New Singlespeed Build: Breezer Thunder One

Well, I’m at it again. It’s time to build a new bike. One of the brands that has always made me drool a bit is Breezer. When Breezer came back to the market a few years ago, of course I thought, “I want one”. Unfortunately, the right bike just wan’t there for me…that is until now. The Breezer Thunder One singlespeed. The Thunder One uses Breezer D’Fusion tubing, Apex Disc Mount and Breeze-In dropouts, with 29er geometry identical to the Cloud 9, all in durable and light aluminum. The Thunder frame uses a custom Breeze tapered head tube for additional stiffness and weight savings. And the Thunder One is the first ever Breezer singlespeed. I’ll be building it with a carbon fork on it. Yep, fully rigid.

Here is a tease of what I’ll be building…

Breezer Thunder One Frame

Breezer Thunder One Frame

MTB Nationals

MTBnatsThe USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships are over and head back to the west coast for the next two years. It was great having the event in the northeast at Bear Creek Resort in PA. MTB Nats are one of those events that, if close enough, I have to race. Even though I’m not racing in a National Championship category, it’s still a big deal, to me, to race at such a high profile event. Ever since I started racing, so many years ago, I have always enjoyed racing at national events. Whether it be a national series like the old NMBS and the original Kenda Cup, or at the Mountain Bike National Championships. I love the atmosphere of the whole event. I love watching the best riders in the country and the world, sharing the mountain with them, riding in places that I don’t typically ride and catching up with old friends that I might only see occasionally. And of course I love competing.

This year I moved up in age and now race masters 50+. At MTB Nationals, the age group for me is 50-54 and then broken down to categories 1, 2 and 3. Cat 1 races for a National Championship while Cat 2 and Cat 3 races are “National Competition” races…what I call racing for bragging rites. When registering, I was undecided whether I should upgrade before the event and race Cat 2 or wait until after and just go ahead and race the Cat 3 race. When I look back, I probably should have upgraded, but when it comes down to it, I wanted give myself the best chance to have a good result…the best chance to win. I decided that I would race the Cat 3 race and then upgrade after the race. So that’s what I did.MTBnats

The course was the same 6.2 mile, tough, rocky “Northeast” course that was used in 2013. I rode much better technically and much stronger physically. Unfortunately there wasn’t much of a race. Not because of the competitors, but because of the lack of competitors. There were only two of us age 50-54 at the start line, while the other age groups and categories had 10+ riders in each. There’s not anything that I can do about that except just go out and race and still try to do the best I can. So I rode and I rode well. I enjoyed myself and I reach one of my season goals of a podium spot at Nationals. My winning time of 0:54:16 bettered last years time, on the same course, by 7+ minutes, and I also bettered my results over last year from 10th in age 40-49 to 1st in age 50-54. As I promised myself, when I got home, the first thing that I did was submit my upgrade to USA Cycling.

Regardless of the race, the category, or the other riders, I’m still better prepared and riding better than I ever have…and at 50 yrs old! I have some great results so far this season…in a good mix of races. Some USAC Cat 3, some unsanctioned Cat 2 and some in “Open” category races. I’ll continue to race hard for the remainder of the season. I have a few more cross country races (more singlespeed maybe?) and an 80k ultra-endurance race before cyclocross season starts in September.

Thanks to Hammer Nutrition for keeping me fueled, to Duro Tire for the awesome tires that were flawless on this course, and to both Rudy Project and AXO Cycling for keeping my head, my feet and my hands protected.

1st Singlespeed at Cedar City, UT 60k

1st Singlespeed Fire Road Cycling Cedar City 60k

1st Singlespeed Cedar City 60k

So this may not have been the toughest race I’ve done, but it certainly was the toughest climb that I have ever done. And on a singlespeed. The Fire Road Cycling Cedar City 100k, 60k, 25k is a Leadville qualifier for the 100k event. I raced the 60k in the singlepeed class. I wasn’t quite sure what my biggest obsticle would be for this race…the altitude, 6000′ to 9500′ or the “climb” on a singlespeed. It turns out that I was well prepare for the altitude and the major climb would be quite the challenge. after a good warm up of 9 or 10 miles of rolling road and dirt road, the course then turned left to a ~8 mile climb that averaged 18% for the first half of the climb. For me, some was rideable some was not (walking is okay).Once I worked my way through the hardest part of the climb, the next half of the climb I was able to ride. I had decided to gear a bit higher than I should have for a climb like this, but I felt that the higher gearing would better benefit me for the rest of the race. That was the right decision.

the 60k singlespeed field was very small with only 3 rider at the start of the race. But, it was a race…for the whole 60k. the second place rider and I were back and forth the entire race. His gearing was faster on the uphills and my gearing was faster on the flats and rolling flats. at the “3k to go” sign, we were again side by side. A 60k race and it came down to the last 3 kilometers. I am glad that i chose the gearing that I did, I was able to pull away in the last 3k for the victory.

