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Freezer Burn Fat Bike Race Report

freezer burn fat bike race

The Freezer Burn Fat Bike Race was a small low key race that turned out to be a fun little event. The race fields were small and included a mix of folks from all race and ride experience levels. The Freezer Burn is also part of a 2 race series that includes the Fat Bike Vasaloppet in Mora, MN a month from now, also known as the Fat Vasa.

Freezer Burn Fat Bike Race Course Layout

freezer bern fat bike race

The course was laid out quite nice with plenty of space to pass, while still including some tight single track with a few narrow bridges. It was a 5 mile loop with the short race doing 1 lap, the middle race doing 2 laps and the long race doing 3 laps. The start of the loop included a section on the lake wide enough for passing. The rest of the course wove through the park on the same wide path from the lake with sections of tight singletrack mixed in.

The snow conditions were a mix of hard packed to a few soft spots, particulary one on the lake that forced me off my bike on the 2nd and 3rd lap. But, it’s not a fat bike race without getting your boots in the snow anyways. It was a great course layout and the crew did a good job getting it prepped after all the fresh snow that came down earlier in the week.

Freezer Burn Lap 1

freezer burn fat bike race

I started about 3 rows back, so probably near the back. I thought there were about 15 to 20 of us and the results show 19 racers in the 3 lap race. We started out with a drop down onto the ice through some soft stuff that forced a few feet to the ground. I actually can’t remember if I had to touch down or not, but I think I stayed on the pedals. The pace wasn’t crazy on the lake, but it was fast enough for a pack of folks to get away with a few individuals chasing each other off the front. This didn’t leave too many of us left off the back as we were in chase.

I managed to catch the back of the main pack near the end of the lake loop, but this pack started to split apart as we worked our way through the trails. My legs really started feeling heavy and fatigue seemed to be loading up quick. My quads were still worked over heavy from some workouts I had done the previous weekend for some training plans I am working on, so I didn’t think much of it.

I was riding chase in the early singletrack with a couple folks a short distance behind and a larger line of folks in front that was slowly thinning out. I have to admit as well, that I was really wobbly in the singletrack for some reason. I immediately felt like my tires were too hard also and probably should have let some air out. I believe I gave up a spot in traffic in a tight section where I slipped and had to pull off and let somebody by.

Then, on the 3rd bridge, I did exactly what Adam told us not to do, before he sent us off from the start line… and that was ride off the side of the bridge. It wasn’t too spectacular of a crash as I realized I couldn’t save it fairly early and had enough time to kind of catch myself going off the edge before completely going head over. I had to hike a bike across to the other side though and let a couple folks by before remounting again.

I thought I might have drifted fairly close to the back of the race group at this point, but I just kept with my same steady effort. I felt like I was comfortable, right up until I got close to threshold. Any riding I have been doing has been at an endurance or tempo pace and I haven’t spent barely anytime above threshold since before the Marji Gesick. I could tell I was lacking everything at the very top end. I also started to realize that maybe my seat was too low, but I was back out on the wider trail and headed for the end of the lap and didn’t want to stop during the fast stuff.

Freezer Burn Lap 2

freezer burn fat bike race

I started my second lap by riding off the dock… How often can you ride off a dock without getting wet. It was probably only about a 12 inch drop, but was fun anyways. I got back around another racer on the lake and then got caught up bad in the soft stuff near the end of the lake loop and got passed again. I went ahead and adjusted my seat higher here as well. This made a big difference. I think my seat had sagged down on me. I noticed the tape that I have on my tube to mark my seat height was wrinkled up. Anyways, my legs felt a little better with the seat up higher.

At somepoint, early in the second lap or it might have been late in the first lap, I can’t remember. Anyways, I realized I hadn’t drank anything and then found my hydration pack with Carbo Rocket frozen up. Not a huge deal as I had drank some as I was waiting for the race to start. By this time, I knew I would be done racing in an hour and 30 minutes total. I tried a few times to reach back and shake it around, blowed in the tube, etc… but couldn’t get it to free up. I did have the pack and tube routed under my top layer and also had blown air back in it after my last drink at the start line, but it was still frozen.

The rest of the second lap was fairly uneventful. I think I was clear of traffic immediately in front or behind me most of the second lap. I could usually always see somebody, but we weren’t wheel to wheel. Again, I just kept my steady effort and never really went on the attack, nor did I ever really back off. I think I might have swapped a spot or 2 back in forth in traffic at some point during the lap.

Freezer Burn Lap 3

freezer burn fat bike race

The third lap was about the same as the second. I mostly was on my own, but could see folks in front or behind. I had made up a spot in traffic, but believe I lost one as well at some point. I could also start feeling the need for the water and maybe a little bit of fuel. I have found that I can usually get a hard workout done in an hour and half without fuel, as long as I have water.

I think I got passed by somebody about halfway through this third lap as they had a good push going for the final stretch and I just didn’t have the legs for an extra push at the end and mostly stayed with my existing steady pace.

Less than a mile from the finish, I was cruising through the wide path area and caught my front tire in a soft rut and had a pretty spectacular endo… or at least I thought it was. I did get to see my bike in the air above me, so I think that qualifies. It was a soft landing and I got back on the bike and kept going. Again, I think I had my tires a little too hard and probably should have floated over some of that soft stuff a little better vs getting caught up in it.

I did give a little extra effort on the last couple of hills as I was bringing it into the finish line and ended up finishing 13th in 1 hr, 34 minutes and 17 seconds.

Freezer Burn Fat Bike Race Final Thoughts

freezer burn fat bike race

I did enjoy this race and it was nice to get out to a low key event like this in January that I could race, but not feel like I needed to plan or prep for. I signed up for it just a few days ahead of time and headed over to the race about like I would for any general trail ride. I didn’t do any events like this last year and I think you’ll see me hitting up a couple more low key events like this or different races throughout the year to mix things up, keep me on my toes and sort stuff out before my target events arrive.

I was winded at the finish line for a couple minutes from the very final push. If I am going to race all year, I may start including at least one short high intensity workout during the week, even in the off season or base periods. With how popular fat bike racing is becoming and how much fun it can be, it is starting to get a little blurry as to which time of the year the off season actually is.

As I mentioned above, the Freezer Burn is part of a 2 race series that includes the Fat Vasa in Mora, Minnesota and I may end up going up to that race if I can work it out. In the mean time, I am keeping an eye on various events and will jump into some randomly if I can work them into my schedule. Otherwise, I have no races on my schedule until the Polar Roll.

Freezer Burn Fat Bike Race Links

Freezer Burn Fat Bike Race Facebook Page

2017 Freezer Burn Fat Bike Race Results

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See what has been sent in the past.

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2016 Race Highlights & Lessons

race highlights

I put together a quick run down of my race highlights from 2016 and some lessons learned. I had some new experiences as I dove into fat bike racing. I raced multiple 100 mile mountain bike races and backed out of a couple others after a rib injury. I had some good races and some bad races. I did have some bad races, but also showed that I have gotten stronger on the bike and feel like I have potential for more gains. That being said, I still have a lot of work ahead to continue stepping things up, especially as I add additional sports to the mix.

I wrote some short thoughts or takeaways from each race and then shared some overall lessons learned at the end of the article. I also provided links to the mentioned race reports at the bottom of the post.

Fat Bike Race Highlights

Cuyuna Whiteout

This was some good times and I was real happy with my finish here. I am not historically real strong in single track and I have been rolling the heavy and knobby stock Specialized Ground Control 4.6 tires. I rolled out well, held my own in the singletrack the best I could and then finished really strong with a 26th place overall finish.

Fat Bike Frozen Forty

This did not go well at all. I wasn’t really feeling it at the start anyways, but had an ok rollout. I had problems with water freezing, gear issues and some crashes that caused me to stop and lose a lot of spots in traffic during the first lap. I had banged my knee in one of the crashes and fought some pretty severe knee pain and thought about dropping out of the race.

The knee was relaxing when I came around to finish my 3rd lap, so I went ahead and finished the 4th lap. I was probably almost an hour off of my planned finish time at the end of the day. That night, my knee was locked right up on me and I couldn’t even walk. Anyways, I need to give this one another shot, but I don’t know if I will fit it in the schedule for 2017.

906 Polar Roll

I was having a really good race here until I missed a turn, repeated a mile and half loop of the course and found myself behind a bunch more traffic that had torn up the course and I ended up doing a whole lot more walking after that. I still had an ok finish and came in 32nd place. However, for a short period after missing my turn, I did take on the attitude of a 12 year old ready to take his ball and go home. I eventually snapped out of it and got back in the game. This was a really good event and I am planning to go back again.

