Firecracker 50

Posted on 8:21 PM by Schottler

This elevation profile shows the type of suffering that will occur this coming 4th of July. I am going to be doing the Firecracker 50, Marathon National Championships for the 2nd year. 11,000 feet of climbing, 50 miles, and 4 aid stations per lap with water and food. Apparently they are putting in a mud section... we will see how that goes with the new super lightweight, small knobbed, tiny 2.0's I just installed.

Last year I did this race I managed to finish 15th @ 5:02 in the Open 19-29 group. I didn't do very well, mainly because I spent a lot of time standing and laying on the ground cramping horribly, and walking up some of the climbs. It probably didn't help camping the night before and eating a couple bagels for breakfast. It was one of the best race experiences I have had, and I feel very confident I can knock a half hour off of my time. Last year I was in base mile mode with no races under my belt all year, as well as no race effort training. If I can finish in 4:30 I should be in the top 5, which would be amazing. I think climbing is one of my strong points, but we will see how well I can climb for 9 miles. I will be leaving Friday at 3:00 am and will be driving to Breck by myself, arriving at around 2-3pm. I plan on spending an hour and a half or so preriding a little and then crashing at the hotel pretty early. Saturday will be raceday... followed by a long and tiring drive home.

I have installed some Bontrager XR1 Team tires, which are super light weight and very fast rolling. They take off 200 grams from each wheel, which will be very significant when I am climbing and try to accelerate all day long. They are not tubeless tires, but after an hour of suffering, I managed to get them seated with some Stan's. I am not using any Maxxis tires for a while due to what I've experienced...

I have to blame Maxxis for a few flats I have had lately. I have gone through 3 brand new UST Crossmark tires that have been opening up at the seams. Maxxis told me the warranty is void due to me using Stan's sealant... which is a load of shit. The 3rd tire blew the day after I installed it. I am on an anti-Maxxis campaign. If this is how they back up their products, I don't recommend anyone buy their products if they want any guarantee on performance. I have gone through 4 sets of Maxxis tires in the past with absolutely no problems... with Stan's Sealant. They won't replace my $75 dollar tires that are obviously constructed and seamed together with horse shit.

Anyway, the new Ergon grips with carbon bar ends will be helpful for the long climbs, I just need to remember to pace myself... tempo... long race.

Disappointment #alot

Posted on 8:29 PM by Schottler

I seem to have been screwing up every single race I have done this season. I did the cat III state championships road race last weekend and started a 4 man break and managed to drop my extra water bottle, leaving me waterless the last 33.5 mile lap. I still ended up 3rd, but I knew if I had something to drink and eat I easily could have taken a win. I hoped to fix this consistent string of stupid mistakes and do something better than my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishes all season.

I headed out to Farmington MO, to do the St. Joe Midwest Fat Tire Series race. I immediately started sweating when I opened the door with the 94 degree temperatures, but was very pleased with how great my legs felt when I was warming up. I knew I may be able to accomplish something this season, finally.

When the race started I got clipped in immediately and knew I could have sprinted in for the hole shot, but remember what happened last time I did that... so I let Breslin take it this time and see what would happen. Eric Pirtle was in this race as well... I have never raced him before but have heard stories of how he demolishes dreams. He passed Breslin after a little bit of the single track, but we managed to stay very close to him the whole first lap. I found myself to be making some random mistakes and picking some bad lines while running on Breslins wheel, since the trail was very unpredictable, but I was able to make up the time pretty quickly. My legs felt very strong and ready for some carnage, but decided to sit on for a while to see what would happen. I wasn't sure how I would react to the heat. I was planning on waiting for the paved path into the second lap to start pushing it.

Once Breslin and I got to the paved path I stood up to hammer and noticed my bike bobbing all over the place and thought to myself "awesome, great, blowing another race." I figured it was over and just rolled through the start/finish area and sat there for a couple minutes watching Ploch roll through. Then I remembered this wasn't a collegiate race and they said I could go to my car and fix it, which I did. I had a good size slit in the back tire and it was taking a while for the Stan's to fix it, had to fill up the tire twice. I figured "might as well get my money's worth and get some more race effort training in for the day." I hopped back in the field, having no idea where everyone was. I was feeling very strong and managed to pass a few people, asking what category they were in. I caught up to and passed the 35+ expert riders and was going after the open expert field. After 6 miles of the 2nd lap I was flying over some of the humps and managed to fly off the trail and monster truck some big nasty rocks, blowing both of my tires simultaneously. It was a vicious impact that dented my front wheel, I was amazed I stayed upright.

