Monday, June 23, 2014

Hilly Billy Roubaix 2014

Happy Summer Solstice! Perfect time for a bike race, the best way to kick off the summer months. This year I had to make a choice between the Lumberjack 100 or the Hilly Billy Roubaix. As of lately, my passion has been switching over to the Ultra Cross events so I made the choice to go with my gut and make a run at the Hilly Billy Roubaix in Morgantown West Virginia. At 70-ish miles, and mostly roads, the Ultra CX races are much more manageable, which makes coming to work Monday morning a little easier. Last year, my Hilly Billy was soured with flat tires, so I really wanted to come back to this event and get a clean run at it. Instead of 95 degree temps like last year, we were treated with rain and mud. Not sure which one is worse, but I tend to ride better in the mud, so that was ok by me.

Towing the line were several fast dudes from all over the Eastern side of the United States. I was going to have to be vigil. We got off to a pretty quick start and by the first climb, it was already starting to whittle down. Before long we were routed into the famous mud hole section. This years mud holes were especially large. The guys on mountain bikes had an advantage here, but I managed to stay pretty close to the front only allowing a few seconds to open up. Once back onto the roads, a small group of about 15 or so formed. I’d say the CX bike was a good 2mph faster on the roads and with an 11-36 cassette on the rear, I had plenty of range to get up the steeper pitches.
On the ensuing climb, it was Stephen Cummings pushing the pace, and I knew right away he was someone I needed to watch out for. I held his wheel as he pushed the pace and several riders trailed off. By the top, it was down to just 3 of us. It was me, Stephen Cummings, and his team mate Jared Babik. We rolled along on the roads and worked together to try and distance ourselves. By the time we made it to the top of the next climb, it was down to just Stephen and I. He was descending on the mountain bike a little better than I was, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to get away from him.

We made our way out to aid #2. Stephen and I were trading pulls but as we neared aid #2, I flicked Stephen through but gave me a sigh and said he was starting to fade. Thanks to the volunteers, we blew through aid 2, however I managed to get through the station a little quicker and I opened up a gap on the ensuing hill. I thought about waiting because 35 miles to the finish is a long way to go alone, but I wasn’t sure I’d get another chance. Like they say, if you want to win a bike race, you have to be willing to lose, so I went for it. He held close on the following descent, but by this time I was gaining much more confidence in my tires and feeling better about bombing the descents. The 38’s on the wide velocity rims pump up to a nice volume, and the steel 616 frame made descending feel butter smooth.

From this point on, it was a 35 mile time trial to the finish line. I went to work on opening up a good gap on the roads. By the time I rolled through aid 3, I could start to feel the fatigue creeping in. The climbs were becoming painful. I’ve felt this plenty of times before, and more often than not, someone catches me and I lose the race. But this race was different. I kept telling myself over and over, “quit whining and win the god dam race!” I was getting myself pumped up each time I repeated it. Each climb was getting harder, but I was keeping the cadence high and turning the gears over. I dug deep and found a place I had never been before. It hurt really bad but I was still moving fast. Normally when it hurts, I slow down. By the time I got to the last hill before the turn into the finishing venue, I looked back and didn’t see anyone. I knew I had done it. I threw it in the smallest gear and pushed through the marshy grass and up the final paved hill. I was so tired by the finish, I could only lift one arm to solute the win.

The finish line couldn’t come soon enough, but once I got there, it was truly a sweet victory. I collapsed in the chair under the finishing tent and waited for the others to arrive. It was a great moment sitting there with the other top finishers as we discussed how the race went down… the mud holes, stuff we had to run, the cramps, and the crashes. It was a great day for all of us and even though it’s hard, we all had a lot of fun out there.

I thought a lot about the race on the drive home back to Michigan and I thought about how many long drives home I’ve had over the years, but this drive was different. There were no sulking thoughts about some flat tire, or maybe a crash… No thoughts about that race that could have been. No thoughts about what I could have done better in my training. No, there’s was nothing but satisfaction. It’s a feeling we all chase in bike racing, and a feeling that only comes around very seldomly. So here’s to a great summer season for all of us and may there be many more satisfying moments to be had. Cheers! Thanks for reading and we’ll see you at the next one!

