Tag Archives: Big Wheel Racing

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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City Bike Marathon ’09 – Michael

Me in Munich Olympic Park

Me in Munich Olympic Park

This was year No. 2 for the SOG Events City Bike Marathon. Essentially, it’s two different distance marathons (64 Km and 87 KM), plus a kids race that starts and ends at the famous Munich Olympic Park. Last year turned out to be a mess because some people tore down marking tape, moved arrows, etc. and caused major confusion on the course with people going the wrong direction then returning toward oncoming traffic, etc

The start of the short course. Long course a few minutes later.

The start of the short course. Long course a few minutes later.

This year, they really did a great job of having people stationed at virtually ever corner and ground markings, mixed with the occasional arrow to help you confirm that you were indeed going the correct direction. Well, that is until about the 80-something kilometer mark inside the Oly Park (as we call it). When we rounded the corner to enter the stadium there were two paths. One had a very small sign with maybe 1″ tall letters (very hard to read at 25 km/hr) which we now know led to a second round of the park. The other, the one that Justin and I (as well as seemingly many others) took went to the finish line with no way to get out to finish properly.

Therefore, I finished, didn’t finish it again this year. Didn’t make me happy, but there was nothing I could do about it once I’d crossed the line and realized what was actually going on. Oh well, hopefully SOG and I will learn from these mistakes. Hopefully.

Map of the long course

Map of the long course

Long course profile

Long course profile

The course led directly toward the Isar river from the park. From there we headed North for many kilometers where a lot of carnage ensued. It always amazes me how many people manage to crash on dirt/gravel roads and end up either heavily bandaged or going to the hospital. After almost reaching the airport, we crossed the river and headed back south. At one point, we went west to the windmill hill up/over and around the Alliance Arena and then started doing a long flat curve around the north end of the city. Then we started working our way back to the park were we were supposed to do two rounds and then finish.

A couple of equipment comments. I ran singlespeed at 32X17. The course was sooooo very flat. I’m not sure whether I’ll do it singlespeed again or not. If I do, I may do it 32 or 34X16. Maybe I’ll do it on a fixie next year. Anyway, close to the end I had to stand to climb and both legs simultaniously locked up. OUCH! I kind of spun that out going into the park but I attribute it to 80+ km of spinning and not enough fluids. My Ergon grips (sadly, the Euro team couldn’t gain sponsorship for ’09) really did the job. I really love their products. Also, my GEAX tires were amazing! I’ve got the Barro Race 2.0 tires on now. There’s amazingly light and definitely a race tire. I can honestly say that they probably upped my average speed by a 2-3 km/hr. They roll so smoothly and even though they have a super low profile they never once let me down in corners. Oh… FYI, I’m also running them tubeless which works very well too. Thanks GEAX!

Here’s a link to all the Sportograf.de photos that I bought. Go HERE.

Look on the right... thats where I should be. Grrr!

Look on the right... that's where I should be. Grrr!

So, at first SOG didn’t post our results. Then, a few days later they popped up. Here they are. Keep in mind that over 2000 people participated and that people were continuing to finish over an hour after I finished. So, doing it on a singlespeed wasn’t the worst that I could have imagined.

Here’s a link to Justin Koppas post about CBM too.

82nd in Senior Men, 244th out of all men

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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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Funny T-Shirt and a new Team Member!

A photo of Martin stolen from our friend Phaty.

A photo of Martin stolen from our friend Phaty.

That above photo is what I believe to be a direct response to this.

Waltworks is selling these

Waltworks is selling these

All dressed up and nowhere to go

All dressed up and nowhere to go

In other news, we’ve added another new member. His name is Justin Koppa and he’s another American. If you’re from Colorado or New Mexico you may know him or his wife Angie (who is on Velo Bella race team). From what I can glean, the man is rocket fast. I think that he’ll be another great addition to our team. Maybe somewhere down the road, we can get Angie on Big Wheels as well.

Justin has racked up quite an impressive resume over the years. Check out below (hopefully, he won’t mind me posting this).

NMSU cycling team 2000-02

Raced for Zia Velo 2002-2007 (famous alum include Ryan Blickem, Bob Desenfants, Steve Castillo)

A few 1st place finishes on a 4 and 5 man 24 hour team at Old Pueblo, 24hr Adrenaline Phoenix, 24 Moab
A 2nd place at old Pueblo  on 5 person, beat by a Sue Haywood team by 20 some odd minutes

10th place Solo, 24 Old Pueblo, Tinker won it, Dave Harris 4th, I was only 1 lap out of 3rd, rode it with  tubes and slime, wish I had stans wheels then.
NM state champion Expert 20-29

1st place Duo 12hr Dawn til Dusk, Gallup NM

1st Amatuer NORBA marathon (where I got my semi-pro upgrade)

9th GC Tour of Gila cat 4 ( use to do a few local road races each year)

while in Grad School, competed at Collegiate MTB nationals in Angel fire again for NMSU, got 15th or 17th in shorttrack, then broke the rear derailleur off in the XC.