I felt good for the entire race. Pacing myself in the altitude, making sure I recovered after a harder effort and having my Hammer Nutrition fueling dialed in were key for this race. I had no cramping at all. I used a Heed/Perpetuem mix in my hydration pack and bottles, a flask of Peanut Butter Gel and every hour Endurolyte Extreme/Anti Fatigue Caps/Race Caps Supreme.

As always, I thank Hammer Nutrition for keeping my engine fueled, Duro Tire for the awesome tires, Rudy Project for protecting my head and eyes and AXO Cycling for keeping my hands and feet protected.

All results can be seen here.

Avid Elixir Disc Brake Bleed Procedure

It’s not hard… with the Avid bleed kit, you can do it yourself.

2nd Place At The Wildcat 50k

Wow…that just might have been the hardest race that I have ever done. The Wildcat 50k was a new race course for this year, and I think they are on to something. The race was based at Lippman Park in Warwarsing, NY with the help and support of the Renegade MTB Club. Lippman Park is very well known in the region for the mountain bike trails that have been developed over the last several years.  Lippman Park is also surrounded by the Lundy Estate, which is now State DEC land and also holds a network of trails consisting of dirt road, double-track and single-track trail.

Gunter Spilhaus, the Wildcat race director, did an awesome job with this year’s edition of the Wildcat. There was a 100 mile, a 100k and a 50k. With 80 or so racers for all three races, I thought it was a good turnout for the revamped format and location.

The 50k started with a one mile roll-out to the first climb of the day, a ~3 mile dirt road climb up Lundy Rd. This led us to the first single-track that snaked through the area and eventually bringing us back to a dirt road and the start of the next single-track, the Lippman Park trails. After several mile of Lippman park riding, we came through the start/finish area to head back into the Lippman Park trails for several more miles of single-track, double-track, technical climbing and descending. Another section of the Lundy Estate trails again brought us back to Lippman park for the last several miles of single-track that eventually brought us in for the finish.

This was a very demanding race course. I do have to say that at one point I was suffering, but I never considered bailing out. The worst for me was my arms, shoulders and back. I didn’t plan this race the best either. I planned on ~4 hours to complete the 50k. I had enough drink for 4+ hours and finished in 5:15. However, I did ride well and mostly strong. Sometimes when you have never rode in an area, you have a different expectation of the race course. That’s what happened with me, but now I know what to expect for the next edition of the Wildcat.

When it comes down to it, overall I did have a good race. I finish in 2nd place in the 50k Masters race and I was only 2 minutes back from the winner. So, I must have done something right.

Thanks to Hammer Nutrition for keeping me fueled, to Duro Tire for the awesome tires that were flawless on this course, and to both Rudy Project and AXO Cycling for keeping my head, my feet and my hands protected.

1st Place Singlespeed Wilmington-Whiteface 50k

2014 Wilmingtom-Whiteface 50k

1st Place Singlespeed Wilmington-Whiteface 50k

The 2014 Winmington-Whiteface 50k is in the books. All the training that I put in starting in February paid off huge with the singlespeed win. I have often said that 50k is a nice distance for me. Last year I was 4th place at Whiteface and this year a win.

The race started out at 7:00 a.m. with nearly 400 100k and 50k racers and a shotgun start. It was cold, but short sleeves would do it. The first 5 miles of the course is a fast road ride warm up, followed by a ~3 mile climb that rewards you with a fast descent. Racing singlespeed, I just spun and spun and was warmed up pretty quick for the first climb. The bottom of the descent led us to the 50k turn around and to a very long, very stiff climb that hurt a bit. After a ridiculously fast descent as your reward from the climb, we then rode several rolling miles of dirt and pavement to the first section sweet, flowing single-track. After a few more road miles, we were then on the trail back to Whiteface, for two loops of dirt road climbs and single-track descending that doesn’t seem like much until you are there…riding it after riding the previous ~42k. There is a lot of dirt road with a fair amount of pavement mixed in on this course. There are fast descents and long steep climbs. There isn’t enough single-track, but what is there makes you grin from ear to ear while riding it…at least it did for me.

During my training for this race, I did everything right. Or at least I think that I did. I developed a workout plan that started in February, and I stuck to it. I tweaked my diet, not to what it should be, but far better than the last few years. And I added some Hammer Nutrition supplements that I hadn’t used before. The biggest single improvement was from adding Anti-Fatigue Caps to my fueling arsenal during training and racing. I couldn’t believe the difference after just one training ride. If there is one race that I was focused on for this season, it was the Wilmington-Whiteface race. Everything I have done so far this season, was mostly for this weekend, and it paid off.

