Category Archives: Races

Race reports.

Christians und Andrés Saisonstart 2013

Für Christian und mich war heute der Auftakt 2013 mit dem München City Marathon.

60 bzw. 80 km / zusammen gestartet / zusammen angekommen.

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Die Strecke besteht nur aus einem kurzen Teilstück in der Stadt, danach geht es an die Isar und in einer Schleife um die Alianzarena wieder zurück zum Olympiastadium. Von Michael gibt es ja schon ein paar Bilder von den letzten Jahren, für uns wars das erste mal.

Bilder werden erst in den nächsten Tagen bereitgestellt, ebenso die Ergebnisse.

More to come….


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Knog Muddy Hell Nightime CX race @ London’s Herne Hill Velodrome

Last Christmas may wife was very good to me and bought me a Singular Kite CX frame and fork, so it needed building up and riding hard. Over Christmas and into early January I built it and rode it with road wheels for a week or so to ‘test’ it. I then slapped a pair of cx tyres on it and decided to give it a go off road! Well, it’s a great bike for fire roads and gentle xc but when I took it down my favourite downhill run and hit some small doubles cleaning the down and landing to flat it dawned on me that I may have the wrong idea about what a cx bike can do. I scared myself to death on it! Time went by and road tyres back on for the Wednesday night chain gangs and before I know it summer has been and gone. I receive an invite to race Knog Muddy Hell, I’ve been asked down to this event for a few years but always declined as I’ve never had the correct tool for the job. This year however, I decided what the Hell there won’t be anything as scary as my local DH run!
Arriving in London to drizzle and 3°C I was having 2nd thoughts, a quick catch up with Casper the owner of Rollapaluza and race organiser I checked out the course. #%}{|€¥>; it had Woops, steep drops, big man made bridge and a tabletop jump! Ah well if the rain carries on the landing will be soft! Like a fool I entered the seniors race under instructions from a mate who races cx a fair bit, on reflection Novice seemed a little more suited to my cx skill set! I watched a few races before darkness fell, seniors were due off at 20:20 a good 2 hours after it was dark, it was now 1°C and wearing my BWR Europe uniform I emerged from the car freezing cold and thinking why am I doing this? Practise lap under way the course was a quagmire but so much fun, I even was starting to look forward to the race. Lining up at the start everyone who had bothered to do a warm up lap was plastered in mud, everyone was shivering though. And we’re off, crikey some of those boys are quick! I soon got into my rhythm and was keeping up with a group behind the leading pack, I hit the woops and cleared them all whilst the field in front and behind crashed or jumped off their bikes and took to their feet. After the woops came the wall ride, then the bridge, the bridge was so steep a dismount was needed. I remounted at the top and looked up to see a load of people with cameras waiting by the table top at the bottom to catch any poor sod who thought they could get air on a cx bike crashing. All sorts of thoughts were in my head, I’ve no idea what took over but I just launched myself off, down the bridge and into the air with a nice little cross up, landed sweet to a cheer. I was on cloud 9! Not sure what happened over the rest of the race because every lap I just wanted to get air! And every lap I managed it albeit the amount was getting smaller as I was getting fatigued. I was lapped by the winner twice during the 50minute ordeal race but none the less finished with a smile. There were a lot of riders that didn’t make the finish due to rear mechs wrapped around their wheels due to the excessive mud.
Not sure I’ll be a regular cx rider but I’ll be back to Muddy Hell next year for sure.




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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 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 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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‘Heimspiel’ is German for ‘home game’: On the last two weekends we had two races in/around Munich. Since my last race a month ago I was able to do quite a bunch of riding with both the SSP and the shifted bike, mostly in the fantastic surrounding of the Bavarian Alps, so I was curious to see how it would work. Although I will probably never do a race without any mistakes (well, who will?), I would say I had a good time. This is a short version of how it went.


The first race was the Tegernsee Marathon. Other than last year I decided to go Singlespeed and signed up for the B-course. It was supposed to have 55 km and 1.390 vertical meters of climbing but they did some last minute changes because a farmer had blocked the passage through his territory. Well, I said something about making mistakes: I lined up way to close to the end of the field of 706 riders and therefore had to deal with a lot of traffic on the first climb and had to walk singletrack passages I could have ridden (which of course  is one of the most senseless things that can happen to you out on the bike). The rest was typically SSP-tactics: Overtaking on the climbs, being overtaken in the flat passages. When the race was over I had worked myself to place 351. Not too bad I guess.

Hello! Racing is about having a good time!

Big Wheel Racers chatting at the start line.


Last weekend we had the 24 Hours of Munich in the beautiful Olympic Park. My wife Petra and me did the race as part of a wonderful eight-person-team consisting of good friends from Munich, Stuttgart and Mannheim.Riders passing by our camp around midnight. Note the coolest team bus ever, provided by Urs from                                                                       Munich. Note also the guy in front: Troy Lee Helmet + Rocky Altitude from 1997 = coolass!

  My friend Bertram and me having a finisher beer.

It was hot and it was fun. Although you could easily ride that race track on a cross bike I love the course due to its beautiful surrounding and because of all the corners and bridges you cross. We had some good laps, we had some bad laps and we pushed each other with the lap times. 25 minutes 21 seconds was the fastest time physically and mentally possible for me, although that made me eat the same breakfast two times. I also had a beautiful nightshift during dawn.

 I also brought some of our sponsor’s products like these Sock Guys my wife was wearing.

Well, now I am somehow tired. I got a cold from my attempt to find some sleep in a canvas chair just after sunrise at the 24 hours and I still have heavy blisters on the feet from all the walking at Tegernsee. Maybe it is time for a bit of regeneration!


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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, uniform, CarboRocket sports nutrition, Specialized helmet and shoes. Thanks to all of you for the continuing support!

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