2011 Wrap-up

Posted on 10:18 AM by Schottler

I feel like I just wrote about this for 2010, weird. This year has absolutely flown by, I am not sure why that is, maybe because I have been anticipating big life changes, waiting week by week. Unfortunately for me, I've waited the whole year with not much to show. If things start going my way, 2012 will be a great year. I mean it better, it is the last year of all our lives.

Racing in 2011 went pretty well with the effort I put in to it. I have to admit my motivation to train and race has been pretty low the entire year. I hit a plateau with my fitness and training plan (or lack thereof,) and wasn't able to clear my head of finding a career or finishing grad school. It's apparent that 2012 will obviously need some huge changes if I actually want to get faster on the bike and make it through the whole season with a smile on my face.

Anyway, I still had some race results I was really happy about, despite breaking my wrist and being stuck on the trainer for 6 straight weeks early in the year. Finishing Leadville in 7:37 was a huge accomplishment for myself. Tying for 3rd overall in the USAC Pro UET MTB series was pretty cool. A 2nd place finish at the Spa City 6 hour, racing with Manuel Prado for over 2 hours and only finishing 6 minutes behind him after 6 hours. 7th place at my 2nd ever 100 miler, Shenandoah 100. I didn't get that many mountain races in, but I still had some strong fitness coming in to cross season, which lead to a bunch of wins and a 13th place finish at UCI Gateway Cross in STL. That fitness really disappeared as the cross season went on, so I continued racing for fun.

Like I said earlier, a huge change in training is in store for 2012. I think it's called a training plan or something. Coaches can make them to get you doing the correct thing to build fitness and prepare your body to survive the entire racing season. So instead of mindlessly pedaling around in the endurance zone every day, workouts are prepared. It's time to quit winging it and jump over the plateau and set some real goals and get fast.

Before the heavy training gets started, all the bikes are getting ready, and finally cleaning my poor car after destroying it from 20k bike race miles.


Posted on 8:20 AM by Schottler

I'm sure most of the 2 or 3 people who read this probably know that my step-dad passed away unexpectedly on the 8th from a heart attack. I really don't know how to express how we are all feeling, so I won't say much. My Dad passed away when I was 11 from a heart attack as well. Joe was my step-dad for 11 years too, and losing a Dad for a 2nd time doesn't get much easier. I learned a lot the first time and know more about how to deal with it and what to expect, which includes a lot of bike riding.

He was a VERY respected man, who accomplished about 100 times more than most people do in their lives. He made a huge impact in my life and will be missed greatly, but everything I was taught from him will always remain, which is how he will live on. Without his encouragement and support the last 11 years, who knows where I would be.

My sister Kelly called me on the morning of the 8th while I was sitting in my office and I flew home, literally, 1 hour 35 minutes from Columbia to my parents house by the airport in KC. I come around the corner of the house and see about 15 police cars with officers lining our entryway.

We had a police escort to the visitation, which never happens, as well as a 16 KCPD motorcycle and 5 police car escort to the funeral. The visitation had an estimated 400 people come by and the funeral completely packed with at least 30 people standing at the back. It's obvious how much of an impact he made to so many people's lives.

Here is his obituary:

"Joseph P. McHale, Ph.D., lovingly known as "Big Joe," of Kansas City, Missouri, passed away on December 8th, 2011 of natural causes. Joseph was born May 13, 1950 to Joseph and Orpha McHale in Riverside, California. During his youth, he relocated numerous times to the different military bases his father was assigned to in the United States Air Force. While living in Macon, Georgia, in the mid 1960's, Joe married his first wife, Starlette Rose White McHale, and fathered two children, Stephanie Marie and Joseph Frederick McHale. Joe married his second wife, Suzanne Schottler, in 2001 and had the honor of becoming part of the Schottler family. This included daughters Kelly Schottler and Melissa Bodine, and sons Travis Graf and Jonathan Schottler. Joe was a dedicated and proud grandfather to Amelia and Michael McHale and Eleanor Bodine. The mother of his heart was Amelia White, of Milledgeville, Georgia.

Joe began a distinguished career in law enforcement with the Macon, Georgia Police Department in 1971, where he remained until he was hired by the Kansas City Missouri Police Department in 1975. He remained with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department until 2001 when he retired at the rank of Major. Joe gained vast experience during his tenure but was most proud of the Traffic Unit assignments he held at every rank. Joe became Chief of Police of Platte City, Missouri in 2002.

He obtained a Doctorate Degree from Northcentral University in Business Administration with a specialization in Criminal Justice-Homeland Security & Terrorism, as well as dual Master's Degrees in Public Administration and Information Management Technology. He was also working on a third Master's Degree in Homeland Security Terrorism. With his educational achievements, he began teaching at several universities. Joe was a graduate of the FBI National Academy and a very strong supporter of the United States Military.

The countless people whose lives he touched had the opportunity to know an extremely caring, supportive, intelligent, honest, and giving man. He was the rock that everyone could rely on when help or advice were needed. Joe was so widely known in the Kansas City area and in the KCMO Police Department that many of his stories are legendary and not in short supply. Every time he went out, he always ran into someone he knew. It was an equal rarity that he encountered a subject that he did not know something about; he was a walking volume of encyclopedias. His vast knowledge on a wide range of subjects, most notably history and military history, was awe-inspiring for even the most seasoned trivia buff. Though he had devoted much of his life to public service, his family always came first. Even as that family grew after his marriage to Suzanne, in Joe's eyes he had six children and he treated them all equally. He was a wonderful, loving husband and father, devoted grandfather, a teacher and a truly great friend."

I'll be moving back to KC tomorrow to live with my Mom until I find a job somewhere, which will be at least a month. My Master's thesis was accepted by the graduate school this morning, which means there's nothing left to do, my graduate degree in mechanical engineering is finally finished. I never want to do that again. It's a sad feeling leaving Columbia, my home the last 7.5 years. I've met countless lifetime friends and have had the time of my life, there are so many good memories, I can't believe this part of my life is over. I say I am leaving, but will probably be back quite a bit.

