Author Archives: wunnspeed

About wunnspeed

What does one say here. Hmmm. First, I'm a "trailing spouse". Kera, my wife, works hard and keeps us afloat. I work... not nearly as hard and contribute enough to let us have fun. I'm an English Teacher (English as a Second Language) here in Germany. It's an amazingly rewarding thing to do. I'd never have believed it until I'd tried it. I also make bikepacking bags under the name SpoK Bags. Just search for us in Flickr. We're adventure nuts (i.e. cycling, travel, life, friends, etc.). We attempt to live each day as fully as we can manage.

Scared of the Dark? Don’t be with SuperNova

One of our wonderful sponsors has this cool new video advertising the Supernova Airstream light. Great for bars or helmets.

I should be sporting one for Schlaflos im Sattel this year too. Currently, I have a dyno powered E3 (off road model) light and absolutely love the ease of use and the fact that I NEVER have to worry about batteries running out.

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by | 4.03.2013 · 13:15

2012 Munich City Bike Marathon is in the bag

Just after the neutral start

As in every year for the last 5 or so, I went and participated in the Munich City Bike Marathon. It’s always my first race of the season and even though I usually end the race wondering why in the world I go, come January of each year I start chomping at the bit to sign up again.

The map for 2012

“Normally” (there’s nothing normal about this race), it’s in the 90 km range and it only has 120 vertical meters or so of climbing but this years due to tree work and an event following the race they shortened the course by 25 km down to 65 km. Well, that is until it started raining anyway.

The race starts and ends at the Munich Olympic Park and the last 5 km or so are run inside the park grounds. Some of that, mostly climbing and descending is done on cobblestones. If you’ve never ridden cobblestones, you should. They’re bumpy as hell and when wet, you might as well be on ice, especially if there’s any hint of mud in the county. In any case, they knocked off another 3.5 km because of the rain. Therefore, the race ended up being 61 km and change. Also, they not only shortened the race but they moved the start to 7:15 in the morning. Ugh. Nothing like having to get up at 5:00 and try to get to a race which starts early but to also start without a warmup and to have it raining…. needless to say, it didn’t start well.

Topping the little hill

Unfortunately for me, I could have used the extra 30 km this year. I’ve been training for the Tour Divide Race so I’ve got a lot of miles in my legs for 2012. In face, I checked today and I’ve already hit 1600 km (not counting the 2-4 times a week we hit spin class in the Winter too) for 2012. Anyway, the distance wasn’t the problem by any means.

The race starts with a “neutral” start which takes the racers across town to the Isar River. It’s really anything but neutral as most people are already jockeying for position to keep from getting stuck behind the slow riders. I got stuck behind a bunch of the riders from the 2nd start and ended up one of the last to leave from my group. I made it to the river, and about 2 km up the river before the motorcycles from the 2nd start group caught and passed me.

I spent the rest of the race pretty much riding alone. For the next 25 km I felt terrible. My heart rate was all over the place and my stomach and legs were anything but happy. It wasn’t until we hit the mid-point of the race by the Alliance Arena (where Bayern München plays soccer) that I started to feel civil again. Suddenly, I started to feel like I had some power in my legs and felt semi-civil again. Coincidentally, that’s about the same time that a lot of the people that had passed me previously started to slow down. I started passing people left and right from there to the finish. Like I said… I wish that I’d had the extra kilometers as I’d have probably managed a much better finish than I had.

This year was the first year that the weather has ever been anything but nice. It was probably part of my early issues both because of being chilly at the start with no warm up but also because I had to wear a rain jacket which then cause me to overheat a bit (for me, that’s usually worse than the cold). In the end I finished 25th in my class at 2:10:04. The winner of my class finished almost a half an hour ahead of of me and he’s 8 years older (58 years old!).

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BWR Rocked SiS 2011

SiS 2011 is the house!

Well, last weekend was our favorite annual trip to SiS in Weidenthal, Rheinlandpfälz, Germany. If you don’t know where that is, start at Kaiserslautern, go east to Frankenstein (yes, it really exists) and keep going until you hit Weidenthal. It’s a really small town with a giant heart!

Herr Förster being serious about racing

Our heroic friend Ausilia from Italy

I’ve been to SiS (Schlaflos im Sattel) 5 times if my count is correct. From the very first time, it’s been the highlight of my ‘racing’ year. Everytime, I get to see some of my favorite people and reconnect with singlespeed fanatics, team mates and others. Along with that, I get to be part of a truly unique event.

