Sunday, September 9, 2012

Racing on the Home Front

The end of summer has seen most team members racing in the backyard including races in Moorhead at Johnson Park and Black's Crossing outside Wadena. 
Labor day weekend the majority of the team was at Maplelag racing in the Laddies Loppet stage race. Solid performances in all classes with great results.  Click here for full report from the Loppet weekend with photos and link to results.

Team riders at the Flugly. Race report from Flugly and Blacks Crossing on Skinnyski. com

Jens Richards racing short track, Kids comp.

Michael Cisek coming up the steep hill in Sport short track action.
Greg Ames in front of the lead group Comp short track.
Jens racing with cousin Garret in the xc.
Max Bergner waving the flag for the first time in Kids Comp xc.
Wyatt Horner Kids Comp xc.
Ben Wenzel, Citizen xc.
Devon Horner in Citizen XC.
Tom Heilman heading out for xc racing action in Sport XC.

Brandon Charboneau in short track action, Comp class.
Andrea Horner mixing it up with a strong women's field in the XC.
Ian Fritz lakeside, Sport XC.
Jon Darling lakeside, Sport XC.
Jordan Horner lakeside, Sport XC.
Tony Schmitz coming down off the bridge heading over to Twin Lakes singletrack, Sport XC.
Thad Schulz riding the bridge, Sport XC.

Denny Barry reading to cross the road and head to the west, Sport XC. Big thanks to Denny for blowing out a lot of the singletrack Friday and Saturday.

Mason Bacso lakeside, Elite XC.
Corey Coogan Cisek lakeside, Elite women XC.
Steve Wenzel lakeside, Comp XC.
Matt Horner lakeside, Comp XC.
Lars Ellefson lakeside, singlespeed Comp.
Matt Engen reading to drop in lakeside drops, Comp XC.
Jeff Beck set to drop in lakeside, Comp XC.
Sam Oftedahl climbing Suicide Hill, Elite XC.

Very proud of everyone waving the flag. Nice work!! Thanks Bruce at skinnyski for the great photos....Keep the wheels moving!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Maah Daah Hey 100- Mon Du Lac

Steve Wenzel along with team riders Jeff Beck, Greg Ames, Matt Engen and Eric Oftedahl participated in the Maah Daah Hey 100 mountain bike race. Steve reports:  In short, the absolute toughest event that I have done.  Not so much physically, but mentally.  Loved every pedal stroke!

The Maah Daah Hey 100 mountain bike race was held Saturday August 18th out in the beautiful badlands of western ND.  I had ridden the whole trail in sections from both directions one year or another but this adventure I was gunning for the whole deal, 104 miles of single track in one day.
5am sharp we took off from the start of the North section of the MDH trailhead at the CCC Campground.  Considering it was 5 in the morning all 50+ riders toeing the line were equipped with some sort of light on their bike.  It is hard to wrap your mind around the fact that you were going to be on your bike riding single track for the pre-race meeting estimated finish time of 20 hours.  Prior to the race I was considering only needing light the first leg of the ride, not on the other end to finish up.  The batteries on my lights were not going to last that long.  My plan B was my trusty LED Petzel head lamp.

Aid stations/baggage drops were located at 25 mile intervals throughout the day.  Reaching them was always a carrot dangling in front of you and very much appreciated when you reached that goal.  

At the halfway point I was on pace to finish before the street lights clicked on in Medora.  At 75 miles I was still feeling fine and rode on through the last and easiest section of the Buffalo Gap trail.  As you reel in the last miles of the Buffalo Gap section there is still over 3 miles of single track into the Medora trailhead.  Hitting that familiar road going into Medora was an unbelievable feeling.  Knowing that you had just completed one of the most difficult single track sections in the country!  The biggest plus was the fact that the sun was going down, but the street lights were still black as I rode over the finish line all smiles!
In reading my Garmin data, I personally was very happy with my overall results.  I ate, drank and rode consistent speeds throughout the day. There was not one time I doubted my ability or questioned if I should quit.  

Nick and Lindsey Ybarra race organizers and passionate about the ND badlands along with numerous family and volunteers pulled off a top notch first time event.  Check out their web page for future activities and overall news about this absolutely awesome part of the country.

Other racing action saw a few riders hitting up Mon Du Lac with Mason Bacso recording one of the best finishes of the season with a 3rd place finish! Thad Schulz recorded a 24th place overall and 4th place age group. 

Good luck this weekend to team riders hitting up the local races in Wadena and Moorhead!

Keep the wheels moving!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Buck Hill-Hillside Park

Back to Back series racing in Minnesota as July gets checked off and we move on to August.
Couple of team related events to note in August: The Flugly on August 25th and the Blacks River Crossing on the 26th  Thanks to everyone who has been toeing the line at the events, not only in Minnesota but across the country as well.

