2015 Midseason

Just wanted to drop in and share some rides and race results from this season so far.

In March-April I returned to the States for 5 weeks where I took a needed break from Europe and rode like crazy, an estimated 60-70 hours in 5 weeks, which set me up with some fitness In May, which I parlayed into a month of climbing mtb rides around Dortmund alone or with my Spanish riding partner Alfredo and a handfull of subsequent 100+km rides by June, one down the Rhine after buying another used mtb in Andernach and riding it back as far as I could.  These rides were looking good, so I decided to race.

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Since I am technically a college student I was able to compete as a collegiate athlete again for the first time this year since 2000, in the Deutsche Hochschulemeisterschaften.  The DHM was at Haltern-am-see, a ~150m high rocky uplift in the lippe/emsher geologic complex NRW covered in tall dark forest, with a fat boy time trial on Saturday and a cross country on Sunday.  We did it as a family vacation weekend and took the train out to Haltern Saturday and I pulled Jason in the trailor and Annika rode along side to Flaesheim (a dorf) where we spent the race weekend at an old Inn just 500m from the race start.  Long story short, I had terrible flat luck all weekend, but stuck it out and took home a result.  I double flatted before the start and at the line of the time trial but ultimately raced on a borrowed wheel and had a mediocre TT but which placed me in the top 40 of the 200+ field start the next day.  In the CC, I got a rock stuck in my shoe at the start and had to get off and pry it out, loosing lots of that place advantage, then flatted on the first lap at the top of the big climb, Fuck!  But I fixed my third flat for the weekend and fought back over the remaining 80 minutes and ended as the top TU Dortmund finisher and 10th overall in Germany in the student category, with 1000vm’s over 21km’s.  As is often the case, the top student winners were also factory pros who won our race (lapped me – reality check), and then also won the pro race later in the day.  Oh to be 20 again.  Its was also Jason’s first race and he was so excited from Saturday’s events that he didn’t sleep on Sat night, so Sunday I was tired…as were a few other racers who stayed in the same Inn, oops!  The organizers also miscategorized my number and placed me in Senor 1 in Fun results, not Collegiate, so Im not on the collegiate finishers list but if you look at Senior 1 I am listed as TU Dortmund and a comparison of my time to the collegiates shows I got 10th.

http://www.time-and-voice.de/mtb/haltern-2015/ergebnisse

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After the DHM I wet to Greece for 2 weeks and did a couple notable rides, one with over 2000vm’s over 4 hours on a mountain bike…the so called “Monopigado” ride.  The first photo is dropping into the valley before the big climb up to Monopigiado on the left showing the undulating Greek terrain it takes to get there, then the second one from above Monopigado looking across the other side to Mt. Chortiatis, a 1200 m non-active volcano I climbed on a trip in early 2014.

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Upon return to Germany I did a tour around the Ijsselmeer in the Netherlands over 2 days with a buddy of mine.  What a blast, with the best being in Edam sitting on the canal eating a cheese sandwich and drinking an IPA…like we stepped back 700 years.  Here is an image from about half way across the 20km causeway riding out of a thunderstorm which came across the Ijsselmeer and just knicked us.

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RIDE ON BWRE!!

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Tanja @Marathon-EM Singen 2015

CONGRATULATIONS

third  place for Tanja in her age class….

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Start of the Season 2015 @ RIVA

So our new members Tanja&Jens  are starting with the first report for 2015…..

I just post for them in German (if anybody dont understand plz use an translator ;))

greez

Mat.

