|What could possibly be better than getting to ride one of your favorite mountain bike trails? Getting to ride that trail three times in a day, pushing yourself to your limits and maintaining the smile on your face at the same time.
I enjoy riding my mountain bike no matter what the trail or the conditions. The unique thing about 12 Hours of Mesa Verde is that the Phil’s World trail system is one of the most fun courses you could possibly imagine. Almost 100% flowly fast single track with short punchy climbs, and technical rocky sections. The combination makes for one amazing ride on a single speed.
I have done this race for the past three years with a group of friends. This year one of our friends had bronchitis and we decided to stick it out with a three person team and get some extra laps in, I’m very glad we did this. I usually only get two laps and as my fitness has improved I want to get more mileage to push my limits.
My goal this year was to turn a lap under 1:20 as I have done 1:23 and 1:25 laps on the single speed last year. This year I did the opening lap, albeit slower than I wanted due to traffic, it was still mileage and that’s training.
I decided that I’m going all out on my 2nd lap in order to achieve my goal. My subconscious was telling me that it was going to be hard to reach my goal considering I had already done a 17ish mile lap semi-hard. I approached the Rib Cage and noticed I had quite a bit of time left for a sub 1:20 lap, I decided to use up whatever I had left to reach my goal. I raced in to the exchange area with a lap time of 1:17….goal reached and then some.
While I was out on the course I noticed a lot of people with flat tires. This reminded me that the last time I had put sealant in my single speeds tires was last years 12 Hours of Mesa Verde race! I stopped by the NoTube’s van where I found Kenny Wehn enjoying some well deserved rest after his super fast lap. I asked Kenny for an empty Stan’s sealant sample and he gladly obliged. I returned to the camp site, removed my valve stems, poured some of my sealant into the sample container and then dumped that into my wheels. I felt much better knowing I had some fresh Stan’s sealant in my wheels.
I enjoyed some well deserved rest and hung out for a little while with my 10 month old daughter Arya and my wonderful wife Heather who made me some very welcomed lunch! My friends Terry and Kevin some of their best lap times in the past 3 years, everyone was excited to be racing and racing so well.
I went out for the teams 7th lap, during the first half of the lap I wasn’t feeling super strong. I found my legs on the 2nd half and told myself I’m going to turn another sub 1:20, I did just that coming in @ 1:19.
It was absolutely amazing to do an extra lap and still destroy my previous PRs on my 2nd and 3rd laps. I am feeling very strong and very happy with how far I’ve come in the past two years since I started taking cycling seriousl and joined the NoTubes Endurance Team.
Posted: 8th May 2013 by Ryan Hentz in Race Blogs
Have a super awesome wife that gives me the go ahead to do back to back 7hour plus drives/weekends away from the family – Check.
Register for Whiskey 50 and SRAM Tour of the Gila – Check.
Months of physical and mental training - Check.
Stomach Bug and Cold week of Whiskey 50 – ARGGGHhh.
I was looking forward to racing the Whiskey 50 for the past two years and finally decided this year was a go. A week before the race we had a dust cloud roll through Durango and I ended up with the common cold. I thought to myself, this is ok, you will be over this by race time. It turns out that not only did I get a cold but I also had a stomach bug. I felt much better Thursday before the race and decided to make a go of it, only when I got home to pack I felt terrible again. Friday morning I felt amazing and drove to Prescott (7 hours), prepped my bike for Saturday morning and was excited to race. Friday night the stomach issues returned and on Saturday morning there was no chance I was riding my bike 50′ let alone 50 miles. I made the best of it and cheered friends on from Skull Valley.
One thing I noticed as I slowly walked around the venue and talked to friends, Stans wheels were everywhere! The friends I was staying with race on the Epic Endurance cycling team and all of them were running Stans NoTubes wheels. It was great to talk to them and hear stories about how these wheels saved their butts in races when they heard a hiss from their wheels only to see a little sealant seep out and the hissing disappear.
