Tag Archives: 29’er

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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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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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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24 cremona 2009 – By Ed

Sand is not my friend

Sand is not my friend

Well, well, well, I have been reading another blog and it seems as if I the target of the blogger.  You know the one who doesn’t have much to say about much I don’t post much and don’t have a head the size of a hot air balloon.  So in deference to his extremely popular blog and my much less so popular blog I will avoid using the words “not much to post” and “took pics on my ride today” and stick to his uncanny ability to pump up his own inflated ego.

Racing is not really the best way to have fun, 24 hour racing makes racing even less fun and as I did one last weekend I have spent the past week trying to recover my will to ride.  Not as easy as one might think.  I don’t want to see any mountain bikes at all, I don’t want to ride the road bike and I want my freaking calf to quit cramping.  I broke a chain and raked the teeth of my crank set up the back of my calf causing an immediate cramp and bunches of blood, but the cramp won’t go away, it seizes up at random times while walking the dogs or riding causing a bit of pain.  Not that it bothers anyone else, but I care about me, at least when things hurt me.

Ouch!

Ouch!

So the race went well, I got one flat, one broken chain, one continually dragging rear disc brake, 16 hours of rain and mud more slick than ice. Fun, no?  Well not really.  The race began with a stupid long run, I hate runs to the bike, it makes me tired and hurts my feet in my cycling shoes.  You must get to the bike, and although all the people competing for the overall run like sprinters, I, myself, trot slowly.  As I get to the bike most everyone else is already flying onto the trail acting as if this first lap will decide the final placing of the race.  NOTE TO ALL YOU GOOFY PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THIS, IT IS THE FINAL TOTAL NUMBER OF LAPS YOU DO THAT MATTERS, NOT WHO FINISHES THE FIRST LAP FIRST.

So I cruised around dodging people, getting passed and in general saying hi to folks I have met at previous races and members of the Los Lobos club.  It was kind of nice, well really I felt good so I was having fun and for the first 8 hours it was pretty much just like that, ride along have a good time and enjoy the off and on again rain.  It all changed as I stopped at 10 PM to grab some food and take a quick shower and have a few beers before I went off to sleep for a bunch of hours because my partner in the duo class had gone home and wasn’t going to ride anymore that night, so why should I?  Well we were in first place!  What me in first place at any race, no.  So instead of kicking back and having a good time I looked for a coke, some meat and some chips and ate as much as I could as fast as I could and was back out on the course.

Overnight I managed to do a bunch of laps, but our rival teams had two riders going all night, not one.  (I should clarify it was cumulative not cooperative for the lap total) So for every two and half I did, they did four.  It was mentally wearing to pass people, and know I was still losing laps.  I managed a brave “I can do it” face until 0400 and just had to sit down for a few minutes and promptly fell asleep for an hour.  Upon waking I jumped up and realized I was really really hungry.  So I ate and ate and ate and then finally left the dry safety of the Lobos tent city for seven more hours of fun in the rain.

As the race continued parts of the course where closed due to danger for the riders, and as the course was modified we got to ride new and more slippery sections of “less” dangerous trails.  Well they where wider than the stuff they closed off, so when I fell I had less chance of smashing a tree with my face, but more of a chance of smashing the ground with my face.  Fun, fun, fun.   I made it until noon, when, generally speaking most 24 hour races stop, when I crashed.

At this point I was standing up and riding more than sitting, and I won’t tell you exactly why, just think water, mud, 17 hours and a nice light and normally comfortable saddle and well I hope your imagination takes you to why I was standing.  So I was pedaling down a pretty straight slippery flat section of double track when I lost concentration for a second lost my front wheel and fell way faster than it took you to read this.  It hurt, not just my pride, as a few people saw me, but my wrist too.  It felt like a mild sprain and hurt like a mild sprain and I needed a reason to hang up the old cleats.

At this point we couldn’t catch first place and third was too far behind to catch us so why not take advantage of the excuse?  I could have taken some advil and kept on going, or eat a bunch of grilled Pork and sit down and relax.  Well relaxing seemed the order of the day.  The pork was very good.  Thanks Stefano.

All in all a pretty good race.  I am recovered physically at least, my legs felt good two days after the race, but I am not motivated to ride at all.  Bikes are bringers of pain, not the fun machines they where prior to the race.  Another week maybe the fun will return, but today it is drizzling and instead of riding I am typing this drivel.  I need three more hours this week to reach 18 hours riding, but what the hell, I like popcorn and petting our dogs, so I will eat popcorn and pet the dogs and think about riding, that should help my fitness level, right?

Mmmmm, I'm hungry!