Schlammbein World Tour

This year, was extraordinary for a couple of reasons: 1) I didn’t get to race last year due to injuries but went to watch anyway and getting to in 2011 made me really happy 2) I ended up racing solo for the first time since my first SiS 3) It was the first time it had rained A LOT in all the years that I’ve gone.  It not only rained but it poured and poured and poured. Because of that, the number of people on the race course dwindled at an amazing rate. Some quit simply because it was raining. Others, because it was time to drink beer. People like me, quit because the sandy mud accumulating in my brakes simply ate my brake pads. Considering I just installed new pads last week it kind of gives you an idea of what it was like.

Yuck! Photo borrowed from the SiS blog

My original goal was to just do one lap, judge how I felt and either stop or continue. That was my first goal. Well, after my first lap, I thought “that was a lot of fun, why don’t I do another?” So, I did and did and did until my fifth lap when I started to realize that my brake levers where getting closer to my handlebars with each use. I have Avid Juicy’s which are adjustable and I did so while riding. Then I hit lap number six. Everything went well throughout the lap. Even the long technical downhill that ends each lap and ushers you into the start/finish area. On the previous laps I’d been able to do a controlled skid/slide down the hill but on lap six it was more of a matter of holding the levers of my now completely shot brakes to the bars and make my way down the hill. After that lap I decided that it was no longer safe to continue. My only regret was not being able to continue and see how many more laps I could have done.

In any case, I was quite satisfied with my performance in that I rode as long as long as I safely could without cramping or feeling like I had hit the end of my endurance. The only limiting factor was my brakes.

Christian Förster and his better half Petra

We had fantastic results. Bryce placed 3rd in solo as his longest ride ever, Jelles team placed 3rd in 4′er team, Longos team placed 2nd in 4′er team, Wils team did well as did Christian Försters 2′er team. Most importantly, we had a great time!

Back Row (L to R): Kendall, Jelle, Longo, Christian Förster, Michael Front Row: Bryce, Jochen, Phil Not Pictured but in attendance: Wil

Honestly, the members of the team can’t thank our various sponsors enough. A couple of them that really stand out are Supernova Lights for giving us multiple lights to use for the event, our teammate and sponsor Jelle who owns Singlespeed.nl keeps us in parts, Geax tires for keeping us rolling on dry days and on wet nights like this one was. Others of note, Home Brewed Components, Carbo Rocket and Crema Cycles and Biciclista.it for putting us in the coolest uniforms I’ve ever seen.. Everyone of these sponsors had a hand in getting us all safely and happy through SiS 2011. THANKS FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HAPPY LITTLE HEARTS!

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Tegernsee Marathon 2011 or How to have one of the worst days on a bike ever!

It only looks like I'm in the lead

As someone who’s ridden and raced bikes for 16 years now, I’ve had my share of bad days (i.e. dehydration during a Flint Hills Death Ride at 100+ degrees, bonking during a race in Mid-Missouri so badly a team mate handed me his only food so I could finish, etc.) but somehow, my recent problems at the 2011 Tegernsee Marathon have overshadowed all of them. It could be that it’s just so recent but it might also be due to not fully understanding what happened.

Speeding by... HA!

Here’s the story. For many months leading up to the race, I’d kept planning to enter the D course (the longest with mega-elevation) as a singlespeeder. However, I found out that my in-laws were coming and that we were going to be spending the week before the race on the road traveling through the Alps. In end, I took what I thought was the more intelligent optoin of the C course (68 km and 2600 vertical meters) geared.

As you can imagine, my eating and drinking were way off of my ‘normal’ diet (I’m a business English teacher and travel from company to company so I have no ‘normal’ days). In any case, I made an effort to keep drinking as much water as possible throughout the week previous to the race. By the end of the week, I knew that I had put on a pound or two but nothing out of the ordinary for vacation.

Smiling because I know I'm almost done

Now, day of the race. I got up early, drank a bottle of Carbo Rocket loaded water on the way down to the race, show up, get everything ready and go for a warmup ride. Everything felt good, in fact pretty damn good. While there, I ran into my teammate Christian and his wife Petra. That’s who I’m talking to while waiting for the start of the race. The race started 15 minutes late due to a farmer not wanting the bikes on his land at the last moment but then we were off. For a ‘neutral’ start we took off at about 30+ km/Hr and my hear rate instantly spiked.