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Riva die Saisoneröffnung
Das Jahr 2015 wollte wir natürlich standesgemäss in Riva mal wieder eröffnen. Diesmal das erste mal als Big Wheel Racer.
Donnerstag war Anreisetag. Bus und zelt am Camping Brione aufgeschlagen und gleich mal chillen…
Freitag war im Zeichen der Vorbelastung…schön easy und ruhig eine Runde mit dem Bike drehen.
Da kam uns der Monte Brione und seine Trails gerade richtig. Die ersten 350hm haben wir also gleich bei uns am Camping abgespuhlt.
Weiter ging es nach Arco und dort auf die Strecke der Facile. Schöne weitere Runde gedreht und dann zurück nach Riva gerollt.
Natürlich darf ein Espresso/Capuccino und eine Gelati nicht fehlen…lecker…
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Ein Besuch der Austellarea haben wir uns auch noch gegönnt und gleichzeitig haben wir uns angemeldet. Bis dahin haben wir uns nicht einigen können ob wir auf der Picola oder der Grande starten sollen. Weil wir aber nicht wussten wie gut unsere Form war haben wir uns dann für die Picola entschieden.
Ab zum Camping und gleich alles vorbereitet für den morgigen Renntag…Stertnummern montiert, Kleider bereit gemacht und ebenfalls die Bikes.
Samstag dann der Renntag. Früh um 0530 Uhr sind wir aufgestanden und haben gleich gefrühstückt, damit dasEssen beim Rennen nicht quer im Magen liegt.
0700 Uhr ab nach Riva an den Start. Startblock B und hei gleich fast ganz vorne konnten wir einstehen. Super Position für den Start, der in Riva sehr wichtig ist, da es nach ca 4km Asphalt gleich knackig den Berg hoch geht und viele dort nicht fahren können stossen und es Stau gibt.
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Nach der Warterei ging es dann los…PENG…ab ging es und ich hatte einen guten Start…bin in den Top 20ig vom Block B in den ersten Anstieg rein und hatte gute Beine. Tanja lief es nicht so rund und sie musste sich gleich zu Beginn von unzähligen Biker überholen lassen.
Bei mir waren die Beine weiterhin gut und ich konnte die ersten 850hm gut kurbeln. Weitere steile Rampen mit bis zu 30% habe ich dann hinter mich gebracht und ab km 32ig ging es dann eigentlich nur noch runter und nach Riva nach vorne. Nach 2:23h hab ich dann das Ziel erreicht. Super Zeit obwohl ich eigentlich 2:15h angepeilt hatte. Für mich Platz 96ig insgesammt und Rang 17. AK. Damit kann ich zufrieden sein.
Auch Tanja hat die ersten Anstiege im Rennen gut gemeistert auch die steilen Rampen, die ja bekannt sind in Riva bergab war es dann aber teilweise noch sehr feucht und rutschig. da musste Tanja dann ab und an absteigen und die Abfahrten zu fuss bewältigen. Am Schluss gelang ihr aber auch ein gutes Resultat mit dem Rang 44. Insgesammt und 13. AK.
Alles in allem ein gelungener Einstand im Big Wheel Trikot und schönes Wochenende.
Nächster Halt ist der Singen Marathon.
Grüsse Jens und Tanja
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2014 Recap

I just wanted to post to the website and give a quick update of what has been happening in Dortmund.  Basically, I moved to Dortmund from Essen in early 2014 and immediately began a whirlwind of work, finishing a National Science Foundation grant with Kansas State University studying the effects of political fragmentation, land cover changes, and water quality and quantity across the USA in February; Spent several months preparing methods and work assignments for an intern from University of Toronto I hosted at TU Dortmund to collect data for my PhD project via the DAAD RISE scholarship; My wife and I had a baby, Jason Philip; and I prepared and delivered a curriculum for Landscape Ecology and Urban Planning as well as am advising a course on sound pollution in the landscape here at TU Dortmund.  In between all of this, I am still charging ahead on my PhD project and hope to complete it by end of the summer semester 2015…because I really need to get a job and make some money now that the funding is dried up!

I did get the chance to do some great rides, because it is the only way to say sane with such a schedule and often occurred in the middle of the day on my city-bike in normal clothes when the weather gave a nice window, but the frequency simply wasn’t there to be in any kind of racing condition this season.  My sports-tracker account I use for recording pleasure/training rides says I rode 790 kms in 2014, but I use that app infrequently, so I did maybe 3x that amount.  I also don’t have a car and use bike as my only transport with my school and back trip right at 10 kms per day (50km per week), and I estimate I rode 70% of possible work weeks last year.  So I would put a crude estimate on last year’s riding at 4100km.  Not enough to race and be competitive, but enough to keep me skinny and fit enough to do the 3-5 hour rides when I had time and to keep the pilot light on so that I can get back to it in 2015.  I have planned a 2 week base-training block in Greece this March, which by then I hope the weather here will turn and I can go back to real training rides and make a competitive showing at SIS.  I am really hoping to travel down there this year with my wife and (will-be) 1-year old and have our first family camp out.

Here are a few photos of my favorite rides this past year..It really is great riding in Germany, as I’m sure all the folks living in Germany already know!

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Transalp with Michael

This years highlight for me and probably Michael was a trip across the Alps with our bike. Starting point was in Oberstdorf, Germany and destination Torbole, Italy on the shores of Lake Garda.

Stats for the tour are; 464,1 km and 10705 meters of climbing.

My bike for the adventure was a Niner One 9, equipped with a Rohloff Speed Hub, SLX brakes with 180mm rotors front and rear. Rock Shox Reba 100mm fork. I also had a Supernova Infinity Dyno hub up front powering a Supernova E-3 Tripple light. I had normal Alp-X gear except for my camping gear; Six Moons Designs one man tent, Big Agnes Pitch Pine 40 sleeping bag, Big Agnes Clear View pad. Vargo Ti stove and Alpkit Ti mug.
This was also a rigorous test for our new Pactimo kits, I had our new shorts, Jersey, Arm warmers, Vest and hat. Except for a little grease stain on the shorts, there are no visible signs of wear and tear!
Michael’s kit was almost the same except that he had his new Edel Bikes 29+ He received a lot of attention with that orange beauty! He was also running a Supernova Plug to keep all of his electronic gadgets charged.

