Monday, November 16, 2009

Iceman 2009

Amanda Carey took 4th spot at the 2009 Iceman Cometh Challenge in Traverse City on November 7th. She finished in an elite group of women that included Alison Dunlap, Heather Irmiger and Kelli Emmett.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Colin's World Championshiop Report

Sleepless on my return flight from Australia, I thought I’d recount some of the week’s highs and lows. I arrived in Australia last Sunday and was set to race the team relay on Tuesday, which didn’t leave much time to recover from travel. Fortunately, I had pulled all the travel tricks I knew—eye patch, earplugs, Ambien, compression tights—and, with a couple of “long black” coffees upon arrival, I felt surprisingly fresh. USA Cycling’s crew of mechanics, doctors, and managers have logistics dialed and within just a few hours I had ridden (and seen a kangaroo!), eaten a good meal, and was set for a long, well-deserved sleep.

If I had any residual jet lag, it was surely blown away in the team relay event. The relay is relatively new and brings a rare element of team camaraderie to the largely individual sport of mountain biking. Each nation sends one elite man, one elite woman, one U23 man, and one junior man out on one lap of the cross-country course in any order. We took the unique tactic of sending our woman, Heather Irmiger, off first, followed by Russell Finsterwald, me, and finally Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski. It was an all Colorado crew of national champions in our respective categories. The race stayed suspenseful until the very end as most countries sent their fastest rider first and gradually lost ground. USA moved up with each lap and eventually reached 12th place with a mere 40 seconds separating us from the 6th place BELGIANS. It was an honor to represent the US and amongst the word’s mountain bikers, both current and future. Though it might not be in the next year or two, I hope to have another crack at the team relay some day as an elite man.

The next couple days were spent in the cycle (no pun intended) of rest, riding, and eating with which bike racers are all too familiar. It’s true what they say about the seasons down there; it really is winter. Training was chilly and we saw plenty of kangaroos and weird birds, two of which viciously attacked me (apparently it’s nesting season for the Australian version of the Magpie and they become just like the birds in that Hitchcock movie). I had to self impose a ban on riding with earphones so I could hear traffic coming from the right as I looked left. My roommate Tad Elliot thought Vegemite was going to taste like pesto…not so. Do you have to have grown up with that stuff for it to be palatable? Other than that, I hate to admit, my cultural experiences were largely limited to watching Australian TV and meandering through the two nearby food markets.

Despite going into the race rested and confident, things did not quite come together for me as I had hoped. I finished exactly where I lined up—46th—never finding the power necessary to move up on the windy road sections of the otherwise single-track course.

It’s been a great 2009 season and the support of Kenda, Tomac, and Hayes has made all of the highs possible. The lows keep things in perspective and provide motivation to improve. Now it’s time for a break from the race routine, but I’m already scheming and dreaming for 2010. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Heather's Report from Marathon World Championships

Heather is back in the US after competing at the Marathon World Championships. It was only her 2nd marathon event! You can read her report and see photos at:

MTB Race News

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Intermontane Challenge: Amanda's Race Report

I just finished in 2nd place overall at the Intermontane Challenge, a 5-day stage race held in Kamloops, BC. It was the hardest race I have ever done. There were many, many challenges in this event but the most formidable one was the heat. It was 100 degrees every day, adding an extra challenge to an already difficult race. This was only my second stage race so I went into the event knowing that I had to be prepared for anything.

When we arrived in Kamloops on Saturday afternoon our car's thermometer read 103 degrees. Yikes. I was especially nervous about the heat because I had a terrible time of it at this year’s Sea Otter and could barely finish the 1:30 race! However, Kamloops’ heat was incredibly dry. It felt slightly less oppressive than the Massachusetts brand of humid heat I grew up in-no hot and sticky here!

Stage 3 course profile. It didn't matter anyway
because 1/2 the field got lost and the stage was neutralized.

I could write a 3-part novel about drama associated with this first-year event. The important details: we had 4 huge stages ranging from 40-60 miles and a final 17-mile time trial on Friday. Each day we set off in the morning with a 30 min. neutral rollout on paved roads escorted by the RCMP. Every stage included what felt like an obscene amount of climbing and super-fast downhills on trails that varied from technical, narrow, rooty-rocky singletrack to wide open doubletrack and graded dirt roads. Only a handful of the trails were built for mountain bikes and much of the terrain was barely cut in and much of it was overgrown. The course marking were insufficient most days and people were getting lost all week long.