Mmmmm, I'm hungry!

I had a good race and had some bad luck, some good luck, thanks to SingleStoff and the Lobos guys and took second overall.  Not a bad weekend, I just hope to ride as well in a month in Finale.

For those of you who are interested, King Cages rock, not a single lost bottle for me but others lost bottles everywhere, the Avid brakes I used where very good, aside from the constant dragging which turned out to be the fault of a bad bleeding job by a local shop, I used Kenda and Maxxis tires, the Crossmarks where not great in the mud, the Karmas not any better, but no tires would have been good on this course.  Who else?  Oh a great frame by Stoic cycles that is now being painted and the best handle bars in the world Luv Handles by Groovy Cycles.  Oh and I used several products for energy from Hammer nutrition to keep me fueled physically.  Mentally, well I am never stable there.  Hope you are all well and next time I hope some funny stuff happens because it is more fun to read about my failures than successes.  Of course I have very few successes so I won’t have to wait too long to write something funny, to me at least.

(From Michael…. many more photos of the race here on Flickr)

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Tegernseer Marathon ’08

TegMarathon08-02TegMarathon08-05

The only photos of the event where I look like I’m moving more than about 4 km/hour. The above were taken by Sportograf.de and the ones below were taken by Kera. A few other photos can be found here and here.

Last Sunday I ‘participated’ in the Tegernseer Marathon 2008 version and did the C route. That means 65 kilometers with 2.483 meters (8,146′) of climbing. I say participating because my performance didn’t warrant the term racing.

I hadn’t signed up in advance so I missed out on the really cool ClimaCool Adidas running shirt that they give the other racers or ‘participants’. I did get a few goodies in my bag though. I got 2 Powergels and a Chocolate Harvestbar (the only Powerbar that I can bear to put in my mouth) and one of the regular extruded (Soylent Green-like bar). The regular ones are just too similar to 10 year old toothpaste or Soylent Green to me.

Almost thereFinishing... finally!

After riding (mostly) a well laid-out course with a lot of up and the only down being sloppy-rugged singletrack, I was pretty beaten up. Quite a few riders would come up to me after the long 30 minute downhills and congratulate me on doing it with a rigid fork. It was kind of funny. On the last downhill I’d finally decided that this wasn’t either A) fun anymore or B) funny at all. Luckily, just past that, I hit what amounted to the last few kilomoters of the course. The back side of Walburg will look familiar to some of you as you saw photos of it when we went sledding with our friends back in the winter. See below or here or here. Oh… as a side note, there are a lot of rocks under that snow which I found on the way down in the race.

IMG_2108IMG_2114

In the end, I finished 73rd in my category and 241st overall for the ‘C’ course in 5:20:06.02. It probably goes down as one of my worst races in recent memory even considering my abysmal performance thus far this year. I’m not really sure what’s going on with me other than not enough training. I just can’t seem to get jump-started at the beginning of each race. It’s actually becoming fairly frustrating in spite of the fact that I feel stronger each week but I just seem to keep falling further and further behind in results.

On a lighter note: one thing that I can often say about events here in Europe is how well organized they are. I suppose when you’ve got the population of a small American city racing (think between 1500 and 2500 racers) you kind of have to be well prepared. At the Start/Finish area this past weekend there was a small expo area, food, beer, etc. There’s almost always an official MC to announce incoming riders and keep the crowd entertained throughout the day. Along with that there is music and sometimes a DJ. Out on the course, there are a lot of volunteers at key places with food (bananas, Powerbars and chocolate) along with water, Coke and some sort of sport drink. At one point on the course, they actually had a bike wash where, while I was drinking and eating a bit, a young girl was washing my bike to remove of the massive amounts of mud that had collected.

So… I just want to thanks to Ergon for making great gloves, one of these days I’ll get around to putting some Ergon grips on my Curtlo.. It’d sure help. I’ve got the GP1’s on my Black Sheep and they’ve become one of my best riding buddies. Also, I was running Maxxis Ignitor tires which never ever slipped on even the muddiest and wettest of rocks and as soon as I was out of the mud shed it quickly. Hopefully, one day I’ll be able to get ahold of some of the other sponsors products, but I’m happy with what I’ve got at this point. Thanks again to our team sponsors.

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Photo follow-through

I promised you photos from the Corratec City Bike Marathon. Here are a few. There are more here.

This coming weekend, Ed Husted and I are partaking in the Garda Marathon. I think he’s shooting for the long-loop and I’ll probably be happy if I make the time cut-off for the middle distance (I’d love to do the long one though). I’m sure that we’ll both have race reports from that ASAP afterwards.

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