I have not only been on the racing end of things, I have also promoted races.  As a member of the NMSU cycling team, 99 or 2000, started the Tortugan Torture race around “A” mountain, then the next year we added a short track.

Promoted the Hillsboro road race, part of the NM road series, when it was in existence.

Started the Horny Toad Hustle in 05, part of the New Mexico Off Road series, then in 06 it was the NORBA State Championship race for New Mexico.

Promoted a 4 race cyclocross series in Las Cruces as la Lorana park on the Rio Grande river in 2006.

Somehow… I think there’s many good things in his future too.

Welcome to Big Wheel Racing Justin!

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Ergon….a thing that we love

My (Wunnspeed) Ergon Love going on

A boy (namely me) and his gloves

As you can see from the above photos….I’m an avid Ergon fan. Big Wheel Racing picked up Ergon as a sponsor in ’08 and we’ve never looked back. We’re also proud to call them a sponsor for 2009. Woohoo! Seems that people on the team really love the quality, fit and feel of the things that Ergon produces. Seems that everyone has some unique way of using the packs for many things.

In the photo on the left, you can see my team Ergon team colored BD2 Backpack and the GP1 Leichtbau grips as well. In the photo on the right, you can just see my gloves. I’m lucky enough to live in Europe where these gloves (the HM1) are available.

Now, let me tell you a few things about these products. First, the grips. I’m primarily a singlespeeder. Also, I ride mostly without suspension so my hands can get quite tired and used to fall asleep after many hours in the saddle. Since I installed the GP1 grips on my bikes, I’ve not had any problems whatsoever. In fact, I’ve spent up to 8-9 hours in the saddle mtb touring in the Dolomites without a hint of a problem.

Ergon makes grips in many different configurations and also in various sizes. What that means to you is that you can choose what size, shape or color works for you. You can also get them with barends of various shapes and materials (i.e. Carbon Fiber, Magnesium, etc.).

The pack… in a word…. FANTASTIC!

Let me give you an idea of what some of the other team members have to say about Ergon products too.

Matt and Ergon working together

Matt and Ergon working together

Matt Turgeon says… “Ergon changed the entire way I brake and hold onto the bike.  At the onset of the 2008 season I did obtain a set of Ergon GP1 grips but did not know how to use them.  I tried to still hold onto the grips with my smallest two fingers and then brake with the larger two.  In early March I had an accident and ended up breaking 4 fingers, 2 in each hand.  Recovery was difficult as I just could not hold onto the bars effectively, much less even try to use the brakes.  A freidn familiar with the Ergon grips taught me how to properly hold the handle bars – with the index finger and thumb and then change to middle finger only braking.  The change was AMAZING!  With no pressure placed on the smallest two fingers anymore (which are also the weakest gripping fingers) my arms became more relaxed and my upper body no longer was prone to fatigue.  Ergon is so far ahead of the curve and I love my GP1s!”

Andrew and Ergon

Andrew and Ergon

Andrew's Ergon on the White Rim

Andrew's Ergon on the White Rim

Andrews pack on the White Rim

Andrews pack on the White Rim

Andrew Carney says… “The Ergon BD2 is hands down the best hydration pack I’ve ever had on my back. The Ball-Link (FLink) system allows the pack to move with you and your movements as your ride. Long gone are the days of packs riding up or shoulder straps hindering upper body movement. It’s a sensation that truly has to be experienced to fully comprehend because you’ll never know how good a pack can feel until you’ve had an Ergon on your back.  Inside the pack are countless little organizational details such as compartment separators, organizers, and an integrated rain fly. If you ride with a pack for long or short rides, a Ergon BD2 will be a vast improvement over traditional hydration packs in terms of both comfort and function.

I’ve been using Ergon grips for 2 years now and it was love at first grasp. The wing shape of the grip vastly reduces hand fatigue over long rides and provides many different hand positions. I prefer the GR2 with bar ends because they provide additional hand positions and leverage when I need it. I have a set of Ergons on every bike I own and no bike is complete without a set. Even if you’ve never experienced hand pain or fatigue on traditional grips, a set of Ergons will drastically improve both your comfort and control level while on the bike.”

Jeni Turgeon says… “The Ergon pack has got to be one of the most versatile pieces out there. It fits well to the back and allows you to stash tons of items either in the pack or outside and on it! ” and “No more sore hands with the Ergon grips!”

…and in the “Probably not what Ergon had in mind but we used their packs for it anyway file”…..

Devin Curran says… “I once attached a rear 29″ wheel to mine and rode home 9 miles from work…” Devins photos below.

Devin's BD2 backpack and his Spot.

Devin's BD2 backpack and his Spot.

Looking over Devin's Ergon grips at the road ahead

Looking over Devin's Ergon grips at the road ahead

Matt using his as a utility pack

Matt using his BD2 as a utility pack

Matt with the same BD2 out for a hike

Matt with the same BD2 out for a hike

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