Sunday, October 2, 2011

Grampian Challenge 10/1/11

I love riding my bike. I particularly enjoy riding my singlespeed mountain bike on trails, dirt roads, rail trails and paved roads. The Grampian Challenge was an inaugural event that I read about earlier this year. It billed itself as offering the chance to race on all the terrain listed above. This made it particularly attractive to me.

When I looked at the course itself, I realized it covered one of my favorite running routes in southeast Michigan. Indian Lake Road and Drahner Road offer some of the best hills in the area. This spring I ran a couple 20 milers here preparing for my marathon in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

But the weather was looking bad. Actually it was a full on horror show. Rain, wind, cold. I went to bed Friday and decided I would make a game day decision Saturday morning. When I awoke it wasn't raining so I decided I would go. Wind was forecast to be between 20-30 mph. Hills and a strong headwind when heading north. This was gonna be tough.

When I arrived at Addison Oaks registration went well. A pint glass was given to each participant with "Grampian Challenge" stamped on it. Nice touch. At 10:01 AM they lined us up and sent us out. And so it began. Some double track at Addison Oaks. Mud was there but not horrible. Next up Drahner Road and a big climb up. Legs still being fresh I powered up it easily. We made our way over to some dirt trails I have never ridden before. A bit more mud, I hit a couple corners a bit too hard and had to get on the brakes quickly.

Eventually we made our way out and onto Indian Lake Road. More rolling hills. And then we made a right hand turn onto a road that linked back over to Drahner. This was a long grinding hill that really put a hurt on me. My legs were feeling it and I was only halfway there. By the time we got to the top I was in need of a breather and welcomed the downhill section that followed. From here the course was a bit of a blur. Rolling hills, more climbing, and then a respite on the Polly Ann rail trail. Then some soupy dirt roads with more hills. At one point I thought I had a flat front tire and actually brought my front wheel up and was relived when it hit the dirt with no give. The mud was that bad.

Towards the end we hit a "ski hill" that I had heard some people talk about before the race. I had no idea what they were talking about as there is no ski-worthy hills in this region. While the hill was worthless for skiing, it was something to behold when your legs are fried and your pushing 61 gear inches on a singlespeed. I rode up as far as I could only to dismount and start pushing. And pushing. Once we hit the top, the ride down was sweet. The next thing I remember was finding myself back on Drahner Road and climbing up another long, grinding hill. My legs were protesting, my breathing labored but I was picking off some riders which made me feel a bit better. Grind - grind and finally the top. Back down and on our way to Addison Oaks. They finished the race on a long section of singletrack there and it was good fun. Except that my legs were gassed. And I had tapped my water bottle. And I was STARVING but had on winter gloves so I could not manage to eat at all. Still I managed to reel in an pass a couple people on cross bikes. The finish line as a welcome site.

When I crossed it I was greeted by JimmieC who was changed into clean clothes, smiling, and eating a banana. I was coated in mud, hungry, thirsty and grateful to be done. I was tempted to grab the half eaten banana from Jimmie's hand. That was tough, way tougher than I thought it would be. I think this race has great potential and really enjoyed it. If you are looking for a new race to try next year, give this one some consideration. Being so close to home makes it a nice bonus for me.

GPS Data


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ore to Shore Review 2011

In 2011 I had Ore to Shore on my calender for quite some time and had been looking forward to it more and more by the day. The thought of doing the Hard Rock in the Upper Peninsula had been eating at me for years but the long drive up and the usual conflicts always got in the way in the past. This year everything fell into place. My schedule at work could not even get in the way. Then when I weaseled my way into Camp Erickson it was full speed a head. Andy helped us immensely by arranging a great house for us to stay in for the 5 days(4 nights) we would need to make this trip worth the drive. That situation was perfect in all kinds of ways.

Race day and we were gearing up in downtown Nagaunee. Everyone was awake in this town for the beginning of the probably the biggest event of the year for them. Really cool atmosphere compared to some other races. Stress levels seem low and everyone was just excited to be there. After riding through the streets of Nagaunee and into the woods we came out about 8 miles later in Ishpeming. This is a city I have always been curious about and it did not disappoint. Not as big as Marquette but bigger then Nagaunee. I cheered the fans of this little town in passing and they were very receptive. I could be heard saying stuff like, "YOU ROCK ISHPEMING!" while riding past the fans. Then about 3 miles down some dirt roads later we found ourselves riding through someones private commercial property and in passing I asked the landowner sarcastically, "What town is this?". To which he replied, "Ishpatucky!" That guy gets a star for the quick wit!