Needless to say, I walked back to the finish... taking a short cut on the paved path, which I walked the wrong way down for 1/2 a mile. I felt like I had amazing fitness for this race... but bad luck again struck me down... again. It is getting very very irritating, I know I have the power and ability to do well, but I can't seem to put them both together.

Rhett's Run

Posted on 5:24 PM by Schottler

So I woke up this morning to the sound of thunder... which I was hoping was a dump truck, so I fell back asleep, to awake again with some more of this noise. Following that was rain, fantastic. I knew Missouri couldn't have a mountain race before July that's dry. The beginner riders had a somewhat sloppy, but not deep mud course. By the time the expert and sport riders left, the course began to dry out a little with small sections of wet. The field was pretty stacked with big boys from around St. Louis, KC, and CoMo. After a quick warm up I got on the front row of the expert field with Dave Breslin, Chris Ploch, Cameron Chambers, Butthead, Mike Best, and a couple others. This was pretty intimidating, since I know all of these guys have some big and fast racing experience, I was the little guy of the bunch. On 'Go' Time I managed to take the whole shot, into the single track, with Cameron Chambers and Dave Breslin on my tail. I had an advantage with knowing every rock and line on the trail and managed to pull away with taking each perfect and smooth line. By the top of the first climb my heart rate was pegged and my legs weren't getting rid of the lactic acid and I was having some trouble keeping the speed. After seeing the guys bring me back in I decided to sit up a little and try to recover, which didn't happen very quickly. About half way through the first lap, Chambers passed me, followed by Breslin, I knew I couldn't maintain their speed so I got over to let them by and not slow them down. By this time I was yelling at my legs to wake up and get moving, which didn't seem to happen until the end of the second, 4.5 mile lap. Chris Ploch passed me towards the end of the first lap. Apparently the course I had dialed in was the last few years race course... they decided to put on a top secret horribly marked 15 second loop towards the end of the lap... which started and ended at the same place. By the second lap I saw Ploch coming an odd direction and I was right with him... and he said "dude you cut the course," and I responded with a 'wtf where?' Then I figured it out and sat up for a little while because I felt retarded and let him get his gap back again. The start of the third lap it was game on, my legs were finally able to put out some consistent power and I was flying passed all the sport riders on the course, trying to make up for lost time. On the 4th and final lap, I was closing in on Ploch. Right when I got on his wheel my front tire slid out and I jackknifed my bike into a tree with a running dismount, got back on and tried to bring him back. About 2 minutes later I pass him lying on the ground with a very painful looking cramp. Unfortunately Chambers and Breslin had too much time on me and I rolled through the finish, about 2 minutes behind Chambers. Breslin was sent out by himself on a 5th lap. I ended the race in 3rd, not where I was planning, but I can't complain considering how stacked the race was. Overall, the first 2 laps were probably some of the worst 2 laps I have ever had in a race. I need to figure out how to get a better start and make my legs ready to kill. Thankfully, I had absolutely no bike problems, the XTR crankset worked great, along with a new, correct sized seat post.

In the zone

Posted on 8:56 PM by Schottler

My legs are officially done whining and complaining. I did my first long high intensity road ride yesterday and discovered my lactic threshold has gone up 30 watts from when I was peaking last year. Somewhere in this 1.5 hour, 24.7 mph effort, I managed to maintain 360 watts for 20 minutes, and 320 watts for the full 1.5 hours. These are all personal bests for me, and should still be going up further into the season. However these numbers don't mean anything if I can't race well... hopefully I'll be able to keep my head down and hammer through my mountain races like I can do by myself on the road. I've noticed I have a tendency to sit up too soon and lose focus too quickly in races, which costs huge amounts of time. The race in my hometown this weekend should be a good time to get over this, since there are numerous people I know that are coming to watch, which motivates me quite a bit. I have plenty of frustration from last weekends constant mechanicals, keeping me from getting a guaranteed top 2 or 3 finish, so I am more than willing to suffer for a good result.

