind.
I should note however, that at this point I am ahead of the eventual race winner.  So any results can't be blamed on the traffic or start.  My primary concern was not hitting the single track behind someone who was going to slow significantly.  I succeeded in finding my spot by the time we passed Blanding Woods.

I slapped Steve Edling on the back on his way to the 5k course and dove into the single track on the Ice Age Trail. I love technical running.  I think I'm reasonably good at it.  It brings me back to childhood memories of "free running", leaping, bounding, scrambling, sprinting, and sometimes falling.  Luckily I didn't fall, though one poor teenager in front of me did a nice tuck and roll just as we entered the trail.

By my rough estimate I was roughly around 12th place entering the trails.  With no particular analytical reason, I had figured before hand that top 10 would be a pretty good place.  Scrambling through the rocks in Regal Park before the first new section of trail I could tell I was opening a gap behind me, but I wasn't closing anything down in front of me.

Not much to report though the first new section before crossing Fairgrounds Road other than to say I really love this section of trail.



Heading through the new Fairgrounds section I managed to tag onto the tail end of Stephen Clark and one of the teenagers.  If my memory is correct, I passed one of the teenagers in this section.  As we crossed Oregon Street into the field Steve and I latched on to another kid.  I was definitely feeling it by this point.  I had the slightest bit of a side ache.  Steve pulled around the kid and made a gap.  I didn't feel like had the extra energy to make the pass and stick with Steve so I followed the kid.

Through this section Greg Atkinson closed down the gap behind and we were a triplet heading through the second new section into Zillmer.  I prefer to lead in the technical stuff as it makes finding your footing easier.  I managed to not trip and face plant through the rocks.



Coming out of Zillmer the kid swung wide to grab some water and I kept on going, now leading.  Greg was securely latched on behind me and I tried to give it a little something extra on the first downhill into the Mindy Creek section.  I almost went off the trail.  I tried a little something extra coming up from the creek as well.  Greg was still there.  I told him over my shoulder that he should grunt if he wanted to go by.  He said he was having some trouble breathing due to allergies and was just fine where he was.  This gave me a chance, because I think on a normal day, I'd be the one chasing Greg.

Anyway, on down Mindy Creek, through Wert, over into Lions park and then north from there.  It was fun to cheer on the runners coming back.  I forgot to count so I wasn't quite sure where I was.  I thought ninth, but I could have been wrong.  All through here Greg was still right on my tail.

Heading back through Lions Park and up onto Hamilton, all the trail running was done.  All we had left was roughly a mile drag race to the finish.  I decided I was going to try racing a little tactically at this point since I doubted I could catch anyone ahead of us.  I took it steady up the short incline to Hamilton and around the slight corner to the long straight away and then I surged a little bit.  Probably for only 10 or 15 seconds and maybe only 10-15 seconds/mile faster than I had been running.

It didn't work.  Greg was still there.  I recovered for a minute or so and then did it again.  I held it a little longer this time.  It sounded like I had made a small gap this time.  Then with about half a mile to go I gave it one more extra effort and held on.  This one finally did it.  I held on and even had enough for a nice little kick at the end, though it wasn't necessary.



Greg came in about 20 seconds later and we shook hands and chatted for a while about a great race.  I look forward to racing with Greg again.  I think him and Keith Velaski and I could have some pretty epic battles in the coming Sasquatch Dashes.

Summary

In the end I was ninth overall and second in the M30-39 age group.  It was a fun race, great course, and an awesome community.  I'm pretty pleased with my effort on the day.  I said I was not feeling it before the start, but might when the race was on.  I definitely felt pretty good once I was running.

Mullin's What's Next

No racing this weekend.  Scout camp with my boy instead.  Saturday 6/27 though is the next edition of the Sasquatch.  Then that Sunday we are signed up to race the Cuyuna MTB race.  Should be a blast.

2015 Peace Out and Back This Saturday June 20th!

We all know that Grandma's marathon is happening this Saturday, so why not get a little of the spirit of running with the Peace Out and Back 5k!  Here's the official race description from the Facebook event page:

5k Walk/Run to benefit the Peace Lutheran Church Mission trip. 
The course is flat and fast for runners looking to set a PR, young runners, and people pushing strollers. Leashed dogs are welcome.

Here's the when and where:

Peace Lutheran Church
2355 Clark Rd, Dresser, Wisconsin 54024

Saturday, June 20th, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Sounds like a fun run with great people for an excellent cause. What's not to love about that? For more information click here!