This is the race director's moto. He really
enjoyed riding it on the trails we raced on.

After riding with or directly behind Sue Butler for most of day one I lost 38 minutes when I took a guess on an unmarked turn at mile 40 with a group of men. For some reason we thought we were on the right track when a race official smiled and waved at us from a passing truck when we were headed 6 miles in the wrong direction. Right. Miraculously, I recovered from that added 40 min. time-trial/detour and kept my head in the game for the rest of the week. I rode my heart out every minute of every day through flat tires and numerous crashes no matter where I was in the GC.

I ended up taking crawling back from a distant 4th place in the GC on day 1 to 2nd overall. I decided to split my prize money with the 3rd place woman, Sarah Kaufman. In my opinion, nothing about this race was fair to anyone involved so sharing my prize money evenly with Sarah was the one little thing I could do to correct one of the wrongs. Every single Pro Woman got lost at least once during the week and depending on what day it was it either killed your spot in the GC or it didn't count against you.

Most importantly, this week was a phenomenal reminder that a pro mountain biker is only as good as the support she receives. Many thanks to Tomac bikes for making the Type-X, the nicest carbon hardtail on the market. This race was loaded with steep climbing and fast, technical descents and I couldn’t have wished for a better race bike. My set of Kenda Karma 2.0s were the perfect tires for the terrain, as I needed something fast rolling for all the fire road climbing, but also something that would hook up well in the loose, moon-dust filled Kamloops desert. My specialized S-works helmet was as close as I could get to wearing nothing on my head. It vented extremely well and my specialized BG Pro shoes kept my feet the most comfortable they have ever been in an endurance event. They provide just the right amount of room in all the right places for your feet to swell throughout the hot days.

Hammer Nutrition kept me fueled and hydrated. Fist-fulls of endurolytes, heed and especially recoverite allowed me to perform and recover from the extreme heat and get back at it day after day in the triple digit temperatures. Oh, and a special thanks to the inventor of ibuprofen, zoots compression tights and arnica gel. Dave Zabriskie deserves special mention for making the best chamois cream on the planet. Lastly, a uber big thanks to my husband Nate who stood by my (and LOTS of other racers he didn't even know) side the entire week, handing me freezing cold bottles, stuffing ice down my shirt at every aid station, washing and fixing my bike and especially for encouraging me day after day when I thought there was just no way that I could-or should-pedal another day. I couldn’t have done this without him or without all of the support from my generous sponsors-thank you!

I am incredibly grateful for the experience as I got in some good training, learned a lot and made a ton of new pals. Next on tap: The Leadville 100! Although some are affectionately calling this year's edition the Lance-ville 100, I am very much looking forward to this crazy event. This will be my second attempt and I know that the energy and positive vibe of the circus that is Leadville will only fuel my fire!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Carey 2nd at Intermontane Challenge

Amanda Carey survives 5 days of 100 degree temperatures, wins the final Time Trial and finishes 2nd overall at the Intermontane Challenge Stage Race in Kamloops, BC.

Stay tuned for a full race report.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Colin and Andy report on Nationals

This past weekend brought the Kenda-Tomac-Hayes riders to Sol Vista, CO for one of their most important races of the year, Mountain Bike National Championships. The past two years, National Championships have been held in Mount Snow, VT and East Coast riders who excelled at the muddy, rooty, riding also excelled at the race. Being that all of the Kenda-Tomac-Hayes riders live at altitude in the Rocky Mountains I think that we were all happy to have Nationals return to the dusty, long-climb, high-elevation West.