Bump N' Grind

Posted on 7:13 PM by Schottler

My buddy Brent Davidson and I headed out on a 10 hour drive to Birmingham Alabama Friday at about 3pm. This was the 15th annual Bump N' Grind mountain bike race, which is race #3 on the US Cup Pro mountain bike schedule. Saturday morning we went out to preride the 17 mile course, which turned out to be some of the best single track I have ever ridden. It was relatively flat with a lot of fast bermed turns, and a few rocks and roots. The race course started in a parking lot and lead us through some cyclocross like terrain through a park onto a road and leading into single track. There were two gravel road sections, the first was about 3/4 miles long and the second was a very long 5 mile climb. There were a few technical sections that could be ridden pretty fast... or slow and crash into some bigger rocks/trees/spectators. Overall, the course has been very well maintained and the endless bermed high speed turns made the course extremely flowy and enjoyable.

We decided to get to the race early, at about 7:15am to set up the GT tent and get everything ready. Apparently everyone else decided to get there way before that, which meant very little room to park and set anything up. There was no room to set up a work area, so the tent was set up over my car with room to hang our bikes on.

I spent about 30 minutes warming up before my race, and nearly missed my start time. I heard over the speakers "Men's Cat 1 19-29 starting in 1 minute," so I rushed to the start with 10 seconds to go. I started the race in dead last, out of 25 people. I was able to sprint past about 7 guys or so at the start to get some better positioning before we hit the single track. I reached down to get some water and realized my bottle disappeared.... great, I love dehydration. It was a long single file race for about 20 minutes until we reached the first gravel double track section, which ended up in a long pace line with a gap opening with 7 guys in the lead. I moved into the other lane and was able to pass the group to chase down the break before we got back into single track. Once in the single track I was caught up with the lead group. Once riding with them for a little while my chain fell off the big ring and got caught under the pin on my chain ring, tearing up my cranks and causing me to stop... which let everyone pass me again. After about 30 seconds of bending my chain back around the pin, and getting functional again, I was back on course... and then doing this again about 5 minutes later. Unfortunately the design of the 2x9 crankset and the chain rings won't catch my chain falling off and let me pedal it back on, only fuck everything up. Once we hit the long 5 mile climb I was able to open it up and pick more riders off again. The neutral bottle hand off saved my life half way up the climb... guzzled an entire bottle... which was a bad idea. The rest of the first lap I was able to bring back a lot of riders and make up some time. By the start of the second lap it was me and two other guys riding together, none of us knowing what position we were in, however one of the riders was the only 30-39 racer that passed us. Once reaching the big climb again he was able to pull away from us and I broke away from the other guy in my category, with no one else in sight. I should also mention that my seat post has been lowering more and more this whole race, by the time I reached this climb it was down 3 inches, making me ride like a little kid with my knee's bent, keeping me from producing very much power. The quick release on seat post clamp apparently can't clamp far enough to make up the tolerances in the shim for my undersized seat post. I just locked out my fork and spent a large amount of time standing up, hammering up the long climb... with still no one in view. Back into the single track I was able to open it up, railing all of the turns with my Maxxis Crossmark UST Tubeless tires hooking up like crazy. This tire selection was definitely the best idea i've made in a while. There were quite a few spectators in the last 5 miles of single track which was very encouraging, especially while they cheer and scream when you clear large sections of rock drops at a stupid hard trail destroying high speed. Towards the end of the race there was no one in view in front or back so I rolled through the finish... with no clue on where I finished.

Once the results were posted they showed me finishing 4th place at 2:28 , which I am pretty happy about considering my bad luck. The 3rd place finisher was only 1 minute ahead of me, the winner was only 4. These close times made me upset with how everything went down in the race. If I didn't spend the whole race trying to make up for the mechanicals, horrible start position, and battling my lowering seat, I really believe I could have cleaned up the race. But that's how racing goes, it was my first of the year, and first intense ride on my bike, so now I know what to work on. I still came out with $115, which I can't argue with.

We stayed and watched the women's and men's pro race, which was amazing. All the big riders were there, it was great watching them kill each other. Leaving at about 7pm, getting us back into Columbia at 5:30am on Monday. Overall, it was an awesome weekend, very well put on race, and I will definitely be doing it again next year.