Mullin's DirtWirx Race Report

Who's dumb idea was this anyway?  I thought that more than once Sunday while riding around Hillside Park in Elk River.  The answer of course was it was my idea.



With a rare weekend off of work on tap for Starr we started looking for things to do a few weeks ago.  As was previously covered, I was already in for riding the bike leg of the Stower Seven Lakes Triathlon.  A little more investigation and we saw that the MN MTB Series was racing at Hillside in Elk River this weekend.  My son had fun at the Woolly Kids Comp, Starr has been training with the Herr Batti girls, and I haven't raced my mountain bike in a few years so we thought that sounded like the ticket.

Prep

Race Selection

Having never ridden at Hillside we made it our Saturday morning adventure a few weeks ago.  We rode sections 1-3, then 1 and 2 again.  I know I have mentioned it before, but I am not a strong technical rider.  In my limited opinion, Hillside was very technical.  After our exploratory ride, we both decided racing there probably wan't for us.

Fast forward a week and we still hadn't identified an alternate plan and the wheels kept turning.  In the end we decided to play it by ear and if the weather was good we would throw caution to the wind and sign up.  I had been debating Citizen or Sport.  Three years ago I raced the Woolly Sport race.  It wasn't a complete disaster.  Then I decided to race the Comp race the next year.  I was second to last or close to it.  So based on past results I thought I should just race Citizen since the course did not play to my strengths if I have any on a bike.  But ego got the better of me and I signed up for Sport.

Physical Prep

As mentioned in my previous race report, the day before this race I did a 16 mile road time trial as the bike leg of the Stower Seven Lakes Triathlon.  I followed that up with 26 miles on the Gandy hunting down Starr on her Wren ride.  By the time I hopped on my bike to spin the parking lot on Sunday morning my legs already felt tired.  Probably not the best way to start what I assumed would be an hour and a half of hard riding.  I just hoped that they would wake up a little bit as I worked into the race.

Pre-Race

My pre-race consisted of spectating a few of my favorite people in their races.  Dalton went of first in the kids comp.  This was his second mountain bike race and he was still a little nervous.  He left looking serious and came back all sweaty, muddy, and bloody again but smiling.

Pre-race Game Face
He was a little disappointed with his last place age group finish.  But he still claimed to have had fun and he said that was all that mattered.  I think I could convince him to train a little bit though and he could make improvements.

Sweaty, Muddy, and Bloody
We will be throwing some money at Todd Bauer again.  He captured a fantastic sequence of Dalton crashing in the mud.  When I told Dalton about his crash being captured on film he was really worried everyone could see it.  I told him how many times I crashed, and how may times Stu crashed, and reminded him of the two taco'd front wheels we saw in the expert race and he decided it was OK then.

After the kids comp, Starr was up for her first bike race of her life in citizen class.  Two years ago she raced her first half marathon, last year she graduated to her first marathon, and first ski race.  This year she did her first gravel century at Almanzo (first century period actually) and now a mountain bike race.  I blame the (bad) influences in her life for these choices.

Smiling at the start.
She seems pretty pleased with her results.  She was pretty nervous about riding with other people and the course conditions so she started conservatively.  Sounds like she was gaining confidence and making up time in the second half of the race.

And still smiling at the finish.
Finally it was my turn to race.  My warm-up consisted of riding to the start.

Race

I lined up at the back of the M18-39 wave.  I took it out reasonably hot, but not so hot that I got in front of a bunch of guys that would then just have to pass me on the single track.  The sport category had a prologue of the road, B1 and B2 then two laps of B3, S4, S1, S2.  Diving into B1 I was probably mid/back packish.  Probably about where I belonged.

I followed a wheel all the way through the end of the prologue.  I was focused on trying to be efficient and stick close to the wheel.  My theory being that I could follow someone and pick their line and amount of braking rather than relying on my poor skills.  What probably happened is a combination of both.  I rode faster, but I was also punching it more to compensate for more braking.

Some separation formed somewhere in B3.  I also can't quite remember, but by S4 the masses from behind started passing me.  This is the downside to being in the young age group followed by the "fast old dude" age group.  Those 40-49 dudes are fast.  And I'm slow, but even so, those dudes are fast.