Sitting in Skull valley it was quite depressing watching others race the race I had waited so long for. My thoughts were lightened when I saw Kenny Wehn coming down the road in 1st place sporting his NoTubes Elite Master’s jersey. Joe Burtoni rode by in the same outfit with a huge smile on his face, was great to see him having such a great time. My friend Kelly came through and was very happy with his performance so far, it’s always great to see fellow racers having a great race and a smile on their face. I told myself, next year the smile will be on my face as well…packed up my stuff and headed back to my family to rest up and hopefully be ready for Gila.
SRAM Tour of the Gila
I was very nervous about whether or not my body would be recovered for four days of road racing. I dropped my bike off with Pete Shirk @ Cottonwood Cycles for some brand new tubeless rubber and to stitch a powertap into my Stans Alpha 340 wheelset that I had used for cycle-cross. The guys at Cottonwood cleaned up my bike, stiched in the powertap, put the tires on and filled them with Stans Sealent and sent me on my way. I stopped in ABQ to ride with a friend and do openers. One thing I noticed right away was how much smoother my bike was riding with my new tubeless setup…on to Silver City, NM I went confident my bike was ready to perform…but was I?
Day 1: Road Race
I parked my truck, hopped out, noticed immediately the guy I parked next to was running Stans wheels. I mentioned that I had just set mine up and hadn’t had much time to test them out, he said he has been running them for 2 years now without a single issue and absolutely loves them…great to hear!
The race started out on a downhill and then began to go up, I noticed that myself and two others were not with about 19 riders that had put a little bit of space on us on the first climb. I told them if they want to catch the group they should grab my wheel now because I’m closing the gap….I did just that. Ten minutes later I began to cramp, was it from putting out so much power and not warming up properly or was it from my lack of nutrition due to dropping 5lbs with a stomach bug? I was able to maintain the pace of the main group, until the last of the climbing started.
I finished 16 minutes back on day 1 but I was just happy to be racing and not completely cramped up in a ball.
Day 2: Time Trial
I will keep this short, started feeling my legs trying to cramp only 12 minutes in. The cramps combined with no aero made for one hard TT, winds were in my face going out and changed to stay in my face coming back…not cool. The course included some very rough road which I just rolled over, my wheels did a great job even though I thought my bike would explode
Day 3: Criterium
My legs felt much better on Day 3 and had no signs of wanting to cramp, I held the corners great with slightly less pressure in my wheels for better corning (couldn’t have done that with the ole wheels and tubes). My goal was to finish with the pack and not cramp so I could “roll” into day 4 strong…goal completed. Finished with the group.
Day 4: The Gila Monster!!!!
I went into Day 4 very nervous. This was the hardest stage of the race and I was going in fairly beat down. 3 days of racing, a week of being sick and only 2 days of recovery, I thought I may cramp or just explode into the nether. It turns out that as the days went on my body was recovering, at this point I am fairly certain my cramps were due to my lack of nutrition from being sick.
The Gila Monster which I had thought would be very brutal to me, ended up putting the biggest smile on my face of the past two weeks (besides my beautiful wife and adorable daughter of course). I raced with the group up past the copper mine and down NM152, our race was stopped for a few minutes while the Pro Peleton went flying by, up to the continental divide we went, I slowed down and grabbed a water bottle at the feed zone only to realize that in road racing anything goes and you will get dropped in the feed zone! The feed zone was 20 yards from the top of the continental divide and the people who grabbed water first sprinted in order to drop those less fortunate. A little disappointed, I tried to chase back. Two groups had formed, one of about 12 riders in front and another of about 10 riders behind. After 2 miles of chasing the 10 rider group and not gaining ground I decided to back off and save some energy for the long climb I had ahead….very glad I did that. I also told myself that this is all training for USAC MTB Nationals, this calmed me down and made me enjoy the rest of the race.
I made it up the climb I thought I would explode on, went down through another valley and found a 2nd wind. I climbed towards the finish line very strong..so I thought. I approached the 200m sign and noticed a car coming behind me followed by 2 riders going quite fast, they cruised by me going up a steep hill, surely doing over 20mph and the crowd cheered. These were the Master Men A’s racing to the finish. I looked at the crowd next to me and with my keen sense of humor said, “Well whatever bear is chasing them, he isn’t chasing me.” They all cracked up and I continued on… I crossed the finish line, grabbed some hydration and a banana, telling myself. ”I can’t wait until next year!”
