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.