Jake and Jon Richards on a training ride near Cooke City, MT.

 Wyatt Horner near the front in Kids Comp.

Devon Horner tearing it up in the Citizen class.

Ian Fritz leading out his age class.

Andrea Horner en route to a second place finish overall, female Sport.

Jordan Horner mixing it up with the guys in the Sport race. Nice job on the win at Elk River!

First year racer Ian Fritz giving it'!

Denny Barry back from Ireland showing the youngans how it is done.

Other riders to note include Thad Schulz in Sport, 32nd overall at Buck Hill and 43rd at Elk River
Matt Horner 30th overall in Comp at Buck and 37th at Elk, Dan DeRoma 59th overall Comp at Buck and at 50th at Elk, Alye DeRoma 3rd overall female Sport at Buck and Jack Harris 97th overall Sport at Buck Hill.

Sam Oftedahl 15th at Buck and leading at one point at Elk but flatting out. Eric Oftedahl 16th at Buck and at 20th at Elk and Mason Bacso 29th at Elk River. In Female Elite, Corey Coogan Cisek was 4th overall and sent in a report below:

I try to make sure never to miss the Single Track Attack.  The course is a blast, though passing (or in my case, being passed by the comp men!) is tough.  The organization is excellent, while the atmosphere is still low-key and totally fun. And, they pay-out 15-deep in the expert/pro races.  For those who don't know, the Minnesota Mountain Bike pay-out depth is based on the number of entrants.  With the women's field being so small this year, we struggle to get the 6 racers necessary to pay-out to more than just the race winner...and let's just say that with racers like Sara Kylander-Johnson and Jenna Rinehart racing in Minnesota, for most of us, the odds of winning aren't that great!

With the afternoon start time for the experts, I was able to stay at home watching the Olympic Road Race while it poured, and then arrive in Elk River to shining sun and a drying course. Having pre-rode the course the previous week, I felt that Elk River gets a little harder year by year.  This spring's rain created some impressive erosion and unearthed some roots.  With that in mind, plus the wet conditions, I tried to keep myself under control effort-wise so as to avoid making mistakes out of fatigue.  I think, however, that I speak for most when I say the race was about minimizing errors.  Between the wet roots, erosion, and some slippery corners, it was challenging riding. I have done a lot of road racing this year, and little MTB, so my skills aren't where they should be.  Still, it was nice to get back into the swing of things.  I'll be racing mtb exclusively from here until the start of cyclocross.

Great job every one....keep the wheels moving!

p.s. if I missed anyone, please let me know so I can give proper credit!

Friday, July 13, 2012

US MTB Nationals-Great Hawk Chase-Zigs

After a break for the Fourth of July, team riders were back in action with Eric Oftedahl racing at Nationals and a handful of riders hitting up Lester Park in Duluth.

Eric sent in a report from Nationals:

"This was my first trip out to Sun Valley let alone Idaho. Sun Valley is the Hollywood of ski resorts. Fancy cars and houses are abundant in the area. After my pre-ride on friday I took the gondola and chairlift to the top of  Bald Mountain for lunch at the "Roundhouse Restaurant". While waiting for my food, I wandered about looking at the old pictures of Sun Valley and the restaurant from the early 40's when it first was built. Lucy even made a film featuring Sun Valley. It was a great place to relax and take in the scenery while enjoying some good food.
As stated before I did a nice pre-ride on friday. The course profile looked like a mountain itself; climb for half the race then descend for the second half. The second half also had a couple short climbs but they weren't too bad. The "ameture course" was 1, 18 mile lap around the mountain.  I really wanted to check the downhill part so I took the gondola to the top of the mountain and rode a connector trail to the top of the race climb on the back side of the mountain. Where the trails met was also the first feed zone. I laughed when I heard we had to fill our own water bottles from the gatorade jugs provided. It was so remote all they could do is get 3 jugs back to a picnic table. How they did it I don't know, because there was no motorized vehicle access back there. Anyway, I was feeling fine and the downhill was quite hazardous so it was a good decision to do the downhill and get a feel for it. What I found interesting about this race was 100% of the singletrack is mountain traverse, much like the last section of single track at Red Wing. However, this terrain was much rockier and sandier. One slip of the tire or wrong move could send you off the side of the mountain and it was always a long and steep way down. It was still a blast and I had a smile on my face all the way down.

