Palo Duro Canyon Mountain Bike Marathon Race

Posted: 24th November 2013 by Philip Simpson in Race Blogs

November 16th was my last big race of 2013, and it was a tough one. I had heard for years how beautiful Palo Duro Canyon is, and what a good fun twisty race they had. So even though I wasn’t training much, I hitched a ride to Canyon Texas with Dax Kastrin and Rich Walters.  We got there in plenty of time to pre-ride, and it really was super-fun and curvy with lots of swoopy descents and short power climbs, with just enough little drops to keep things interesting.

Photo courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife Department © 2013

Photo courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife Department © 2013

I lined up with the 100+ racers doing the full marathon (advertised as 52 miles), on about the third row. We had a mile or so pavement climb before the singletrack, but a near crash just in front of me, and then a loud dramatic crash right next to me, put me farther back in the pack. When we hit the singletrack everything slowed way down, and it was really hard to pass. One guy did pass me and since he looked fairly mature, I asked him his age and he said 53. I said “ok, I guess we are racing!”.

After a few miles things opened up a bit, and I caught and passed him back. But then I dumped the bike in a tight turn and he got back by, and I had to stop again to fix my seat, which was twisted. Soon after that I took a wrong turn, losing another half minute or so. I finally caught and passed him at the end of the first long lap.

The second lap went better, and I made good time despite the wind. Did I forget to mention the wind? It was great when it was behind you, so fast it was always faster than your speed, but brutal when the track turned upwind and hard enough to blow you off your line when it was a crosswind, and once blew me totally off the track. It was dehydrating too, so I stopped to pick up my reserve bottle (I started with a full Camelback of Gu Roctane and a bottle of H20).

The last lap got tough. The short uphills and downhills seemed easy, but they were deceptive because they were so fun they made you go fast and hard, and after 3+ hours all the quick efforts added up. My buddy Rich described it as riding to the top of your house, along the roof-top, dropping back to ground level, and then repeating that another thousand times. My Garmin said over 4000 feet of climbing for the day, even without any long climbs. I started to cramp early in the lap, not just my quads but also my hamstrings and even my shins. I had to slow way down to keep from totally locking up, and a few guys caught me. I kept going as hard as I could, right on the edge of my legs going rigid, because I knew there was a 53 year old behind me. I’m always glad to see the finish line, but this one was a huge relief.

Turns out the old guy I was worried about was on a single-speed, so I shouldn’t have worried too much. He finished a couple of minutes behind me, and that was fast enough to win the overall SS division.

There was one old guy in front of me I didn’t know about, not that I could have gone much faster except maybe getting a better start. I ended up second in the 50+ category, not first like I wanted but not too terrible for my first time at a tough race with a big masters field.

Top three Masters

Top three Masters

Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s racer and friend Nina Baum won the women’s open category (again). Alison Kinsler was second.

Open Women's Podium

Once again my Race Golds were flawless and I had no flats, just like all the other ten races I did this season! I’m super thankful for great equipment that let me finish on the podium on every race I started, despite all the rocks and thorns in the New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and Western Colorado races.

Horny Toad Hustle, Las Cruces NM, 15 Sep 2013

Posted: 20th September 2013 by Philip Simpson in Race Blogs

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The 8th race in the New Mexico Off-road Series was the Horny Toad Hustle, in the Dona Ana Mountains just outside Las Cruces, NM.  After almost a week of heavy rains, race day was a welcome bright clear day. The rain definitely killed the dust, although there were a few eroded spots and the humidity was high, but of course that is relative (sorry) to the normal Southern New Mexico dryness. Above is yours truly, Phil Simpson, on the way to an 11th overall, 1st Cat One 50+.

After the race, I gave a demo of a quick trail side repair.  I shook the wheel, showing how you can tell whether there is plenty of Stan’s, and that this one was dry.  I punched a bunch of holes in it with an awl, and of course it didn’t seal well with no Stan’s.  Then I unscrewed the valve, squirted in a bottle of Stan’s, and then inflated it.  I have to say all that, because my wife Penny’s camera died and she had to find an iPhone halfway through my demo.  The short video linked below picks up there, with the holes quickly sealed.

Demo at Horny Toad Hustle 2013, Las Cruces, NM, 15 Sep 2013

Some of the audience supplied the sound effects for the video…

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Below Alan Rishel primes the audience for the raffle by throwing out a few goodies.  Talk about a wind-up!

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We gave away a Stan’s Flow wheelset.  I was a little worried that it was 26 inch, since so many people here ride 29ers, but the winner was 26 and proud!

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Podium Shot with Karl Haack, 2nd place. Alan was third but he missed the big ceremony.First iphone photos 022

Grand Junction Off Road

Posted: 12th September 2013 by Philip Simpson in Race Blogs

Amanda, Nina, and BoothThe first ever Grand Junction Off Road Event made for a fantastic Labor Day weekend, and Stan’s NoTubes not only was an event sponsor, but was represented by pro and amateur racers from three separate teams.  Friday night kicked off with Fat Tire Criteriums for the Pro Men and Women. Here you can see NoTubes Elite Women Amanda Carey on the front, and Nina Baum close behind as they pass the NoTubes booth (and cheering squad).  Nina finished a strong fourth, and Shannon Gibson surged to finish ninth.

This was the first Epic Rides event outside Arizona, the same organization that puts on the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo and the Whiskey 50, and Todd Sadow and his crew really put together a fun time.  The next event started 700 am Saturday, the amateur 40 mile race. Starting and finishing in the closed-to-traffic Grand Junction downtown area was great and only four miles of police-escorted pavement from the Lunch Loops trail system.

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At right, Kenny Wehn, racing for NoTubes from Durango, CO is on the start line, third from right, called up since he won the last two Whiskey 50 races.  He must be focusing on something.

 

 

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Ryan Hentz and I (Phil Simpson) are just behind the front row. We both race for NoTubes Endurance Racing, but since I am in Las Cruces and he is in Aztec, we are at opposite ends of New Mexico and don’t often get to line up together.

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This is the only decent photo I have of the race terrain (thanks Marlene!).  The jeep trail in the background was one of the more fun and easy parts of the race after the technical and bumpy Butterknife.  We came down the jeep trail all the way down to the Gunnison river, before paying for it with the biggest sustained climb of the race, two thousand feet without a break.

One of the eclectic sculptures scattered around downtown Grand Junction. My wife wouldn’t let me ride it.P1080072

podiumPodium shot of 40 Grand Masters Race.  Kenny won (no surprise), and I got third! We had great prizes waiting at stage right, and Cracker topped it off with a very cool concert.

Thanks to Stan’s NoTubes, The Bicycle Company, Cannondale, and especially to Chris George and Shannon Gibson for the on-course support with water bottles and Gu!

 

Signal Punk Challenge – Phil

Posted: 10th September 2013 by Ryan Hentz in Race Blogs

Signal Peak, near Silver City, NM, August 18, 2013. Race 6 of NM Off Road Series. It was fantastic to be racing again, after both July races were postponed due to dry, fire prone forests. But the monsoons have really kicked in in Southern NM, and the Meadow Creek descent had pond-sized puddles and deep creek crossings. My drivetrain got a little noisy after fording through all that water, but never skipped a beat. It was my first race on my new Scalpel Carbon 1 (with Race Gold wheels), and everything was flawless. Thanks Stan’s NoTubes!
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