Fat Bike Birkie

I really had a blast at the Fat Bike Birkie and it was a great way to end my first season of Fat Biking. I had a decent race, but I did start fading the last few miles. I was still able to squeak into the top 100 and finish 92nd overall. I think this is a great race, but I am not sure I will make it in 2017. Now that I have a pair of skate skis, I am seriously considering doing the Great Bear Chase XC Ski Race on the same day instead.

Mountain Bike Race Highlights

True Grit Epic

This was a pretty wild experience and a totally new kind of riding for me. I would definitely like to go back, now that I have ridden the course. I finished just under 10 hours, but also had some bad nutrition problems after going out too fast the first 10 miles. I like going out hard to test myself, but I went out a notch beyond what I could safely recover from. I think my stomach shut down on me and I couldn’t eat anything for a couple hours after that. It took some time for things to come back around and then I finished strong. Regardless, that is how we find our limits and learn.

Mohican 100

This one really did not go very well at all. I went out a little too soft from the start line and then burnt some matches working thru traffic in the early singletrack. After that, I had a couple broken spokes, that cost me quite a few spots in the early singletrack traffic that I had just burnt matches working through.

My biggest problem though, was a knee issue and some severe cramping only 25 miles into the race. I was feeling strong, but had some ridiculous cramps that locked me right up. My nutrition fell completely apart and I had some major knee pain that took me to pedalling with one foot for some periods.

I still finished just under 10 hours, but I would really like to think I should be sub 9 hours there and with a good rollout and placement going into the singletrack, find myself close to 8 hours. I doubt it will be in 2017, but I will definitely be back for another shot at it sometime in the future.

Ore To Shore Mountain Bike Epic

This was a really great event and might be something I try to fit in each year. It was 48 miles, but extremely fast. I did not have a preferred start, but still managed to finish in the top 100, just under 20 minutes back from the leader. I am looking forward to going back to this one and getting faster. I think after the next one, I should be able to earn myself a preffered start.

Marji Gesick 100

There is a lot that I can say about this one. I missed the belt buckle goal, but I was overall happy with my 12:25 time and 25th overall finish. That thing was a beast and I proved to myself that I was still getting stronger and each race I am hanging with a slightly faster endurance racing crowd. I am getting older, but I am still young enough to keep making gains and that I am doing.

race highlights


Fast Race Starts

I think this probably was different only a few years ago, but the envelope continues to be pushed with endurance and even the ultra endurance events start out with a fast pace. Bottom line, if you are going to get in the game competitively, you have to learn how to get out of the gate fast. Plus, I am becoming a believer in that your power is going to drop as a function of time, regardless of how easy you take off from the start line. Yes, I realise there are some limits here and I am not talking about blowing yourself up type of fast start. You have to try different things and dial it in. My point is is that whether you like it or not, you will have to learn how to deal with a fast start at somepoint if you start working your way toward the front pack.

Race Nutrition

I did put some focus into dialing in a better race nutrition plan and think I am getting it dialed in. I am becoming a big fan of all in one liquid fuel, such as Carbo Rocket in my 70oz hydration pack. I have gone away from the 100oz pack as it is just added weight on my back and I can get away with the 70oz bladder in most cases. I also carry a large water bottle filled with water on my frame to wash down occasional solid food. I do like some occasional solid food, but can get through the first few hours on liquid. If the race is under 3 hours like the Ore to Shore, then I can go all liquid. Plus, it’s likely that I will be much closer to threshold on a shorter race and it is not likely that my stomach will even process solid food.

Off Season Reset

With the ability to race year round with biking alone, not to mention getting into skiing and running in the future… it is becoming quite obvious that a forced downtime will have to be planned out. I am still working on when, but I feel like the fall time immediately after the Marji Gesick race is the best bet, in order to be ready for the winter sports. I think I was getting there, but I just didn’t dial back the effort nearly enough on my fall rides, especiallly with getting into running during that same time.

Upper Body

I have said this many times before, but I can’t say it enough. If you are going to get into Endurance Mountain Biking, you have got to take care of your upper body. I was in really great shape with my upper body in the spring and then I got lazy with my strength maintenance as summer hit and then gave it up all together after my rib injury. I paid for it dearly after the Marji Gesick 100. My elbows and shoulders felt like they were moving in a box of bolts for many weeks following the race. I got back into some of my stretch routines and a little bit of strength work and things feel pretty good again, but I can’t let myself go back there again.

Race Report Links

Cuyuna Whiteout

Frozen Forty

906 Polar Roll

Fat Bike Birkie

True Grit Epic

Mohican 100

Ore To Shore

Marji Gesick 100

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2016 Cuyuna Whiteout Fat Bike Race Report, Results And Video

I’ll start by saying that Cuyuna Whiteout was one of the most fun races I have done.  I have built up an interest for endurance races recently, because I like point to point or single lap races.  I get bored easily and like to keep things new and I just do not get too excited about lap races, which is probably why I have started to shy away from XC events.  That being said, I loved this race.  It was a shorter XC style race at about 18 miles, but all in one lap with a mix of single track and wide bike path.  I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to next year’s Cuyuna Whiteout already.

The event schedule was fantastic with a mid-day race.  I was able to drive up in the morning before the race and still have plenty of time to get ready.  The parking area at Cuyuna is really awesome for the event also.  I have made 3 day trips and a 4 day camping trip to Cuyuna in the past, so I do have some familiarity with the trail system and was curious how the race would be looped together.  It turned out to be a really great course layout; probably the most fun short course layout I have raced.

cuyuna whiteout

The Cuyuna Whiteout Fat Bike Race

I started in Wave 1 behind the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series Gate.  The first right hand turn to enter the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail, which is a paved bike path in the summer, was terribly congested, soft and rutted up; forcing many people off their bikes and making the trail conditions and congestion even worse for racers coming behind us.  However, I did manage to stay clipped in for most of it, picking my way through the traffic and finding myself in a good position out in front of the main congestion as we started to spread out down the bike path.

The Cuyuna State Trail continued to have a lot of soft spots with random ruts and I was very happy about letting some air out of my front tire before the race start.  I have no idea how much pressure I was running as I have stopped checking the pressure and have been going by feel lately.  Basically, I let enough air out that when I stood over the bike and put my weight on the handlebars, the side knobs would touch down on the ground.  I moved up the rail trail portion at a really good pace, falling in line behind a few other riders about half way to the start of the single track.

We made a right hand turn onto Overburden Road before entering the Little Sidewinder single track trail.  When I hit the single track, I could see I had had a nice gap behind me and gave myself some space to the riders in front of me so I could ride my own pace.  They were moving at a nice clip and there was no need for me to ride their wheel.  The first section of single track was packed well and even though it was a little slick, it was not nearly as slick as it would turn later in the race.

I picked up 1 place somewhere between Little Sidewinder and Hopper Hill and then another somewhere along the Drag Line Trail, as the trail cut through an open parking area.  I could continue to hear riders behind me in chase and also see riders in front of me.  As the race continued, the trail became more slick and I found myself sliding around a bit more and becoming more cautious.  I was caught by Jason Kunshier, from Woolly Bike Club, around Grizzly Trail area as he was shredding through the single track like an XC Pro and he quickly dropped me once I pulled off to let him by.

When I hit the Haul Road Trail, I knew I was in the home stretch, but played it a little conservative as I was sliding around a bit.  For some reason I thought we would take the Cuyuna Lake’s State Trail all the way to the finish once we left the haul road and crossed highway 6.  I figured I could let it ripped and make some time back up then.  I crossed highway 6 and started to let loose up the bike path to find that we still had more single track.  I was cruising through this single track at an aggressive pace as I knew I had another rider inching his way up to me on Haul Road Trail and didn’t want to lose any spots in the final part of the race.

At one point, my front tire took a slide and got caught in a rut on the edge of trail and I buried my right shoulder and side of my head into a tree.  The tree didn’t move and it hurt.  I swear the last 3 or 4 times I have crashed my bike, it was my right shoulder that took the brunt of it.  Just when I think it is about to heal up, I hit another tree somewhere or slam it into the ground.  I am sold now that studded tires are worth it, but I’ll probably still wait till next year.  The tree incident is actually about 5 seconds before the battery died in my GoPro if your interested in checking it out.  Not much to see really, except for me letting out a couple of groans.

I popped back out onto the Cuyuna Lake’s State Trail and put the hammer down.  The trail was soft and I swear it was a bit of a false flat for the first section, but I was still moving at a good clip.  I made the right hand turn for the final pull to the finish line, finishing in 27th place overall in 1 hour, 41 minutes and 50 seconds.

Cuyuna Whiteout After Thoughts

cuyuna whiteout

I felt really good and everything worked well.  I tend to have a high threshold, or so I think…  My heart rate averaged 164 bpm over the duration of the race and peaked out at 179 bpm.  I didn’t really look down at my Garmin to much and just tried to ride by how I felt.  I was actually a little surprised to see such a high average heart rate, because I didn’t feel like I was taxing myself out.  I did well on the State Trail sections and made good time up the climbs, but felt a bit traction limited in some of the slick single track.