Monday, March 24, 2014

2014 Barry Robaix

It doesn’t seem like very long ago, back in 2009, we ran the Barry Roubaix for the first time and I won on a mountain bike. Fast forward 5 yrs and the race has completely changed. It grew from a mere 300 racers back then to now almost 4000! The race has gotten much faster too. You almost have to ride a cross bike if you want a chance at riding in the front group. The race has really become something special for bike enthusiasts in Michigan. It’s the first race of the year for most of us, which always brings with it the question of weather and course conditions. The course was actually in pretty good shape. A few muddy spots, but other than that, it was dialed.

The roll out pretty much went as expected. I tried to tuck into the middle near the front of the pack and held my position. My plan was to stay right up near the front and be ready for any attacks or sketchy sections of the course where a crash or split might occur. Once we hit the dirt roads, I tried an early move off the front but the group chased and shut it down. About 5 miles into the race, we began picking up riders from the earlier waves. It was kind of a real cluster at times, but we dealt with it. I believe the initial split of about 12 riders came after a long section of churned up peanut butter mud. I heard there was a crash, but I didn't get the details of how the split happened. The 12-ish of us drove the pace on the pavement and worked on separating ourselves from the rest of the field. By the time we reached the turn off for the 62 mile course, we were away.

From here on out, it was a matter of whittling the field down to a more manageable size to sprint against in the finish. I felt strong, really strong, however, every attack I tried was quickly countered by the group. I had a target on my back. Seemed as if the group would let others ride off the front, but not me. As soon as I made a push , they were on it. So I decided I was just going to ride in the top 3 spots, and patrol anyone who tried to roll of the front. It was going to come down to a sprint. As the race went on, we whittled it down to 9, then 6, then with one more move on the pavement run into the finish, there were 5.

Shawn Adams led us into town with Adam York glued to his wheel with me sitting 3rd wheel. We made the last couple of turns and I hesitated when Adam made a push on the downhill right hander. It was wet, and it took me for a loop. But just like that they had a couple bike lengths on me. We made the last left hander and the push for the line. It was enough for 4th out of the 5 man group. A little frustrating because my legs felt so good on the day, but that’s bike racing. Kudo’s to Steve Broglio for pulling out the win. Sprints are still new to me, and it’s something I’m not used to. But over time, I think I will eventually be able to develop the skill. It’s not just about power I learned. It has a lot to do with how brave you are in those last few turns towards the finish. And let’s be honest, nobody wants to hit the pavement going 25mph, so maybe 4th isn’t so bad. I’ll take it and go home happy.  

After the race we hung out with the guys from 616 fab and Velocity Wheels. Both sponsors have given wonderful support and they also happen to make really cool products right here in Michigan. It was great having them there and for them to be so stoked about my finish. I couldn’t be happier. So here’s to the kick off of the 2014 racing season in Michigan. Hope to see you out there making the best of it!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2014 Season Update

Hey everybody. I know it’s been a while since the last update and it’s time to get back into blogging again. Since the last post, I finished out 2013 with a strong finish in the season finale at Gravel Grovel down in India and I managed to win the men’s open American Ultra Cross Series! It was a big season goal of mine and it came down to a super close finish in the points between me and Brian Toone from Alabama. Brian is a super tough competitor and I’m anxious to get more chances to race with him in 2014. You can follow him over at
Since then I’ve gotten back into the swing of training and despite the weather, I’m still managing to get the hours in. With all the snow we’ve been getting, I decided to switch up the routine a little and get back into the gym. I’ve been hitting the squats pretty hard with my buddies here at work. There’s nothing like heavy sets of squats to cripple your legs for days. I needed crutches to get around the first couple weeks. It was pretty bad.
Things are coming together on the sponsorship front. 616 Fabrications went through some structural changes along with new ownership which sort of took the team for a loop.
The dream team assembled in 2013 will sadly no longer be together. After the dust settled, it left me as the only returning team member from 2013. But I’m proud to say I’ll be fully backed again by Michigan based 616 Fabrications for 2014.

I posted this pic of us racing at The Peak to Peak MTB race held at Crystal Mountain Resort this past year (reminder that registration opens this weekend. It’s a great race and I highly recommend it if you haven’t tried it yet.) It was one of my favorite days on the bike ever as me, Jordan Wakely, and Cole House executed a 3 man team time trial breakaway all the way to the finish and took all 3 podium spots. I’ll never forget it and I’ll keep this memory with me as long as I ride a bike (which is hopefully forever). It was awesome. Two great team mates and friends who I’ll always stay in touch with. It was a very special team assembled for 2013 and we had a season that will be very hard to top.