My normal racing heart rate is between 155-165 and I was pushing 180. It was about this time that I started to realize that something was wrong. When we were let go and we hit the first climb it became blatently apparent that it was honestly going to be a shitty day and that my only two goals were to not quit and not end up DFL.

Within the first 10 km I started to cramp (I still don’t know why) and it just kind of went downhill from there. The rest of the day involved nursing cramping, fighting mud and people who can’t ride on singletrack and pushing up almost everything resembling an incline. Like I said… It sucked!

Finished..... and finished!

At the end of it all, I accomplished my two goals. I FINISHED and I wasn’t DFL. In fact, I finished 144th of 153 in my Under 50 class and 385th out of the 400 men that they timed. Way off of my previous C course time but I finished.

Thanks to Crema Cycles for setting me up with my awesome Indy Fab. Ti Deluxe 29′er, grips and more. Also thanks to Carbo Rocket for the hydration products and their new CR 333 which was the only thing which made me feel better throughout the day. Lastly, thanks also to FRM for the fanstatic rims and Geax for the tires.

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CBM 2011 – Back in the saddle and doing well

The last downhill and feeling good

So, after nearly 9 months since my literally neck breaking accident, I’ve been training and now racing.

The first race of the year was the München City Bike Marathon. It just so happened that I was test riding (doing some of that now and contributing reviews to a well known 29′er website too) an On One Carbon Race 29′er (one of our co-sponsors). Since I had it and I’d also done this race on a singlespeed a few times previously, I decided to run with what I had. It turns out that it was a good idea which made the race a lot more fun. The only thing that would have made it better would have been to have had a couple of teammates there to race with. I actually think that we could have done well.

As it turns out, I started strong and seemingly got stronger throughout the race. I kept getting into mtb pacelines (often a scary thing around here), riding with them for awhile and then moving forward to the next group. I couldn’t tell you how many times that occurred through the course of the race. In the end, I finished 195th overall out of over 700 people (including pros) and 65th of 200+ men in my category. It made me quite happy in the end.

Crossing the dam close to the beginning

It’s hard to tell here but I was sporting the new Geax AKA tires which are now my new favorite tire, FRM Wheels, other sponsor products which helped me do well are my awesome Sock Guy socks, Biciclista.it uniform, CarboRocket sports nutrition, Specialized helmet and shoes. Thanks to all of you for the continuing support!

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Crema Cycles Rocks the Berlin Bike Show

One of our sponsors Crema Cycles was at the Berlin Bike Show this past week and in the coverage by Fahrrad (that’s a bike to you english speakers) News, Ken and our friend Basti where in the very first photo of the story.

Ken and Basti rockin' the Berlin Bike Show

You can see all of what Ken and Crema Cycles has on offer if you click on his name.

Plus, Crema Cycles is sponsoring a Short Track series. Here is one photo from the race in Berlin. See below.

Everything didn't go perfectly for some

Click here (Crema Short Track Series) or on the photo for the link.

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New Uniforms are here!

So… after waiting for awhile, the new uniforms are here. Done fantastically by our friend and sponsor Biciclista.it they look great!

I’ll try to add a couple more photos tonight when I have time. I’ll also be starting to pack them up and ship them off to all the members.

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24 Hours of Finale 2010, my report… Michael

The Freaks come out at night

So, there’s this race…. it’s called the 24 Hours of Finale. For me, it’s about a 7-9 hour drive from München/Munich to the shores of the Mediterranean a few short kilometers from France and worth every second of it. The region is called Ligure and the town is called Finale Ligure. If you ever want to see a beautiful part of the world and ride on a really great course, this one is for you. On the way there you go through a beautiful mountainous region of Switzerland where they speak Switzer Deutsch on one side of the tunnel and Italian on the other side. A rather bizarre thing that harkens back to the days when people couldn’t go through a tunnel to go from one side of the mountain to the other.