All said and done, it was a great race and I really enjoyed racing the Cuyuna Whiteout.  I am definitely looking forward to the rest of the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series Races yet to come this winter.  Frozen Forty is up next and will be quite a bit more time in the saddle.  I do not plan to go out and get studded tires for it, but it looks like we’ll get some fresh snow on the ground before the race to support some good trail conditions.

Fat Bike Gear Updates After The Cuyuna Whiteout

Gloves / Pogies

It was warm enough for me to use my summer Pearl Izumi ELITE Gel-Vent Full Finger Gloves inside my Bar Mitts without even thinking of getting cold.  In fact, my hands actually sweat a little during the race.  I did drop a loose hand warmer in each of the Bar Mitts that I was able to hold on to as I was waiting for the race to start and then just let it roll loose inside the Bar Mitts after that.


I did get a new hydration pack from Ogio; the Ersberg 70.  I really like.  It is slim and the shoulder straps are a fairly wide mesh and sit perfect around my chest and shoulders.  I barely feel it on.  It doesn’t hold much gear, but was perfect for this race.


I put 4 Honey Stinger Gels in a 150ml SoftFlask with some water and that worked out really well.  I started with it in my back jersey pocket, but was able to fit it inside my Bar Mitts after taking a few shots out of it.  I will probably get a second one of these for longer races.

Bike Fit

I didn’t have any back problems, but I still feel a little crunched up on the medium frame.  I might be able to push the seat back slightly, but I honestly don’t think I will change a thing before Frozen Forty.

Cuyuna Whiteout Fat Bike Race Video

Missing the last 3 miles.  Battery went dead at the 15 mile mark, ironically about 5 seconds after I slid into a tree.

Cuyuna Whiteout Reference Links:

Cuyuna Whiteout –

Frozen Forty –

Great Lakes Fat Bike Series –

Support / Sponsors

Honey Stinger –

I used 4 gels for the race that I had put into a soft gel flask with some water.  This worked out great.

Ogio –

I really like my new Ogio hydration pack.  It’s really slim and the shoulder straps are formed perfect around my chest.  I barely even feel the pack on.

Rudy Project –

My helmet and sunglasses worked out great.  I like the red tinted glasses on overcast days.  It was above freezing, so there was no need to use my goggles.

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Preparing For The 2016 Great Lakes Fat Bike Series Races

I have already kicked off my Great Lakes Fat Bike Series racing with the Solstice Chase race back in December.  But that was 7 weeks ago and the Cuyuna Whiteout, 2 days from now, will kick off 3 weekends of back to back Fat Bike racing that will include the Frozen Forty and 906 Polar Roll.  I will have a weekend off after the 906 Polar roll before wrapping up the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series with the Fat Bike Birkie. The Fat Bike Birkie may likely end up being just a ride for me instead of racing, since the True Grit 100 is the following weekend.

Below is a bit of breakdown on my thoughts for each Great Lakes Series Fat Bike race coming up.

Cuyuna Whiteout

Cuyuna Whiteout is a shorter race at about 18 miles and much shorter and higher intensity than what I have been training for.  That being said, it just might be short enough for me to hang at high intensity without burning out before the finish.  Regardless, we are about to find out.  I have found, I do much better with an easy rollout and warm up as I work into the race.  Every race that I have gone out hard from the start line, ends up kicking me in the tail sometime before the finish.

Cuyuna is just short enough, that maybe I can get away with it.  The thing is, it is short enough that if you don’t go out hard with the leaders, you won’t have a chance at making up ground and they’ll be gone.  I’ve never hung with the lead pack of racers anyways for more than a couple miles in any event.  Even in that, I was not really with them, but only had them in sight as they disappeared in the distance.  One of these days, I hope to get there.

I have made 3 day trips to Cuyuna in the past and also spent a 4 day camping trip there; so I am somewhat familiar with the trails.  I have never raced at Cuyuna and am mostly excited to finally race on the trails and support the Cuyuna Trail System.  I know they put a lot of hard work into the trails.  I am interested to see how they loop the course together for the race as most of the trail loops are really short, so I suspect a big connection of trails to pull the full race course together.

There is also an after party that I plan to attend.  It should be a really fun day.  Regardless of how the racing goes.  You can’t beat a day on the trail with people sharing the same interests followed up by hanging out with some music, food and a cold beverage.

Frozen Forty

The Frozen Forty is a little more on par with my pace as that race will take me anywhere between 4 to 5 hours and I am probably planning on a 4 hour and 20 minute race, depending on trail conditions.  Quite frankly, I would be real happy with a 4 hour and 20 minute race.  That’s about an hour and 4 minutes per lap with a minute to refuel each lap.  I feel like an hour and 5 minute lap in the winter is pushing the traction and effort limits for me over 4 laps and am amazed at the times that the fast guys have put down in the past Frozen Forty races.  The winners of this race are obvious beasts with great bike handling skills and I have to assume are sprinting out of every corner.  I will probably settle into my own comfortable pace to get started and ease my way into this race a lap at a time.

At 40 miles, the Frozen Forty is far from a winter ultra, but it definitely is a long distance race.  It is a bit unique in that it is 40 miles of single track vs ski and snowmobile trails and you are not stuck out in the wilderness, even though it is a 40 mile race.  It is 4 laps with many places to bail if you get in trouble with your gear vs an ultra race where you could be 10 to 20 miles from shelter.  I think it is a could test of being out on the snowy trail for hours.

I hope to carry all my fuel with me for the Frozen Forty, so I don’t have to make any major stops.  Elm Creek is a bit of a hard trail to refuel on while riding, but I did recently order a gel flask to put all my gels in and will try to get by with fueling on gels alone.  I am also curious how far and long I can make it on gels alone.  I consider this season a good testing season to try out different nutrition strategies prior to hitting the 100 milers this year.  The Frozen Forty will be my longest Fat Bike race and will be another good test on my cold weather gear.

906 Polar Roll

The 906 Polar Roll is probably the one I am most excited about as it will take me to Marquette, Michigan and is a point to point race.  I get bored quickly and like to ride new trails, so point to point races or races with one big loop are a little more interesting to me.  Plus, this race looks to have a mix of single track and wide snowmobile type trail and will definitely keep things interesting.  It also looks to be a big festival type atmosphere for the weekend with an after party the evening of the race.

Based on what I have heard about this race from last year and the Marji Gesick, also put on by the 906 Adventure Team; I am expecting this to be a really cool event.  The folks on the 906 Adventure Team seem to be a fun crew, from what I can tell.  Plus, I love the UP and will take an excuse to get up there and race.

Fat Bike Birkie

I’ll have a weekend off of racing before the Birkie, but since the Fat Bike Birkie is the weekend before the True Grit Epic 100…  I may just be riding and not worrying about racing in the Birkie.  I expect it to be a fun atmosphere and great ride.  That being said, I will probably get caught up in it a bit and if I am feeling good, I won’t mind pushing myself a little on it.  I will learn a little more each race about how much I can push myself.  After doing the 3 other Great Lakes Fat Bike Series races on back to back weekends, I’ll probably have a good idea of where I stand with effort and recovery ability.

Gear Update


I had mentioned in my Solstice Chase Race Report, my frustration with my Bar Mitts, but I did fix my issue with them.  They were feeling quite constrictive with being the Small/Medium size, but I found a lot of the constructiveness was due to the loose attachment to the bar.  Instead of using the velcro straps on the end of the neoprene tab to attache to the handlebars, I ended up pulling my bar plugs and stuffing the tabs in the end of my bar end and then cramming the bar plug back in over the top.  They are mounted rock solid now and feel less constrictive after being held in place.  Plus, the attachment tab and velcro straps don’t interfere with my hand grip anymore either.  They will definitely get tested over the next few weeks and another expense for new pogies has been avoided.

Hydration Pack

Outside of the Bar Mitts, I haven’t changed much other than deciding that I would stick with a hydration pack.  I did get the 70 oz Ogio Erzberg Hydration Pack to replace my 100 oz Camelbak Lobo Hydration Pack.  The Camelbak is nice, but I was looking for something with less volume and slimmer.  The Ogio has very little room for gear, but has a pocket on the front side of each shoulder strap that is real handy and I do like the shoulder straps better.  I did get the insulated tube for it as well to help fight the freezing issues.