Good Training Week + State CX

Posted on 7:38 AM by Schottler

My plan was to put in some endurance/tempo paced rides for the next couple weeks to burn some holiday cookies and enjoy myself. Last year I gained about 10 lbs in a month from not riding and eating a million cookies... which lead to trying to lose it through most of my base mile period, not fun. Breaking even is the plan this year. I even got in a fun near 6 hour ride with Pam Hinton and Mike Bruzina on Friday, with no plan of racing state cx. Saturday night Butthead asked why I wasn't racing, I had no excuse, so I thought what the hell, I can just have fun in the mud.

That was my goal on Sunday, have fun playing in the mud and see what would happen. Mike Weiss was kind of enough to loan me his set of 303's with Challenge Limus tires. I also had some friends working the pit for me, unfortunately there was no water, they were kind enough to pick the mud off while I was out on the other bike.

I started on the last row and managed to get in the first corner in last place, neato. "Have fun, have fun, have fun." A few motorcycle sounds and a lap later, I was in the front group with Dan Miller and Travis Donn. I felt alright, my legs were sore and hurting from the long week of training, but I usually ride the mud pretty well. I stayed with them for a few laps and then got tape caught in my cassette, which required to me to take out my wheel and I lost at least 30 seconds, as Butthead flew by. No one in sight behind me, chase mode. Low back was hurting and my legs didn't really have much. I then passed Dan running with his bike, with another failed derailleur. Here is the front group for the first few laps, Dan, Travis, and me. (Photo credit to Jason Watkins)

With about 3 laps to go my low back pain went away and I got in a groove and started flying. Casey Saunders seemed to be having some bike problems as we were lapping him, I was coming up on him fast, and I didn't say which side I was passing him on, since I didn't really know until I was on him. He swerved over to where I was going and I slammed in to his bars pretty hard. I went flying over the bars in to a mud puddle and he went down too. Whoops, sorry Casey. Lost another 15ish seconds and was soaking wet and cold the rest of the race. I was still making up time, but not enough to overcome my issues. Butthead won again, Travis Donn had a freaking awesome race in 2nd, and I finished 3rd, only 20ish seconds behind Butthead.

I am happy, I didn't have any expectations, didn't prepare at all for the race, and didn't break any bike parts. I guess it is possible for me to race for fun.

Como Awesomeo and 2012 Schedule

Posted on 9:00 AM by Schottler

Columbia's one and only cx race took place on Saturday about 9 minutes from my house. It's so nice to race with such a short drive, tons of time to accomplish things, like sitting on my couch more. Actually, working to finish my thesis revisions.

Anyway, the race was lots of fun. Mr. Josh Johnson designed the course with CBC's help setting it up. It was tons of fun, super flowy, good to know he's still good at something. Actually, he was riding very well too. Butthead lead the first lap, followed by Dan Miller the next two laps. Pace wasn't very hard at this point and I was comfortable and figured it was my turn to do some work, so I pulled the next lap and picked up the pace, hoping to get a small gap on Dan through one of the sections and hit the gas. I felt alright, and jumped the railroad tie section and my tire popped off the rim when I landed... and crashed. Dan then crashed in to me, sorry Dan! Limped back around the course to get my pit bike. I stayed behind Dan as we bridged back up to Butthead, but I eventually lost his wheel with my low back starting to seize up. From here on, I sucked. Forgot to let pressure out of my clinchers and I was bouncing all over. It would have been difficult to stay with those two anyway, Dan is fit as hell, Butthead was riding very well, and I just want to ride my bike and have fun at this point. They rode together the whole race and sprinted for it, Dan took the win. I skipped Sunday's race to finish and submit my thesis revisions. Strongly considering riding for fun the next 3 weeks instead of racing, next year will be a long one.

I have put together most of next years racing schedule already. I learned this year that big national endurance races can fill up in just a couple of minutes, so planning ahead and setting an alarm to register is important. Schedule is currently based around me getting a job and being able to afford the travel... and vacation time. Here's the tentative schedule:

April 11, Ouachita Challenge
April 28, Cohutta 100
May 19, Syllamos Revenge
June 2, Dirty Kanza 200
June 16, Lumberjack 100
July 14th, Breckenridge 100
August 11, Leadville 100
September 1, Park City P2P
September 15, Chequamegon Fat Tire, Hermann CX, or Marathon Nationals
October 20, Berryman Epic
November 5, Iceman Cometh

5 of the races are the NUE series. They take best 4 for the overall championship. It will be a busy season, but I am pretty excited about it. I have my coach set up for next year as well, I really have no idea what to do to train for so many long races... besides riding a lot.

Bubba #7 & 8

Posted on 9:17 AM by Schottler

Before the couple of people who read this get bored, Columbia is going to have it's 1 and only CX race of the year, put on by CBC. We drive to both ends of the state every weekend for everyone elses races... so come to ours... or else. Or else what? Exactly.
On to the boring racing stuff. Saturday was Bubba #7 at Concordia Seminary. I got a horrible start and shoved back to 10th in to the first couple corners. I got to the front on lap 2 and put in an effort and got a gap. Eventually it was big enough that Butthead tried to join up with me, so I slowed down. But, he took a digger on the log so I picked it up again. I ended up taking the win. The course was one of my favorite of the year, pretty mountain bikeish. Jumping the log every lap was pretty fun. (Thanks Dennis Fickinger for this awesome shot!)

Sunday was Bubba #8. Pretty much the same story. I attacked and Butthead rode up to me, and we rode the rest of the race together. Furious braking across the line photo finish, Butthead got it. Also, I suck at cornering and sprint out of the corners too hard apparently.

(Thanks Chris Creed for all of these other good photos!)

Thanks to Mr. Butthead for gluing up a couple of tires for me.

NUE Series

Posted on 9:47 AM by Schottler

The 2012 series was just announced. After doing a couple 100 milers this year plus numerous 50+ mile races over the years, I am becoming addicted. People warned me of this.

Before I get in to it, something quickly caught my eye. The Berryman Epic may be in the 2013 calender. I guess I can say goodbye to some easy money and hello to some insane sub 4 hour competition.

Anyway, I've raced pretty much everything at this point besides a stage race, and I really enjoy it all. Traveling to bigger races will probably be my thing next year and the foreseeable future, but it's expensive. Green Beans always had a good rule of thumb for traveling to races, if you get to ride almost as long as you sat in the car, it's worth the trip. I am not too strict on this rule since I would rather not ride for 12 hours with a one-way trip, but it's a good thing to think about. So, for me, the longer races make the drive and preparation well worth it. Not to mention the buzz experienced post-race lasts for weeks, instead of a day at the most from a short 1 hour effort. So, I will probably be doing 5 of the NUE races, plus some others along the way.

