Our Pro GrassMoots racer Kelly Boniface is on (to put in mildly) a hot streak as of late. She is typically more into the 50+ mile races, so when lining up with the super fast twitch women’s pro field at Mountain Bike Nationals she didn’t know what to expect. For those of us that know her, we had a pretty good idea that she’d give it her all….which she did. The result? 16th in a field of the best women in America. Kelly has been riding aboard a MX RSL this year…which she describes as “rocket ship”… She writes about her expectations and her experience…..
XC Nationals from the Viewpoint of Kelly…….
Driving up to Sun Valley Idaho from Steamboat Springs I was running the numbers in my head: am I really going to spend 20 hours driving this weekend for a sub 2 hour race? And, a 3.6 mile loop that I would ride in circles 5 times? I must be crazy! But, I’d never been to Idaho and it was the National Championships after all.
The town of Ketchum did not disappoint. It is beautiful with a cool vibe similar to Steamboat. I really enjoyed the people I met (huge thanks to the Johnston family that hosted me) the restaurants and shops I visited, and the fantastic trails I rode the day after the race.
Oh yeah…the race! The best way to describe that course is HARD. Although, during the pre-ride I heard it described by fellow pro riders in a few different ways that aren’t fit to print here. We started up a loose, gravely fire road that got progressively steeper as we climbed. Steep to the point that by the summit on the final lap I was turning the pedals over so slowly that flies were landing on me and I was sure one of them would tip me over.
Then we plunged all the way back down on tight, rutted, dusty switchbacks to pop out just above the base area so that the spectators could see us drop down a rock face that if you even touched your brakes on would send you tumbling through the sharp pointy rocks. I breathed a sigh of relief each time I made it down safely.
The next section was a man-made trials course that weaved through the base area: a fun table top fly-over and then two rock gardens that were all about power and momentum. I was extremely happy to have the 29er wheels through those sections! We weaved through the feed zone (thanks Sam Chovan) and then back up again…..repeat 5 times!
I made certain not to blow up on the first trip up and felt great climbing throughout the race. I even climbed my way up to 12th place at one point. The descent was pretty fun, but there was a lot of potential for disaster so I tried to stay smooth and keep it upright. I would pass as many as I could climbing and try to hold my spot on the descent (sometimes it worked, other times it did not!) I finished up 16th which is my best showing at XC Nationals. But, what I was happiest with is that I was less than 3 minutes out of the top 10. It was thrilling to be able to hang in there with those fast girls that are out there racing all over the country and world.
Now it’s time for some Endurance races!
Next up for Kelly…..The Honey Stinger 50 in her home town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado….”home field advantage”
I Dream in Ti
True story, the night after the Test of Endurance I dreamt that the storage unit in my condo was broken into and my collection and my quiver of Moots were stolen, again. Somehow the thieves had managed to jackhammer their way through the back wall and completely clean out the unit. I’m practically in tears.
Then the dream turns wild, a sketchy van comes driving down the ramp and somehow I just know the guys inside the van are behind this. The driver gets out we argue and I walk up the ramp to where my car is normally parked and the thieves have bicycle chop shop. These guys haven’t just stolen my bikes; they are cutting the parts up, removing couplers and sawing Titanium Tubes. I grab the down tube of the Mooto-X and start wielding it like a sword and yelling for my wife to call the police. She being the good journalist she is tells me, “We need more facts before we call the police”. Of course I wake up before things get really interesting.
Apparently I still have unresolved feelings for the bikes that were stolen from me in 2008 but I’d like to think it has more to do with electrolyte imbalance from the Test of Endurance 50 I completed the night before. The Test of Endurance throws it all at you: gravel logging roads and single track packed into 8200’ of elevation over 50 miles. On a week where I spent more hours on a plane than the 4:50 it took me to complete the course I still managed to grab a podium spot in the CAT 1 35-39 field.
Set Up: Mooto-X YBB, SRAM XO, DT Swiss Wheels with Maxxis Crossmark/Ignitor combo.