Also coming back is Velocity wheels. I loved my A23 Pro Disc wheels so much last year, I asked for the same exact wheels this year. They mate up perfectly to a 35-40mm wide CX tire used for Ultra Cross, and they work great tubeless too. They’re hand built wheels by the Wheel Department right here in good ol’ Michigan… which is also where I was born and raised, so naturally I have a little Michigan pride theme going on with my bike.

I’ll also be using Infinit nutrition products for all my racing and training fueling. The stuff is great. Buy it, use it… end of story. You’ll also see Whiskey Parts handlebars and forks on my bike and there’s talk of Challenge Tires getting on board too.
So that’s enough of the updates for now. My first race of the season is Southern Cross down in Georgia on February 22 which is also the first race of the American Ultra Cross Series. The fire is stoked to start racing again and can’t wait to get down there. Hopefully some warm weather rolls thru! Other than that, keep the rubber side up and we’ll see you out there on the trails soon. Thanks for checking in.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Battle at the Burg

Fall is my favorite time of the year. The mild temps and the dry air set up perfect conditions for bike racing, and this weekend was no exception. I decided to check out the 2nd running of the Battle of the Burg mountain bike race at Cannonsburg Ski Area as my sponsor 616 Fabrications is located only a stones throw away from the venue.

The Cannonsburg course is a mix of tight twisty singletrack with a lung searing climb to the top of the ski hill each lap, which means we get to drag race straight up the 25% grade 4 times at the end of each lap. Ouch! The course was pretty dialed, but technical enough to where if you tried to push it too hard, you would pay the price. Matt Schmuker did an excellant job with the promotion, and everything went really smooth. It's a cool event worth throwing on your calendar next year.

The pace set off fast as we made our prologue loop around the parking lot area, and it was Dan Yankus who led us through most of the first lap. He was ripping through the corners and using every inch of the course. I sat 2nd wheel. Heading into the 1st ascent of the ski hill, it was Scott Hoffner putting in a good push which saw my heart rate sky rocket.

Derek Graham took over for the 2nd lap. He may have been pushing through the corners even faster than Dan was, as little gaps would open up that I would have to close back down. I was beginning to worry Derek might just ride away, but I held it together. Again, it was Scott to push the pace on the ski hill, but this time I felt more in control. A group of 4 formed for the 3rd lap. It was Scot Hoffner, Derek Graham, Alex Vanias, and me. Derek led us out.

Towards the end of the 3rd lap, I decided I was going to make a move on the ski hill and try to get away from the others for the 4th and final lap. As we approached the hill, I locked out the fork, made the left hander, and stood on it as hard as I could. The bike instantly jumped forward and my legs seemed solid. A few more hard pedal strokes, and the legs were still there! I downshifted, dug in harder, and threw the kitchen sink at it… the bike just kept accelerating. I looked back and I saw the gap opening, this was working! I downshifted again and could see the top of the climb coming closer and closer, and my gap was getting bigger and bigger, so I just decided to stand on it the whole way to top, and the legs held strong.

I kept on the pace heading into the 4th lap, but I could see Alex wasn’t far back. I knew if I could keep the gap going into the singletrack, I would be able to hold him off to the finish. I pushed through the singletrack, and suffered one more final ascent up the ski hill. Ripping down the back side, I knew I had it. That felt really good. Alex Vanias crossed the line in 2nd, Derek Graham 3rd, and Scott Hoffner in 4th. We were all really close.
I remember racing at Cannonsburg maybe 10yrs ago. It was Derek Prechtle who lit up the ski hill climb, and I remember thinking how cool it was that I was able to line up and race with him. It’s kind of ironic that I got a message from Scott Hoffner after the race detailing similar sentiments. Winning a bike race is always such a cool experience that never gets old, even after 12yrs of racing. I just feel so fortunate to live in a state where I get a chance to race with such cool competitors like Scott, Alex, Derek, and all the others who toe the line in Michigan. So here’s to the fall season of bike racing! Next up are 2 ultra cross races, Three Peaks in North Carolina, and Iron Cross in Pennsylvania, where I hope I can keep the streak alive. Thanks for checking in, and we’ll see you out there this fall.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

2013 Ore to Shore

Marquette Michigan is one of my favorite places to visit during the summer time. Throw in a kick ass mountain bike race called the Ore to Shore and it makes the decision to visit even more enticing. We decided to take Boonen, our hyper active Golden Retriever, along for the road trip. I think he was even more excited about the trip up North than we were.