Thanks to Hammer Nutrition, Duro Tires, Rudy Project and AXO Cycling for all the support!

Wilmington-Whiteface 50k/100k results

Overall

Final Prep for Wilmington-Whiteface 50K

The Wilmington-Whiteface 50K mountain bike race is right around the corner…it’s only one week away. I’ve been training hard and trying to simulate the course as much as possible. And today I had a great MTB training ride prepping for next weekend’s Wilmington-Whiteface 50K. Today’s ride was 35 miles w/ 3000+ ft of climbing on my singlespeed. I’ve changed up my fueling a little bit, adding a couple of Hammer Nutrition products that I haven’t used before. I’ve used Race Caps Supreme for a while now, but it was my first time using Anti-Fatigue Caps and Endurolytes Extreme. What a difference!! No burning on the climbs at all and I felt fresher during and after a ride than I ever have.

While this training route doesn’t have everything to duplicate the Wilmington-Whiteface course, it is pretty close. This is a route that I ride often, and today I averaged .6 mph faster than I have in the past on this route.  I’ve trained hard for this race and I think I’m ready. I just need to make sure that I stay rested and don’t over train this week going into the race.

2014 DomnarskiFarm.com MTB Race

My third race of the season the Root 66 Domnarski Farm mountain bike race. Although I felt good..I wasn’t tired..I climbed pretty good..and I had a decent result, the race ended up not to be a very good race for me.

Domnarski FarmThe race starts with a pretty good climb that can break you pretty easily if not warmed up. So at the start I wanted to make sure that I got the hole shot going into the wood for the climb. I did. A couple of riders were behind me, but no one in front to impede my progress. Both riders behind me ended up passing me on a double track section of the climb, and they were both out of site after a couple of minutes. The rest of the race I was mostly by myself holding on to third.

I eventually got some company during the last lap, but as long as I could hold him off on the flats, I felt that I could create a gap on the descent heading back to the finish. The finish was immediately after a 90 degree hard right turn, and I didn’t want to be in a sprint situation. I new I could descend better, so I took that opportunity to create a gap on the descent. My plan was perfect until my front wheel washed out on wet rocks and I went down…hard. Yep, I did a faceplant. Fingers, elbows and shoulders and move and no blood pouring out anywhere…I’m okay. However, I could feel the welt forming just below my left eye.

I managed to keep it together for a 4th place. And as I write this, my eye is not looking too good and I am very sore. I actually look like I’ve been in a brawl. One or two days for the soreness to subside and I’ll be right back in the bike.

A Busy Spring Turning Into A Busier Summer

blingMy 2014 mountain bike season is off to a strong start. For what I call my pre-season as I ramp up for the New York State MTB Series and the several ultra-endurance races that are quickly approaching. I’ve raced 3 races from New England’s Root 66 Race Series, and came out with two 2nd place podiums and a 4th. All three races I felt good…I feel like I’m way ahead of my typical training curve for the spring.

While the New York State MTB Series starts June 8 with the Williams Lake Classic, I am training hard for three ultra-endurance races that follow the Williams Lake Classic…June 22 – Wlimington-Whiteface 50k, June 28 – Wildcat 50k and July 5 – Cedar City, UT 60k. Throw in two local mountain bike races in between all this and I’ll be very busy with 6 races coming up within 28 days.

When I get back from Utah, I’ll take a week off before I start to get ready for Nationals in Bear Creek Resort, PA. This year is definitely the toughest and most demanding season that I’ve planned. And I have to say it…I couldn’t do it without being fueled by Hammer Nutrition.

10 Mountain Biking Trails in America – Men’s Fitness

Finding a flawless mountain biking trail isn’t that hard. It’s all about what type of terrain, flow, and length you want. Jumps, bridges, wet ground, hills, turns, and obstacles (think: boulders, roots, and streams) dictate the speed and accessibility of your ride. Looking for less pedaling, more fun? Opt for a buttery-smooth roller-coaster track void of technical elements to slow you down. Crave leg-and-glute burning cardio? Choose a steep climb that tops out onto a ridge and finishes with a flying descent. With these 10 mountain biking trails, you can’t go wrong. From unfurling high-altitude paths to challenging tight switchbacks, each demands agility, stamina, and grit. Don’t forget your helmet.

Reed the Men’s Fitness article here->> Best Places to Mountain Bike in the US: Mountain Biking Vacation Ideas – Top 10 Mountain Biking Trails in America – Men’s Fitness.

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