Somewhere in S4 I think.  Photo Credit: Mitchel Bruns
By the time we were nearing the end of S4 I had been passed many times.  For a couple of them I just pulled over to let several guys by.  A little later it was easier to keep riding on a wider stretch of trail and wave someone through one at a time.  I was hurting pretty good already.  My HR was averaging 175+ since starting B3 and that is dang high on the bike for me.  Combine the working really hard with the heat of the day and I was melting out there.  There aren't many opportunities to drink on the course.  I grabbed a cup where I could and pulled hard on the water bottle once or twice.

I remember thinking somewhere in S2, why am I doing this?  I have another whole lap to go.  I can see where my effort level dropped as I lost a little focus in S2.

Lap - Photo Credit Starr
Starting the second lap B3 didn't go that well.  I was tired and my technical riding was degrading.  There are some tight corners in there and I was having trouble making them.

After slugging some cold water at the bottom of the slalom course before entering S4 I started getting my second wind.  With a little more focus I think my riding actually got a little better.  A bunch of mud being ridden of the course already helped too.  It was somewhere near the end of S4 that I made the only two passes I made all day.

About to enter S4 on lap two.  I've felt better.  Photo Credit: Mitchel Bruns
Oh, so I mentioned that I was consoling Dalton with telling him I crashed.  It wouldn't be a mountain bike ride for me without crashing (this is a little exaggeration now, but not by much).  I went down once in a muddy corner on the first lap.  No big deal, just plopped down on my right side.  Near the end of S1 on the first lap there is a slight downhill that right before a corner has some roots parallel to the trail.  I went down HARD there.  Upright one second, picking mud out of my ear the next second.  OK, I didn't actually hit my head, but I was on the ground in a hurry.

No idea where.  Somewhere after the first crash.  Leg dirty, tongue out, but it looks like I'm fast.  Photo Credit: Mitchel Bruns
My last crash was through S4 the second time.  Some random downhill swishing through the trees I got all friendly with one.  My front tire washed out in the mud again and I ended up with a large tree in my armpit as I wrapped myself around it on the ground.  That one took a little wind out of my sails too.  Thankfully I didn't jack up my shoulder.

OK, S1 was uneventful the last time with the exception of nearly going down on the same roots I went down on the first lap.  I pushed S2 as best I could and finished with a reasonable amount of speed.



Post Race

We hung around for the comp/expert race and watched the fast boys and girls on the jump line.  That was fun.


I'm fine with my results.  Not enthused, not disappointed.  Given my weekend and the way the course didn't suit me I didn't expect more.  I finished 8th of 10 in my age group (9 and 10 DNFd) and 45 of 74 overall.  My time was 1:39:45.

Mullin's What's Next

Well, first of all, it is the City of Trails 10k this weekend.  This is a fun local race, we are making it the second installment of the Sasquatch Dash, and the course is incredible.  I'm pretty excited.  You should be too.

Then two weeks later is Sasquatch Dash #3.  That weekend is also the next MN MTB Series race at Cuyuna.  The course as I understand it is much more my style and could be a lot of fun.  I'm very tempted at this point to sign-up.

Frederic Lions Bike Race Celebrates 28 Years on June 13


FREDERIC--The Frederic Lions Bike Classic will be held for the 28th time on Sat. June 13. Started in 1988 by the Frederic Lions Club, the race has held on to be the third longest running citizen’s bike race in Wisconsin.

The idea to host a bike race in Frederic started as a coffee table discussion in the winter of 1987. Terry and Jo Duea, Dave Dopkins, and Steve and Elisabeth Puetz collaborated on the concept of a starting a local bike race, after watching the success of a popular citizen bike race in Grandview, WI, Dopkins had participated in. The Frederic Lions Club came on board as a host organization.

Over a quarter century, proceeds from the race have been directed by the Lions Club to the various charitable causes they support.

This year’s race will be a 26.4 mile individual time trial and will bring racers to Frederic from all over the Midwest.

The race will start at the Frederic High School campus at 10:00 a.m., with registration from 8:00-9:30 a.m. The race route is an out and back course, going east on Clam Falls Drive, south on CTH I for 13 miles, turning around just north of STH 48, and returning by the same route to Frederic. The course has a total of 1300 vertical feet of climbing.

