Tuesday, July 18, 2017

WORS Cup and Copper Harbor Training Camp

 This is a real quick one because I need to finish packing and get on the road to nationals!

At the WORS Cup/Midwest Championships I did the junior race because I don't have my pro license yet. I was a bit bummed but took it in stride and raced my hardest. Right from the gun I took the lead and by the end of the first lap only Daxton Mock was still with me. He hung on super tough making me really work for my gap, which came halfway through the final lap.

Although I didn't get to race against my team mate Brian Matter it was still excellent prep for nationals due to the similar lengths of the races.

On Sunday I skipped the short track race and headed to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with my family for a few days. Then I headed farther up north to Copper Harbor where I did a mini training camp with Matter and two AZ Devo juniors Hayden, and Grayson as well as Karl Hendrikse.(Karl took all the fancy photos of us riding, thanks Karl!)

It was an incredibly fun few days riding, adventuring and just having fun. The wet gnarly trails of Copper Harbor were exactly what we wanted to prepare for nationals! Check out our adventures in the pictures below.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Angel Fire Pro XCT

A little late but here is my write up my week in Boulder and the Angel Fire Pro XCT. (Feel free to also checkout my interview with Cyclocross Magazine about my weekend of racing here!)

The Monday after the Mt. Morris WORS race I hopped on a plane from Madison to Denver and took a shuttle to Boulder. Tuesday I did a big ride up in the mountains to get as much high elevation training as possible.

Valmont Bike Park in Boulder where the CU Short Track was held

Wednesday I raced the CU short track which was an absolute blast. Surprisingly the elevation(5280) didn't effect me much and I took 3rd! 

This Trek Top Fuel shredded the mountain!
Thursday it was back up into the mountains for another awesome ride full of long climbs, dirt roads and rad single track. 

Friday morning I hitched a ride with Boulder area pro Chris Baddick, for the five hour drive down to New Mexico. When we got there I did two laps of the course to check it out and dial in my lines. The course went straight up and then straight down with 700 feet of climbing and a killer fun descent on the way down. After pre-ride it was burrito time with the Arizona Devo squad and then recovery time.

Burrito time with the Arizona Devo team
Saturday morning I just chilled out until noon when I kitted up, dialed in bike. and started my warm up. During my warm up I felt a little lightheaded and started to get pretty worried about how the altitude would effect me while racing. 

However when the official blew the whistle I forgot my worries and focused on what I do best. I was third into the first corner and jumped ahead into second place before the single track. The first place rider ran out of steam pretty quickly and all the riders were together wheel to wheel half way up the climb. I made the pass into first and laid down some power immediately getting a gap on the rest of the field. I dropped into the downhill with a ten second gap and let it rip. 

One rider caught me on the downhill and another reestablished contact part way up the climb on the second lap. Connor Patten led the first 3/4 of the climb and I let it rip in the last quarter putting Connor off the back. Ethan Moyer lead into the downhill and I discovered I had an advantage over him on the descent. 

Going into the third lap Ethan hit the gas all the way up the climb putting the hurt on me. I held on tight and counter attacked at the top heading into the descent first. I let it all hang loose and put in a 20 second gap on Ethan. On the final lap I put in my fastest time on the climb and my overall fastest lap time to take the win by almost forty seconds. 

This was my first ever UCI win and I was absolutely thrilled about it. My goal was to win this race and score some serious UCI points for staging at nationals and that's exactly what I did!

After I made myself some food and showered I cheered on TJ Woodruff and my teammate Brian Matter with the rest of the AZ Devo squad. Then it was time for podium and dinner back up at the condo.

To top off the perfect day we were treated to a killer Angel Fire sunset in the mountains and ran into half the juniors at the race in the grocery store hunting for Ben & Jerry's ice-cream.

The next day I raced short track early in the day at nine. I pretty much ate breakfast and hopped right on my bike. I warmed up and went to the start line without getting a chance to pre-ride the course.