The first race of the weekend was the Under-23 (U23) National Championship race. It was Colin's last year as a U23 rider and he was racing near where he competed in his first ever mountain bike race so I think he was looking to put his stamp on the race. And he certainly did that. Colin took the lead early in the race and never looked back. I'll let him tell it:

"Having been 2nd and three times 3rd place at Mountain Bike National Championships, I was anxious to get a win. This year, preparation and good fortune were on my side, and I held a small gap over Rob Squire to win the U23 National Championship. As a Colorado native, I love long aerobic climbs and was able to stretch my gap each lap on the course’s long lone climb. Rob would reel me in a little each descent, which kept the race exciting and stressful right until the finish. I remember reaching the top of the final downhill with a comfortable gap and vowing to ride a safe and smooth descent. Seconds later, I washed out my front wheel in a corner and went sailing over the bars. Fortunately my bike was unharmed, and I jumped back on with so much adrenaline that I didn’t notice my skewed handlebars or the rock lodged in the front of my helmet. I can say with confidence that the final switchbacks and finishing straightaway of the course were some of the most fun bits of bike riding I have ever done. On the one hand, riding well was so much fun that I immediately get motivated future races. On the other hand, winning nationals makes me think back on all the support that has gotten me to this point. Great family, coaches and friends, and exceptional support from USA Cycling and great companies like Kenda, Tomac, and Hayes, and Hammer have made it possible to pursue this dream. "

So Kenda-Tomac-Hayes has a National Champion on their team. I've attached a couple of photos of Colin. I think red, white, and blue are his colors.

Saturday was the elite men's and women's cross country race. It was a tough course with a long, sustained climb and a rough and dusty descent. Zephanie was the best finisher for our women with an 11th place finish. In the men's race I battled for 4th and 5th all day but in the end the race was one lap too long for me and I had to settle for 6th.

Sunday we all woke up with sore legs and bodies from digging deep and/or crashing yesterday but we all saddled back up and competed in the short track race. It was a very atypical short track course. Generally in a short track you never have to leave your big ring and there might be a really short, steep climb to contend with. We faced a course that went straight up a ski hill run and came straight back down. It was by far the longest climb I had ever seen in a short track. Again, Zeph was the best finisher for the women with a solid 10th place. In the men's race I finished 8th and Colin was 10th.

I have compiled some links to some media coverage. To read about Colin's U23 victory you can check out VeloNews and Cyclingnews. You can see photos here and here and watch videos here and here. Here's a good picture of Heather in the XC race. There is a mention of the battle I was having with my brother in the XC race here and an interesting article in VeloNews that points out that almost all of the top ten racer's in the men's race were on bikes other than the traditional 26-in hardtail. There is also a photo here and a video here. There are some good photos of the STXC here, here, here, here, and here.

I'm sure I've missed a bunch more coverage and there will be more coverage in print, so keep your eyes peeled.

All in all, it was a great weekend. All the team riders would like to thank Chris Magerl and Nate Carey for their tireless work to make sure we had clean and perfectly working bikes and were well fed during our races. Also, a big thanks goes out to all of our sponsors who provide us with some of the best equipment on the market. We couldn't do it without you.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, July 6, 2009

Colins Report from Marathon Championships

With cross-country nationals coming up in Sol Vista, CO, racers are scrambling to get used to riding at 9,000 feet. Fortunately for me, Boulder, CO is pretty high already and also has easy access to the super high riding and racing that we’ll have to deal with at nationals. My past two races—a cross-country race in Winter Park and the Marathon National Championships in Breckenridge, CO last weekend—were perfect preparation.

My first mountain bike races ever were at Winter Park, and the series is still one of my favorites. It’s an easy day-trip from home, and I’m almost guaranteed that my Small Block Eight tires will be the ticket on Winter Park’s fast and dry trails. These races attract strong fields from the Front Range, but they also have a super laid back feel. This time, I felt great and was content with a second place finish to Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski.

With a marathon stars and stripes jersey at stake and a cross-country nationals at altitude looming, this year’s Firecracker 50 attracted a strong field including teammates Amanda Carey, Heather Holmes, and Andy Schultz. In the men’s race, Andy immediately jumped into the front group with JHK and Garmin roadie Pete Stetina on the first long road climb. This was justification for me to let Jeremiah Bishop and Dave Wiens do the bulk of the pace making, though there isn’t much “sitting in” to be had on a climb at altitude. Towards the top, I recognized that familiar tingly arm-sensation and taste of iron that one gets when going hard in the high country, and I tried to settle in to a more sustainable pace.

