Category: <span>Competition</span>

Penn Cycle Thursday night MTB race at Buck Hill Penn Cycle Thursday night MTB race at Buck Hill Penn Cycle Thursday night MTB race at Buck Hill
I’ve got a blog post coming about my first ever mountain bike race in the dirt: the first 2012 event in a series of Thursday Night Mountain Bike Races at Buck Hill in Burnsville.

But it’ll take me a few days before I get it written up and I wanted to get the photo album posted quickly.

See the large slideshow (recommended) of 182 photos or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

Competition Events Photo album

My first-ever mountain bike race, the Sagamore SnowXross Race at the 2012 Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout, started out well for the 15 of in the Beginners Class.  After about 50 yards across the parking lot, however, soft snow created a big pileup and I soon learned firsthand what the phrase hike-a-bike meant. As Aaron Hautala wrote in this blog post:

XC race, Beginner class start, photo by Aaron HautalaEarly into the Sagamore SnowXross Race it was obvious it needed a new name.

The IRONYETI.

The snow pack turned into champagne crystal powder overnight with the dramatic drop in temperature from Friday night, which made the race course a bit more challenging than we originally intended.

After about two miles of pushing the Mukluk, I lowered my rear tire pressure from about 4 PSI to near zero—I could feel the rim by pressing the tire hard with my hand. Much better traction.  Another mile and it occurred to me to do the same to the front tire. Better yet.

Last discovery at about mile 4: I quit trying to always ride in the narrow tire ruts made by other riders.  The amount of energy required to keep my balance while riding a rut wasn’t worth it, speed-wise. Instead, I could often go faster (especially when the terrain was flat or downhill) if I rode where riders had been walking.  The low tire pressure usually gave me enough grip to get through the footprints if they weren’t too deep.  Still, I estimate that I pushed my bike for 3 of the 6 miles. Uff-da. I finished in just under two hours.  I’ve not yet seen the results posted but the top three riders (Beginners Class) finished in approximately 1 hr and 35 minutes. I’ll post a link to the results at the bottom of this blog post when they become available.)

Whiteout Festival activities in Crosby's Memorial Park Whiteout Festival activities in Crosby's Memorial Park Serpent Lake Ice Bike 500 races
After lunch at the Heartland Kitchen Cafe, I took in some of the Whiteout Festival activities in Crosby’s Memorial Park. I didn’t compete in the Serpent Lake Ice Bike 500 races (I didn’t have studded tires) but instead, opted for some solo fat bike riding in the Yawkey Unit.

  Haul Road trail, Yawkey Unit  Haul Road trail, Yawkey Unit Tugger trail, Yawkey Unit
Unlike Friday night, the Haul Road trail to the parking lot in the center of Yawkey was mostly packed down, sometimes to a width of 12 inches or more (left and center photos above). This makes for splendid riding. 

I then rode Tugger, normally an intermediate difficulty trail that’s at the base of Bobsled (see the inset on page 2 of this DNR map of the park). It’s a gorgeous trail but like Friday night, riding it was very difficult because there was only a single rut from the few previous riders.  I took it easy and just enjoyed the scenery.

Ya Betcha Bar & Grill in Crosby Aaron Hautala Amanda Scholz Women racers Cuyuna dirt boss and race director Nick Statz Yours truly with Whiteout beanie and stein
At 5 pm, everyone convened at the Ya Betcha Bar & Grill in Crosby for free appetizers, drawings for prizes, and the awards ceremony hosted by MORC Board member and Events Director Amanda Scholz. The event swag (beanie and stein) was impressive.

See the large slideshow of 50 photos of the entire two-day event (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

Competition Events Photo album Trails

DSC07760 DNR manager Steve Weber & Whiteout volunteers DSC07761 Aaron Hautala and Dave Orrick
I rolled into Crosby-Ironton yesterday afternoon for the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout and noticed the new billboard on Hwy 210 just west of Ironton. I have a photo like that from last summer’s  Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Festival Grand Opening. DNR manager Steve Weber and a gang of registration table volunteers greeted me at the Ironton American Legion. And I then had the pleasure of meeting Aaron Hautala, Creative Director at RedhouseMedia in Brainerd and newly elected president of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew (CLMTBC).  He was spinning lies to St. Paul Pioneer Press outdoors reporter Dave Orrick, who’s evidently planning on having a feature in tomorrow’s Sunday PiPress.

DSC07767 DSC07769 Nick Statz and daughter
The plan was to pre-ride the race course at the Sagamore Unit at about 6 pm but the high daytime temps and sunny skies had softened up the packed snow so much that Cuyuna dirt boss and race director Nick Statz was worried we’d create deep ruts and ruin the course for Saturday’s XC race. He suggested we all ride the Yawkey Unit instead and we agreed.

DSC07783 DSC07775 DSC07782 DSC07781
We first headed back to the Yeti spaghetti feed at the Legion where Nick Statz’s daughter introduced me to her personal Cuyuna Yeti.

Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout 2012 night ride in the Yawkey Unit; photo by Aaron Hautala
I didn’t get photos from the amazing Yawkey Unit night ride and our close encounter with the Cuyuna Whiteout Yeti but Aaron Hautala has a blog post up titled Night Riders where he has a photo slideshow.

Competition Trails

whiteoutstickerlogosmall

I got hooked on mountain biking after attending the grand opening of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails last June.  So it’s only fitting that my first race be at another Cuyuna festival and a winter one to boot: the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout on March 2-3.

The Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout is a winter festival to celebrate the new Sagamore Winter Trails and to benefit the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew (CLMTBC), a division of MORC/IMBA. (Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists / International Mountain Bicycle Association). All event profits will fund continued expansion and maintenance of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails in Crosby-Ironton.

The organizers have a terrific Tumblr blog site for the event that they’re updating regularly. I signed up for the Cuyuna Lakes Avalanche Pass ($40) which covers all events and includes some swag. The online registration via the NGIN platform is fast and easy. I’ve put myself in the beginner class for both the Sagamore SnowXross Country Race in the morning and the Serpent Lake Ice Bike 500 Race in the afternoon.

Looking at the schedule, my dilemma will be whether or not to skip the afternoon Ice Bike 500 Race in order to have more time to play in the Yawkey Unit as it’s only open for riding on Saturday, sunrise to sunset.  I only had a little time to ride in the Yawkey last year during the Squirrel Fest when the dewpoint was 80 degrees.

Here’s a teaser video created by Aaron Hautala, Creative Director at RedhouseMedia in Brainerd and newly elected president of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew (CLMTBC). The video features CLMTBC Director of Trail Maintenance Nick Statz. (See Aaron’s blog post on how the video was created: Worst winter ever. Best winter riding ever?):

 

QBP
I’m not surprised that QBP is the Presenting Sponsor for the event, given how much Gary Sjoquist, QBP’s Director of Advocacy, has been involved in getting Cuyuna off the ground.

Competition Trails