Bike Fit

I did flip my stem back over to raise my bars back up a little.  They are still lower than original as I kept the flat bar on.  I was having some lower back problems and have been playing around with the bike fit.  I’ve pushed the seat forward quite a bit as well.  I also found that my seat position was about an inch further rearward of the crank than it is on my 29er.  I haven’t had back problems on the 29er, so have been trying to match the geometry.  It is a little tough, since my Fat Bike is a Medium frame and my 29er is a Large frame.   Some of the issue could also be not being used to the rigid bike as well.  I usually ride full suspension, so maybe the rigid frame is beating up my back a little more than my back is used to.  We’ll find out if the latest adjustments help or not.


great lakes fat bike series

I have been using my new pair of Rudy Project Klonyx goggles and they absolutely rock.  They don’t fog up and my face has not gotten all sweaty in them.  They also have a nice nose piece that keeps the cold air off the nose.  I have not ridden an extended race pace with them yet, so maybe that could change, but I’ll most likely be using the goggles in the next few races.  I had tried a cheap pair of goggles last year and they were terrible with fogging up and my face sweating, so my new ones have been a real treat.

I’ll share some gear updates in my race reports.  I will try to get the race reports out shortly after each race, so I don’t get backed up on them.  Keep an eye out.

Reference Links

My Solstice Chase Race Report – 2015 Solstice Chase Fat Bike Race Report, Results and Video

Great Lakes Fat Bike Series –

Solstice Chase –

Cuyuna Whiteout –

Frozen Forty –

906 Polar Roll –

Fat Bike Birkie –

True Grit Epic 100 –

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2015 Solstice Chase Fat Bike Race Report, Results And Video

I was excited for the Solstice Chase as it would be my first fat bike race. I swung by Cyclova in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin on Friday afternoon to pick up my race number and t-shirt.  I had forgotten that t-shirts were included in the race fee, which was pretty impressive for a $35 race fee.  I picked up my race number and Frank Lundeen mentioned that the ground was frozen if I wanted to check out the course.  I had my bike with me as I planned to take a lap around Woolly, but a lap around the course at Big Rock Creek was even better.

I had only been out to Big Rock Creek one other time, almost 2 years ago to do some cross country skiing.  It’s a beautiful place and if we get enough snow this year, you will find me out there skiing on occasion.  I only rode through loop 1, which is the first half of the lap.  I had a nice ride, but realized that there would be a lot of climbing and that it was going to be a rough ride with frozen ground and no snow to smooth things out.

Solstice Chase Race Day

solstice chase

I jumped in my truck to make my way over to St. Croix Falls and arrived at Big Rock Creek a little before 9:00 am with about an hour to get ready.  I should mentioned that my truck read 5º F when I left my driveway around 8:00 am.  I was already cold about 10 minutes after getting out of my truck to get my bike ready.  I was initially set up with my Bar Mitts and was getting hand warmers ready as well.  I finally got around to getting in a short warm-up ride where I decided the Bar Mitts were not going to work with my Lobster Gloves.  There just wasn’t enough room.  I tore the Bar Mitts off at the last minute and headed for the start line with about 5 minutes till race start to find that many people had lined up already.  No big deal, this was a really open course and I found a spot in the back of the line with more people shuffling in behind me as well.

The Solstice Chase Race

solstice chase

Solstice Chase: Lap 1 – Loop 1

The gun went off and the race was on!  It was a bit of a slow roll to get across the start line, but as we made  the first left hand turn up a two track, the pace picked up.  We made the next left hander and started hitting the short hills, I made a few moves through traffic, trying to stay on the wheel of my riding buddy, Mike.  We picked off quite a few spots through this first section and I eventually made my way up to some less congested trail where I could ride my pace.  I lost my heart rate monitor within a mile or so of the race start as it slid down to my waist.  I tried to adjust it, but with a couple layers on, it wasn’t going to happen and I said the heck with it. I had not ridden without my heart rate monitor in quite some time, which maybe was good for a change.  As the race went on and traffic thinned out, the hills seemed to be my friend.  I felt like I was able to pick off a few spots at each hill.

The first loop has a crazy fast 30+ mph descent, which was a little shaky on the fat bike with frozen ground and no snow.  Eventually you dump out on a fire road to take you back to the front of the property.  I used this section to grab a gel and refuel.  I need to work out a better system for this as it was a bit cumbersome.  In the summer, my gels are taped to the bike, so the tear off tab just stays on the bike and then I stuff my empty gel packet in my back jersey pocket or just down the front of my jersey where it sits till the end of the race.  This was a lot harder to do with gloves on and I also had to stuff the tear off tab in my jersey as well.  Regardless, I was able to get some fuel and wash it down with a little bit of water as my bottles were not froze up quite yet.

Solstice Chase: Lap 1 – Loop 2

I made the right turn to head up the fire road at the start of loop 2, still on my first lap.  There was a short line of 3 or 4 of us that spun up most of the fire road together.  I kept pressure on the pedals for most of this as I was feeling pretty good.  In hindsight, this section is a bit deceiving.  You are going on a slight downhill for the first section of this fire road and you start getting confident, but it turns into a false flat about halfway out and the grade slowly increases and before you know it you are trying to hammer out a bigger gear than you should be.  It doesn’t stop either, once off the fire road, the elevation keeps increasing as you wind the wide path up through the trees.

You are eventually rewarded with a well needed descent before hitting a very steep grade that takes you back up 180 feet again.  I managed to make it up the climb in granny gear, but there were a few people walking it on the first lap around.  The elevation profile, might suggest that it is all downhill to the finish of the lap from here, but if you look closely you’ll see that you get taken back up and down a few more times over some steep grades before making a fun descent to the finish of the lap.

My bottles were froze up at this time and I was glad to toss down the small cup of water being held out by the aid station volunteer as I went by.  By the way, tossing down cold water really fast at 15º doesn’t feel nearly as good as it does in the summer.  You’ll want to take a little bit more time with it to avoid icicles hanging off your face mask only a few minutes later.  I finished my first lap around 1 hour and 4 minutes.

I have GoPro Video of my entire first lap in the links at the bottom of the page.

Solstice Chase: Lap 2 – Loop 1

I was feeling ok about it and at this point felt like I could probably maintain my pace, especially since I wouldn’t have to fight any traffic this time around.  I could feel the dehydration sneaking up on me, but figured I could make it another hour and really wasn’t too concerned at this point with it.  I grabbed another gel at some point, I think as I made my way around the field a little over a mile into the loop.  I could feel myself getting a little weaker on the climbs about halfway into this loop, but not enough to get me overly worried yet.

I still made good time coming up the fire road and grabbed another gel during this time, which I did by taking my glove off and could never get warmed back up again.  After taking the gel, I could tell I needed some water and was looking forward to making the turn at the aid station.  Without water, the gel just kind of sat there in my belly.

Solstice Chase: Lap 2 – Loop 2

I was getting real thirsty now as my bottles had been frozen for an hour.  I threw down the cup of water being held out as I made the turn to head up the fire road.  In hindsight, I should have stopped and drank some more water as I could really feel the dehydration setting in, but I kept going.  I figured it was only another 6 miles to go and I would be done within a half hour.  I had been quite warm for the last hour, but I think the dehydration was starting to impact my circulation or something and everything started to freeze up…  toes, fingers and I was thirsty.  My pace was starting to slow…

I ended up having to walk two of the hills in the back half of the course that I was able to ride up the first lap.  I was struggling even on the down hills with bike control with my frozen hands.  At this point, I kind of went into, “just get this thing finished up” mode and wasn’t really pushing myself to the max any more.  I definitely lost a few places on this section of the course, but was learning some valuable lessons about hydration in the cold.  My nose was feeling a bit frozen from the moisture that had froze on my face mask.  My face mask had become an ice cube.  I finally made it around to the finish in 2 hours, 17 minutes and 26 seconds with this second lap being about 13 minutes slower than my first lap.  I finished 48th among the men and 51st overall and just over 31 minutes behind the winner Jeff Hall.

Check the links at the bottom of my post for a link to the full Solstice Chase race results.

Solstice Chase Summary And Thoughts

solstice chase

I was definitely off of my goals for the day, but was a good day regardless.  One of the things I like about long distance endurance racing is the adventure and survival part of it and fat bike racing touches on both of those things with completely different elements to deal with.  I didn’t meet my goals for the race, but I did get some things sorted out as far as gear and race prep.  I will definitely be better prepared for the next one.  There is a great group of people out there at these events and I enjoy being around the people and atmosphere.

To put the elevation changes of the Solstice Chase race course in perspective, there was  over 2,500 foot of climbing in the 25 mile course.  That would be over 10,000 foot of climbing if multiplied out to a 100 mile race, which is more climbing than the Lusten 99er and on par with many very difficult 100 milers.  It was a great course to race on.  There is no single track on the course, but that doesn’t mean you don’t get bounced around a bit.

Dehydration will sneak up on you real fast in the cold.  I am going back to a hydration pack that I’ll wear between layers.  The bottles, just were not a good idea and I expect colder racing temperatures at Cuyuna Whiteout and Frozen Forty.  Without proper hydration, my gels weren’t really helping much.  I definitely needed more fluids.