I’m not whether I didn’t feel great or whether the demands of that race are just so great, but it took everything I had to stay in it mentally. Ultimately, I crossed the line in 5th, which was my first podium at an elite nationals and great day of HARD training for nationals. Heather took 5th in the women’s race, Andy was 6th, and Amanda took a solid 7th despite a flat tire. Despite Breck’s bumpy trails, we all rode Tomac hardtails, which I think contributed to a good day for Kenda/Tomac/Hayes for the simple fact that they’re so light.

Now it’s a matter of staying healthy and fit in the final lead-up to nationals. After that, it’s back to sea level for the Canadian World Cups and the Mt. Snow, VT and Windham, NY US Cups.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Danielle on the Podium at Lumberjack 100

Race #3 of the National Ultra Endurance Series, The Lumberjack 100, happened this past weekend in Manistee, Michigan. It was really nice being able to race a National race right in my home state!

Two things separate the Lumberjack 100 from the rest of the races in the NUE series. First, the Lumberjack is 99% single-track, comprised of short, steep climbs, a few switch-back sections, and lots and lots of Michigan sand. Secondly, the race has a lap format, meaning that we had to do 4 loops of the 25-mile course. As a result, the Lumberjack is known for being the most mentally challenging of all the races.

After the first 25 miles I came through the pit area in 3rd place, minutes behind Betsy Shogren (Cannondale) and Karen Potter. I grabbed a fresh hydrapak and tried to make up time on the 2nd lap. Things went "downhill" for me quickly when I hit some wet roots at the bottom of one of the fast downhills. My bike stem slammed into my knee-cap, taking me out of the race for a good 5 minutes.

Eventually I was able to get back on my bike and start pedaling again. The women's field was pretty stacked with about 25 racers, and I wasn't sure how far back everyone else was. I knew that I was going to have to hurry if I wanted to hold on to my position. It was pretty obvious that I needed stitches, but I figured that I could finish the remaining 65 miles of the race first!

After 8 hours and 46 minutes of riding I crossed the finish line as the 3rd place female, and placed 31st overall out of 280 racers! More coverage and pictures can be found at

Thanks again to all of my sponsors. My bike and gear worked flawlessly, and I couldn't do it without you! Next weekend I'll be racing in a local Norba Marathon, and then it's off to Colorado for the 4th race in the NUE series, the Breckenridge 100. This will be my first time racing at a higher elevation. I'm definitely nervous about it, but also very excited to see what I can do!

Until the next race,
Danielle Musto

Andy Schultz Wins at Crested Butte

This weekend, Crested Butte played host to the Mountain States Cup series. I made the journey from Durango on Friday and arrived in Crested Butte in the late afternoon to perfect weather. Not a cloud in the sky and temps in the upper 70's. I took a spin on the course and discovered that a lot of it was new. The climb was almost all really narrow, bumpy, singletrack. They had also but in new singletrack on the dowhill which was rocky, bumpy and lose. All and all it looked to be a pretty fun course.

We raced on Saturday at 2:30 just as it started to drizzle. I decided to leave my armwarmers on and in hindsight I should have left more clothing on but I forgot that we were well over 10,000 feet at the top of the climb. When the start gun went off I hit it hard to make sure I could make it to the singletrack climb first. I got a pretty good gap on the first climb because a lot of other riders got stuck behind slower riders in the singletrack. The first descent went well and I had a decent gap on the start of the second of three laps. I held that gap through the climb until I hit the descent again. It had started to get wet enough that the mud started to pack into my Smallblock Eight tires. The descent had a lot of off-camber sections and on these, my mud-packed tires would slide out not matter what I tried to do. So I had to keep jumping off the bike and running the off-camber sections.

I started up the climb for the third and final time with three riders in hot pursuit. Partway up the climb I got to a section where the mud packed into my tires so much that I no longer had any clearance and my tires wouldn't spin. So it was off the bike and back to running. I glanced behind me and saw that my pursuers were still on their bikes struggling up the climb. I thought my race was over when I finally got to a section that was a little wetter and therefore the mud was thinner and didn't pack up as badly. I was able to start riding again and I hit it as hard as I could. In hindsight I feel like it was a good move to get off the bike and run. I think that my competitors wasted a lot of energy trying to ride that sections because I quickly got a big gap and had no one in sight at the top of the climb.