The Hard Rock 48 miler was filled with every type of terrain possible. Luckily it was dry enough in the previous week so the mud was mostly minimal. Most of the singletrack was hard pack with the occasional loose rocky downhills. Plenty of sand on the snowmobile trails. Jeep type two tracks and finally tons of road riding. I never thought I would look forward to the roads but it gave me a chance to eat, drink and get my head back together. The aid stations through the course are probably the best I have witnessed. Great support from the community. These parts of the UP you can never see on your own do to all the private property being volunteered. I had to laugh when we made a left hand turn from the road and into someones driveway. That later led to a road for a utility company. Some property had damns and reservoirs that were spectacular.

Yes I was in awe. I enjoyed the sites and the friends I made during the race. Next year I will try and remain more focused but for the first time I was really enjoying the area(evident in my time) while still trying to finish the race in one piece. Next year I should be able to knock off a good 20 minutes.

Finally towards the end we climbed Kirbys Hill and that is where I was hallucinating and saw a bunch of "Nymphos" on the trail who enjoyed shoving watermelon in my mouth. I am not yet sure what all that meant but it was just what I needed at the time. They also told me that it was all down hill from there and I believed them. Never doubt a "Nympho". The last 2 miles were mostly road heading through the campus of NMU then towards the finish shoot. I could see the crowds of people growing so I kicked it into the highest gear and started really pumping. When I saw the last arrow for a left hand turn to finish, I also saw a large group of familiar faces screaming my name and jumping around like I just scored the winning touchdown for the Lions in Super Bowl 2012. I could only recognize a few of their faces without falling. Most of them were from the Novi Tree Farm and I know I saw my team mate and friend Tom Payn, so I swept my bike right to gather a few high fives before making the left to the finish. I was so happy at that moment I wanted to burst. It grounded me and made me consider my fortune among humanity that I had seen along the trail. I was happy to finish, glad I made the trip and consider myself blessed with friends.

The best part was taking the extra days to relax, ride and eat with friends and we did a lot of all three.

Really looking forward to next year and kicking myself for not doing this event sooner. It was an honor to be with my teammates representing My Kenda Karma on the front ran great as a tubeless and the new Slant Six on the back is exactly what I needed for the diversity in the terrain of the course. My bike held out great! Even after smacking a tree on our last trail ride of the weekend my Niner EMD 9 performed like a champ. If you know how graceful I am at falling you would have really been impressed with that display. Unfortunately I was all alone at the time so no witnesses. This time. ;)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A few more pics from Stoney Creek Time Trial

Another hot one at Stoney today. At least this one was shorter than the marathon a few weeks ago. Here are a few additional pics. Great seeing everyone today. Til next time...

Stony Race Pictures

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lumberjack 100

Well it's in the books. I completed my first 100 mile race on Saturday. I manage to struggle thorough and complete my first attempt at the Lumberjack 100. I had a good solid first lap and was on pace right where I wanted to be. I came to the pits after lap 1 feeling a little stiff but otherwise OK. My wife Tammy loosened my neck and help refill my bottles and food and sent me back out. About 10 miles in on the second lap my neck and shoulders were so tight I was ready to quit. I rode a bit with Tak (Trails Edge) and Rob (RBS) who helped me get through to the pits. Almost to the end of the second lap I lowered my seat a tad hoping to remove some of the stress off my neck. I headed into the pits 2 and was ready to quit. After Tammy massaged my neck and shoulders, took some Motrin and applied some Icy Hot I was ready for some more. Oh wait, the positive encouragement form Melissa, Jeff (Mom & Pop Racing), Justin(Team Tree Farm), and Kathy (Custer Cyclery) telling me not to quit I jumped back on the bike and headed for some more pain. I managed to struggle through and make it at 11:04. I was happy just to finish. Not where I wanted my time, but hey there is next year.

A big thanks to all of our local sponsors and a shout out to Stan's No Tubes and Kenda for rolling

me to the finish!!!