I need to get a good insulated set of Pogies.  The Bar Mitts are good for mild cold temperatures, but are just too constrictive for heavier gloves, which is why I took them off after my warm up ride.  I’d rather have a set of pogies that are too heavy and I’ll wear lighter gloves.Not to mention, I could keep my gels in a gel flask inside the pogies for easier access.  I’m currently looking at either the 45 NRTH Cobrafists or the new Wolftooth Singletrack Pogie.  I am leaning toward 45 NRTH as they are insulated and I know I will be spending some long training days out on the trail.  I’ll keep the Bar Mitts for slightly warmer temperatures where I still need some extra protection, but can still get away with lighter gloves.

I have 4 more fat bike races in the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series that I have registered for and I am sure there will be another local race or 2 that pops up over the next couple of months.  I’m starting a 12 week training program for 100 mile races this week and the planned fat bike races fit into my training schedule fairly well.  I am very glad to have the fat bike as I would not want to spend my entire winter indoors on a trainer and there doesn’t seem to be a great line of site on snow for cross country skiing yet either.

Here’s to hoping we get some snow to do some true snow biking and maybe I’ll see you at the next race.

Huge thanks to everybody at Big Rock Creek and the Cyclova crew for putting on such a great race.


Solstice Chase:



Big Rock Creek Retreat:

GoPro Video of My Full First Lap:

My Sponsors

Rudy Project:

My glasses worked great in the cold and did not fog.  I may switch to my goggles for any colder temperatures though.  My Rudy Project goggles have a nice nose piece cover to help with the frozen nose.

Honey Stinger:

Love the taste of the gels.  I’ll have a better hydration plan in the future to help absorb the gels.

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2015 Minnesota State Championship Road Race Report


I looked around at the rest of the starting field to realize my hairy legs were sticking out like a Sasquatch in a nudist colony and asked the guy next to me if this was in fact the Cat 4/5 group and not the Cat 1/2/3 group.  I had done some Crit racing and 2 other road races this year as training for my main events of the year…  The Lutsen 99er, Maah Daah Hey 100 and the Chequamegon 40, but I was still impressed by the seriousness and commitment of the Cat 4/5 group that I was racing with.

I still really have no idea how to race well in a pack and I struggle with the drafting and riding so close to the other riders who seem to always be moving around.  The race would be a 3 lap race for a total of 54 miles.  There were some rolling hills in the first stretch of the lap with a nice climb to each lap finish and the finish line.  I had become quite a bit more confident in my climbing abilities since the spring where I had been dropped or struggled in climbs.

Lap 1

We took off from the start line in a nice easy rollout for the first couple of miles before starting to race.  I tried to hang in the draft as much as possible, but struggled as it always seemed like I was getting bucked out of line as some of the local shop teams were working together with pretty tight lines.  I still didn’t really know what I was doing or should be doing within the pack.  I was not looking for a free ride and have no problem doing some work, but I was trying to stay smart as well.

I was getting extremely frustrated as it seemed like the pace was constantly changing.  I am not used to tapping the brakes unless I am about to hurl myself off the side of a steep bench cut to the bottom of a ravine, but it seemed like a must in order to stay in the pack.  We made it around to the first climb and things started to spread out heading up the hill.  I held my own and hung with the lead group as I did not want to get separated.  It was a bit frustrating as it seemed like I would put the hammer down on the hills or coming out of a corner to make sure I did not lose the lead riders and miss a break away, but would find the peloton still there and feeling like I just wasted a bunch of energy.

Lap 2

We hit the rollers at the start of lap 2 and my frustration was building with the on and off the brakes and then rapid pedaling just to tap the brakes again.  Again, I just haven’t figured out how to ride in those packs.  I am used to mountain bike racing where we have a short distance at the start of the race, where you get a bit backed up in the trail and then after that you just get out there and work your ass off for the rest of the race.  There is a bit of drafting in a few of the gravel sections of the Lutsen 99er, but never any massive packs like this with people moving all over the place.

About half way through the second lap, my frustration got the best of me and I worked my way toward the front and ended up taking a long pull into a head wind.  I was working hard, but was starting to have fun again.  I actually felt like I was racing now and enjoyed getting out there and putting in some work.  I pulled off eventually and let somebody else take a pull.  One of the other riders came by and said “Thank you for taking a pull”.  We hit the climb at the end of the second lap and things blew up a bit amongst the pack and I made it up the climb with the first few guys.  It appeared for a second that a few might try to take off, but nothing ever organized and everybody got back together again.

Lap 3

I was sitting about 10 back when we hit the rollers.  It seemed like some were starting to struggle getting up the rollers and 5 or 6 guys in the front were starting to pour on the heat.  A gap started to form going up the second hill and I put everything I had into the pedals to split the short gap that was starting to form. I looked back as we crested the hill to find that we had dropped the peloton and were making a legitimate gap.

The break away didn’t know that we had a gap yet and some of them starting peeling back.  I yelled to them that I was the last guy and that we had dropped the main group.  I found myself taking pulls in the front to help maintain this gap, but we could not get organized enough and were quickly caught by the peloton.  Knowing that the field was starting to weaken, I stayed out front with a couple other guys and we kept pushing.  I didn’t know if this was the right thing to do or not, but I was hoping we could get a little break away going as we were within 8 to 10 miles of the finish at this point.  We again spent a lot of energy and couldn’t get organized well to make something happen.

We turned the corner to start heading into the wind and I found myself out front again in the headwind.  I was spent by this time after the hard pulls over the last 5 + miles, and was looking to jump back in the draft.  I peeled off to the right and slowed down, but nobody came up.  Either nobody wanted to work or everybody was spent like I was.  I didn’t know which was the case, but I wasn’t pulling anymore.  We were down to 17 mph and I heard somebody yell from the back “Go! We’re only going 17 mph”.  I find it funny, how somebody is always wanting to go faster, but not willing to do the work.  I yelled back, “Come on up!”.  Nothing, but crickets…

Eventually, a line of riders worked past on the left and I started dropping back as we made another right hand turn and were now in a cross wind.  I quickly found myself getting sucked backwards and could not get in line.  By the time we were approaching the final climb to the finish, I had dropped further than mid pack and the pace started picking up fast.  I knew I was in a crappy position and wasn’t quite sure what to do.  I should have pushed myself up through the pack earlier, but I was a little spent from the hard pulls and was concerned now about the final climb.

We hit the climb and I started picking my way back through the pack.  We made the left hand turn to the finish of the climb where I picked off a few more spots, but I was way too far back when we hit the climb.  I ended up coming across the finish line 29 seconds after the leader, in 20th position within the overall Cat 4/5 field and 7th among the Cat 5 field.  I was disappointed and frustrated.  I gave everything on that final climb, but I got beat.  Even though I got a bad start up the hill, the leaders had obviously put some space between them and I getting up that final climb.


I hung out to watch the podium awards and chuckled a bit as I heard somebody complaining to his buddies about how slow we were going at some point as he told them “we were down to 17 mph”, I assumed he was the guy sitting in the middle of the pack yelling at other people to go faster…

Road racing is a bit odd to me.  Mountain biking is my main sport and I got into Road racing this year to try it out and feed my addiction for competition and racing along with some early season training for my big mountain bike races.  In mountain bike races, I am used to going out and working hard from start to finish.  Even when we we’re taking pulls in the Lutsen 99er, you were still working your tail off in the back of the line just to stay on.  Granted, the pace lines in the Lutsen were usually only 4 to 6 people anyways and we were rolling gravel on full suspension mountain bikes.

I am still not sure what to think of the road racing.  My heart is for sure in the endurance events and the Maah Daah Hey 100 was a great example of the type of racing that I will probably focus on going forward.  I was getting pretty frustrated, sitting in mid pack with the on and off the brakes and non steady pace.  I was actually sitting there thinking, why the hell am I doing this, as it just wasn’t any fun.  I couldn’t take any more of it, which is why I worked toward the front and started taking pulls.  It was way more fun hammering the pedals and putting some work in.  That is when the road racing got fun again.  I’ll keep at it, as this was my first year doing it and I feel like I can make some progress.  I just don’t know what I am doing out there in the pack and need to figure out how to race a smart race.

I have the Chequamegon 40 Fat Tire Festival left to do in September, but I am working on lining up a good race schedule for next year that will mostly be focused on endurance mountain bike events.  I will throw some road races in the schedule if they fit, but they won’t be my priority.  I got into racing because I liked pushing my body to its limit and I just haven’t gotten that feeling or excitement yet out of the 2 hour road races.  Some of this may not sit well with the roadies, but I write this to share my experiences whether they be good or bad.  I would be curious to hear feedback on this from other people that jump back and forth between the various racing disciplines.  Regardless, I do like racing and am looking for a few other races to potentially add to the schedule yet this fall.  Until next time, keep on pedaling…

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Ready Or Not – Lutsen 99er Is Here


Picture from the night before last year’s Lutsen 99er

I may be writing this article a bit late, as the Lutsen 99er is only a couple days away.  Whether you are ready or not, the race is here and you have a few days to get your head in it.  As for me, I have been sick the last few days and hoping to feel better before race day.  That being said, I am in much better physical condition than I was for the race last year.  My goals are much more aggressive as well.

