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
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.