I’ve done this race quite a few times, and have even managed to win it on a few occasions, so I knew exactly what to expect. The familiar names dotted the start line and I knew it was going to be a hard race. I got off the start really well, and I could tell the legs felt good. I maintained my position right near the front all the way up to Lucey Hill where Cole House threw out an attack. I decided to lay up and let Brian Matter cover the charge, which he did, and it sent my heart rate skyrocketing.

I managed to recover well, and the whole race came back together. A huge pack swelled all the way up to the first section of power lines. I went to the front, but Brian got around me and went hard through the rolling hills. I was OK with that, and I managed to stay within myself. So far, so good. The next round of punches wouldn’t come until we hit the next section of powerlines. This time, things got a little tougher, and I could feel myself struggling with the pace, but I was hanging right in there with the attacks.

In no time, we were back onto the power line trails where Brian Matter decided to go for it. He had a gap leading into misery hill… with a driving Cole House on the front determined to chase him down. We approached Misery Hill, and Cole punched it across to Brian. That was the last time we would see them. I thought it was a good idea to get back on my bike and ride the 2nd half of Misery Hill… Big Mistake. I was totally gassed and seeing stars as I got to the top.

As I fumbled through the rest of the rocky power line trails at V02max, I watched the 2nd pack of riders pull away into the distance. I kind of thought my race was over, but I pushed on and tried to recover the best I could. I thought maybe there was a chance to catch back on during the paved section.

Sure enough, Derek Graham came rolling up to aid… then shortly after that, a raging Tom Burke flew by. I grabbed Tom’s wheel. I figured there was no one better to ride the pavement with then the state road time trial champion. A few flicks of the elbow later, and we latched right back onto the 2nd group. All of a sudden, 3rd place was a possibility.  

Things would sort of string out, then slow down periodically with none of the moves sticking. I rode near the front and just tried to cover, rather than attack. I figured I would save it up for one big move near the end. As we rolled up to the big sandy downhill 4 miles from the end, I saw my chance. I railed the downhill with everything I had, then tore into the Kerby woodchip hill. Just as I got to the top, Tristan Schouten, and Nathan Guerra counter attacked. It was perfect. I latched on as Tristan pulled us right along. We had a gap! This was going to work.

Tristan pulled hard all the way thru the final singletrack and right up to the woodchip trail. He abruptly sat up. I looked back and saw TJ Woodruff and Tom Burke charging at us. I knew I had to keep the pace up, or else the 3 up sprint for 3rd was going to turn into a 5 up sprint, and I aint no sprinter. I rolled thru and took over. But as we approached the finishing straight, my legs were so loaded up, I didn’t have anything left for a sprint and Tristan took the final podium spot. I would end up 5th. In hind sight, I wished I would have attacked hard when Tristan sat up, rather than just rolled thru, but it could’ve been much worse.  

I went from thinking I was out of the top 10, to sprinting for 3rd. I guess it just goes to show that races are never over till you cross the finish line. After the race, we all stood around and reminisced a little. I reminded Brian, Tristan, and Cole of the times I had won, and how I couldn’t believe I rode that whole race solo one yr. It also reminded me that we’ve been at this sport for quite a while. It’s nice to see some new younger faces up near the front like my 616 team mate Jorden Wakely, and RBS team’s Ron Catlin. To cap it all off, we all partied late into the night after the race, and I got to know some of my new team mates. It was a great day.
Congrats to my team mate Cole House on the win, and everyone else who finished. Cole and Brian had some amazing fitness this year. So here’s to the UP, the Ore to Shore, fantastic friends, and everything else that makes racing in this state of Michigan so badass. Thanks for checking in.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2013 Lumberjack 100

This past weekend at the Lumberjack 100 was a very special weekend. I always look forward to representing my home state on the national mountain bike stage and it’s awesome we have so many great races right here in Michigan. This year we made the trip up with the in-laws Dan and Sandy O’Dea and stayed in the uber comfortable motor home. You should see this thing, it looks like something team Sky would roll up in. This would be my 8th try at this race and each of them seemed just as painful as the last.