Last year I finished in 9:12, which probably would equate to a 9:30 finish if the last 3 miles would not have been excluded.  This year, I must finish under 8:00 and my real goal is to finish under 7:00.  It is a big step from last year, but I feel like I am capable.  I am not sure that I am physically conditioned to finish under 7:00 and it will take some massive will power to reach that goal.  In my head, I really do believe I can pull it off.  The mind has some amazing power when it comes to endurance racing.

Finishing under 7 hours for me is a huge step from where I was last year, but it is just a transition step.  Finishing under 7 hours will prove to me mentally that I have what it takes to hang with some really fast guys.  It is really a bit of a mental game for me, from a confidence stand point that I can build heavily on.  I just need to get it right in my head that I can do it.  Each race I do, I feel better and finish better.  Each one is just a building block to the next level for me.

There is a big part of me, that wants to go out of the gate and just see how long I can hang with some of the lead pack.  I know that could turn out to be a big risk and I could just blow myself up with 50 or 60 miles left to go in the race.  I am still balancing in my head whether to race safe and smart or get risky.  I tend to lean toward risk, but I have burned myself in the past by racing this way.

I blew up big time last year at the Keweenaw Chain Drive Festival by going to hard right from the get go.  If I would have just backed off a little bit, I would have finished much better.  Instead, I just kept pushing and eventually blew up  and lost a lot of time and a ton of positions in just the last few miles.  That being said, I am in much better physical condition than I was last year.  Last year, I had no business taking big risks.

If all goes well, I’ll be feeling better by race day and leave everything I have out on the trail.  I was hoping to feel better when I woke up this morning and go for a road ride to keep the legs loose, but that was not the case.  I got restless this afternoon and went for a short ride anyways that went ok.  With a couple good nights of rest, maybe I will be back to 100% by Saturday.  I hope to see you out there.  If you recognize me, please say hi.  Best of luck to all and leave everything you’ve got out on the trail.

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Race Report – Bluff Riders Charge – Minnesota Mountain Bike Series Race #3


Race Prep

I’ll start out by saying that I am really glad that I pre-rode the course on Saturday.  I’ve never ridden Mt. Kato before and there were a few technical sections on the Comp course that would have taken me by surprise.  We hauled our camper down to Mankato Friday evening and camped at Land of Memories City Campground for the weekend.  It is a nice little park and we were not the only racers that had the same idea.

When I did my shake down ride at Carver Lake on Thursday, I was starting to have some rear brake problems.  They were squealing and there wasn’t much modulation, they were either not braking or locked up.  After messing with them on Saturday morning, I decided to stop by Nicollet Bike Shop in Mankato for some new rear brake pads.

This turned out to be a really nice shop.  They took care of me pretty quick.  They installed the new pads for me, adjusted the brake levers, calipers and also made a head set adjustment.  Within a few minutes, the bike felt like new again.  This is also where I got the tip about the tight left hander and a few other sections of trail and decided I should go ahead and pre-ride.

I did 2 laps of pre-riding on Saturday and couldn’t figure out how to safely ride the tight lefty.  I decided I would go “Cyclocross style” during the race and do the “hike a bike”.  The pre-ride gave me a good opportunity to figure out my strategy.  I figured the big climb wasn’t really the tough part.  The tough part was some of the mid course section climbs with tight switchback that were pretty steep.  There was also a downhill section that was a little sketchy to get down and required a bit of hanging off the back of the saddle to get down.  A dropper seat post would definitely have been handy here.

I was feeling pretty good after the pre-ride.  My brakes were great, but I had this creak in my frame that was really getting to me.  I had thought it was the cable ferrules rubbing in the frame stops when the suspension was working, but that wasn’t the case.  The bottom bracket felt solid.  I eventually found my main rear pivot bolt was a little under torqued.  I had checked it once already and it seemed fine, but after backing it out I realized it wasn’t torque enough.  I backed it all the way out and separated the joint.  I cleaned everything up, put some Phil Wood Grease on the bolt and put it back together.  This solved the problem.  Now the bike really felt like a new bike again and I was pumped.

The Race

There I was at the start line thinking about where I should fall into line on the big climb that begins only about 100 yards from the start.  As we hit the climb, I dropped in line 2nd from the back of my age group starting heat.  I am still learning where I stand in the pack and decided there was no sense in blowing myself up on the first climb as I had 4 laps to do.  I actually felt a bit held back and if I remember correctly, I ended up going around another guy toward the top of the climb.  Once you get to the top, there is some nice single track to roll on.

I kept feeling like I could go faster, but I figured I would hang on the wheel in front of me for now.  We dumped into the the single track of cedar climb and started to get bunched up.  I was feeling pretty strong with the climbs and wanted to pass.  The guy in front of me missed the left hand turn into Mad Squirrel and I was able to get some open trail.  I dismounted for the tight left hander and got back on the pedals smoothly.  I caught the next pack of racers in the switch back climbs.  I had to dismount at one point because the guy in front of me bailed in one of the tight climbs and I couldn’t get around.  I jumped off quickly and ran my bike up the trail about 10 yards and got back in it.

This took some energy out of me and I needed to settle my heart rate down.  At this point, a couple of the lead guys from the 40 to 49 year old age group had caught and passed me.  I hope I keep getting faster as I get older too…  I was on the wheel in front of me through the switchbacks of Dead Horse and was able to fly through the Maze at a decent speed before hitting the Staircase Climb back to the top.  I made up another spot on the climb.  I had a clear trail in front of me for Ridge Run and was able to carry some speed.

I popped out on to Cabin Run to finish out my first lap right at the 26 minute mark.  I was feeling pretty good and the bike was functioning well.  I made it up the climb just as well as the first time up.  At this point, I had figured out the sections where I could make up time.  I traditionally haven’t been the strongest climber, but I have definitely improved.  I held back a little on the big climbs and made up some time in the flowing single track.

Here is a nice picture of my son cheering me up the climb!


When I came around to start lap 3, I was starting to feel the pain a bit and was struggling to get in my head that I was only half way through the race.  This is where the mental game starts.  I pushed through and spun and easy gear up Kato Climb and recovered a bit.  My cardio was feeling good but the legs were starting to burn on the climbs.  All that being said, I made it through lap 3 and picked up another spot or 2.

I was a little more aggressive going up Kato Climb on lap 4, but knew that I still had to get through Cedar Climb and Staircase.  I hammered in the flats again, but did struggled on Staircase where I lost 2 spots in my age group.  I didn’t lose sight and stretched myself out on Ridge Run a bit and was able to pick 1 of the spots back up coming down Cabin Run into the finish line.




25th out of 65

Age Group

7th out of 15

Lap Splits

Lap 1:     26:00.6

Lap 2:     26:04.3

Lap 3:     26:12.6

Lap 4:     26:08.2

Total Course Time



I was pretty happy with the race.  I raced my race and didn’t get caught up in anybody else’s game.  My 4 lap splits were all within 12 seconds of each other.  I feel good about racing in the Comp Class after this and will only improve from here.  That being said, this may be my last race until the Lutsen 99er and I will most likely concentrate on training over the next 3 weeks before taking an easy week before the Lutsen to recover.

Even though I still have a lot of room for improvement, I do feel stronger on the climbs and more confident in the technical sections.  I also have to mention that, it is in fact, a little bit about the bike…  My bike functioned well and in much better shape than at the Woolly Race, which provided for a much smoother and confident ride.  I did switch to a tubeless wheel and tire assembly, which dropped some weight and my new tires are gripping much better than the old ones.  Having a good functioning bike and some new treads was helpful.

I also took in some calories during the race this time.  I learned from the last race that I needed some food.  I took 1 packet of Honey Stinger Energy Chews in my jersey pocket that totaled 160 calories.  I had 2 or 3 of the chews each lap.  This was just enough to keep a few calories coming in and not feel any hunger.  If the race was any longer, then I definitely would have needed some additional calories on top of this.  About a hour and a half before the race, I ate a sweet potato.  I may plan on the sweet potato again in the future.

Also, I have to mention that the kids had a great time doing the short Kid’s Fun Race.  They were very excited for their medals and have set their sights on the Kid’s Comp Race for next year.  I think it is great that the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series puts this together.

Thanks for taking the time to read through and please pass this along if you enjoyed it.  Until next time… stay focused and keep hammering on!