I lined up first row and pulled the hole-shot which gave me an open shot to checkout the course. Then I settled into the front group and worked to cover the attacks of two Whole-Athlete guys who were working together. I was hurting pretty bad halfway through the 25 minute race but I hung tough to the select front group of five. Partially out fatigue and partially because of tactics I kind of rode my own race letting the other riders surge ahead while I gradually closed the short gaps expending less effort.

Missed my podium, whoops!

By the time the last lap came around I was feeling more recovered and was ready for the fireworks. The five of us soft peddled up the gravel climb waiting for someone to make a move. I knew I didn't have the energy to out-sprint all five of these guys at the end so when no one else attacked I figured I would do it to at least secure myself a podium. I hit the gas over the top of the climb surprising the other riders and kept the pedal down. Only one other rider stayed on my wheel and when we came to the short climb before finish he counter attacked and I didn't have enough left to fend him off.

To come away from the weekend with a first and second place was everything I had hoped for. It was so much fun riding and racing in Boulder and Angel Fire. I'd like to thank Eric Stonebraker and Carrie Morrill for hosting me during the week in Boulder. I'd also like to give a big thank you to Chris Baddick for giving me a lift down to Angel Fire. Next I'd like to give a big big thank you to Brian Matter, TJ Woodruff and the whole AZ  Devo team for letting me crash with them for the weekend and for all the help with bottle hand-ups, tactical advice, cheers and more!

Lastly I'd like to thank my team and sponsors for making this possible, so huge thanks to Linear Sport, Trek Bikes, Bontrager, Wheel & Sprocket, Styled Aesthetic, Kettle Moraine Preservation and Restoration, and David Hobbs Honda, as well as Honey Stinger, Mike's Mix, Englewood Grass Farm, Wolf Tooth Components and ESI Grips for all their amazing support.


Lastly, get rad(Not sure what happened to the video quality)! WORS Cup this weekend and then nationals in two weeks!!! Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

WORS #4 Mount Morris Challenge

Time for a recap of round four of the Wisconsin Off Road Series!

The Mt. Morris wors race used to be home to the Subaru Cup UCI race a few years back. Today it still uses the same rad trails making it a challenging and fun course with a decent amount of climbing.

This time around I nailed my warm up and was sure not to miss my call up. When Don finished his countdown I pulled the hole-shot and then Cole House shot by me taking an early lead. I headed the
chase group of five riders through the fast flowy lower section of the course until the pack came around me.

As the course went uphill things for me went downhill. My legs were hurting and I started to lose time on fifth place as everyone hammered hard to catch back up to Cole. However other's misfortune ended up working in my favor. Near the top of the ski hill Ben Senkerik had a small mechanical and we started working together to try and catch back up. Then, 3/4 of the way through the first lap Pete Karinen had an issue with his derailleur which ultimately caused him to drop out. On top of all that Corey Stelljes got a flat and had to stop and fix it which cost him some time.

So by the end of the first lap Ben and I went from fighting for 5th to fighting for 3rd. We rode together for the next two laps or so until I started drifting backwards from him. I rode the last lap solo staying focused and keeping on the pace to make sure Corey didn't catch me.

I was hoping to be up fighting in the top three for longer but I just didn't have the legs. I'm still happy to have finished fourth continuing my consistent streak of staying in the top five. The real cherry on top was that because of my consistency the past four races I am now leading the WORS overall points series for my first time ever!

I couldn't do it without the help of my team and sponsors so huge thanks to Linear Sport, Trek Bikes, Bontrager, Wheel & Sprocket, Styled Aesthetic, Kettle Moraine Preservation and Restoration, and David Hobbs Honda, as well as Honey Stinger, Mike's Mix, Englewood Grass Farm, Wolf Tooth Components and ESI Grips for all their amazing support. I am proud to represent such great companies!

In other life news... when I got home from the race Sunday night my family had a new puppy! Meet Milo!

Friday, June 16, 2017

WORS #3 Battle of Camrock

Time for a quick update before WORS #4 this weekend!

This was the first hot race of the year which meant lots of ice and a short warm up to minimize my time out in the sun. I accidentally cut it a little too short and missed my call up. Luckily my competitors and friends let me slide into the second row.