Top riders will complete the course in under an hour, averaging well over 26 miles an hour on what is considered a difficult time trial route. A new class was added in 2010--the single speed division. This class offers awards to riders who complete the course on bikes with only one gear. 2010 single speed winner was Ricky Wells, Strum, WI. Wells completed the course in 1 hour, 7 minutes, and 59 seconds, riding faster than several riders on conventional bikes with many gears available. The course records are held by Joan Carlson, Menomonie, WI--1 hour, 8 minutes, and 50.8 seconds (2010), Lance Niles, Onalaska, WI--58 minutes, 51 seconds (2009), Ricky Wells, Strum, WI--single speed--1 hour, 7 minutes, and 59.5 seconds (2010), and Andrea Potyondy-Smith, Champlin, MN--single speed--1 hour, 28 minutes, 33 seconds (2012).

2014 winners: Tim Mulrooney, Minneapolis, MN, Kelli Swenson, Twin Cities, MN, Dan Johnson (single speed), Frederic, and Andrea Potyondy-Smith (single speed) Brooklyn Park, MN, are expected to return to defend their titles.

Past winners with a local connection include: 1988-Wendy Weinzierl-Griswold and Greg Nelson. 1993-Kevin Link and Jolene Selover Baillargeon. 2000-Terry Baillargeon. 2001-Frank Lundeen. 2011-Dan Johnson (single speed). 2014 winner, Kelli Swenson, is a FHS graduate.

Also of interest, author Michael Perry rode the race in the early 90”s.

Arthur Martin, Frederic, has ridden all but one of the Frederic Bike Races. He has been spotted on several training rides around the back roads of Leader Land.

The individual time trial format features riders starting at 30 second intervals, with the goal of riding the course as fast as possible. Drafting, pack riding, and other team tactics are not allowed, so time trials are referred to as the race of truth. Just lungs, legs, and heart rates in the ozone. Time trial specific bicycles are designed for aerodynamics and some cost over $7000. Aero wheels alone may cost over $2500 a pair and run with over 200 lbs. of air pressure.

Race timing and results will be provided by Chimp Timing of Brooklyn Park, MN.
The Lions Classic is one of the 15+ events of the WiSport Cycling Series, which offers age group recognition in both road race and time trial divisions, at races held all around Wisconsin.

A new sponsor, HED Cycling Products, a Minnesota based cycling products manufacturer, has joined in the production of the race this year. For more info, visit www.hedcycling.com
For more information and an entry form: www.fredericlionsclassic.com, sbtesch@centurytel.net 715-327-4892 or www.wisportcycling.com



Orange Crush @ Stower Seven Lakes State Trail Triathlon

About a month ago I got a message from Adam saying he was putting together an all-star team for the Stower Seven Lakes triathlon.  He wanted me for the bike leg.  I tried to break it to him that I'm probably not all-star caliber on the bike, but he insisted.  At the time I didn't have anything else on the calendar so I let him talk me into it.


Adam was lining up Tammi for the run leg.  Now we were talking all-star.

And come race day, Adam was coming off a relay win at the Minneapolis Marathon so we definitely had a winning pedigree on the team.

So the team was lined up:  Me - 16 mile road bike, Adam - ~1 mile kayak, Tammi - 5k run

Team Orange Crush was ready to roll.

Race Report

My Bike Leg

I prerode the course the weekend before.  It is all paved, not in terrible shape, rural, and somewhat rolly.  I put the aerobars back on my road bike and took that for a spin.  I haven't ridden my road bike since I bought the Warbird this spring.  It's a fine bike, but, I like my Warbird, a lot.  Sadly I do not have a road wheelset for it and Frank indicated that I would probably suffer a penalty of several mph.  So I reluctantly decided to stick with the road bike.

No, I don't know what they heck I'm doing with my face in this picture.
Because the bike leg was first, we had a mass start bike race.  A little sketchy in my book, but the field was only about 20 or so people.  Standing on the starting line of a pretty small race, I was eyeing up the competition.  There were a couple of legit tri-bikes there so I figured I was going to be chasing.

Right off the line we took the first right.  I almost missed it because, well because I didn't quite have that part of the course down.  I shortly found myself in second place behind one of the guys on a tri-bike.  He led through about mile 2 when I decided to close the gap and pass him.  I proceeded to lead then through about mile 5 when he rolled up beside me.  We exchanged greetings (his name was Jake) and pleasantries and he rolled on ahead.

The race was somewhat lacking in any stated rules, but most triathlons I know are no drafting so I let him get a respectable distance ahead, but then held the gap.  Somewhere around the north end, say mile 9, I passed Jake back.  I was pretty certain he was a solo racer.  Being a relay member, I had to leave it all on the course.

