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.