As for the NUE, here's what I sort of have planned:
Cohutta 100, Tennessee, April 28, already registered
Syllamos Revenge, Arkansas, May 19
Mohican 100, Ohio, June 2
Lumberjack 100, Michigan, June 16
Park City P2P, Utah, September 1

I put my name in for the Leadville 100 lottery, hopefully I will get to take a crack at that one again.

In addition to the races, I think I have decided to something with my training I've been against. Get a coach. This year I have had very little motivation to get myself out on 'hard rides' to do intervals or power tests. I didn't even do a power test this year, I can count how many timed intervals I've done. I don't even know if I got faster this year. I think I got smarter, smoother, and improved my racing skills, but powerwise, I don't think I improved much. Anyway, having someone tell me what to do who knows what they are doing will get me more focused. Not having to worry about when to ride or what to do will take a huge weight off my shoulders, especially while having a full time job. I want bigger results next year.

I started riding again, a little. Motivation to race is still sort of lagging, but I'll try to race cx for fun for the rest of the season. I won't travel anywhere, only local stuff.

This will be arriving either this month or early next year. Will be rocking a hardtail and full suspension 29er. Gonna be sweet.


Posted on 8:29 AM by Schottler

For the past month or two, I've been forcing myself to ride my bike. Normally I take a couple of weeks off in late July to give myself a mental break and get psyched for the remaining races of the year. This year, with Leadville in August, that break never happened. I've been told I haven't really done that many races this year and there's no reason why I would need a break. It's true I haven't really done that many races, but that doesn't mean I haven't been training. There's still a pretty heavy training load, even while riding the trainer with a broken wrist for 6 weeks. And, as I have learned this year, long races and training for them really take it out of you quickly. The majority of the MTB races I have done this year were LONG! over 27 hours of racing in just 4 of the races.

I haven't trained since the Berryman and it's been really nice and relaxing. Last week I let myself eat whatever I wanted, which I really only let myself do over the holidays. Last week I also had my the defense for my Master of Science in mechanical engineering, which was incredibly painful, but I passed. Thank God that's over, I've been dreading that day since I ever considered graduate school. This Thursday is my seminar presentation in front of all the engineering graduate students, which I have also been dreading. But it will be a cakewalk after that defense, I am not nervous at all. All that will be left are thesis corrections and I'm finally done with school, 7 years later.

Now I am realizing I have violated two of my rules to prevent SI joint pain... taking time off and running. My SI joint hurts again, which means more time off plus lots of stretching. I most likely will take the next couple days off and start back slow with some easy spins, not sure about racing this weekend.

In the meantime, I am trying to plan out races for next year. I see myself doing some more long ones, and will probably do at least 5 NUE races to see if I can possibly podium the overall.

Here's my new dog, Georgia. She seems to have some separation anxiety issues which I have been working on pretty hard... new dogs are a lot of work. Also training her to run with me while I ride, she's picked up pretty fast, only a matter of time before I can go mountain bike riding with her.

Berryman Trail Epic

Posted on 8:02 AM by Schottler

It's hard to admit that I was on the fence about this race this year. I have so much on my mind right now I just could not focus, train, or mentally prepare myself for this race. The last two years, it was game on, I was 100% ready to give it all. This year I was maybe 50%. When you come in to any race and your heart isn't in it and your mind is elsewhere, you usually won't live up to your potential. I knew this coming in, but I enjoy hanging out with my friends too much to pass it up for something that selfish. Now that it's over, I am happy I did it. But despite what I knew was going to happen going in to it, I am still disappointed in myself.

The last month or so I've been trying to get my head in the game and actually train for this race. To touch on where I've been in my mind, I submitted my Master's thesis the Friday morning that I left for the race, right on the edge of even being able to come to the race. I've had interviews at companies for some pretty awesome jobs and am awaiting offers, which is extremely stressful. My Master's defense is this Thursday and I am nervous. This all lead to me barely riding during the weeks and relying on cx races to maintain some fitness.

Anyway, on to the race. As usual, there was some horsepower toeing the line with a bulls-eye pinned to my back for the 2nd year in a row. The initial gravel climb was a little easier than last year and I even went to the front to try and get some more people excited. $75 prime in to the single track, I let Tilford take it, for a few different reasons, but it was my first mistake of the day. From here on to the first checkpoint, which was roughly 49 minutes in, Tilford was riding away from me and I was able to catch back up a couple of times. I don't know what the deal was, he wasn't going that fast, my legs sucked. They felt like bricks and my heart rate wouldn't go over 180 and I couldn't motivate myself to really get in a rhythm. I should have easily been able to stay with him.

Coming in to Brazil Creek I fumbled some of the switchbacks and went down in the huge horse hoof mud pits, then went down in the creek crossing, then ran in to Scott's dog and went over the bars (sorry Scott!) Apparently people just ran down the hill instead of on the course, I missed that pre-race tip.

From here on I rode okay, I never got in a rhythm, I couldn't get my heart rate up, and my legs felt like hell. In to Berryman campground I was 2 minutes back. Coming back through the checkpoint towards the end I was only 3-4 minutes back. From this last checkpoint to the finish I lost another 4 minutes. I mentally just quit, it was not my day, and I continued thinking about my upcoming defense, where I'll be living in a few weeks, and if my new dog was just sitting in our cabin and barking or crying.

I finished in 4:17, 3 minutes slower than last year. That sucks. I went through the first 4 checkpoints faster than last year and lost a huge chunk in the end. The course was even smoother and faster than last year. Ended up 2nd place with just short of $1,000, not a bad pay day, but I wanted a win... not bad enough I guess. On the bright side I have motivation for next year and will most likely be able to focus.

The post-race party was awesome and the biggest reason I came out this year. I always enjoy hanging out with my buddies, drink some awesome beer, and listen to everyone's race stories. A lot of beer was consumed.

I am happy someone got a picture of these nice guys on the trail:

I am going to take some time off the bike, maybe a week or two to get my head realigned... there are still over 2 months of cx left.