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My Monthly Endurance Path Update – April 2015


Welcome to the my April 2015 Endurance Path Update!

I started doing monthly updates last year, but did not follow through.  I am going to start them back up and see if I can refine them enough for it to make sense to keep them going.  As always, any feedback is greatly appreciated.  If there is something specific you would like to see or do not want to see in these monthly updates, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail through my Contact Me page.

My intention is to share quick highlights of any endurance racing, training, nutrition, health and any other fun endurance sport related activities that I experienced this month.


I have never done any road racing before and I decided it was time to give it a try.  Over the past year, I thought I was getting pretty decent on my road bike and I can safely say that I have been humbled.  That being said, I have really enjoyed the road racing and by all means will keep at it.  I intend to try out a time trial during the month of May as well.  I have a lot to learn when it comes to racing with a pack, drafting, conserving energy and climbing hills.

Total Races:  5

Criteriums:  3

Road Races:  2

Spring Fling #5 Criterium – Lawrence, Kansas

Results:  7th out of 20

This was my first race ever on a road bike and was totally unplanned.  I was mountain biking that morning on the Clinton Lake Trail System when I heard some commotion and an announcer.  I want ahead and checked it out to find a criterium race getting under way.  I went back to the camper to fetch my road bike and entered the Cat 5 race that was later in the afternoon.  This was nuts, but I loved it.  A lead pack took off on a break away going into lap 3.  A couple laps later, I was by myself trying to chase them down.  I reeled in a coupe of guys that got dropped from that pack, but was not able to cover the gap.  After this race, I knew I had to keep at it.

Tuesday Night Worlds #1 Criterium – Minnesota State Fairgrounds

Results – 20 out of 56, but no points

Bottom line, I had no idea what I was doing.  This was a Cat 4 / 5 criterium with every 3rd lap being a sprint lap for points.  The final lap counted for the same amount of points as the other sprint laps.  Overall time was tracked as well.  I was basically redlined the entire race and too nervous to get too close in line and basically blew up.

THK (Thoren Heuval Kernesse) Road Race – Avon, Minnesota

Results – 30th out of 46

My first road race.  Again, no idea what I was doing.  I found myself in the front of the pack on a couple sections coming into the halfway point.  This was a bad idea as I got totally dropped when we hit the climb.  I didn’t really see it coming.  I figured I would drift to the back of the pack going up the climb because I was spent and the next thing I knew, I missed the back and couldn’t get back on.  We had dropped part of the pack already, so I didn’t end up last.  I did have a strong finish up the final climb though, to leave with a little bit of confidence and feel good.

Ken Woods Memorial Road Race – Cannon Falls, Minnesota

Results – 24th out of 47

I’m starting to figure it out a bit.  Hung with the lead pack the whole race.  There was a couple minor break aways, but we reeled them back in.  I hammered up the big climb the first lap around and hung with the leaders.  Coming back around to the big climb again at the finish, I couldn’t hang though and ended up dropping to 24th place and over a minute behind the leader all on the final climb.  I am feeling better about things though and just need to work on my power.

Tuesday Night Worlds #3 Criterium – Minnesota State Fairgrounds

Results – 18th out of 46, but no points

This race went much better for me, other than I jumped for a sprint on the wrong lap and completely put myself in a bad position and blew up.  That being said, I was actually able to recover and wasn’t too far off from grabbing some points on the final lap.  I think I could have gotten up there if I would have positioned myself better on the second to last lap.  I got myself stuck in the middle of the pack and could not get out around people.



All races are included in the mileage and session counts.

Total Miles:  236

Mountain Bike:  42.7 miles

Road Bike:  185 miles

Running:  4.3 miles

Hiking:  4 miles

Total Sessions:  20

Mountain Bike:  4

Road Bike:  12

Running:  1

Hiking:  3

I officially removed the training tire off of my road bike before our spring break camping trip the last week of March.  My training now has turned to actual road rides, some trail riding during spring break and road races.  I still haven’t created the best morning habits yet, but try to get a body weight and short work out in before work in the morning that involves squats, push ups, lunges and abs.

That being said, I have ridden twice as many miles this year as I had by this point last year.  Last year, I only had 230 cycling miles in by the end of April and I have over 600 miles in this year.  There are 3 things that have contributed to this:  The first, being the fact that I picked up a Cyclops Jet Fluid Pro Trainer last fall and hammered through Sufferfest videos throughout the winter months.  Secondly, I also purchased a Fat Bike for the winter and was able to get a few trail rides in.  Lastly, I took a 3 day weekend to go mountain biking on the Santos Trail System in Florida with my Dad back in February.


I am still working on fine tuning the nutrition, but I have created what I think are some fairly good habits.  I have a pretty good breakfast routine of 2 to 3 eggs.  I usually get my eggs from a local farmer, but occasionally they run out and I have to get them from the store.  I highly recommend purchasing your eggs from a local farmer vs the grocery store if you can.  You’ll understand as soon as you see the color difference after cracking them in the pan.  They are so much richer in color and taste.  At any rate, I have been adding spinach or broccoli and cauliflower to my eggs on most mornings.  I used to do just eggs, but always felt like I was missing something and decided to add some veggies for some natural carbohydrates.

For lunch in the past, I had been mixing tuna with feta cheese and have now started doing raw vegetables and still adding the tuna on occasion.  I do snack during the day and with my activity up from last year, I seem to be hungry more often.  On most days, I have been adding a muffin in the mid morning and some fruit in the afternoon.

Dinner has usually been a mix of a meat such as chicken, fish or a burger along with organic frozen vegetables from Costco.

Health and Fitness

Weight:  158 lbs

Body Fat:  15.2%

Even though, I haven’t necessarily been feeling my greatest…  The month of April was pretty darn good in comparison to March.  I spent most of the month of March with a cold or sinus infection, which severely limited the amount of training I was able to do.  Not to mention, I had some international travel for work that didn’t help.

I have struggled quite a bit with recovery in the past and this still seems to be the case.  I used to think it was because I was getting older, but I honestly think it is because I tend to push myself past my my level of fitness too often.  I think the road racing is going to be good for me and really help me figure out how manage racing and training.



My kids are 5 and 7 years old and are able to hit some single track with me, so we can do some family rides on light training days.  Sometimes, my wife will ride with them and I’ll break away for my own hot lap and then catch back up with them.  It’s great to have the whole family involved and my kids can’t wait to race.

Website Updates

I have started a resource page to share what I use for all kinds of things related to racing, training, data logging, nutrition, health, trail finding, etc…  You can visit the page with this link: Endurance Path Resources.  Please let me know if you would like to see anything else.  I will continue to make updates as I expand the site.


I had pretty good month when it comes to taking on new challenges.  I would say, I need to pick up the training a bit more if I am going to be competitive.  I tend to struggle with recovery and I am working on figuring that out, whether it be sleep, food or overtraining when I do train.  I hope you found this update useful, whether it be insightful or inspiring.  As I mentioned above, please leave a comment below or or send me an e-mail through my Contact Me page if you have any questions or comments.

If you found this useful and think someone else would benefit from reading and following my blog, please share with you friends through Facebook or Twitter.  Thanks!

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Do Something Epic in 2015


Every year, is your year. You own every second of it and it is your choice how you spend those seconds. Last year, I posted the article “Do Something Epic This Year” that described what Epic really meant and what my Epic plans were for 2014. Many people start their year off with some New Year’s Resolutions. I am not talking about New Year’s Resolutions. I am talking about accomplishing something Epic that you can look back on later in life and see it as a major accomplishment. 20 years from now you will look back and that Epic event as a stepping stone to developing who you have become later in life.

You need to define what Epic is for you. It is different for all of us. We are all at different levels of endurance and have different goals for our endurance levels. I am very much focused on my endurance, but I try to carry this goal setting attitude across everything in my life. Life is a journey and my destination is to be the best that I can be and not waste any of the seconds that God has given me in life. This will require new goal setting and new Epic adventures each year. What was Epic for me last year or the year before is something of the past and no longer Epic for me this year, but rather a stepping stone to what I will accomplish this year and the years to come.

Utah Trip 120

Last year, completing the Lutsen 99er and taking a good chunk of time off of my Chequamegon 40 finish were my Epic events and accomplishments. Outside of racing last year, I also finally went Mountain Biking in Moab, Utah. Moab had been on my bucket list for years. I not only got to ride there myself, but also got to take my family with me. My then 4 year old, road about 9 miles of single track out in Moab during that week. We had a ball and even at his age, he is talking about the next place he can ride and how much farther he will go next time.  My kids were so fired up about biking that they participated in the kids race the day after the Lutsen 99er. They are already building and completing Epic moments in their life.


