Saturday, August 29, 2015

Heck Epic 2015

Heck Epic.
Northern Minnesota 2 day stage race.
Day 1. 100 miles through the woods from Two Harbors, MN to Ely, MN.
Had to carry own camping gear.
Day 2. 106 miles through the woods on a much tougher route from Ely back to Two Harbors.

20th place Day 1
10th place Day 2
13th Overall Combined Men, no age groups

Day 1 nice sunshine, Day 2 rain most of the day. Slimy trail at times, trees down, huge mud puddles.
Enough pavement/nice dirt to give the cross bikes a good time, likewise enough rough stuff to give the mtn. bikes a good time.
Jeremy Kershaw put together a great race. Logistics were excellent, the route was fantastic, the cue cards were right on, camping area was superb with plenty of room, a lake to wash/swim in. Town was only a 1/2 a mile away to go get a snack or a brew and dinner at Stony Ridge was literally yards away. With 50, yes 50, different hamburger combinations it was a dining experience.
Nice touches were the $15 dinner voucher for dinner and the catered breakfast that were "free" as part of the entry fee.

There was even a shelter (see pic below at breakfast) to dive into during the night when the massive thunderstorm/lightning hit and scared many in-doors or they "cheated" on the camping equipment and couldn't handle the downpour and needed to run for dry cover.

In any case, if you're looking for a weekend of riding fun in northern MN I'd highly suggested looking into this event. Great ride/race and social event to get to know your fellow racers. Met some new friends and got to know some folks better.

Breakfast, Day 2. Me in the yellow.

All pics credited to Jeremy Kershaw.

My sandal setup. Finish line Day 2.

Women's winner, Beth Wagner. Beth and I know each other from a few WI races. We teamed up at mile 50 on the 2nd day and by and large pulled a small group of riders through a headwind and set the pace. At the 90 mile mark it was just us 2 and we crossed together. We had a great time riding together, pushing each other.

Camping area.

Some tried a fire but the rains made short work of it.

My spot. Green bivy tent.

Got my tight shoulders taken care of.

Finish Day2. Top 15 for the combined race

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Maah Daay Hey 2015

Went out to North Dakota and lined up for the Maah Daay Hey 100. It was a lot more than I bargained for. Over 10,000' of climbing, some steep, some long, some hike a bike. The downhills didn't allow a lot of recovery due to the rough trail and needing to pay attention as the tread was a bit deep/rutty and the sides could easily catch a pedal or a front tire and down ya go. I crashed/slid out once late in the race when looking forward to a turn I allowed my front tire to catch the side of the rut I was riding in and I lost my balance.
The mileage was actually 106 and some change. I don't remember any more than 4-5 miles of road.
Great views, when you could sneak them. Some parts of the trail were really out in space. A wrong move and it was straight down for a long drop.

Oh, and it was hot.....very hot. Some guys with GPS's were getting temps of 104, 107, 108 coming up out of the dead air, sun soaked ravines. Brutal. Lots of carnage, lots of cramping, lots of DNF's.
129 started, 57 finished.
They have me down for 60 years old, but that won't actually happen until December. Guess I better get used to it. Kinda wonder when I'll grow up!!

Was the most physical and exhausting bike race I've ever done. Only thing that has come close for me was xc-sking the Arrowhead 135 and Tuscobia 150. Started cramping at around mile 45 or so and they never really left. Towards the end I had to pedal hard with my feet angled back to keep my calves stretched out so they wouldn't lock up....which put a lot of pressure on big toes...see below on that.

Evening before the Start.
The "raddest race in the baddest place".
Rather appropriate for the mountain bike community to be in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Teddy was the most conservationist of all of our Presidents. Look it up.

Unless specified, photo credits to my pit Angel on the Trail, Lynn Scotch.
She was at every aid station and check point helping with food, water and moral support. Looked forward to seeing her as I pulled in.

The Start.
Blue Moon still out. 7 AM.
After a local lady sung the Star Spangled Banner, the race director quoted Teddy:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
Again, very appropriate.

The day before the race while driving over we stopped at a hospital in St. Cloud, MN as my right big toe was killing me. The day before, Thursday, it started acting up. x-rays revealed a possible hairline break at the tip of it. Don't know how I did that, but was crawling around on my hands and knees (and tips of my toes) earlier in the week at my hunting shack getting it jacked up to move it so maybe I did something doing that.

Dr. gave me some prednisone and with icing it all day Friday as we drove to Watford City, ND and more prednisone and a few Tylenols during the race I was able to make it. The last couple hours were very painful and along with the cramps made things interesting.

Road to one of the Aid Stations.

Trail marking post.

The Crew vehicles had to cross the Little did the bike riders. Depth was between the thigh and the knee where we crossed. Up to the floor boards/bottom of the doors I guess where they crossed.

Those climbs out of the creek/river valleys were tough.