Posted on 8:16 AM by Schottler

For the 2012 Burnin at the Bluff, I was torn between racing 6 hour solo or defending the 3-man team 12 hour with Mike Best and Nate Means. Turned out Chris Ploch was getting desperate, probably from the beat down last year, so he put together a seemingly unbeatable superteam of him, Garrett Steinmetz, and Travis Donn. That's not very nice, so I decided to help my team.

Just as last year, the trails were perfect and we couldn't have asked for better weather. Green Beans went first, in his jump suit of course, putting in a strong first lap of 1:05 or so. This got us in a good starting position and limited traffic for my lap. Unfortunately for me, I rode my mtb once, at night, for an hour, since Shenandoah (over a month ago.) It wasn't pretty. My motor was not the limiter on this lap. The first half of this 13 mile lap is really easy to overdo... lots of fast, flat, and loose corners. I got way too excited and anxious in my impossible pursuit of Garrett and went off course and face planted about 5 minutes in, which killed some confidence, but skillz came back about 6 miles in. I don't know how, but even with the crash, loss of confidence, and passing some traffic, I still put in the fastest lap so far of 59:03, but only got 30 or so seconds in to Garrett. Not happy with the time, I wanted a course record, and usually the first lap out is the only opportunity for that to happen in this race. (Record is 58:47, which I set last year)

Mike Best was our next man to go out, in pursuit of Travis Donn, and put in a strong lap. I was fired up for my 2nd lap, I still thought I could set a record. The lap went well, only a few minor mistakes. I beat my previous lap with a 58:57, leaving me with the two fastest laps of the day. Unfortunately I got behind a rider that wouldn't let me around, after politely asking to pass numerous times, I was told "you can pass, but I am not moving over or slowing down." Wow, thanks. That lost time would have set a new record.

My 3rd lap I went for an easier lap and pedaled around, coming in with a 1:02 something. The next time I went out was in the dark, and I wanted the record. Beans and Mike for the remainder of the race remained very consistent, which is very important in this race. No mechanicals and many fast laps. We stayed within 20 minutes of the superteam for the majority of the day. It kept us in the position of possibly taking the lead if the other team had a mechanical. Can't give up in these races!

By my 4th lap, we were looking at a possible 12 lap day, which hasn't been done before. The superteam was obviously in the same position, but a ways ahead of us. I told Mike and Beans that if something happens to Garrett and I come in within 5 minutes, I am going right back out for our 12th lap. I didn't eat enough after my 3rd lap. Beans was cooking some mean dutch oven lasagna and I really wanted to devour it when I got back, so I did the stupid thing and skipped some extra food before I went out. My goal was a 1:01-1:02 night lap, and I was totally on that pace by mile 6.... and then I started craving lasagna... not good. Mile 10 I started feeling sick and knew what was coming, BONK. I was having trouble concentrating and couldn't steer, bad stuff. To top it off my rear tire started going flat and I had to do the last climb on 5 psi. Lap turned out to be 1:05 something, which was still the fastest night lap, coming in at 11:59.47... we still could have done a 12th lap. I couldn't talk to anyone afterward, all I wanted was food, I was even having trouble riding back to the camp site. I ate. A lot. Mike, Nate, and John LeBlanc ate half the lasagna... I ate the other half... and 4 chicen brats... and 10 oreo's... and a handful of pumpkin bread, then fell asleep in my camp chair.

Overall, I am happy I did the team race, the event is amazing. Ride all day with good friends, very tough competition, and perfect weather, what else could you want? Huge props to the superteam, you guys killed it. And Dwayne Goscinksi, 10 laps solo 12 hour, never been done before, totally amazing.

I haven't ever ridden those climbs that fast, I think my fitness is better than this point last year. Considering my head is completely in different places right now with racing pretty far down on the priority list, I am happy and have some strong confidence for the Berryman in a couple weeks.

Boss Cross #1 & 2

Posted on 10:44 AM by Schottler

Raced Boss Cross #1 and 2 in Kansas City last weekend. The courses are always some of my favorites of the year and the races are really well put on, well worth the trip. The competition is always good in KC, so the races are some of the fastest in Missouri.

Saturday didn't go very well. My legs sucked, my back blew up, and my front wheel exploded. Lap 1 I was behind Tilford and Coe going up a steep switchback, Coe went down and I tried to ride around him, but I went down and my front spoke pulled out of my rim. The wheel looked somewhat true, so I just kept racing it, thinking it will still probably ride better than my pit bike. From here on I was in Tilford chase mode and I stayed within about 5 seconds him for the rest of the 1st-3rd lap. With 8 laps to go my back seized up and confidence fell through the floor, I quickly lost my pace and eventually got caught by Coe and Butthead. Rode with them for a bit and got dropped, motivation gone. Then I just sort of pedaled around to finish. I imagine my average heart rate was 140-150, I just couldn't put any power down due to my low back. Most of this was from the running. There was wayyy too much running, the width of 2 volleyball courts twice each lap, that's 22 times to run for like 15 seconds. This made my hamstrings hurt and tight which made my low back seize up.

Butthead was kind enough to glue up a new front wheel and tire I had back in Columbia and bring it back for Sunday's race. File tread Grifo XS on the front and Fango on the rear... sort of the opposite of what your'e supposed to do, but it worked.

Sunday went better. I rode for 1-1.5 hours before the race to get my legs loosened up and had a different game plan. Don't go ape shit the first few laps and casually run through the sand. The start of the race Andrew Coe and Travis Donn took off and I began to chase. I didn't want to bring them back too fast and risk my low back self destructing, so I managed to catch Coe with about 4 laps to go. Unfortunately with about 5 or 6 laps to go we were lapping a ton of Cat 3 riders. This meant that Coe got by and I got blocked so I had to chase again... this kept going on until the end of the race. I kept my slow run plan the whole race, Coe was putting about 3 seconds on me each time we ran through and I had to chase back, this added up to losing about a minute over the race. I know it doesn't really work like that, but I really suck at running. Not doing any cx running training really showed.

Anyway, on the last lap I was glued to Coe and came around him with a few corners and a sand pit to go. I knew I had to put on as much time as I could before the sand, even a couple seconds. We were side by side after the sand pit and it came down to a gravel sprint finish. I had a good line and still had enough left in the tank to take the win.
I don't know what I am doing in this picture.