Things were going smooth all day Thursday, but on Friday during the pre-ride, I discovered I’d broken my XX1 crank and it didn’t look like it had many options. It’s not your typical drivetrain. You can’t just throw on any old crank. It requires the replacement of the whole drivetrain, wheels, etc. Good thing Bob from 616 Fabrications came to the rescue. He let me borrow his race bike. It was a little on the small side, but it would get the job done. Stressful, but crisis averted and hopefully the smaller size frame wouldn’t bother me.

I went through my typical pre-game ritual… up at 4am which Dan and Sandy thoroughly enjoyed I’m sure, but we made the 5:15am cutoff time for departure to the course and snagged a sweet parking spot.

This race always gets off to a quick start and this year was no exception. I made sure to stay right near the front because the bottleneck into the singletrack can get a little sketchy. A group of 5 quickly formed off the front during the first lap. It was Barry Wicks, Drew Edsall, Christian Tanguy, Kevin Carter, and me. The trail was pretty dry, and there were a ton of sticks popping up everywhere as we made our way through the Udell Hills trail system.  

After we broke away the pace calmed down. Wicks was on a single a speed. So he would murder it up all the power climbs, but never really pushed the pace on the flats. Anytime one of us would try to push it on the flats, he managed to wind up that gear of his and hold on. As Scott Quiring used to call it, “the sticky booger tactic.” I have to give him credit though. I think he torqued that giant gear up just about every single climb. I was ok with that because I like to ride with a similar style.

After a lap of that, we dropped Kevin Carter and it was down to the 4 of us. Christian seemed happy sitting back, while Drew and I made sure not to give Wicks an inch. Later during the 2nd lap, Christian took a pretty hard pull all the way up to the fire tower. It was the first hard move of the race, but you could have thrown a blanket over the 4 of us. Nobody was going anywhere.

Heading into the 3rd lap, I started thinking about what I was going to do to try and get away. I decided I was going to try on the series of hills before the fire tower. I got a little gap by the top, but I didn’t have the confidence to make it stick. Too many times have I faltered on the last lap of this race, so I laid up and let it come back together. Wicks took over on the ensuing rollers and the cracks began to show. Drew fell off the pace, but Christian was still close.

I decided I had to do something on the last climb, or else I thought this might come down to a sprint. I took the lead off the final dirt rd and pushed the pace as hard as I could. The legs still felt solid. We made the sharp right hander up the final steep climb which was pretty loose at this point in the race and I punched it as hard as I could. I looked back and Wicks and Tanguy were still right with me. Dammit! This was going to be a sprint finish and I ain’t no sprinter!

We made our way towards the finish with me leading it out, Wicks in 2nd, and Tanguy sitting 3rd wheel. My plan was to keep the tempo high and just go for it out of the last turn into the finishing straight. Tanguy at 3rd wheel would be too far back, and Wicks on the single speed wouldn’t have the gear to get around me. It was the perfect plan. We hit the turn and I stood up and went for it. I came around the bend and I could see the finish line, I dug deep and drove the bike forward… now I’d love to tell you I crossed the finish line first in front of my all my family and close friends on the national stage right here in my home state, but those fairy tail endings rarely happen in bike racing. No my friends, somehow Wicks wound that gear of his up and got me on the line by ½ a wheel. I cursed him and banged my handlebar as we rolled on. I was so bummed. Oh so close.

I’ll end with this… "Sometimes you're flush and sometimes you're bust, and when you're up, it's never as good as it seems, and when you're down, you never think you'll be up again, but life goes on." After the past few weeks, I’m realizing that I am on the “up” side, even though it doesn’t seem as good as it should be. I’ve raced through long slumps just about ready to give up on getting that speed back that I had in my mid 20’s. Hell, I remember lying in a hospital bed wondering if I would ever be able to race again. 2 years ago, I would have been over the moon just to be within 5 minutes of Tanguy or Wicks after a 100 miler. But we always want more and we need to remind ourselves when we’re “up”. I might actually be riding the wave of the greatest fitness of my life right now. So am I bummed? Hell no I’m not. I feel re-born. I’m excited knowing it’s all still there… it always was there, I just had to dig it out. So here’s to reinventing ourselves and digging out the true potential that’s still in all of us.

Congrats to Barry Wicks on an unbelievable ride on the single speed, and to everyone who finished. Big thanks to Dan and Sandy O’Dea for the awesome hospitality and thanks to 616 Fabrications for saving the day. See you all at the next one and thanks for checking in.