Me coming in to an Aid Station.

Little hike a bike action.Switchback City.

Photo credit, Riley Schotz.
Although I had to chase a cow off the trail once, luckily none of these guys were seen.

Photo Credit, Riley Schotz.
Friend Chris Schotz, Gleason, WI
7th place finisher.

Photo credit Mountain Bike Radio.
Friend Brian Hegge from Rhinelander, WI

Photo Credit, Chad Ziemendorf....Maah Daay Hey 2014 trail shot of Race Director, Nick Ybarra.

Yours Truly. The finish. Time: 14 hrs. 38 minutes.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Oregon 2015

The day after the Cheq100 I flew out of MSP to PDX at 6 in the morning....not a lot of time to relax. Glad the Hammer endurolytes helped to prevent any cramps while in the planes.
My sister and her daughter picked me up and away to Bend we went.

Lynn had already been at Chris and Helen's for a week. They have decided to make Bend their home.

Trip to Crater Lake.

Wizard Island.

Chris, Cooper and Juneau.

 Phantom Ship. Yes, the blue is unbelievable.

Turquoise contrast close to shore.

The Castle.

Some Mtn. Biking.
Chris took me out after one day of rest from the Cheq100. It wasn't too bad, but I was still a bit trashed after the 2 hr. ride we did. We stopped a few times to take in the views. I didn't bring my camera.
We rode starting at the Skyliners Trail head to the Upper Whoops, to Sector 16, to Swede Ridge. The plan was originally to go Swede Ridge Loop to South Fork but from starting late we ran out of time so we bailed down the Road Trail at Swede Ridge and connected back to Skyliners.

I rode from their house to Shevlin Park a couple of times, then decided to head out a bit further for a long ride while Chris attended a work day.

Shevlin Park. Three Sisters in the background. I found out later that Shevlin is considered by the locals to be more of a running/dog park and there is a bit of an unwritten rule that the bikers leave Shevlin to them and they leave Phils Trails to the bikes.

Tumalo Creek.

The long ride started from their house to Shevlin Park then I got on the Mrazek Trail, part of the Phils Trails network. This took me on a pretty steady 11 mile climb that took quite a bit out of me. I guess I wasn't quite recovered yet and maybe the heat and altitude had an effect on me as well.
I hit the Farewell Trail which lost all that elevation gain in 3 miles.

Three Sisters and Bachelor.

  The Farewell then took me to Tumalo Falls....a great spot.

The viewing platforms were great.

From Tumalo Falls I connected to the Tumalo Creek Trail, to Skyliners and the one way trail of Lower Whoops to trail marker 24 then connected to Phils one way Trail down to the Phils Trail Trail Head...I called the ladies on my cell and Helen and Lynn met me at 10 Barrel Brewing (which has been bought out by Budweiser which has been an interesting story both locally and nationally) after I rode the bike trails back to town.....a great ride, took me about 6 hrs. including all the site seeing at Tumalo Falls.

Lynn and I also rode the Deschutes River Trail from the house, through Bend to Sunriver, around 25 miles, to take the rental bike back. Chris agreed to drive down to pick us up when we finished.
It had a section or 2 that was a bit more difficult than I suspected. With Lynn never ever riding singletrack before and the bike being a size too large for here, she had some very challenging moments. She walked the tough parts and we stopped twice before we left Bend for water and food. The stretch to Sunriver was definitely more that I expected for a rookie, but we made it.
Lynn was quite the trooper, it was a tough ride for her/us in that respect.

First stop was small coffee shop in Bend.

Example of work.

Random shots along the trail....I missed getting some pics as we went through the lava was tough even for me at my experience level.
Lynn isn't used to shifting, so the uphill grades were a real challenge, but walking some wasn't all that unpleasant anyway.

You leave the river trail at Benham Falls.

Although it was bit more than I expected for a novice, this trail is a good one to take a rookie on, just plan on a few hours, bring plenty of water and some snacks, plan on walking some when needed and it would be a great ride/time. Consider riding from Sunriver to Bend to avoid most of the uphill inclines.

All four of us went on a hike out to Smith Rock one day, then a couple of days later Chris, Helen and I went out to run and bike it....I biked, they ran!
I stopped for a lot for pics and the views, they didn't and Helen went further than both Chris and I.

Little hazy, but Mt. Jefferson in the background.
When we lived in Oregon back in the '70's we had a very similar view of Jefferson, but from 180 degrees when we were living on the west side of it.

Mostly a pretty buff trail. Steep with many switchbacks, at times as well.

Jefferson and Three Sisters in the background.

That green lichen was really cool.

Smith Rock is known as a climbers location. There is one below, just above right of the pine tree.

More rock climbing surfaces.

Hiking trail to the top.

Lynn completed the famed Ale Trail while out there. We also visited the High Desert Museum and took in the Raptors of the Desert Sky which I'd highly recommend.