Manions CX

Posted on 11:15 AM by Schottler

Headed to KC to race their season opener on Saturday, Manions cx, which is in its second year. Last year it was pretty hilly and challenging, but fun, and a well put on race. The field wasn't large, but still some fast dudes showed up. I started towards the back, which isn't really ideal since this course doesn't give much opportunity to pass. It was probably the slowest cx course I have raced. It came down to proper tire pressure, handling skills, and able to accelerate and recover quickly.

Tire pressure took a while to figure out, since the course was super bumpy you didn't want pressure, but due to the endless 180 degree corners, you needed the pressure to prevent your tires from folding over, so I ended up running nearly 35 front and rear... I was bouncing all over, but I could take the corners with some speed and not worry about having to corner on my sidewalls. It was a give or take, and I took the faster option.
I managed to move from the back to the front by the end of the first lap and I hit the gas. I got a gap going in to the 2nd lap and it grew every lap for the remainder of the 60 minute race, leaving me with a lead of about 3 minutes or so. The course was a low back breaker for sure, lots of bumps, and out of the saddle sprints every corner (there were about a million corners.) My race was nearly flawless, only a few mistakes. One was accelerating too hard out of a corner and swinging my rear end around pointing me through the tape. Nearly every corner my front tire was just sliding across the course, pretty fun to be able to do that in a controllable way. For the most part it was a great race to build some slow grass turning skills. Here's another race recap at cxmagazine.com.
Boss cross is this Saturday and Sunday in KC. Weird to think I will already have 7 cx races done this year once those are over. I may also have some pretty big life changes coming up soon, which may affect some bigger races this fall. Changes that I have been dreaming of since I first started my bachelor's in mechanical engineering 7 years ago. If I miss a few of the races, it will be worth it. I am stupid excited.

UCI Gateway Cross Cup

Posted on 10:58 AM by Schottler

Last night was my first UCI race. I had no expectations at all. Butthead told me everything he could about what goes down and what to do. Basically just ride really really hard and never slow down. Got it.

30 or so dudes lined up for the pro race, I was 3rd row, which was basically the back. The start was chaotic with a crash right in front me in to the first corner, thankfully I was able to maneuver around and begin chasing. A group of leaders almost immediately got a gap and I was in the chase group. I was at the end of the chase group after chasing it down from the crash and going around a few popped riders. Unfortunately for me the chase group was like 7 or 8 super strong dudes, including Barry Wicks. This meant the accordion effect was really screwing me up, I had to slow down way before the corners and chase like mad out of the corner. This lead to me getting popped out of the group, bummer, that would have been a guaranteed top 10 finish. My low back locking up after 15 minutes didn't help me out too much either, thankfully this sort of went away after about 35 minutes.

Eventually Butthead and Devin Clark attacked away from the following chase group and I linked up with them for the remainder of the race. Soooo much easier than trying to ride by myself on a course like that, drafting played a big part, it was fast as hell. I was eventually recovered with 2 laps to go and really should have gone to the front to try and pull back a few more riders, but I didn't, I don't know why. I attacked with a few corners to go and got away for a 13th place finish, followed by Devin and Josh. Results

Overall, it was hard. I was really disappointed I couldn't stay with the chase group. If I were to pass a few of the dudes and get in to the middle of the group it would have been a lot easier. Oh well, the whole deal was really just a big learning experience. I can't complain with a 13th place finish in a pro cx race.

Thanks to everyone who came out and cheered on the locals, it made the effort much more bearable! Mike Weiss put on a hell of an event, I might actually travel to some bigger cx races... we will see.

Hermann CX

Posted on 5:11 PM by Schottler

(Thanks Derek Fox for the pictures!)

It's officially the start of cx season! The 2 day Hermann cx event is always the best put on local race of the year. The night race is always epic.

I don't really know where to start with the race, I will keep it short. 32 starters with some fast dudes from Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, and Oklahoma.

7 of us got call-ups; previous Hermann winners and state cx champions. I was the last call-up with the leaders jersey from winning the 2 lap thunderstorm throwdown last year. The start of the race wasn't too intense, but I was toward the front in about top 5 and moved up to 2nd and pulled the team tactic card... wait for Le Butthead. Lap 3 or so Butthead got up to our group and I hit the gas hard and got a gap instantly.

I kept on the gas and built up a pretty large lead and Butthead attacked the group and got a gap. But Jason Rassi caught back up to him and they were both bridging up to me, so Butthead quit pulling. I stayed away for the rest of the race and ended up taking the win by about a minute. This is mainly due to Butthead tripping on the stairs and blowing his front tire, bummer.

Here's a pretty awesome video of the race made by my old roommate, Brent Davidson.

Sunday didn't really go as well, I wasn't feeling it. Saturday nights spectators were freaking amazing. I had a large number of friends who came in from Columbia as well as St. Louis, most of them were drunk. The screams and noise throughout the entire race was epic. I have to give a lot of credit to them for my Saturday night performance. Sunday was a bit dead, I had no fan club. Motivation level was low for some reason and my legs weren't great. My goal was to win the overall and make sure Josh was up far enough for us to win the team competition.

After the start I stayed 2nd wheel for most of the race, waiting for Josh. With 3 laps to go it was Devin and I with a 20 second gap or so, Josh yelled at me from across the course to attack... which Devin obviously heard. Not going to be much of a surprise. Unfortunately for me, I generally can't attack that far along in to a race, especially when I'm not really feeling it. Devin pulled off the front on the paved section and I went to the front and did what I could through some of the technical sections for a whole lap, I got at most 7 seconds, but Devin was able to bridge back up to my wheel. He attacked with 2 to go on the pavement and I stayed with him, but really felt it on the stairs. That's where the gap started. That was pretty much it, I couldn't get back up to him, finished 2nd. Congrats to Devin, he rode very well all weekend, definitely going to be a contender in every race this fall.

I ended up winning the overall and keeping the leaders jersey and Big Shark won the team competition. Pretty crazy payout for 2 hours of racing as well, now I can start paying off all the bikes I can't afford. The best part was the oversized check!

AMAZING event! Awesome job done by Jeff Yielding and the volunteers. I totally see this event growing bigger and bigger every year, it's by far the best local cx race around.