Photo: Kari Lewis Scheppman
By the top of the start hill I was sitting comfortably in sixth place but needed to be farther up. I came around Ben Senkerik in some tight single track and around Corey Stelljes in an open field section. Nathan Guerra and Isaac Neff hit the gas and started to open up a gap while I worked hard to stay on Cole House's wheel.

Photo: Gary Smits
I took over the chase going up the start climb trying to close on Nathan and Isaac. I pulled until the halfway point when Cole took over again.

Photo: Gary Smits
He kept the pace high and consistent and by the end of that lap we caught back up to Isaac! Unfortunately right as we made contact, I had a mechanical. I jumped off and fixed it as quickly as I could but still lost about 30 seconds.

Photo: Anderson Bortoletto
I chases hard but couldn't catch back up. I ended up riding the next two laps solo to finish in fourth place a minute behind Isaac and thirty seconds ahead of Corey.

I was pretty happy to take home fourth in one a fully stacked field. Despite my mechanical I would probably consider it my best WORS finish yet this year! Stoked to see what I can do this Sunday at Mt. Morris!

Huge thanks to my family, my coach Joseph Maloney and my team, Linear Sport Racing as well as Trek Bikes, Bontrager, Wheel & Sprocket, Styled Aesthetic, Kettle Moraine Preservation and Restoration, and David Hobbs Honda, as well as Honey Stinger, Mike's Mix, Englewood Grass Farm, Wolf Tooth Components and ESI Grips for helping make it all happen!

In other news, I graduated from high school!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

WORS #2 Iola Bump and Jump

New bike day! Nothing beats it! Right before Sunday's race I got my new Top Fuel 9.9 RSL built up and dialed it. The new Top Fuel frame set paired with my Bontrager Kovee XXX wheels makes a killer combination that rolls fast and shreds like crazy. I couldn't wait to let it rip in the mud, but hoped it wouldn't be too muddy...it hurts to trash a brand new bike!

Sunday morning there wasn't much messing around time. Woke up, breakfast, two hour drive, registration, kitted up, and onto the bike to start my warm up. Then it was straight to the start, lined up, national anthem played and finally Don's famous count down. I was fast off the line and charged up the ski hill in the top five. We came ripping back down into "the bowl" at the bottom of all the ski jumps and I was still sitting fifth.

Photo: Danny Marchewka

Cole House set the pace into the first single track section but laid it out pretty good on a slick spot. Isaac took over the lead for the rest of the first lap putting the hammer down. I hung tight still in fifth wheel with Nathan Guerra following me. 

Photo: Danny Marchewka

I kept myself tucked into the group trying to analyse who was riding strong and who was making mistakes knowing that it would come in handy later in the race. Unfortunately it would not come in handy. On an open two track section I decided to take a gel. Just as I took my hand of my bars to reach back into my jersey pocket a vine that was hanging down on the side of the fire road snagged my bars throwing me to the ground. 

Photo: Garry Smits

Bewildered and angry about what had just happened I jumped back on and tried to catch back up. The gap was only about 15-20 seconds but those guys were pushing each other hard and by the time I cam through t start lap three they were out of sight. I ended up riding 3.5 laps solo pushing my own pace as hard as I could to finish fifth after one of the riders ahead of me dropped out.

I was pretty bummed to have lost the front group but it was really just a freak incident of very bad luck. I would have loved to have been able to duke it out in the mud with those guys and actually get some back and forth racing in, but stuff happens!

Huge thanks to Linear Sport, Trek Bikes, Bontrager, Wheel & Sprocket, Styled Aesthetic, Kettle Moraine Preservation and Restoration, and David Hobbs Honda, as well as Honey Stinger, Mike's Mix, Englewood Grass Farm, Wolf Tooth Components and ESI Grips for helping make it all happen!
Stoked to see what I can do at Camrock. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tech Devo Pro XCT

Utah! After taking my AP Statistics exam Thursday afternoon I drove home, finished packing up my bike and luggage and headed to the airport. After a direct 2.5 hour flight to Salt Lake City I grabbed my bike bag and met Jeff Bender outside. Two years ago on a big road trip with my coach Joe Maloney and Carter Warren, the three of us stayed with Jeff and his roommates while passing through. When I nailed down my season schedule I hit up Jeff to see if he could host me for the weekend and he had me covered!