I have a couple of Epic events planned for this year. First of all, I already signed up to do the Lutsen 99er again and plan to take some significant time off of last years race. I am working this winter to set a good base to build on when spring hits. Secondly, I have registered for the Maah Daah Hey 100, which will no doubt be my big Epic event for 2015. It is 1 month after the Lutsen 99er, which should set me up pretty nice for the Maah Daah Hey 100. I will also race in the Chequamegon 40 again, if I make the lottery. I’ll get a Gate 3 start and make a run at the Gate 1 racers. Again, what was Epic for me last year is turning out as just another stepping stone for what I will accomplish this year.

You have to take everything in steps and control where you are headed in life. Things don’t happen by accident. It is up to you to create the end product of you and what you will become. Don’t set New Year’s Resolutions, set goals, sign up to accomplish something. You will change in the process. I don’t need to set resolutions to lose weight, eat healthy or exercise more. Those things are all bi-products of what is happening in the process of me accomplishing my goals or Epic events for the year. As a result of me accomplishing my goals, I will be in better shape and eating healthier at the end of this year compared to where I am today.

Remember, only a couple of years ago, I just wanted to finish the Chequamegon 40. Now I am talking about chasing down the lead pack. Start with something that will stretch you out a little and build on it every year. This year might be entering a short beginner race to get your feet wet. Not a lot of people are willing to take that step and those are the decisions that you make that set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd in life. Get out there and see what you are made of and build on it. It’s never too late. I read articles all the time about people of all ages jumping into a sport. We all see it when we watch the Kona Iron Man and listen to the stories of people stepping out of their comfort zone to accomplish something they never thought they could do.

In summary, take control of your calendar and define what you will do this year. It will only build on supporting a greater you and what you will become. You can do it. It is just a decision. You need to plan it and commit. What Epic event do you have planned for this year? What are you thinking about doing? I’d like to hear about it.

Read these posts about my 2014 performance in the Lutsen 99er and Chequamegon 40:

My First Lutsen 99er Race Review, Results and Advice


2014 Chequamegon 40 Review and Results


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2014 Red Wing Classic Results and Review

I am a little late in getting this post out, but better late than never. As I posted previously, I decided last minute to enter another race before winter sets in here in Minnesota and I break out the cross country skis. I had competed in the St. Croix Falls Woolly Mountain Bike Marathon Race in the spring and wanted to see if I had improved against that field. The Red Wing Classic was my last chance to do so and I’m really not ready for summer to be over anyways.

For those that don’t know what the Mountain Bike Marathon is, let me explain… It’s a new race that was started this year in the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series that is a timed lap race. It’s also been called a 3.5 hour race. Basic rule is, you get as many laps in as you can. You are not allowed to start another lap after 3.5 hours, but your last lap must be completed within 4 hours to count.

I have always been interested in completing a 12 hour and even a 24 hour race and I thought these races would be a good starter. In the spring Woolly race, I finished 28 out of 39. I pretty much ran out of gas about 2.5 hours into the race. I felt decent from a cardio respect, but just didn’t have the leg power to get up the climbs later in the race.

I drove down to Red Wing, the weekend before the race to check out the trail system. I had never rode Red Wing before and I was sure glad that I checked it out ahead of time. All I can say, is that I’m pretty happy that the Marathon race did not race up the Stairway to Heaven. The trails themselves are a good trail system with a mix of everything.

There I was on race morning. I was hoping there was a good turn out for the event. There ended up being 20 guys racing, which was about half the field of the Woolly Marathon event. I’d like the think it was the 20 guys that were really into this type event and were doing it because they were competitive at it.

We took off from the start line fairly quick for a race that would last 3.5 plus hours. I took off from the start line with the lead out pack and settled in toward the back of this aggressive group as we approached the single track. The pace was feeling a little quicker than maybe I wanted to go, but I wanted to hang as much as possible. By the time we made it around the field, I had dropped off the back end of this lead out pack and could see that the leaders were definitely jumping out and separating themselves.

The start of a race for me is a love hate thing. I love the aggressiveness and chess match that happens as you approach the first section of single track, but people can get a little impatient. When we hit the single track, we had caught some of lap traffic from one of the other category races. This caused quite a bit of congestion. I struggled to keep my bike on 2 wheels as was trying to avoid ramming the person in front of me and the guy behind me side swiping my rear wheel 5 or 6 times. We managed to get around some of the lap traffic and spread out eventually, but it was pretty intense though the whoopty do section.

I raced fairly well my first lap and made it up the climbs pretty good. Momentum is key on quite a few of the climbs in Red Wing. The problem was that I had another 3 plus hours of racing after the first lap. I held in fairly strong the first 3 to 4 laps, but was still dropping 30 seconds a lap, and then a whole minute between lap 3 and 4. By the time I finished lap 4, I was starting to fatigue pretty bad.

Lap 5, I dropped another 1.5 minutes off my lap 4 pace. I was gunning to get lap 7 completed before the 3.5 hour mark so that I had a chance to finish 8 laps. At this point, I was starting to push the limit of this being possible. I had to finish the rest of my laps back under a 30 minute pace in order to get the 8 laps in at this point.

I took off pretty hard on lap 6 and got pretty loose coming out of the last whoopty and crashed. No problem, I quickly jumped back on the bike and in the first pedal stroke sucked my derailer into my spokes. It turned out that I had bent my derailer hanger. I quickly straightened it out, pushed my bike about 15 feet up the rest of the incline and continued to ride on.

So there I was, knowing that I had really pushed the border line of getting lap 7 in before the 3.5 hour mark. About 1.5 miles later, I was passed by 1 of the leaders that was lapping me and I figured I would try to hang to keep my pace and motivation going. Apparently, I don’t have the same bike handling skills in the tight switchbacks, because I washed out my front tire in a corner and hit the dirt hard.

This one hurt. I banged my right quad pretty hard on a rock or tree root and it actually took a bit, 5 to 10 seconds, to pull myself up off the dirt and get back on the bike. This is where I discovered another bent derailed hanger. I straightened out again, with disbelief that it didn’t break this time and rode on. I could feel the throbbing in my right quad pretty bad. Don’t get me wrong the left quad was throbbing also from the fatigue, but the right one was something special. I felt it bad at the next climb.

I pushed through the rest of the lap 6, shaking things off. I actually did ok, considering that with both crashes, I had only dropped 2 minutes of pace off the previous lap. At this point, I had to get lap 7 done faster than any lap I had done so far. I was pretty spent at this time, I wasn’t able to pull it off. I was able to maintain and finished the lap about 30 seconds off my lap 5 pace.

I’ll admit, when I came across the finish line, I was pretty happy that I wasn’t allowed to start an 8th lap. It was good to be done. All said and done, I had completed 7 laps in 3 hours, 36 minutes and 20 seconds. It was a tough day of racing and I was feeling a little beat up. I love that feeling of accomplishment.

I hung around for the results to find out I had placed 10 out of the 20 guys. I felt good about my finish as it was improvement over my spring results. I had placed up with some guys that had kicked my tail at Woolly and I left less of a relative gap between myself and the leader.

I’m not sure if I will join the Marathon class race again next year or try out the category races. I really like the long distance races, but wasn’t a big fan of the repetitive laps on the same course. This might be something I have to think about before doing a 24 hour race. Although, I love the idea of competitively completing a 24 hour solo race.

Have you completed any races like this in the past or even the same ones I did? I’d like to hear your thoughts on these types of races and how to mentally prepare for them vs a point to point race, like the Chequamegon 40.

Lap Splits and Course Time

Lap                Split       Course Time

Lap 1           28:25          28:25

Lap 2           29:11          57:36

Lap 3           29:28          1:27:04

Lap 4           30:36          1:57:40

Lap 5           32:01          2:29:41

Lap 6           34:01          3:03:42

Lap 7           32:35          3:36:20

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One More Race Before The Year Ends

I decided to go ahead and enter one last race for the year tomorrow. My first race of the season was the St Croix Falls, Woolly Mountain Bike Marathon Race. I placed 28th out of 39. I feel like I am faster now than I was at the beginning of the year and hope to prove that tomorrow. Tomorrow I will be entering the Red Wing Classic Mountain Bike Marathon Race.

The Marathon Race is a new race this year for the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series. It is a 4 hour race. Your finishing place is decided by the number of laps you do and the finish time of your last counted lap. You are not allowed to start another lap after the 3 hour and 30 minute mark and your last lap must be completed before 4 hours for it to count.

I like the endurance events and I would consider this to be a short endurance event. The difference in a race like this versus a race like the Lutsen 99er or Chequamegon 40 is that these races tend to me more technical in nature since they are on single track vs the gravel riding in the Lutsen 99er and Chequamegon 40.

I am looking forward to seeing where I stand tomorrow. I hope there is a good turn out like there was at the St. Croix Falls Woolly Race. Watch my Twitter account for a link to my Live Track and you can follow me live during the race. Come back later and look for my post race article. Until then, keep on riding!