Great job to all those who came up for such a great event. See ya next year.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

M22 Challenge

John, Stevie D and I are back from our adventure and we all had a great time. CLICK ON BLOG TO VIEW PICTURES, THEY DON'T COME THROUGH VIA EMAIL.  None of us had done a multi discipline event before. I think we are all hooked. The M22 was a run/bike/paddle event. The terrible storm that woke us (see radar pics below) cleared at 7:15 and by race time not a drop of rain fell. First up was the 2.5 mile run including scaling the face of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Lets just say there was no running up that bad boy except for the very elite runners at the front of the pack. The run was the hardest segment for me. Excluding a 3 mile run about a year ago you have to go back to 8th grade cross country to find the last time I ran. It showed, Steve and John were patient but faster. We planned to stay together and for the most part we did. Managing transitions was new for all of us & we learned some tricks for next year to cut off some time. The bike segment was my favorite and by far the strongest for all of us. We pass an estimated 100+ bikes during the loop. The roads were still wet and some of the downhills were quite fast. Caution was the word of the day. The Kayak was the segment that surprised us all the most. Post race we learned the boat makes a big difference and many of the faster paddlers had "Sea Kayaks" some 18 ft long. One of the other B&B guests came in 3rd in the 60 and over category and his time was 10 minutes faster than ours. An 80 year old competed and finished the race! The Kayak was harder than any of us thought but we all finished. Post race was really fun just feeling the accomplishment of doing it. They had Moomers Ice Cream at the finish! YUMMY. We have reserved the cottage at the B&B for next year and hope to have friends join us. We have room for 2-3 more in our accommodations. It was great to get out of town and have fun racing. Sunday morning before we headed back the road out from the B&B and did the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in the National Park. It was KILLER. 40mph downhills and super steep climbs. Jeff & Katie were the inn keepers and the B&B and they were super cool. Katie fed us like kings and kept breakfast late for us when we were later returning from our ride. She is a chef and made everything from scratch including the pie crust in the Quiche Lorraine. Homemade granola, yogurt parfait, roasted potatoes, and cream cheese coffee cake, super yummy! FUN TIMES.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Mohican 100

Whew... I can now say been there, done that in regards to the Mohican 100. And on a single speed to boot.

The course is a beast. In my opinion, it makes the Lumberjack look like child’s play. Not only it is probably the farthest I've ridden in a day, it's gotta be over the most varied terrain. That course has it all. Single track, log piles, rock gardens, white knuckle 40+ mile descents, stream crossings, dirt roads, paved roads, climbing, climbing more climbing.

After some investigation and inquiries to fellow Michiganders that have rocked out on a single speed at the Mohican, I chose to roll out 2:1. 36/18 to be specific. Good thing since this was what was on my bike and I had zero time for a test ride after a gear swap prior. I figured this was a bit a ballsy choice but, I was assured that there we a “ton” of flats and I would only have to walk a few hills.. Um yeah, right.