My race started at 8am so it was nice to start in the cool mountain air which was key to not getting dehydrated with only 1 water bottle. On the start line I was 2nd or 3rd row which was fine with me. I haven't been as fast as previous years and I knew it was going to be a very long climb so I had plenty of time to move up. When the gun went off  I had one of my worst starts in modern history. I couldn't find my cleat for the life of me and missed like 3 or 4 times which put me in the back. We did a short prologue loop around the chalet area and then were sent down a flat paved bike path for 2 miles. I had to burn a few matches and put it in TT mode to catch the lead group right before the climb. Oh, did the climb hurt too. I found myself near the back trying to get into a good rhythm and run my own race. It took me a full hr of non stop climbing to reach the top, going from around 6,000ft to 8,000ft. The gravel road and doubletrack were brutal. There were a couple kickers in the beginning to sap the legs before the looooong gradual singletrack traverse to the top. The downhill was fun and I rode within my limits to stay safe. I passed a few guys with broken chains and flats, feeling fortunate not to be one of them. It would be a long hike a bike back if I was. The bottom section of singletrack that the pro course was on an even steeper hillside with lots of rocky, rutted, and loose switchbacks. I arrived at the finish with no one around me finishing in a time of 1:48 and in 21st place. The results didn't matter for me, only to have fun and stay safe which I did. It is a good experience to go some place and ride trails that are so foreign to us Midwestern folk and meet new people. I love riding out west and hope to make it to another Nationals someday.:"

Racing at Duluth and posting results were:

 Thad Schulz- 5th in age class and 39th overall Sport
Alye DeRoma- 5th in age class and 8th overall Sport
Dan DeRoma-12th in age class and 64th overall Comp
 Greg Ames- 4th in age class and 38th overall Comp

Earlier this week I hooked up with Chris "Zigs" Ziegler, one of the early riders of the Maplelag team. We rode a lap and half of the course, getting out early while temps still cool and no bugs. Good to hook up with Chris who was home from a few days from graduate studies (microbiology) at University of Vermont.

Keep the wheels moving!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chequemegon 100 Jamestown Epic New Bridge

Brothers Matt and Mark Engen ready to take on the tight and twisty in Chequemegon State Forest during the Chequemegon 100.

A busy weekend of racing. Race reports from Matt, Steve Wenzel who was in Jamestown with Jake, and Corey Coogan Cisek (along with Eric Oftedahl) racing at the WORS Firecracker, found in the Midwest MTB Recap on skinnyski.

The past few weeks we have been working on new singletrack to enter and exit the Twin Lakes loop without crisscrossing on the driveway. To avoid the crisscross, we built a bridge/flyover on the west side of the driveway. The singletrack and bridge are both completed and open for riding. The new additions are riding very nice and should be a fun addition to the whole loop. A few photos here and full bike trail report on the Maplelag website.

 Have a safe Fourth of July and keep the wheels moving!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Red Wing and Rollag

Couple of riders hitting race #3 in the Minnesotat Series in Red Wing. Greg Ames racing Comp and Eric and Sam Oftedahl racing in Elite. Conditions got challenging during the second part of the race with rain making for a greasy course. Greg posted a third place in the age group and Eric and Sam had to dnf due to the conditions.

This past Wednesday Jake and I hooked up with a group from Fargo including team riders Matt Engen and Steve Wenzel for a fast paced road ride with 6 sprints in the mix. A great ride, beautiful terrain and always seems to be great weather. This ride has been happening for at least 15 years and always a good workout. If you are ever in the area on Wednesday nights, check with us about riding here.

 Rolling through Rollag. Famous during Labor day weekend for the steam threshers reunion. There are some great rolling hills as the road traverses the lake shore of the old lake Agassiz.

The best place to watch storms roll across the countryside is the prairie!
Tony Schmitz and Ian Fritz were logging some big road miles on a trip out east last week. Nice job to those two riders logging their first hundred miler!

Lot of events on tap for the weekend. Good luck to everyone and keep the wheels moving!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Race To Sunset

Two Maplelag Teams were at the Race to Sunset  Race at Sleepy Hollow near Bismarck over the weekend, posting solid results and breaking in the new kits! Read Steve Wenzel's report on the Midwest MTB Recap on skinnyski.

Tom Heilman, Matte Engen and Matt Wenzel ready for the day. Waving the new kits nicely!

 Matt Engen railing the corner.

Ben Wenzel rolling the flats with one of the earlier kits.

Matt working the course.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bluff Riders Charge

Series racing resumed in Minnesota and team riders hit the slopes of Mt Kato. Check out the report from Ian Fritz (racing in Citizen above) with more photos and results in the Midwest MTB Recap on
Devon Horner racing in Citizen. Brother Wyatt posting nice top five result in Kids Comp.
 Jack Harris waving the flag in Citizen
 Matt Horner racing Comp.

 Dan DeRoma racing Comp. Alye DeRoma racing Sport to a 7th place overall.

 Expert rider Sam Oftedahl taking the corner.
 Eric Oftedahl working the field in the Expert race.

Jake Richards racing Expert.

Other placings include Thad Schulz in Sport posting a age group placing of 4th and 16th overall.

Nice job to everyone ....Keep the wheels moving!