• Race Report: 12 Hours of Sugar Creek

    Race #1 in the WEMSeries is in the books. The race was pretty epic: 45 degress, rainy, and a course made of Wisconsin's finest peanut butter. The Cannondale's put the hurt on in the 12 hour solo category, with Buchanandale taking 3rd, and myself taking the win. Here is a recap of the event...

    Friday: Road Trip!
    On Friday Buchanandale, Amy, and myself loaded up all the gear in the back of the "Exploder" for the 2ish hour drive to our lodging which was located 20 miles south of the race course in Prairie Du Chien, WI. The weather forecast for the weekend was going to be the x-factor in this race. Since Thursday, the race course has taking on water and it rained the entire way to Prairie. Not only was it raining, but the temps were hovering right at a chilly 45 degrees. Thank God Buchanandale and family offered me some lodging, cause I was planning on camping at the race site. That would have been a nightmare since the low Friday night was 37 degrees...and rainy.

    The "Exploder" loaded up with massive amounts of gear and 2 Cannondale RUSH's

    On the way over Buchanandale said he needed Red Bull. They kept talking about this place in town that sold cheap guns...booze...and of course Red Bull. Only in Wisconsin can you buy all the following in one place. I need to see it to believe it!

    That night we had a rock'n pre-race meal of pasta and grilled chicken breast. You can't beat a huge plate of fresh pasta and bread from a small town grill.

    Saturday: Race Day!
    We crawled out of bed around 5 AM for breakfast at the local Perkin's-esque diner. Had a plate of eggs with some pancakes along with an ass load of coffee. At about 6 AM we headed out for the race. The good news was it was NOT raining, but the radar loop at the Hotel had us in the clear for a bit before it would start again. So after breakfast we bolted to registration and to our pit area to get set up before the rain came again. Race numbers were low due to the weather. There was only like 10 solo racers.

    Our pits...condo style. Everything you need...nothing you don't.

    The weather was the x-factor. What do you wear? What tires do you run? 2 race bike would be nice, but that is not an option today. For the race I suited up with thin wool socks, leg and arm warmers, a Craft base layer, and my Cateye team kit. This did the trick.

    The race started at 8 AM. With about 1 mile of gravel road before the 3/4 mile climb to the top of the bluff, the racers road together. Once to the at the base of the climb I set into a pace that would allow me to stay comfortable...but make the field hurt. The climb was fairly dry considering all the rain we got, but it was littered with rocks. Because of the rain, the rocks were like ice rinks due to the little moisture sitting on them. Once to the top of the climb I already had a gap. I looked back and had about 30 seconds on a group of 4. After the top of the climb you hit the single track. Talk about a mud pit. Think of it as riding through peanut butter. So much effort was needed to get the speed at 5 mph. I have never worked so hard to go so slow. On Friday I made the decision to run the Maxxis Medusa's in 2.1, and i am GLAD I DID! These tires gave me all the hook up I needed. Traction was not really a problem for me compaired to the other racers. Once in the single track, I settled into a grove which would get me to the end of the 12 hours. The HR and beathing rate was low, but the wattage output was high.

    Lap after lap the course would change with all the riders taking different lines and breaking too hard and causing ruts. After the first 3 laps I stop for a pit and grabbed the normal nutritional protocol that I follow. I was told i had a 10 minute lead. My goal was to try to lap the entire field, and then maintain. After about 6 laps, I had lapped the entire field accept for 2nd place. Racers were all over the place on course. The rain was coming and going, and turing the course to crap. My bike along with everyone else's bike was covered in about 10lbs of mud. I am not kiddding! There were a few times were I would stop and have to clean mud off the frame to make the bike a bit lighter. The crazy thing is that my SRAM and FSA drivetrain was caked with mud, but worked perfect the entire race! I am sold on SRAM for life after seeing first hand how reliable it is racing in nasty conditions in this event and the Japan 24 hour last October. I will have pictures later of the drivetrain and bike.

    7 hours into the event I had now lapped the field twice accept for the 2nd place guy. I was told from my pit crew that we were both doing the same lap times. That was a good thing, cause pushing the mud, and climbing that @$%& hill were turing my legs to stone. The opening climb of the race was getting to the point were i would ride to the steep pitched then dismount and run. Once i got over the steeper part of the hill i would get back on and ride. Almost every time I was on that climb I was the only one riding. There were a few cases were some of the 3 and 6 hour riders would be riding most of the hill...but with a lot of suffering coming off their face.

    The 12 hours went pretty quickly considering the course was sloooooooow. I felt OK during the event. My legs were not 100% for one reason or another. But they were good enough to get the job done and 1st place. I ended winning by 20 minutes(1/2 a lap) over the 2nd place rider who rode really well All my equipment worked perfectly. And the RUSH performs as the ideal tool for endurance racing. The Maxxis Medusa tires gave me awesome hook up were needed, and is now my mud tire of choice. Nutritionaly I was dialed! Hammer products, ELETE, Recover-Ease, Powerbar, and Clif Bar gave me everything i needed in a good nutritional program for the event.

    Here are some stats for my Cateye Micro Wireless Computer...
    Distance: 91.5 miles
    Average Speed: 7.5 mph (OUCH!)
    Max Speed: 31 mph

    Thanks to all the sponsors for great products, parents for the pit work, the Buchanan's for lodging, and all the racers on course yelling words of encouragement. This is a great way to start the season. Next event will be the end of May...either a night time 12 hour in Nebraska or a 12 hour in the WEMSeries.

    Here are a few more pics...

    A true test of equipment. The fact I had no shifting or performance issues was amazing! This is also reason numero uno why solo enduro racers need 2 identical bikes.