Patrick Wilder lives in Portland and rides & races on the GrassMoots team. He travels weekly for work and enjoys life to the fullest….usually on his Moots. To us he’s one of best people you could ever be lucky enough to ride along with….
Andrew Carney follows up with a report from the Bailey Hundo this last weekend. His luck, form and single speeding skill found him on the top step (or log as it may have been). Nice work man!
The Bailey Hundo is a second year 100 mile event in Bailey, CO that is pretty rad as it supports three youth cycling initiatives in Colorado. The course itself has ~12,000 feet of climbing and some amazing singletrack riding in the Buffalo Creek area including some portions of the Colorado Trail. Once the gun went off at 6 am sharp with twin shotgun blasts on main street Bailey, it was on and stayed a super close race all the way to the finish almost 8 hours later. For the first ~55 miles myself and 3 other single speeders basically tried to beat each other into the ground. However, towards the end of the last singletrack section (the last ~45 miles were on roads) I played the smart card and backed off the pace, let a gap of about a minute form, and let the other single speeders work each other over while keeping them in sight. When they stopped to access their drop bags at the 60 mile mark, I spun on past. My fueling strategy was simple, start with everything on board, grab bottles when needed from the aids, but always keep the wheels turning. The K.I.S.S (keep it simple stupid) strategy in action!! The second half of the race may be on roads (both dirt and some pavement), but the miles were far from easy. Several big climbs lurked in the final 20 miles including a ~2,000 foot climb up and over Stony Pass. I stayed on the gas and tried to hold my gap over the chasers. I also passed a bunch of geared riders on the final climbs, which is actually quite amazing since on a geared bike I’m anything but a climber but when on a SS you don’t have a choice but to keep givin’ er up the steep pitches! As I neared the final climb of the day which was maybe ~10 minutes long I saw another rider ahead of me and figured I might as well empty what I had left in the tank and give chase. About halfway up the climb I noticed that the rider wasn’t sitting down which can mean only one thing on a climb like that….he’s a single speeder! Crap, that means this is going to hurt. Basically I threw everything I had left into the last climb and caught the rider, who turned out to be Mark Thompson and a good friend, only about 10 yards from the top. I made the pass, eeked out a “Hey Mark” and took some chances on the final half mile descent to the finish. I crossed the line as the first official single speeder (23rd overall) in 7:54:18, a scant 54 seconds ahead of 2nd place (Mark Thompson) and only 4 minutes ahead of 3rd place (Jeff Carter). All in all, it was an amazing day to race, the trails were top notch, and the close competition made it all the more memorable. Days like that are what we chase year round!
Andrew Carney of Fort Collins, Colorado rides and races on the GrassMoots Team. He is a very active member of the cycling community in Fort Collins….he also likes nice long rides. He’s been doing some regional races lately in order to prepare for the Colorado Trail Race coming in late summer. Did I mention he does all this on a single speed? For some that’s no big deal, but for me, that’s crazy stuff. Just recently I’ve been spending some time on a single speed and have found a new love/respect for the one gear rig and the riders that choose to ride them…..this makes me a newbie of sorts….after all these years finding a mode of cycling I put away after 10 years on a BMX bike….fun.
Riding down here has been fantastic. Earlier in the month, I raced the Growler down in Gunnison and came in 9th in the SS class. It was a close race with 5 of us turning the screws on each other the last 30 miles. Unfortunately, I fell off the pace in the last mile and finished at the back of that bubble, but that’s racing.
Last weekend, I raced the Ridgeline Rampage 60 miler down in Castle Rock and came in 4th. Again, I finished at the back of the bubble, 20 seconds off the podium
Other than that, I’ve been putting in lots of miles getting ready for the Colorado Trail Race later this summer. I sewed some custom bags to fit the Moots and have been putting them through their paces on a few overnight tours.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos from the races, however attached are some pictures of the Moots fully loaded for multi-day racing
Our local power girl; Kelly Boniface put in a nice race in Vail this weekend up against some of the top pros around. Kelly placed 13th and said she wished there were two more laps. Kelly likes the longer less punchy races, but said she was happy with the effort.