We had a nice tail wind all the way out.  Guess which way the wind was coming from on the way back.  So I got "comfortable" in the aerobars and just pushed.  As we hit the end of the loop with about 2 miles to go retracing our steps, it was time to bury myself.  Jake was still just a little ways back.  I pushed as hard as I could up the hill and then dropped back to the aerobars to cruise the smooth pavement around the lake to the beach.

I quickly decelerated at the beach pavilion and made a quick handff of the timing chip to Adam.

Adam - Kayak

Adam took off to the beach with enthusiasm and dragged his kayak into the water.  He promptly capsized it a couple of times trying to make a hasty departure.  He did get underway eventually still with a respectable lead.

Adam coming in from the Kayak with Tammi waiting for the hand-off.
Jake came in about a minute back and then Collin Hoogland about 2.5 back.

The kayak course initial goes around a point out of site from the beach.  As people started to come back in view on the far end of the lake, Adam had drifted back to third place and looked to be losing ground.  Collin was very strong in the water turning in the fastest split and had passed both Jake and Adam.

As they started up the far side of the lake, Adam pulled things together and was able to reel Jake back in.  Things got a little dicey on the home stretch and there may have been some incidental contact between Adam and Jake.  OK, I really have no idea what happened, but somehow Adam ran into Jake.  Thankfully there were no course marshals to DQ us...

Hand-off #2
Adam and Jake made shore and a quick hand-off was made and Tammi was off in hot pursuit of Collin who had about a 2 minute head start.  Jake had to actually transition (put shoes on etc).  We cheered him on and told him he had a good shot at running down Collin and he was off like a rocket.

Tammi - Run

Adam and I meandered over to the finish line.  I forgot to look at the time when the transition was made so it was a bit of a waiting game at the finish that seemed to drag on longer than I thought it should.

As expected though, the first runner we saw approaching the finish line was Tammi.  She ran a blistering 5k finishing with an 18:36 5k split.  She secured the 3-person relay title and the overall title for Orange Crush.

Bringing home the win.
Other Finishers

I had expected Jake to be the next finisher, but surprisingly it was some youngster coming in.  Turns out it was Max Hoogland who had run down Jake and Collin (I'm guessing his dad).  Impressive finish.

Results Summary

Orange Crush - 1:25:09
Max Hoogland - 1:28:39
Jake Gould - 1:29:17
Team "O" - 1:30:14
Collin Hoogland - 1:30:30
and more that didn't feature in my report

Full Results Here

We ended with the fastest overall bike split (thanks to not needing to save anything for anything else), fastest overall run split (thanks to having a ringer), and... well Adam did just fine on the kayak, pretty sure I wouldn't have done any better.

We were the first overall finisher, the first relay, and first 3 person relay (last 3 person relay too).

Hardware
It was a lot of fun and I would definitely do it again.

It got me thinking about doing the Scandia St. Croix Fat Cat Triathlon solo.  It has a slightly different format with a 3.8 mile river kayak, 5.2 mile (UPHILL) trail run, and an 11 mile road bike.

Mullin's What's Next

At the finish of the race, I had planned to do a little ride in the direction of the Wren from SCF on the Gandy to catch my girl on her way back.  Unfortunately that ended up being a ride almost ALL the way to the Wren.  So I ended up with about 45 miles on the day.  Normally that would be just fine, but I had some bonehead idea to race the DirtWirx MTB race on Sunday, so I probably didn't need the extra miles.

At the time of this writing that race is already finished... so stay tuned for that report in the near future.

Join The Crew For Friday Night Hills - TONIGHT @ 6:30!

Great folks, amazing roads, and beautiful summer evenings on bikes = BLISS!

Join us tonight for a great Friday night tradition - a no drop hill ride on road bikes!  

Charlie will be leading the ride tonight on his great hill loop - note that Friday night hill rides will roll out at 6:30 for the rest of the Summer.

For the full scoop on the ride and the course, CLICK HERE!

See you tonight!

2015 Sasquatch Dash #1 Results and Report

Saturday morning we kicked off our third season of Sasquatch Dashing.  I was a littler nervous that the pictures I posted to Facebook the night before of the very soggy course were going to scare people off, but I was happy to see the shop crowded already at 8:30 when I arrived.

We took care of business getting shirts to those who ordered them or wanted to pick one up, signed waivers, announced the course, and headed over to the Overlook to start the race.
We take a before group picture to make sure we know how many people to account for at the finish.