Tonight is the UCI cx race in STL. I am racing Elite, first ever UCI race. It is going to hurt, I have no expectations. Hopefully the hometown screaming spectators will make me go fast.

First CX Race of the Year!

Posted on 10:24 AM by Schottler

Well, I was planning on doing the Sac River 6 hour solo race until about 4:30am on Saturday. I packed up everything and woke up early to eat and fill up my bottles, then went back to bed. My hamstrings were still very sore from the previous 100 mile race at Shenandoah. I always forget how long 6 hours really is, it is a long ass time to push yourself. I realized how crippled I would be by the end of the race and how far it would set me back from actually training this week, and it wasn't worth it for a local race. Instead, I was reminded by teammate Butthead there was the first cx race of the year in Illinois.

So, I frantically put my race bike together and glued on some new Challenge Fengo tires. My first ride on the bike was in Illinois preriding the course, along with adjusting my seat position to where I have set it for the year, about an inch higher. Perfect time to tune bike fit and adjust the components.

This was my first time doing the Picx series, they did a great job. The course was a lot of fun with good elevation change, high speed corners, and a giant barrier I ran in to each lap. (Thanks Eville Mike for the pictures!)

The race started with me casually getting in the front, followed by Strothman flying by me off the road and nearly overshooting the first couple corners. I felt like taking off already, but I waited for Butthead to make his way to the front. Once he did, he attacked. Strothman followed and I hopped on his wheel. After about a minute I passed Jay on a descent and linked up with Butthead, then we got a gap. Devin Clark bridged back up to us and then I went to the front and accelerated up the climb. I got a gap pretty quickly and stayed on the gas. Butthead stayed on Devins wheel and eventually attacked once I was up the road far enough. I ended up taking the win with Butthead coming in second. Good race and good tactics, happy to see everyone out there so early in the season!

I had a flawless race, no errors, and took every corner with confidence. I don't know where the confidence came from, I haven't done a cross race since November. I guess it comes back fast. I was worried about not having any snap or leg speed from doing such long mountain races recently. I was way surprised. I noticed how quickly I could recover from a big effort, it's nuts. I could hammer, rest a few seconds, and do it again, all day long. The best part is I am not crippled, which means I get to ride all week!

Shenandoah 100

Posted on 9:06 AM by Schottler

I put myself down on the Shenandoah 100 wait list about 3 weeks ago and didn't get a spot until last Thursday, a few days before the race. Last week my training did not include a 100 mile mtb race, or any race for that matter, so I put in some long and intense rides. By Thursday I was already at nearly 12 hours, so last minute rest and eating commenced. I should also mention I had a frantic frame swap/bike overhaul Thursday night, in which Murphy's Law was in full effect.

Friday and Saturday I drove to Harrisonburg VA, a little over 13 hours. I got in a 1 hour ride to get my legs loosened up, and put in the first ride on my MTB since the overhaul, thankfully most everything was functioning. It was HUMID!! Seriously, worse than Missouri, and pretty hot too. The race venue is basically in the middle of nowhere with the closest hotel being about half an hour away. With the race start being 6:30am, nearly everyone camped, including myself. I seemed to be the first person awake at 4:00am, cooked some eggs and oatmeal on my camp stove, and scarfed anything else down I could find. Still not enough time to digest everything, but good enough. I was surprised to see how many people were eating huge meals so close to the start of the race.

My openers before the start consisted of riding to the porto-potty and then to the start line. I am not too into 'openers' for these types of races, that just burns 300-500 of the 1,800ish calories that your muscles store. You need every ounce of quick burning stored energy your body has, and the starts aren't ever hard enough to need the openers. The start positions for the 650 racers were grouped by 'estimated/reality finish times.' Apparently 50 people thought they were going to finish in the 7 hour range. At the roll-out I moved to the front 5 and stayed there for the first paved section and up the first 1,000 foot or something climb.

At the top of the climb I was in the Shalk/Tanguy group of about 10 people and we got in the single track. I quickly remembered I haven't ridden any rocky single track in over a month, so I was all over the place. About a minute in a 3/4" stick lodged itself between my rear tire and seat tube, locking up my back wheel. After about a minute of trying to break the stupid thing out of there, I got passed by a bunch of people. Followed by a lot more bouncing down the rocks.

I was told by a lot of people the majority of this race is gravel, however I was not told how rough the trails were. I had wayyyy too much pressure in my fork and tires, I was getting beat up. I also didn't realize how much climbing was in this race, something like 13,000 feet elevation gain. I would say the exact amount, however my Garmin doesnt' feel like connecting to my computer and quit displaying elevation gain after 10,000 feet.

The first two hours of the race I was having awful low back pain, preventing me from putting down any real power, and also affecting my technical climbing skills. I was a mess and was getting passed by everyone. Eventually, after an endless technical climb, we descended and got to some gravel. I got in a good group and we were rotating pulls at a pretty good pace. My waterbottle cage was trying to escape from my bike during most of this time, and I had to stop at aid station #2 to tighten it down, losing my group. I was probably a minute back and 30 seconds from Garth Prosser, who went by while I was working on my bike. From this aid station it was a paved climb and I pinned myself for about 4 minutes to bridge back up. I caught up to Garth and the group at the top of the climb.

For the next hour or so I was with Garth and Zach Morrey up some more endless climbs. Eventually it was just Zach and I to a paved road and we continued working well together. I was feeling great, low back pain was gone, and I was taking some hard pulls up the paved climb and got a small gap by the top and rode off by myself into the single track at mile 45 or so. From here, I was by myself the rest of the race.

Not really the best place to be by yourself it turns out, after aid station #4 it's a super long paved/gravel road with a huge amount of climbing. I set a pace and TT'd the whole section, catching and passing a couple of riders. After aid #5, I thought I was done climbing. Nope. This next section was called 'soul crusher.' The climbing didn't ever seem to end. My Garmin said I had 2,000 feet of descending to do, I was hoping for some gravel to go down. Nope. It was very rough and steep single track. I hurt everywhere and I went super slow. Down to aid #6.

From here, some gravel and another long climb. I was still feeling good at this time, but ready for the race to be over. I kept reminding myself the faster I go, the sooner it's over. It's simple and obvious, but you don't always look at it that way. Easy gravel descent to the finish to 7th place in 7:46. My longest ever time on a bike. Results.