Friday morning I built up my bike and around noon Jeff and I drove the 45 minutes to Soldier Hollow in Midway. There I linked up with Paul Fabian and my teammate Brian Matter to ride a few laps of the xc race course. It was a good mix of single track climbing, fast fun descents, rocky technical sections and fun features to send it off of.  Afterwords Jeff and I headed back to Salt Lake for dinner and bike prep for the next day's short track race.

Saturday morning I did the skills challenge which contributed points to the overall omnium. It consisted of five challenges, each worth 10 points for a max score of 50. You lost points for each mistake you made and I ended up with 37. After that I watched the pro women and men race short track, where Brian finished 5th in a sprint.

Since my short track race was only 15 minutes plus three laps I did my usual warm up for a cyclocross race to get my legs ready for the intensity. We started at the bottom of a narrow pavement climb that went up to where the first single track section was. I started third row on Paul's wheel and after they blew the whistle we sprinted up the climb jostling for positions. Paul and I were third and fourth wheel into the single track, perfectly positioned. 

The two of us worked together to control our positions the whole race and not let anyone take our prime spots. Almost every lap someone would attack up the pavement start climb and we marked those attacks not letting anyone get away. The whole race I was taking mental notes on my strengths and weaknesses on the course compared to other riders. I noticed that after the single track downhill everyone backed off and recovered through the multiple tight twisty turns. 

Going into the third to last lap I rolled up on the inside corner of the group taking the lead for the first time, into the single track. I decided to accelerate hard out of all the tight twisty corners cyclocross style and see how the other riders reacted. After I came back into the long open section I saw I had five second gap. I thought to myself, "Well, I guess I'm going!" Coming through the finish banner Brian was yelling at me to "hit it," confirming that I'd made the right move. I went full throttle those last two laps absolutely gassing myself to hold off the pack of riders chasing hard. I was totally cross-eyed, nauseous, and could hardly steer my bike on the final lap but I knew I had the win!

After I crossed the line I pretty much collapsed from exhaustion. Some bike racers like to get a little over dramatic when they cross the line and flop all over the place. For me it was the first time I'd ever gone so hard that I honestly just needed to lay down!

What made things even better was that Paul won the field sprint for second! It kind of felt like winning a criterium using perfect team tactics and controlling things the whole race, which was pretty much what we did.

After podium Paul, Cal and I spun back to the house that the Arizona Devo crew had rented for the weekend. Once Brian, TJ Woodruff and the rest of group got back we fired up the grill and whipped up a full scale burrito feast which was quickly followed by organizing for the next day and bed time.

Sunday's cross country race was bright and early at 9:00am which meant I was up at 6:30 and out the door at 7:30. I jumped straight into my warm up, took my Honey Stinger gel, and lined up third row on the far left side.

Photo: Kenny Wehn
When they blew the whistle my goal was to move up as much as possible on the start straight. I charged up on the left side following another riders wheel. We were off the pavement, on the gravel and we got closer to the finish I realized our our line was ending into the fencing and we needed to get in front or risk jumping laterally over the curb into the pack. I shouted to the rider in front of me to hit it and luckily he understood, pulling the two of us safely right up to the front.

Photo: Kenny Wehn
As we continued up the first series of climbs I tried to maintain my position but my legs and lungs just weren't having it. I dropped back a few spots to outside the top ten and stayed there holding onto the another riders wheel for dear life not wanting to end up solo. Going into the second lap my legs started to feel a little bit better but every time things got steep I felt my effort from the day before.

I started to work my way back up a few spots and settled into a group of three other riders going back and fourth with them for 1.5 laps. Part way through the fourth lap I lost contact with the group and my pace slackened a little bit. My body just didn't want to do the work but I kept on pushing trying not to lose any time to the riders behind me.

