Tag Archives: BWR

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.


by | 4.03.2013 · 13:15

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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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


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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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.



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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Wow…that didn’t take long

Get used to seeing this smiling face. My buddy Jochen answered the call for new racers on BWR Europe. Strangely enough, I’ve known Jochen longer than almost anyone else in the cycling scene in Europe. We met a few years ago in Switzerland at the Swiss Singlespeed Championships. He’s a really great guy, super easy going, very fit and very fast, especially when his competitive streak kicks in. I spent a week with Jochen last year on our Gardasee tour. Even when he’d done a lot of damage to his bike in an endo, he remained calm and smiling. He rode his ailing bike back to his car, got everything taken care of and met us later in the day to continue riding with us for the rest of the week.

Jochen is one of the moderators at our favorite European 29’er forum (www.twentyniner.ch) which does have English speaking and now a French speaking forum as well.

There’s probably more that I could say about Jochen, but I’ll leave it at that. Basically…. WELCOME or WILKOMMEN!

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12 Stunden Rennen – Külsheim – 2008

(The 12 hour race in Külsheim)

I am a lucky man. A friend of mine, Ed, drove of from Italy to support
me during my solo ride at the 12 Stunden Rennen in Külsheim. The
difference between doing an event supported and unsupported is huge,
and anybody that actually has a friend volunteer their time to stand
in a transition area and hand you water bottles, goos, electrolyte
pills, etc. is really lucky.

Ed showed up at my house in the early morning and we jumped into my
van and made our way to Külsheim.The van was already packed with my
primary race bike and a “pit bike”. The race bike was an On One Inbred
singlespeed (32 x 19) fitted with an older Lefty DLR, Racing Ralphs
2.4×29 on Velocity Blunt rims, and fairly new Ergon GP1 grips. The pit
bike was a Kona Unit 2-9 but I did not need to ride it. During the
drive to the race we went over my nutrition plan, and actions at the
transition area. I dictated the nutrition plan and Ed pretty much gave
advice based on his greater racing experience which I was very
thankful for.

As we approached Külsheim we drove into an overcast, drizzly morning.
There was going to be some mud, that was a given. Probably some
chafing too. My motivation was sinking as Ed was messing with me,
telling me how bad it was going to suck and that I should just quit.
The drizzle seemed to stop as we approached the race site and I got my
starter package while Ed set up our gear at the tent that was housing
the German single speeders.

The the race started promptly at 0900. I was wearing the Big Wheel
racing bib with some baggies over it, a long sleeved Jersey, and off
we went. The course consisted of a mix of flat to mildly inclined
gravel roads, some fire roads, two singletrack sections, some trails
across grassy fields, two singletrack downhills, two gravel downhill
sections, and across a series of 5 tank berms in a Bundeswehr training
area. The conditions of the course varied from muddy and wet in the
early part of the day to drier when the sun finally broke through at
noon. The downhill singletrack sections were slippery mud that defied
traction till half way through the race where one section turned to dry soil
and the other turned to a fairly tacky moist singletrack section but
where braking remained rather iffy. The flat singletrack sections were
situated on higher terrain so they started to dry up and after several
laps they were ridden smooth and were tacky with decent grip. The
depressions between the tank berms were filled with water but having
ridden the course last year I knew fairly decent lines to ride on the
left edges that avoided the hub-deep puddles. It would be wrong not to
mention the 3 uphills, the first one came fairly soon after the first
singletrack downhill and was an uphill gravel road. The second hill
was more mellow and came after the second singletrack downhill, and
the third uphill followed a gravel downhill. The third uphill was a
long incline that went through a field and then grew steeper and
turned into a gravel forest road. Following this third hill was a
stretch that took you to the second gravel downhill which one could
bomb down and it led into the transition area. There was a muddy run
up in the transition area that led to a short steep muddy roll down
before you got to the scoring gate.

A lap was about 10.5km long and I was riding them in a 40 to 50 minute
time range. I believe I rode 14 laps but Ed counted 15 laps and I
finally stopped after 10 hours and 50 minutes of fairly non-stop
riding. After 3 laps I was walking up the first uphill and up the
second half of the third hill. The middle hill was doable, even on a
single speed.

My nutrition plan consisted of 3 Power Bar Gels per lap (I started the
race with the regular flavor and ended up hammering the Espresso
flavor with double the caffeine during the last few hours). Every lap
Ed would hand me a fresh water bottle, with either one scoop of
Perpetuem or SE (Sustained Energy), gel packs, and some Endurolytes.
The Power Gels contain electrolytes but I also consumed one or two
Endurolyte capsule per lap in the transition area. I did not cramp up,
although at times I felt some twinges in my thighs when I got out of
the saddle to really mash. Ed also provided me with a couple of Cokes
and chocolate cupcakes, but I could only drink about a half bottle and
eat half of a cup cake before I felt full. The Orange/Vanilla flavored
Perpetuem tasted like the dust in the bottom of a box of oatmeal with
a hint of ass, the Sustained Energy tasted like ass, but I got used to
it after a while. I would probably not use SE again if Perpetuem is

Given the amount of gravel roads and flatter sections I really
appreciated the lockout on the Lefty DLR. The Lefty has a true
lock-out and it was really nice on the smooth trails and tracks to not
feel the fork bob. Unlocked, the fork allowed me to bomb the
downhills if they were not congested by slower riders. The Avid BB7s
(180mm) functioned extremely well, as did the Ergon GP1 grips. I am
lucky to still have the Ergon grips because I was on the verge of
throwing them away due to the difficulty in setting them up perfectly.
But I did manage it after several training rides and I must say I am
impressed. I had no numbness of the hands or tingling sensations. The
Schwalbe Racing Ralphs (2.4 x 29) were another issue. We have a
love/hate relationship now because they did not perform well in the
mud during the first half of the day. They packed up and essentially
turned into big brown slicks and the corresponding loss of control.
This was especially noticeable on the singletrack downhills when
having to slow down for slower riders. The Racing Ralphs are not mud
tires, but they held their own on the other sections of the course.
The last piece of gear that made an impression was the Big Wheel
racing bib made by Pactimo. Despite starting off in wet conditions and
then sweating for almost 11 hours the bib did not chafe. The padding
was nice on the tush and there was no butt-pad shaped welt that
sometimes happens with lesser quality biking shorts. The only down
side to a bib is the necessity of removing too much gear/jersey when
trying to take a dump.

I stopped after almost 11 hours in the saddle and must say that I felt
pretty good. There were no cramps or major physical issues and I did
not feel sore the next day. The brake pads were down to 66% but I kind
of expected that. It was a tremendous help that Ed provided. For my
next longer solo race I will surely try to enlist someone to support
me again and fine tune my nutrition plan.

Thank you Ed!!!


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