The course was mainly up dirt fire roads and straight down single track. The course officials had to make some changes to the course vs. past years due to the amount of snow left from the big winter.
Nice work Kelly….super proud of you!
Ian puts the MX RSL through its paces during the Sisters Stampede
GrassMoots racer Ian Leitheiser got to put his new MX RSL to the test during the Sisters Stampede held over Memorial Day weekend. He writes in about missing the start and his “other” new love…his Vamoots RSL…..
In Oregon, we’re already about six weeks into the racing season. Until last night, I’d not yet raced a bike this year. A wicked combination of flu and then pneumonia put me down for all of February and most of March. The start of Tuesday night racing at Portland International Raceway was a good way for me to finally get back to riding hard. I have something of a love/hate thing with PIR. One on hand, I’m more of a climber and threshold guy, where PIR is a dead flat race track for things with motors, or for those riders built more like muscle cars than climbers. Good riders are good riders everywhere, but I often feel outgunned at PIR by the trackie/sprinter types. As for the love, there’s not much better than being able to ride to work in the morning, leave the office at 5:30 to ride out to the race, get your race on, and then ride home as the night settles in. Pretty sweet.
As for the racing itself, I got my season off to a swell beginning by shooting the breeze with my brother in law and missing the race start. One of the officials had lots of fun with that as I set off in a solo pursuit of a field of about 60 that was going way, way too fast for the start of a race. That’s what PIR gives you, though: it’s a low-stress opportunity to do things you might not in other race formats. Attack like an idiot, put your nose in the wind just because you can, or heck, as I once did, sit ten meters off the back of a 100 rider field all night long and get what amounts to a good motor pacing workout. Different riders go to different races for their own reasons. Roadies might race ‘cross in the fall “for fun,” which doesn’t compute to someone like me who lives for October. My typical messing around at PIR is certainly a different approach than those who are there to ride for a result, but that’s one of the things that’s great about living here. Plenty of racing, and opportunities to do races that have no pressure if they don’t happen to be something on which you’re especially focused.
Now that’s horse power…..the lead out from the gun…
Anyway. I tried to put in some work, despite the fact that it was obvious many guys had at least a few race days in the legs and I quite clearly had none, and essentially got out of the way in the end. It’s that outgunned thing again. At PIR I’m there to work. I’ve had a PIR result or two by going to the line in a small-ish break, but I tend to try bridging efforts, or work to bring breaks back, rather trying my hand in a bunch sprint at the end. As much as I like to go out there and tell myself I’m training my weaknesses (flat and fast), I’ve resigned myself to generally avoiding the crazy part of bunch sprints. Rolling through with the right amount of work done is enough for me for that kind of racing.
I have to comment on the Vamoots RSL. I’ve had excellent road bikes of all materials, and rather than spew the usual cliches about the ride, I’ll just say it’s the best overall bike I’ve ridden. If I were to compare it to one bike, it reminds me of the compact Anvil steel frame Don Ferris built for me back in 2002, the frame I had while riding and racing in Europe. I mean this as the highest compliment. I loved that bike, but the RSL frame takes all of the metrics up a notch: about a pound lighter, stiffer, smoother, and just faster feeling on the road. I don’t know if you use any Anvil tooling, but I like to think you do, because it lets me believe there’s a lineage between that old bike and the RSL. It’s perfect. I could talk about how you use the right head angle on the 58cm, how the BB is properly low, etc., but you already know all that, obviously. Can’t say enough good things about the design, guys
One last thing about racing last night. I’ve never noticed much attention being paid to what I’m riding, but last night was different. It was odd, and really not my style, but yes, this bike was noticed. Don’t get me wrong. The bike, which I consider understated, is absolutely my style, but receiving attention because of the bike was new. I’ll just force myself to get used to it. While I’m just flat out not as good as the bikes, I’m so happy to ride them. Thanks to all those who play a part!
The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Cycling Team notched up several great results during the Morgul Bismarck road race over Memorial Day weekend. Even took the win in the junior men 15-16, with Ben pulling down the 3rd slot.
Great racing by this crew of kids from Steamboat Springs!
