Todays race was exceptionally hard, I was riding my single speed fat bike, the Surly Pugsley. I haven’t weighed it but I’m sure it weighs somewhere around 14 – 15 kilos. But it’S fun to ride! More so when the surface you’re riding on is soft and deep, like snow, sand and mud. Today we had no snow and no sand but a little bit of mud. I found out that the big 3,8 Nates can be leaned way over in slippery turns and still have enough traction to rail the corner.
Photo copyright Dirk
After the desaster of Mannheim four weeks ago I was really hot for another Cross Race. Last Saturday it was finally the day of our home-match here in Stuttgart, where one of the local clubs organises a race of the national cyclocross series every year. However, until Friday evening I wasn’t even sure whether I would ride there or not. First, I had a slight cold and second there were some organisational issues in the way. Lastly I decided to ignore the cold and to work around all the other stuff. So, we went there quite early in the morning to register, afterwards I went off to pre-ride the slippy and tricky course. Due to all the loose grass on the track it was sure that the main problem of the day would be to keep the derailleur hanger on the frame.
It was really cool to see all those people who had turned up here in Stuttgart: Sandra and Ken Bloomer from Crema Cycles had come up from the Allgäu, Dirk had done the drive from Freiburg and the local Stuttgart gang around Bicicletteria was here as well of course – all together 64 (!) people stood at the start line of the 40-minutes hobby race, which is more than in the pro category during the afternoon, and made the first minutes a little survival trip.
As I had registered only an hour before the race I had to start at the very end of the field, but nevertheless it worked out great! I was able to keep touch with the people around me for the first two laps and then started to overtake. It felt a bit like being part of a video game, working myself up the ranks and at the same time making sure not to crash, keeping the pace exactly at my modest limit. As I heared the bell for the last lap I really gave all and finally got a little reward: After DFL in Mannheim four weeks ago, I was on place 34 of 64 here in Stuttgart in the end and, apart from that, really had great fun during the race.
The first race with the new team kit did not exactly go as planned. We went up to Mannheim to do the Star Cross there which every year marks the beginning for the Cyclocross season in Germany. As it turned out, the organizers there are super friendly and the 2-k course is exactly as I think a Cross circuit should be: Some passages twisty, but also speed in it and some really tricky little descents.
The day started with my friend Bekka ripping her rear derailleur out of her one week old frame – bummer! And well, it went on like that: The Hobby-guys, including me, started together with the Pros and around half way through the first lap I crashed in a muddy corner. I needed some time to sort it all out and so I had lost the field. I spent the rest of the race chasing the other unlucky ones and managed to get at least two of them (who later gave up unfortunately). But not enough: Close to the finish one of the Pro guys decided he had to scream ugly stuff at people he was overlapping. What the hell? If you start shouting “HEY! HEY! HEY!” thirty metres away don’t expect us to vanish in a millisecond, but either tell us “Right!” or “Left!”. One of the guys directly in front of me tried to tell him afterwards. Things got even worse and in the end those guys (well, more the Pro guy than the other one) were really close to beat each other up. Never had that at a cycling event, never want to have that shit again.
Oh, here are more picks of the lame duck in the cool jersey.
Our new teamkits are here. It shows a new BWR logo and represents our cool sponsor brands Just Pedal Bike Shop, Osprey, Crema Cycles, Supernova and Spok Werks. Christian Cotterman took care of the design and Phil Fogg was the project manager for producing, ordering and distribution (write the story down and send it to the next university, they will award you a Ph.D. for that!). Thanks to both of you!
Wow, it’s already two weeks ago that we have been to the 2013 SSWC in the Aosta Valley, Italy. We had a really cool weekend there, extremely nice bunch of people and some great riding. An SSWC course facing such impressive mountains and glaciers will really have its place in our little racing history. Thanks a lot, Marco “Yoda” Nicoletti (teammate and SSWC chief organizer) for all your efforts to put to together this great event.