So, how to summarize a 100 miler? Let’s break it down in a some summarized segments. Disclaimer for accuracy due to the delirium that ensued within the race must be assumed.
First 30ish:
This has got to be what brings folks back to the Mohican year after year. Single track, log piles, stream crossings, rock gardens, you name it. Pure MTB love. This blew anything I’ve ridden in Michigan out of the water. Prior to my second endo, I was loving every inch of it. Every climb leg burning climb was rewarded with a rocking downhill. I felt great at this point. I certainly was feeling the gearing on the climbs but, was not burning the candle at both ends. I passing geared riders just due to the fact I had no choice but, to mash up the switch back climbs. Gears? Meh, who needs em?
Next 15ish:
While I did get a little gun shy after my second crash in the single track. The 14-16 miles between the 2nd & 3rd aid station was mostly a mixed of dirt and paved roads and I was admittedly a little worked up because after having to loosen my brake lever to unlock my bars after my second endo. I was PO’d that I hadn’t raised my levers enough to clear my top tube and even worse it put a big o’ scratch in the top tube. Yeah, Yeah, I know. It’s a mountain bike. Scratches, dents, bends, etc are just character. But, this was lame and my fault. Plus, I felt like an idiot standing on the side of the trail with my bars locked. And what was this stretch packed with? Hills… And what’s my favorite activity on my SS? Crushing geared riders on hills and putting myself into lung burning, leg cramping, problem dissolving, blues curing, oxygen debt. And that’s exactly what I did.
Aid station 3 to 5:
This 40ish miles is a blur. It was filled with suffering, delusion, regret, excitement, you name it. I had made two poor decisions in the first ½ of the race. #1 being not carrying enough to drink and eat in the first 1/3. To compensate, I decide gorging myself with a toxic mix of heed, lemonade, coke, endurolytes, etc at aid station 2 was a good idea. The was second letting them hang out a little early on the stretch between the single track and prior to stopping at this aid station. By this time it was hot, which didn’t help, and my stomach was a wreck. I dumped all my mixed drinks, filled up with water and headed out mashing up the hill immediately following the aid station. I was in high spirits and convinced myself I was a machine and was going to rock the second ½ of this mother. Then boom. Mistake number two hit me as soon as I hit the single track. No more “climby” in these legs. Thank goodness the single track dried up and much of the remaining of the race turned out to be road, two track & rail to trail. Cause I am going to tell you. I probably would not have made it. So, 2:1 had kicked my butt at this point. But was it the wrong choice? At least not on the promised flats and they were finally here. The hills became few and far between and when on the saddle and spinning I felt great. I was holding 16-17mph with ease and picking off geared riders left and right. Even a group of about 4-5 single speeders which really fired me up. I was lucking to have a few riders that were mixing it up with me to keep me motivated. But, it was bizzaro world. I’d spin away from them on the flats and they’d catch me after I bailed out and started walking the next big hill or anything I couldn’t mash up in 20 or less pedal revolutions.
Last 10ish:
I neared the last aid station with one of the riders I’d been trading positions with about the last 10 miles. After my first aid station poor decision making, I had been stopping at each and ensuring that I was topped off with liquid and fuel. I did a quick inventory and decided I was supplied enough to go the remainder and let the guy at my side know I was rolling through. Secretly, partially because I wanted to put a little gap on him with hopes I could keep him in the rear view. But, what’s the last 10 miles of Mohican? Yep, single track. Gears? Who needs em right? I wanted some! 2:1 proved too much for me at this point. The rider I was hoping to keep in the rear view? Yeah. Caught me in about a mile. I think he put 7 minutes on me by the end. Anything that required any extended mashing or uphill and technical got walked. Luckily, I was now mixed in with 100k riders and had someone to chase to keep me motivated. I have to admit. I walked an embarrassing amount of trail in this stretch. I was in straight up survival mode. Not sure if I blacked out at some point, was just so delusional, I lost track of time focusing on not cart wheeling off the trail but, something made time melt away. I rounded a corner and could see the Mohican Adventures campground. And that meant FINISH. But, of course not before those SOB’s ran you up another ball breaking hill. :)

I coasted across the line. High on life or delirious. Or some of both. Mohican 100 completed. In damn near 9 hours and on a single speed with gearing I was told repeatedly after the race was just nuts to even attempt. Good enough for 15th in the SS division. Equally as impressive, I managed to hold off all but, 2 of the women in the race. Which beating all us know is a tough thing to do. Cause those ladies are more than just respectable riders. Them “girls” are fast!

Hanging out post race watching the awards was a riot. Many of the top riders were hanging out and I placed myself strategically close to the trailer serving Great Lakes Brewing Co. beer. This meant I had no shortage of great people to meet and hang around with and my pint glass was frequently emptied but, rarely empty.

So, how was the recovery week post Mohican? Legs are still pretty tired. Likely in part due to the race but, also given I am still on some kind of weird high and have put 1 day of cycling and 4 days of running under my belt this week. Much of it prior to 6:30am. In fact, that is the most training I have strung together since post Lumberjack schooling in 2009. Let’s hope it lasts cause I have some crazy ideas for August and September.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mud Sweat and Beers

The 2nd annual Mud Sweat and Beers took place this past weekend in Traverse City. This year's weather threatened to be a little chilly. Thankfully, despite and early 9am start time, things warmed up and even presented a chance to try out our new team shorts even. This year's course did not disappoint with the addition of a good deal of single track making it a legit 20 mile race. This course has become one of my personal favorites with the relentless climbs, white knuckle decents and lung burning flats offered by the Vasa Trail and surrounding area. "Sweat" is certainly not in short supply and this year was a mud spit was added just before the finish line to ensure that "Mud" was part of the equation. Post race activities were taken up a knotch from last year and plenty of Right Brain Brewery "Beers" were flowing. All said and done, this is certainly an event worth making the trip up north to attend.