We deviated from the original route due to bad weather, took paved alternatives instead of braving the muddy trails and dirt/gravel roads. In the end it was hard enough going up the steep asphalt passes of Italy.

we choose to do it bike packing style, meaning we had camping gear along to sleep out under the stars and cook our own meals. This turned out to be very challenging right off the bat. Shortly after starting in Oberstdorf we had to climb up and over the Schrofen Pass, it’s not long or terribly steep but really narrow and there are a couple spots where you have to carry your bike. When all of your gear is on the bike this can be really hard. At one point Michael’s bike almost went over the edge. I couldn’t do anything but watch. Luckily he was able to wrestle it back on the trail and we could continue.

Another hard section was the hike-a-bike above the Silbertal, according to the description in a Alpencross book it says it’s an hour of HAB. Haha!! It was more like two and a half! That’s when I realised that whats good for one route doesn’t always means it good for another. It’s great to have most or all of your gear on the bike but for serious HAB’s where you have to pick up the bike and carry it over big rocks or ledges it can make things rough.

On the third day we met a guy named Marcus from the Allgäu region of southern Germany. He was doing a trip alone. So our duo turned into a trio! Marcus really knows the Alps well and he told us about the different places and passes that we were riding through.

We only camped out one night due to the crappy weather. One place I would have loved to camp was in Val Mora, right on the border to Switzerland and Italy. Maybe next time.

We met some great people along the way like Marcus. Had great food, if only the weather would have cooperated. 

Here are some pictures of our trip.

Start in Oberstdorf

Start in Oberstdorf

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Hut below the Schrofen Pass

Hut below the Schrofen Pass

Michael on the Schrofen Pass

Michael on the Schrofen Pass

Ladder on the Schrofen Pass

Ladder on the Schrofen Pass

Michael in his element

Michael in his element

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Fimba Pass

Fimba Pass

Downhill from Fima Pass.

Downhill from Fima Pass.

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Sent, Engadin

Sent, Engadin

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Trail to Costainas Pass, Switzerland.

Trail to Costainas Pass, Switzerland.

Pass da Costainas

Pass da Costainas

Döss Radond

Döss Radond

Val Mora

Val Mora

Val Mora

Val Mora

Marcus's knee after a crash. Looks worse than it was.

Marcus’s knee after a crash. Looks worse than it was.

Rifugio Val Fraele

Rifugio Val Fraéle

Getting ready

Getting ready

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The road to Passo di Verva

The road to Passo di Verva, we had cake and coffee in the house to the left. 

Passo di Verva, 2301 meter

Passo di Verva, 2301 meter

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The last few km's to Lake Garda.

The last few km’s to Lake Garda.

Finished!

Finished!

 

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Darkness: The 10th anniversary

10403498_10152660479346060_2429173016049520799_n 10513373_10153043345138448_7949083984020458526_n 10534564_10153043373598448_615540859710788600_nWe’re back from SiS and I guess all of us agree we had a fantastic time again. In Weidenthal we feel kind of home and in the last years we have written quite a lot about SiS on this blog, so I won’t go into detail to much. Hanging out with the gang in the BWR-camp at the middle of the festival area was great fun and so was the riding.

Some of us joined the singlespeed race a couple of hours before the actual nightride/nightrace. This time, the SSP-fun took place on a really flowy singletrack course up in the woods where we had to ride laps and drin Pfälzer Schorle.

At the nightrace afterwards I felt we lived the right spirit, somewhere between fun and racing. Our crazy soloists Ausilia, Mandi, Kalle, René and André did impressive distances with up to 160Ks. Ausilia won her category and Mandi, Kalle and René podiumed (the latter being punished with non-alcoholic beer). The Fatbike-team with Michael, Phil, Rick and Sheldon seemed to have a lot of fun and “the slow bastards” consisting of Mat, Jelle, David and me fucked it up at three in the morning – which acutally was really funny and at least brought Mat and me some Malteni beer during the race. Rüdiger also seemed happy after his ride in a one-person-2er.

Guys, that was great – see you soon!

 

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Dyfi Enduro

Wales, UK is normally wet, muddy and mountainous the 2014 Dyfi Enduro was all of those except it didn’t rain! The Howies Dyfi Endurois a 60km (including the ride out and back from the campsite) off road enduro that’s got around 1600m of climbing on fire road and some techy singletrack climbs, the descending is tough on slate, rocky outcrops and some very slippery muddy sections. There’s a bar serving free beer with a disco near the end too which always a welcome sight. It’s a non competitive (cough) event but the red mist normally takes over and we have to let rip once in a while. This year Mandi chose to ride her Independent Fabrication 29er and I thought my Salsa Mukluk FatBike would be perfect :-) Enjoy the video!

 

http://youtu.be/BYrlrqjXKrQ

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