We had a really strong BWR group present. The above picture shows, from right to left: Ausilia, Sheldon, Rick, Michaela, Seba, André, Phil and Christian. Jelle is somehow missing, if I remember correctly he took the picture, and Marco is missing as well. At that time he was busy steeling 200 wheels.
And it’s time again to thank our sponsors: Geax tires took us round the challenging 32-k-course safely, Supernova made sure we had a little sun with us during Friday’s nightride, Osprey and Biciclista made us look so sexy.
And here’s a video by Sheldon, showing some of the best parts of the race.
Grenzsteintrophy 2013 the fourth lesson
A lot of excitment leading up to this event, as usual. I felt I was mentally prepared and had all my gear down, I just didn’t feel physically top fit. None the less we, Team mate and good friend Michael Cleveland, headed up to Baltic port of Travemünde. We meet with some of the other racers at a local eatery in town and talked about gear and the Tour Divide Race.
After a fitful nights sleep we were up and ready to depart. A quick coffee and pastery at a bakery and we went to the ferry to get across the river to where the start was.
We all gathered at a secluded beach and took pictures until it was time to leave. These events never really feel like a real race at the start, the pace is not too high so if you want you could ride up with the lead group. I decicded to go purposely slow to conserve energy for the coming days.
I’m not going to draw this out and do a minute by minute account of my race, I’m just going to tell how it ended and throw in some pictures.
Day one went really good. Made it past Dannenberg and bivi’d in the woods with Jeff Tomassetti, from Florida. 226 km.
Day two started out good but through overgrown trails and really shitty logging roads became somewhat frustrating, also the heat was killing us; it got up close to 36°C latter in the day. Got a room and took a shower! Felt great afterwards. At dinner I ordered a non-alchoholic beer and wondered why it tasted so good, only to realize that it was a real beer! Got a good buzz off it J
200 km. on the day.
Day three was a tough one; started good but then took a wrong turn and ended up doing 30 bonus km’s. Some monotonous tank plate sections in the brutal heat with a tailwind sucked all the energy out of me. Then the long a extremely brutal climb up and over the Brocken mountain took the rest out of me for the day. My little finger on my left hand started to go numb. Found a great B&B in a quaint town in the Harz Mtns.
Day four was maybe the most brutal, a relentless up and down all day 125 km and 2600 meters of climbing. I’ve had big days, more km and more vert but this one really kicked my booty! No really big climbs just a lot of them. Got another room/shower and an awesome meal. Felt like a human again. Except the little finger and ring finger of my right hand was starting to go numb, the left was the same.
Day five; another hard day? Hell yes! More relentless terrain, steep hills; too steep for my gearing. Even too steep for Casper who had a Sram 1×11 set up. His front chainring was a 22T, and the biggest rear cog, 42! He still had to push. Saw more beautiful country, and places that I have never been.
Got a big burst of motivation when we came to my section of the GST, I though, heck yeah! I got this! Later in the afternoon I started to think otherwise. Why punish myself like this? I wasn’t havingfun anymore; it was great having a riding partner like Casper and we talked about all kinds of stuff but the riding was not fun. A lot of the route was along overgrown trails and old loggin roads that I avoid when I ride. To me it seemed like the other scouts wanted to make it artificially hard. Isn’t riding your loaded bike self-supported off road for 1250km hard enough? Anyways, I made my decision to stop even if I had just over 300 km to go. In the end it was the best decision for me to make. My hands were getting worse, my right was going lame, I didn’t have the dexterity in it any more. So call me a wimp and quitter but I don’t care, my health is more important than a finish.
I made a couple of good friends and I learned again, for the fourth time, that multi-day self-supported racing is not for me. I’ll stick with one day races from now on.
Like to thank some of Big Wheel Racing’s sponsors; Jelle at Singlespeed.nl, Supernova lights, Geax tires, Effetto Mariposa for their superior tire sealant, The Sock Guy, Osprey Packs, Spok Werks and Crema Cycles. I had no issuses with any of my gear; everthing worked just the way it’s supposed to.