The weather was nearly perfect at about 50 degrees with sunny skies and a slight wind out of the north.  I'm happy to report that the trail dried up considerably over night.  There were still slick spots and a few puddles, but no snorkels or swim fins were needed.

The race went well, no one got lost that I know of, everyone stayed to cheer everyone to the finish, and there was lots of fun discussion afterwards.  I'll call that another success.

Ben made sure to emphasize the race to the clipboard in the pre-race briefing.  Too bad he forgot and got outsprinted to the clipboard himself.
Remember that the next edition we are piggy backing off of the City of Trails.  The spirit of the Sasquatch dash is to have free race opportunities on the awesome trails in the St. Croix Valley.  While the City of Trails isn't quite free, it is only $20 if you register before 6/7, boasts quite likely the best course around (I would have run this one for one of the races anyhow, but I would have made you run up the hill too!), and supports an awesome community.  So sign up and everyone who completes the 10k gets 10 points, and 5 points for anyone who runs the 5k.  City of Trails 5k and Rock N' River 10k

Results

Without further ado, here are the results.

In the HeSquatch race, two time defending champion Alex took the win HeSquatch and overall win.

Note: I have not reconciled the shirt pre-orders and post-orders to get the bonus points included yet.

On the SheSquatch side of the score sheet, defending champion Tammi Braund ran away from the field and gave Alex a run for the overall win.

Continuing the precedent set last year, if you show up but DNF you still get points.  I'd rather have people come and be social and give it a try than not show up.

Mullin's Race Report

Jeff Wolf told me he was waiting for my report.  I wouldn't want to disappoint Jeff by leaving out my own personal report.

I've been doing lots of stuff this spring, just nothing very specific.  My running has been hit or miss.  Some weeks around 30 miles, some not cracking 10.  I'm feeling reasonably fit, just not killing it in any particular sport fit.  So toeing the line next to Alex and Tammi I was not expecting to hang with them.

Encouraging Ingrid for "More Cowbell"
We started off and the three of us ran Hamilton together into the wind.  Nearing the end I tucked in behind Tammi to conserve a little energy.  I heard someone else behind me as well.  Crossing into Wert I saw that it was Keith Velaski tailing me.

Beginning the slog up Wert, Alex and Tammi pulled steadily away from me.  I was hoping I was doing the same to Keith.  By the time we hit the turn around at the north gate Alex and Tammi had maybe 15-20 seconds on me.  I had maybe 5 on Keith.

I tried to open it up a little on the run back to the pond and then a little surge up the hill towards the east.  By the turn around on the east end Alex and Tammi had put another 5 to 10 seconds on me.  I hadn't heard Keith in a little bit so I thought maybe I had dropped him.  Nope, he was probably within 10 seconds.

I tried again to open it up on the descent.  I managed to find a very soggy spot and sunk up to my ankle at one point.  At the south gate I was probably another 5 to 10 seconds down to Alex and Tammi.  I thought again I might have lost Keith.  I did open the gap a little bit here, but it was still in the 15 second range.

On the descent back to the Wert entrance I had to reign it back in a little bit.  I wanted to let it loose, but the ground was a little too soft.  I had one foot strike that slipped and I nearly landed flat on my back.  That wasn't going to help at all.

"Opening it up"
At the entrance to Wert Frank and Ingrid said I was about 40 seconds down.  Sight lines are quite a bit longer here and I could see the gap.  I wasn't going to close that down.  I wasn't going to look back for Keith either.  I tried to keep my form controlled (I think I'm finally beginning to believe in form and efficiency in running to a degree).  In the end I was able to hold a 6:30 mile for the length of Hamilton and I'm pretty happy with that.

At the finish Alex had put a minute and a half into me and Tammi just over a minute.  My persistence finally paid off and I was able to get Keith by just under 30 seconds.

You can watch the race unfold for any of us who had Strava here:  Strava FlyBys

Mullin's What's Next

I'm the bike leg for Team Orange Crush (me - bike, Tammi - run, Adam L - kayak) at the Stower Seven Lakes Triathlon next weekend.  Right now we are the hands on favorite in the 3 person relay.  We are the ONLY 3 person relay right now.  Find two friends and sign up!

Then I've got the crazy hair to race the MN MTB series race at Hillside Park in Elk River on Sunday.  Don't ask me why.  It is pretty technical (by my standards) there and I am a crap bike handler.

Then City of Trails 10k in two weeks as the second installment of the Sasquatch.