GrassMoots racer David Gensch from Glenwood Springs, Colorado writes in with a wrap up of the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde……he writes:
“You know where we are going, right?” asks Don my duo race partner for the weekend. After missing the turn to Placerville our tired eyes read the sign, 146 miles to Grand Junction and we realize that we blew it. A circuitous detour tacks on two hours and hits the restart button on the continual game of Froger that we have been playing with various forms of wildlife since dark. We arrive at the fairgrounds venue at 2:30a.m. and sack out.
It does not matter how late I go to bed, I will never be able to sleep in after being properly trained by my children. We awake to a perfect Colorado day. The morning comes slow involving coffee, racer check in, coffee and….. some coffee and then we pre ride the course. This is the fourth time my wheels have hit the dirt since breaking my arm just over seven weeks ago and my smile is huge. The riding here is fantastic and there are many words to describe Phil’s World, but they are all punctuated with, grown men and women will giggle like little school children. The 16.5 mile ride is a buff, twisty, fast pump track of a race course with splashes of technical bliss. As if my smile can get any bigger. The fairgrounds fill up as the cool air settles the hot dusty day and we all enjoy some local Ska beer.
Morning comes quick and the mood is electric with the cumulative notion of what’s to come. A Le Mans style run starts the race off and Don peddles out on our first lap. Waiting in the exchange tent and watching most of the field come in, my mind teeter totters on mechanical or wreck, mechanical or wreck? Double flats within a half mile….one tube, one air cartridge. You do the math. The day starts out pleasant but gets warm quick. Even with the limited passing spots everybody seems to play well with each other and the vibe is great.
Working into my third lap my atrophied arm muscles become quite prevalent and the very active “good line” becomes harder to follow. Something my road and trainer miles don’t replicate. Don digs deep for a hot lap in the afternoon sun, no pun intended, and comes in shortly after the cut off time so our race is finished. We finished in the top half of a large stacked duo field. Not what we were hoping for but a great day on our bikes.
Ska Brewing came down from Durango to help sponsor the event and put down some laps. What a great group of people. Dave, Arlo, and many friends, you guys rock. Tim from Zia Taqueria filled the hungry bellies of at least 50 people with the finest after race food I have ever eaten. The event volunteers and staff were amazing and the race was very well organized. My Mooto X YBB never fails to amaze me as this bike is pure joy. Thanks Moots. Rising early the next morning in the dark to get home for Mothers day we silently say good bye to all and flip over the perpetual hour glass till next years race.
Grass Moots Rider
Patrick ready to roll on the Mooto X Ybb..
Patrick Wilder is our GrassMoots racer based out of Portland, Oregon. I swear if he got a cut he’d bleed the colors of Moots. He’s dedicated to the bike, good times and knowing that sharing rides with someone special is better than a result. I’m posting his short but very well written account of his favorite race. No “PRO” treatment needed…this is “PRO” all the way…he writes:
“Sorry for the delay on this. I’ve not been able to get some good thoughts onto paper about this race. Nothing spectacular for a write up other than a few pictures I thought I’d send along. Maybe after your afternoon coffee you can PRO it up a bit. Just no wise cracks about the long tube from my camelback!!”
Patrick and his dad…..best trail buds…..
Lemurian Classic- A homecoming
It’s no secret that the Lemurian Classic is my favorite race. It’s held minutes away from my parent’s home in the town I grew up forging a love of riding bikes, Redding, CA.
No great result to post, no play by play commentary- just a fantastic weekend of representing the Moots kit and riding with my favorite trail partner- My dad.
Smile or grimace?…..some of both I’m sure…..
GrassMoots racer Andrew Carney is based out of Fort Collins Colorado….he takes his bike racing pretty serious, but not too serious. This past weekend he and his girl friend Sarah crushed the duo catagory during the 18 hour race. Andrew says the race was close for many laps, with only one minute seperating the top 3…in the end they lapped 2nd place. Not bad at all!
Andrew is also very active in the local Fort Collins short track series, which takes place on the ground of the New Belgium Brewery. This last week they had 350+ racers……and of course, they might of had a beer or two afterwards!