PrecisionMTB Team Results:
Brian Deal        27th Expert 30-39
Adam Wheeler 15th Expert Single Speed


Photo courtesy of Joel Gaff

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Slant 6 Review

I finally got a chance to test out the Kenda Slant 6 2.2's yesterday at Maybury. Off the bike the wheels felt heavier than the Karmas I had used last season. On the trail I haven't noticed the weight difference but it was only my 2nd trail ride of the season. Cornering stability felt good in hard pack and loose terrain. Straight line performance was good too and overall they seem like a good tire. One thing I did notice is the sidewall seems to keep it's shape better then my previous tires when aggressively attacking corners, which is a good thing. As my conditioning increases I'll have a better idea of how these tires will perform under hard riding for extended periods.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pontiac Lake TT

Congrats to Tom and Roger on two very strong showings at the Pontiac Lake Time Trial this past weekend.

Tom Payn 7th EXPERT MEN 30‐39
Roger Pelkey 4th SPORT MEN 5059

Complete Results

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Yankee Springs TT

Despite cold temps, a little snow and the fact that for many of us, the race was the first single track we'd ridden in 2011, a contingent of the team couldn't wait for a chance to debut their new Kenda tires at Yankee Springs TT  this past weekend. As the day wore on, the snow dissipated and the weather took a turn for the better. Trail conditions turned out to be fairly good as well. Unfortunately, temps didn’t quite rise high enough for much socialization after the race but, it was still great to see some of the team after a long winter and what seems like a non-existent Spring.

Team Results:
18 Cisler Nick 91 PRECISIONMTB 58:51 1:04:33 2:03:24.1

4 Payn Tom 52 PRECISIONMTB 53:24 55:10 1:48:33.6
5 Simpson Scott 78 PRECISIONMTB.COM, SMITH OPTICS, ODI GRIPS 53:33 55:39 1:49:12.4
16 Wheeler Adam 88 PRECISIONMTB.COM 55:29 1:01:08 1:56:37.8
21 Bryan Deaz 178 PRECISIONMTB.COM 1:04:49 1:10:38 2:15:26.1

1 Fulkerson Ray 90 PRECISIONMTB.COM 50:18 51:15 1:41:32.9

24 Brian Brown 399 PRECISIONMTB.COM 1:08:24.0

9 Andrew Staub 264 PRECISIONMTB.COM/BTT 1:02:31.8


A few pics from the race:






Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Look Dad No Training Wheels

Paige finally did it!!

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

BTT 4/9

20mi in and heading to breakfast.
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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Kenda Slant Six 29 x 2.2

New for this year is inthe John Tomac line-up from Kenda is the Slant Six. The tire I am reviewing here is the 29 x 2.2. Tires both can it just under the 740g claimed weight. They are a tad heavier than the previous tires I am use to, but they look to roll very fast. This tire is supposed to bridge the gap between the Small Block 8 and the Nevegal. The Karma was also one of my previous favorites.

I have them mounted tubeless on a pair of Stan's NOTUBES Crest 29er rims.

The ramped knobs and good size side knobs took to provide a fast rolloing tire that will grip very well in the corners.

The test rig for this tire will be a 2011 Redline D680. Both front and rear tire also have pleanty of clearence in the frame and Reba fork.

I am hoping to get these out on the trail this week to see just how they preform.

Stay tuned........

Saturday, April 2, 2011

1st Training Ride of 2011

We hit Hines Dr today for a 30mi road ride. Cool temps, but a nice morning. Pictured is Brian, Bryan, Phil, Nick and Jason.
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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kenda Tires

We want to thank Kenda for helping up out wit some new tires this year. Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Corktown 5k

On two feet, rather than two wheels, PrecisionMTB made its season debut at the Corktown 5k this morning with a strong showing of 3rd in the team category.  The weather cooperated for not only great race day weather but, St. Patrick's day parade and post-race festivities. Looking forward to another fun filled season.

1 Lee Shaw 17:44
2 Adam Wheeler  18:36
3 James Senska  19:17
4 Bryan Deal 24:38
5 Scott Simpson 27:41
6 Cristine Simpson 27:45
7 Phil York 29:37

Team Results

Overall Results


Great day for some pre-season cross-training.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Precision CPS award

Great job guys. 2010 MMBS CPS awards.

See ya next year!
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