Most of the Los Lobos

We put together a 4 person team made up of two current BWR Europe members (Andre’ & myself) and two non-BWR Europe members (Theran & Christian). Unfortunately, a week or so before the race, Christian ended up in the hospital with some sort of infection and couldn’t race, of course. When we hit Finale, in fact, up until the rest of the team finished registering on Saturday morning, we didn’t know that we were going to have a replacement for Christian. Lucky us though, Steffan joined us to be our fourth man. As it turned out, he was a great addition to the four-some!

Man.... this is steep!

The race for us team folks started in the Plaza of Finale. For the solos, it was the now well-known LeMans run. However, that also had a twist (it was extra long). I was the ‘Start’ guy for our team, maybe not the best of ideas, but it happened. I’d been fighting my rear tire to keep it aired up as tubeless for a couple of weeks and it haunted me. I had to finish the short lap instead of doing the long version and seemingly lost a lap or two instead of getting the 2 that we were supposed to have been given for doing the climb and a lap.

After that, Andre, Steffan & Theran went in succession. The heat took it’s toll quickly as we’re all from Germany and Switzerland where it’s been nearly winter temps and raining for months. The 30 C temps wore me out for sure and I know that the other guys were feeling it as well. So, we went from doing two laps each to one until it cooled down. After that, everything went smoothly until both Steffan and Theran managed to break their light mounts (both repaired with the help of duct tape & zip-ties). The good times continued throughout after that.

I loved my night laps as did everyone else. It was cool and beautiful out. Plus, as the hours wore on, fewer and fewer people were on the course. In the middle of the night you could nearly go a whole lap without seeing anyone. Strange as there were, in theory, up to 500 people on the course at any given time.

In the end, we somehow lost a couple of laps due to scoring errors and what I have now figured out…. I had 414A while the rest of my team had 415B-D. Odd that none of us noticed it the entire time that we were racing either.

Steffen riding through

Thanks to the guys for helping me have a great weekend! Unfortunately, I never caught Theran on film. I might have to see if I can steal a photo from elsewhere to add to this post.

The course is not easy but at the same time I wouldn’t classify it as easy by any means either. Our gear might say otherwise though. I broke my frame on the last lap and Andre’ realized a couple of days after the race that something was wrong with his frame as well. Turns out his was broken as well. Mine is on it’s way back to Black Sheep to be fixed or replaced and I believe that Andre’s Niner will be heading in to be warrantied too.

Right behind the head tube is a big crack

Oops

Next year, I am considering doing this race solo. We’ll see how this turns out as it comes closer to being reality.
Thanks to Supernova for the lights, Geax for the tires, Carbo RocketBiciclista, FRM, Chris King, Specialized, Sock Guy, Singlespeed.nl, Independent Fabrications, Crema Cycles as they all made the racing that much thought free and fun.

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The Loooooong road ahead…. our team and the Tour Divide race

Our little (and growing) international team sports some pretty decent talent. None of us are pros but we do o.k. Mat & Jochen in Switzerland, Jelle & David in Holland, Ed in Italy a couple of the guys in France and when Longo is feeling well, he can really crank out the speed and all of the rest of us. The list goes on…and keeps growing. Each of us does well more often than not. Plus,  we all have our good days and our bad days. This post is about a few people on the team that are doing something that still has a very small list of competitors and it really helps if you have about 3 weeks of back to back “best days of your life.” It seems that this year might be a record year with 45 participants signed up to try for that string of fantastic days.

Before I tell you what I’m rambling about I want to share something with you. A fact about our team that I find most interesting is that on our little team there are at least three of us planning to do one of the longest and most difficult mountain bike races on the planet in the next 3 years. That race is called the Tour Divide.

If you don’t know about it or have never heard of it click on the links that I’ve provided to go to the web site and look around. There’s a lot of info. there and I’ve shared some of it below.

Pulled directly from their website, here is the info. on the race.

The Race

Tour Divide was born of inspiration from John Stamstad’s watershed `99 Divide ITT, and the US border to border challenge known as the Great Divide Race (ca.`04). TD observes all the historical Divide racing controls save length. It pushes the envelope further by staging opening day racing from the top of the GDMBR in Banff, AB, where MTB-legal wilderness in Banff National Park serves as an immediate test of mettle. The Canadian section adds only 10% more trail, yet rewards riders with unforgettable geology, rugged terrain, abundant wildlife, and an international flair cycling has come to expect from grand tour racing.

A little about the route….