Monday, June 3, 2013

2013 Mohican 100

8 years ago I entered a little race up in Northern Michigan called the Lumberjack 100. It was part of this new series called the NUE, or National Ultra Endurance. I didn’t know much about it, but 100 miles on a mountain bike seemed intriguing to me. I remember racing against Chris Eatough that year, and about 40 miles in, I dehydrated, bonked, and overheated all at the same time trying to keep up with him. I had no idea what I was doing. A lot has changed since then, but I do remember vowing to come back and win one of these NUE races at some point. I have a whole cabinet full of finishers glasses to show how many times I tried.

That brings us to this past weekend down in Ohio for the Mohican 100. I have to say the Mohican 100 is one of my favorites.  It’s cash payout has grown into one of the best in the series, and the Mohican Adventures cabins is a great venue. Plus Ryan O’Dell gives out free beer all night long after the race. What more do you need?

The beginning of the race started out pretty fast with the 100k racers pressing the pace right off the gun. I did manage to sprint for the hill climb prime at the start and pick up $200 thanks to the Loudonville Chamber of Commerce and Kim’s Bikes. From there the pace didn’t let up as we wound through the campground. There’s quite a few short steep climbs before we get to the actual Mohican singletrack. It strings the field out nicely, but it’s a lot of effort to put out, especially when you know you have 98 miles to go.

We weaved our way through the singletrack and a group of 3 formed, Rob Spreng, Kevin Carter, and me. I almost crashed and was able to save it, so I was happy just to follow. But as soon as we rolled under the covered bridge, I decided to give them a test on the ensuing singletrack climb. To my surprise, I opened a little gap, and by the top, I was out of site. I thought, “well here we go… this is it! GO GO GO!” I hit the run up at the end of the singletrack and I really dug deep to outright sprint up that thing. I knew that would stretch the gap out enough to be fully out of site on the dirt rd sections. Out of site, out of mind, as they always say.

From that point on, I went into time trial mode out on the roads. I kept telling myself “GO GO GO, don’t look back!” Getting through the trails at Mohican Wilderness was a little sketchy, but I managed fine. I was a little concerned about the 38t front chainring on the XX1 kit, but I was able to force it up all the steeper climbs.

I was happy to get back out onto the roads and onto the rail trail and still be out of site. The rail trail has this aweful false grade to it, and the soil was kind of mushy. It was like riding on flat tires. The heat and humidity was starting to pick up and I could feel my body starting to strain. “uh oh” I thought, “Here we go.” I pressed on through aid 4 and picked up some ice and a couple fresh bottles of infinit. I knew there were about 3 or 4 steep climbs from aid 4 to 5 and I was not looking forward to them. Just as I was rolling into the last road climb, I looked back and saw Gerry Pflug gaining on me. Sure enough, he caught and passed me by the top. I didn’t have much left in the tank to chase, but I tried. Gerry was on a single speed and I knew I was still first in the mens open as long as I could keep the wheels from falling off. Seems like Gerry and I have had this little game going on for years where I get way ahead in the beginning and somehow he catches and passes me right at the end. Must take him a while to get warmed up. I rolled into the final singletrack pretty much spent. Another hop skip and a jump with no one yet in my rear view and I found myself crossing the finish line for my first ever NUE mens open win! Rob Spreng and Chris Peariso rounded out the mens open podium. Even though Gerry got the overall, I was still really happy to climb on the top step and spray the champagne.

It’s been a long battle. Every time I thought I had one in the bag, something would happen. A flat tire, a broken chain, a bonk, I can even say I was out there breaking my neck trying to get a win.  But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about racing, it’s that it requires a great deal of patience. People, sponsors, and even my own psyche, are quick to write it off if the results aren’t coming. I was beginning to think I didn’t have what it took. I started to think I was getting too old. I started to think I was slow. Well screw all that. Believe in yourself. Determination, persistence, and a will to work hard will eventually pay off… even if it takes 8yrs of trying. That’s why I love this sport so dam much. If it was easy, the up times just wouldn’t feel as good.

Congrats to everyone who finished, and congrats to Gerry doing it on the singlespeed for the overall. That’s not an easy task! And thanks to all my sponsors who were there to share the experience. My 616 bike ran flawless, and the infinit nutrition had me dialed. We still have quite a bit of season to go, and I hope to keep the fitness going. Thanks for reading.