Photo: Kenny Wehn
Going into the last lap my legs felt better than they had in the previous four laps and I kept on the pace seeing if I could make up any time. Most importantly I reminded myself that I was riding a mountain bike and that even though I was racing I should still be having fun! So, I made sure to rip all the fast downhill sections as hard as I could and was sure to hit all the jumps! I crossed the line in 11th place which was quite disappointing but I was still stoked to come away from the weekend with one win and ended up 2nd overall in the omnium.

 After the race Paul and I went for recovery ride up into the mountains shredding some sweet horse trails before it was time to head back for the pro men's race. I did bottle hand ups for Brian who had a seriously impressive ride. Starting sixth row he moved up over 40 spots closing huge gaps the whole race to finish 12th. After Brian finished I said my goodbyes and drove back Salt Lake with Jeff and flew out Monday morning at 7:00.

Already missing the mountains!
Huge thanks to Jeff Bender for hosting me for the weekend and helping my get to and from the races. Also big thanks to Brian Matter, TJ Woodruff, Kenny Wehn and Monica Fabian for letting me borrow tent space, tools, and letting me crash with them Saturday night. It was great to hang out with Jeff and the Arizona crew and I can't wait to do it again!

Lastly thank you to Linear Sport, Trek Bikes, Bontrager, Wheel & Sprocket, Styled Aesthetic, Kettle Moraine Preservation and Restoration, and David Hobbs Honda, as well as Honey Stinger, Mike's Mix, Englewood Grass Farm, Wolf Tooth Components and ESI Grips for helping make it all happen!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

WORS #1 Englewood Opener

First race report of the season, here we go! For one of the first times ever a WORS(Wisconsin Off-Road Series) race was held on a Saturday and the Pro/Cat 1 field raced at 1:00 before the sport category. This lead to huge amount of spectators and people stuck around all day making it a really fun event out at Englewood Grass Farm in Fall River.

Thanks to Danny Marchewka for all of these awesome photos! 

I arrived early, took some team pictures and then got registered. Then I had a little down time before getting my gear on and starting my warm up. It had been a few months but when I lined up it felt just like usual, adrenaline and excitement. Don did his famous count down and we hammered off the line. I tucked myself in behind Cole House up the short climb and through the headwind.

I entered the single track sixth wheel and after a few turns moved into fourth. Pete Karinen took the lead and kept the pedal down all the way through the prologue setting the six of us apart from the field. As we came through the finish shoot as I took a drink Ben Schmutte and Ben Senkerik passed me. I stuck onto Senkerik's wheel as we went up the short start climb and I realized we were about to enter a tricky rocky single track descent. I knew I had to be farther up in the group to follow Pete and Cole so I made an aggressive pass back into fourth place.

The two leaders rocked the descent and my small mistake cost me about eight seconds. Ben Schmutte and I were now dangling in 3rd and 4th with a solid gap on 5th and 6th. Ben and I worked together chasing hard for the next two laps keeping the gap below 15 seconds but eventually Pete and Cole started to drift away.

We kept the pace up but focused on and staying smooth and steady to avoid making mistakes and getting caught by anyone. Heading into the last lap I knew exactly where I was going to make my move to get away. As we reached the half way point in the lap I took over the lead before a descent full over berms. I raged into the big wooden berm pushing the limit. I stood up and accelerated out of every corner and nailed every technical section and corner as hard as I could slowly inching away from Ben.

I crossed the line in 3rd place, 14 seconds behind Ben and 90 seconds behind the leaders. It was my best finish in a Pro WORS race yet and knocked off my season goal of cracking the top three. The cherry on top was the monster pay outs that the Scott Nyland and the other promoters procured. I also have to give a huge shout out to Ben and Kristi Agnew of Englewood Grass Farm for being amazing sponsors and most importantly promoting this killer race!

I couldn't be happier with how my first race in the Linear Sport colors went! Big thanks to Trek, Bontrager, Wheel & Sprocket, Styled Aesthetic, Kettle Moraine Preservation and Restoration, and David Hobbs Honda, as well as Honey Stinger, Mike's Mix, Wolf Tooth Components and ESI Grips for helping make it all happen. It is going to be a great season!

This Thursday I head to Utah for a round of junior UCI racing so stayed tuned for results and updates on social media and a full race report on here next week. Thanks for reading!