The Route

a

The GDMBR is the world’s longest off-pavement cycling route. It’s highlighted by long dirt roads and jeep trails that wend their way through forgotten passes of the Continental Divide. The route travels through Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, and the United States of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico (map). By route’s end a thru-rider will climb nearly 200,000 feet of vertical (equivalent to summiting Mount Everest from sea-level 7 times).

_____________________

Divide racers must not only be conditioned to endure weeks of consecutive 16+ hour days in the saddle, they need to bring other skills to the trail. The route is unmarked and circuitous, requiring navigational acumen. It travels through remote backcountry with Grizzly and Mountain Lion density. Intervals between services are frequently 100+ miles and demand calculated food/water resupply – or else. Riders must also find shelter each night or bivouac trailside. In minutes the Rockies’ dynamic mountain weather can wreak havoc on route surfaces, skewing even the most near-term travel projections. Of course, it wouldn’t be a grand tour without the geopolitics of negotiating the, albeit lower-security, international border crossing at Port of Roosville, Montana.

If you’re interested, check out the rules. I think that you might be a bit surprised.

_____________________

Anyway…. Phil is doing it this year (lucky number 13) and will be our Guinea Pig (not the kind you eat). Next year is Davids turn and then in 2012, the year that I turn 50 it’s going to be my turn. Why do it? Well, I think it’s probably very different and possibly very much the same reason for each of us (that actually makes sense if you think about it). For me (as I can’t speak for the others), it’s about pushing my limits to the edge and beyond. Along with that, it’s about the adventure. I only get to go around once so I might as well freakin’ explore every possible avenue while I can. No?  My 3rd reason, is that my friend David Guillot has heard me talk about this race for years and last summer he challenged me to do it with him in 2012 for my 50th. I love him and hate him for that, by the way.

I know that Phil has been doing an immense amount of training in the past because I’ve read his blog and he mentions it on our team email list. David is an endurance cyclist as well and he’s doing the 24 Hours of Finale solo and from recent reports, it sounds as though he’s riding from Holland to the race on the edge of France & Italy and the ocean. I suppose, that means that this might be about my last ‘play year’ before I seriously start training, loosing weight and gathering the supplies, guts and who knows what else to be able to pull it off.

Two things that you can do as an interested spectator is to follow along via podcast and/or watch the racers progress transmitted from their SPOT emergency transmitters.

Also, if you’re really interested, there’s now a movie out about the race. I would guess it will be available to buy as a DVD soon but for now….

For upcoming screenings refer to their web site http://www.ridethedividemovie.com/screenings/

Ride The Divide Movie Trailer from Ride The Divide on Vimeo. Check the previous links for movie previews. It gives me chills watching these. I suppose that’s a good thing.

There’s a page with Letters of Intent to race. Phil’s is done in classic Phil Fogg panache….

I’m in.
Phillip Fogg
Age, 45
Gelnhausen, Germany

So, like I said, Phil is first up and we’ll all be watching and cheering him on from the ‘safety’ of our office chairs, couches and bikes seats. We wish him well and next year David as well.

Phil… good luck buddy, we’ll be thinking about you a lot and cheering you on the whole time!

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Growing and Changing in 2010

This post is loooooong overdue…

As some of you know, 2009 was a big year for us in many ways. We added a few new members from various parts of Europe. Those new members went on to do some pretty awesome events and also earn some damn impressive results along the way.

It looks as though 2010 is going to be equally as exciting in that we’ve added some new members and some more are reported to be joining as well. We’ll announce them as soon we are able.

For now, our new members are:

Eric Fogg (Phils son) – Germany

David Kleinjan – Holland by way of New Zealand

Wilfred Beaumes- France

Romain Colletgiusto - France

Christian Voelkl – Austria

———————–

As far as sponsors go, we’ve made a couple of changes and also kept many of our 2009 sponsors as well.

We LOVE our sponsors. Thanks in advance for helping us have a great year!

New for us for 2010 are:

Independent Fabrications Germany

Carbo Rocket

… and back for another year are…

Biciclista.it

FRM

Geax

Singlespeed.nl

Supernova

Sock Guy (via our American team)

Specialized (via our American team)

We have people competing in some really great events for this year (i.e. The Great Divid Race, SiS, 24 Hours of Finale and so many more). Our goal on this blog is to keep our friends, family and sponsors updated on our activities. We’ll do our best to accomplish same. So, keep checking back for updates.

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