You can train as hard as possible for months and end up not being able to take advantage of that training. However, in the end if you put a smile on your face and remember you are out there for the fun of it you will never have a bad day.
Posted: 4th February 2013 by Endurance Racing in Race Blogs, Uncategorized
Alison takes the win with me in second!
For the past couple of years David Wilson, Puzzler race director and my spouse, has been kicking around the idea of holding a trail run in conjuction with the Puzzler Mountain Bike Race. This year a marathon and half-marathon were held the day before the mountain bike race and a dozen or so of us signed up for the Completely Insane: marathon/50 mile mountain bike race! I was excited by the challenge and curious as to how I would do riding less and running a lot.
Having a 2 1/2 year old kid is challenging but when trying to “train” for a long event it is often down right comical. Weekdays are spent either pushing a jogging stroller or pulling a bike trailer and my passenger is not always in the mood to fly. So, most of my rides are to a playground, park, or some other place where the little guy is able to get out and run free. Weekends are spent out on the trails logging in some serious miles by foot and bike. Not exactly ideal for optimal race fitness and speed but a heck of a lot of fun and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
To say the Puzzler Endurance weekend did not go exactly as planned is an understatement. Due to an injury sustained at the half-way point in the run I was out on course for almost 2-hours longer than planned. That was two less hours spent eating chips, pizza, tacos, cake, etc with my feet up. When I finally limped across the finish line I thought my chances for even starting the mountain bike race the next day were slim to none. I spent the next couple of hours stuffing my face with whatever food I could get my hands on and just before dark I decided to throw a leg over my bike and see if I could pedal. It was not pretty but each pedal stroke became a little easier. I contacted teammate Alison, who happens to be an orthopedic surgeon, and decided I would likely go for it.
Race day morning came too early and all the coffee in the world wasn’t enough to get me feeling the love for a long day in the saddle. Alas, once I hopped on the saddle and the sun started to warm the air my mood changed and I knew it was going to be a beautiful day. Since Alison and I had been riding on the weekends together I knew she was flying and extra motivated as she was deploying to Afganistan two weeks later. She would be tough to beat. The start was relatively calm. There was no way I was going to push it, my legs were a wee bit tired. After the first start loop we headed out the Lazy Cow mellow single track and I was riding behind some dude when I looked up and saw four deer cresting over a ridge. Amazing. I am not going to go deep into race details other than Alison passed me shortly there after and I knew I wouldn’t see her again till the taco truck at the finish. I don’t know what I expected after running a marathon the day before, perhaps I was hoping I would be a little faster, but it doesn’t matter, I enjoyed the ride and went as fast as my legs would allow. I was so greatful to be able to pedal, the weather was perfect, and I love riding our trails. Perhaps I shouldn’t have spent so much time in the feed zones, perhaps I shouldn’t have stopped to dole out Sports Legs to cramping racers, perhaps I shouldn’t have been going slow enough to notice the deer on the ridge, perhaps I shouldn’t have talked so much with the Canadian dude on the last loop, perhaps I should have had Dave put on some more chainrings up front, or whatever. I was glad to finish and knew there was no way I was catching Alison. She was flying. Perhaps if I hadn’t run the day before I could have given her a better race. Perhaps. All that really matters to me is that I was able to push myself to my limits and I could have not done any more. It was a beautiful day!
My bike worked flawlessly; no flats and no mechanicals. For that, I have my own personal mechanic to thanks, Mr. Dave Wilson. Of course I have to thank Dave for more than being my mechanic. The race was awesome! Dave, Brent, and DJ bust their butts to put it on and have everything run smoothly. The trails keep getting better and better thanks to Franklin Mountain State Park, the volunteers, the crew at Bicycle Co, Robert Newman, and the BMBA.
Can’t wait to do it again next year! Rummor has it the run is being bumped from a marathon to a 50K. Now, that, will truly be INSANE!
Heading out for the last 15 mile loop.