Overall I am somewhat happy. I think I could have gone faster if I didn't have the issues at the start. However, if I didn't have the issues at the start I may have burned through more matches and not ridden as well at the end. Who knows. I shouldn't complain.

Now I am really trying to decide whether I should follow this series or not next year. I think I have a shot at top 5 overall (they take best 4 races.) Probably should, they are fun.

However I have also learned that the mental part of these races is as demanding as it is physically. To do well, your head has to be in it, or you are screwed. By mile 70 I was counting down every mile to go, I wanted it to be over. I was telling myself I never want to do one of these again. But now that it is all done I want to do it again. Garth told me that's normal, your head goes to weird places. It's something that should be relatively easy to improve and probably the easiest way to go faster.

Also, don't put a big air on your dash when it's hot. Sorry Garth.

Upcoming Races

Posted on 1:07 PM by Schottler

I was planning on taking a week or two off after Leadville. Unfortunately that race has pushed me pretty far in to the season, I usually take 2 weeks off at the end of July. So, if I took too much time off now, I won't be back to good form for some upcoming races I am targeting. Instead of time off, I have been doing some limited intensity rides with a few more rest days than usual, I think it will be enough.

Sept. 4th is the Shenandoah 100 in Virginia. As of now it is full, but I think I might be able to get a spot in the race.

The weekend after that is SAC River 6 hour. I won it last year and wouldn't mind going back for it again, very well put on race!

The next weekend is Hermann CX weekend and I will be starting day 1 with the leaders jersey from our 2 lap rain throw down last year.

Weekend after that is the Rapture in Misery 6 hour. It seems to have had some good competition the last few years, I'd like to throw my name in the hat.

And then of course in October is Burnin' at the Bluff and the Berryman Epic. The Berryman is what I am shooting for. I have a HUGE target on my back with some serious horsepower coming out to go for the win. I am up for the 3peat. I want it bad.

Cross season starts here pretty soon and the early races seem to fit pretty perfectly between these long races, so it should work out well. Considering I haven't taken more than 5 days off in a row this entire year and really haven't taking very many rest days, I doubt I will survive racing every weekend all the way through December. But, we will see.

Leadville 100

Posted on 1:29 PM by Schottler

A couple of months ago I got offered a spot at the Leadville 100, thanks to Big Shark and Sram. At the time I was on the trainer with a broken wrist, with little time to really get prepared for the race. Once the cast was off, I did what I could to get some form back. I never came back to perfect form by the race, but I could still go fast. A good 2.5 weeks camping, riding, and relaxing at elevation was capped off with the 103 mile race.

The race started early, 6:30AM. I was up at 4:00AM with Nate Means in the kitchen preparing the perfect pre-race meal which has always lead to a good race result. Nate and Meg dropped me off just outside of town so I could ride to the start line. It was cold (37 degrees) and I was tired, so my "warm-up" was about 5 minutes. This year they changed the start positions, using corrals. My invite to the race, which was after the lottery system, gave me a number which would have put me in the back of the 1,900 registered racers. Thankfully this is now a USAC race, so my 'pro' card gave me a priority start position. The front 250 spots are reserved for top 100 finishers last year and those with pro licenses. I got there early enough to be in the 4th row, just behind some of the best in the world. I was fired up.

The traditional shotgun blast meant go, so we were off. The start of the race was a bit chaotic, the flag on the lead truck fell off, which resulted in everyone in front of me locking up their brakes and shooting in different directions, but we were all able to keep it upright. After that, it was fast. A paved descent to some unpredictable double track to the base of the St. Kevins climb. After nearly 2 weeks without any rain, the gravel was DUSTY. Clouds of dust plus all of us riding 3-4 wide and wheel to wheel made it difficult to avoid large rocks, which resulted in a number of early flats for other riders. I tried to keep myself positioned in the front 50 or so and had the leaders in sight for a while. The pace was pretty high at the start of the race and up the climb and a lot of riders were already getting blown out of the front groups, so I was riding within my ability and kept a consistent pace up the climb.

After the climb, we had a short paved descent followed by the next climb up Sugarloaf. Alban Lakata, the 2010 marathon world champion from Austria, came by me on the paved climb after flatting. I hopped on his wheel for as long as I could, which bridged me up to the next group, which then exploded apart as he went by. I was feeling good, but wanted to conserve some energy so I decided to stay with the group.

Coming down powerline I made up some positions and got in a good group for the flat roller section to the Twin Lakes aid station. Up the last climb it was my turn to pull, which somehow separated me from the group, so I just kept going. I got to Twin Lakes in 2:24, 14 minutes or so behind the leaders. Beans was there waiting to give me a couple bottles and some more food. Then it was on to the 3,200 foot vertical climb.

Columbine hurt. I set myself on a pace I knew I could maintain and held it the whole way up. I actually made up some positions on the climb, but the top riders were still riding away from me even more. Todd Wells was returning down Columbine a little after I hit 11,000 feet (12,400 is the top,) and I got to watch all of the people in front of me recovering down. The descent was fast. I probably had a little too much confidence on the gravel corners with a constant line of riders pushing their bikes up the climb. I basically stopped using my brakes and just railed everything, making up a few more positions and taking a few too many risks.

Coming back through Twin Lakes it was obvious I wouldn't be able to maintain a high pace anymore, everything was hurting. I slowed down, but was able to stay with a group of about 5 other people all the way back to powerline. Powerline sucked. I think it's mentally the hardest part of the race, you know it's coming the whole time, and you're 80 miles in. I was with a few people up the climb, including Gretchen Reeves, who was chasing down Rebecca Rusch, 4 minutes up the road. I attacked the top of the climb so I could descend by myself, which got me probably 1-2 minutes. Thankfully Nate made it to the bottom of Sugarloaf in time, I ran out of water at the start of powerline. 2 more bottles for the last 15 or so miles.

Coming back up St. Kevins was super painful, it seemed like the turn off the road to the singletrack would never come. Gretchen and I were riding together again at this point, which made it a little better than trying to do it all by myself. She let me go ahead on the descent to put in some more time.

After descending down St. Kevins there's a flat gravel section which I was trying to motor across, but my legs were toast. I had nothing left and Gretchen got up to me again. By now she was just a few minutes behind Rebecca and I took a hard pull on the front to try and help her, but it pretty much just blew me apart. The last section is a 3 mile gravel climb and I was bonking, nauseous, and falling apart, I just wanted it to end. The bad part was I didn't know we were returning in to town on this different gravel road, I never preroad this. I was going sooo sloowww. Eventually, much later, I made it up the climb and saw the finish.

I came across in 7:37, 7 minutes slower than my ultimate goal, but I told myself I would be happy with anything under 8:00. So, I am not complaining. This put me 49th overall out of about 1,600 who started and 14/89 in my age group. I am not really that happy with the position, since this would have been top 20 last year and 3rd in my age group. But, there was some serious horsepower there. A few years ago it was easily a top 10 time. This was also my longest bike ride ever, by over an hour, and my first 100 mile mtb race.

The race itself was AWESOME. I loved the course and the atmosphere, easily in my top 3 race experiences ever. I hurt so bad at the end I told myself I wasn't going to race it again, but a few hours later I quickly changed my mind. I will be back next year for a sub 7:15 time.

A HUGE thanks to Nate and Meg Means for standing around all day providing support and cooking some delicious meals in our Copper condo. I would not have been able to do this without your help!

Here is the Garmin data.


Posted on 12:06 PM by Schottler

I've been out here for nearly 2 weeks now, and I don't want to leave. The weather, scenery, rides, and the vibe puts this trip right at the top of my list of racing vacations. I have set a new standard for perfect weather. Seriously, 40ish while sleeping and then immediately to 75 once breakfast is done. 40% humidity, sunny, and perfect. I have met a lot of cool people who are all at the same level of excitement, it makes for a great atmosphere. This is one of the things I love about mountain racing, everyone is always happy and excited.

I've been here for 13 nights now, 2 nights in Winter Park for Crankworx, 4 nights camping, 1 night at my buddies, 3 nights camping, 1 night at a hotel, 1 night in Breck with Garth, 1 night camping, and now it will be 4 nights at a condo with Green Beans and Meg to top off the resting. I bought a 3.5" thick thermorest and a new sleeping bag, which have actually made camping WAY more comfortable than I thought. I've been sleeping between 8-10 hours a night and riding about every day. Camping has turned out to be a great idea, I was somewhat hesitant due to the amount of sleeping that's required to acclimate, but it has worked out well. Sitting in a hotel room for this long would have driven me crazy, and you don't actually get to experience anything other than sitting in front of a TV. Sitting at my campsite in my camp chair with my legs up while drinking some french press coffee and reading a book was one of the most relaxing things I have ever done. If I wasn't riding, I was sitting down and eating and reading.

I seriously haven't read a book since Freshman year, so it was a good change. I think I am hooked. I read World War Z, by Max Brooks and Physics of the Future, by Michio Kaku. Both were awesome, and both got dominated in about 7 days of camping. I am currently reading a couple of books on nutrition that ProPam let me barrow, good stuff!

As for the riding, I have pretty much preridden the entire Leadville course 3 times, minus Columbine, which has been done once. So, I am prepared for each section. I know where to hit the gas, recover, and where to take risks if I need too. Preriding this much makes the course seem much shorter and each section a lot easier than they will be during the race. I think I am also getting used to the altitude now, I am FINALLY able to skyrocket my heart rate and comfortably keep it there. I can recover quickly and finally put down some power on the long climbs. I am starting to feel like myself at altitude, which is really pumping me up. Mentally and physically, I am as ready as I am going to get. I know what is in store, what I am capable of, and what I have to do.

Here is powerline. The 'Race Across the Sky' movies made it seem this is the only climb on this section of the course... this is the easy part, 20% gradient. Easy to ride when preriding, the race will probably be a bit different.
Here's a better picture of what the descent looks like, it's a bit sketchy. The ruts will push you off the course if you aren't paying attention to the good lines. This will not be a spot for me to take risks.

Top of Columbine, 3,000+ vertical feet of climbing. This was also pretty easy while preriding, it will not be easy during the race.

When I got out here I raced Crankworx in Winter Park. I lined up behind Jeremy Horgan Kobelksi and stayed with the lead group about half way up the 1,300 foot climb and got dropped, hard. I suffered the whole race, the long climbs and altitude killed me. I made up all of my time on the descents and flat sections, finishing 19th, which was about midpack. Only 4 minutes out of a top ten, oh well.

I am excited for the race, but stressing about the start. There is something like 1,500 people racing, with many heavy hitters. I haven't done the race before, so I don't get a front 100 start. I am going to have to sweet talk some people at registration to give me the wristband which gives me a spot towards the front. Otherwise, I am going to be burning matches trying to position myself on the paved descent to the first climb of the race, not good. Getting in a front group that I can ride with is very important for the gravel and road sections. Otherwise I will most likely be TT'ing solo trying to bridge up to riders, which would really suck. I've had people tell me that they think I can finish in 7:30, but I have set the goal of 8:00. 7:30 would put me in a top 25 finish, which would be epic. If my back stays together, have some good legs, and get a good start, I think it is possible.

In addition to riding and hanging out by myself this whole trip, I got a call from Garth Prosser, who is doing this race for the 11th time. We hung out the last couple days and put in some good rides on the course. Bestowing vasts amounts of knowledge that one can only accumulate over such an extensive endurance racing career. Pretty awesome to hear his stories and pick his brain. He basically told me that if I am going to beat him, he wants me to really beat him, which resulted in secrets. We also met up with Jeremiah Bishop, which was cool. I talked to him for a bit and donated a tube to his failing rear tire, he told me that the race is really decided up powerline and telegraph. Super bummed I missed Garth's call the first day he was out here, I would have got to ride up Columbine with him, Yuki Ikeda, and Rebecca Rusch.
Colorado stream ice bath:

It's Wednesday now, I rode for 30 minutes this morning to keep my legs loose and am taking tomorrow off. Friday I'll ride for probably an hour with a few short hard efforts. Saturday is game day. As Butthead says, I am done studying.

I don't care what some of you say, the course is awesome. I am sorry it is not pure singletrack, but I would rather be riding this stuff. Gravel roads are my favorite to train on, so why not race it? 1,500 people on all singletrack? No thanks.

Don't make me go back to Missouri.