The final descent probably would have been really funny to watch but was really stressful for me. I crashed once hard and couldn't stay on my bike because the mud was packed into my tires so badly. About three quarters of the way down the descent two riders caught up to me. I didn't loose hope though and was able to ride one section really smoothly and hit a short climb really hard and got a small gap on them. The last section of the downhill was full of switchbacks to the finish. It was impossible to corner the bike without it sliding out so I had one foot out at all times sliding through the corners, then would clip back in, sprint to the next corner, and put my foot out and slide through that one. Luckily I was running CrankBrother's Eggbeaters so even though my shoes were getting packed full of mud I was still able to clip in easily and sprint to the next corner. In the end I was just able to hold off my purser's and take the victory.

I haven't been that muddy for a long time and I'm happy to say that my equipment worked perfectly in those extreme conditions. Everyone's tires were packing up with mud so I was still lucky to be running Smallblock 8's because they were wicked fast on the climbs. My drivetrain was completely coated in mud but my WickWerks rings still shifted like a dream. My gloves were soaked and coated in mud but I never once had my hands slip on my Ergon grips. My Tomac Type X carbon frame helped soak up all the roughness on the course and kept me fresh as well as helped me have one of the lightest bikes out there. And I felt great on the bike thanks to Hammer Nutrion's Heed and Endurolytes.

I really need to thank Matt, the Hayes Bicycle Group Field Expert who got me up and running on a great feeling Manitou Fork. There is no way I would have done as well as I did without him. And of course, thanks to everyone else for helping make this happen.

I will try to track down a photo of me right after the finish, soaked in mud and one of the podium.

Thanks for reading and your support,


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Danielle Musto Reports on the Mohican 100

This past weekend I ventured down to Loudonville, Ohio for the Mohican 100, race #2 in the NUE Series.

The Mohican course is really diverse. It has really fun single-track, lots of grassy double-track, paved roads and some KILLER climbs. I chose my favorite tire set-up (2.1 Karma in the front with a 1.9 in the back) and opted to ride my Tomac Type X.

We lined up at 7 a.m. in downtown Loudonville and the start went directly up a paved climb. I warmed up quickly and found myself entering the single-track directly behind Betsy Shogren (Cannondale). Even though we were in the lead I knew that there were a lot of really strong females chasing directly behind us. The competition at this race was tough!

My legs felt absolutely great and I was having a ton of fun riding my Type X. The bike can climb like a machine! I did have a spectacular crash on a pile of wet roots that cost me a few minutes but I wasn’t worried. There were many miles to go with lots of climbs to make up time.

After my crash I caught up to a group of about 10 guys who were going at a really good pace. We flew down a ton of fun switchback climbs and the pace kept picking up. Little did we know that we were no longer on the race course. Someone had knocked down a course marking at an important intersection and we rode 13 miles of single-track before we realized our mistake. After that it took us another half hour to find our way back to the spot where we had gotten lost.

Mentally it was a little hard to deal with. Going from the front of the pack to being absolutely last of the Mohican racers is not a good feeling. By this time a good hour and 15 minutes had passed, so I was also out of water and food. But there was nothing that I could do but begin to chase down the entire field!

For the rest of the race I just focused on catching as many people as I could. When all was said and done I ended up catching a ton of racers-including most of the women’s field. I ended up in 6th place. Definitely not the result I wanted, but given the circumstances I’ll take it. At least the extra 15 miles I got in were all fun single-track!

Next up is the Lumberjack 100!!! This race is one of the most popular of the NUE series because 99% of the course is single-track. The pressure is on since it’s in my home state and I have high hopes of winning the AXE!

Thanks again,

Danielle Musto

Report from Bump & Grind

This weekend Kathy Sherwin, Colin Cares, and I all made the trek to Birmingham, Alabama for the third stop in the Pro XCT. I believe the visit to Alabama was a first for all of us and we were all pleasantly surprised. The locals were extremely friendly and fired up about mountain bike racing and the course was a lot of fun. We are all still trying to unpack our bags and get our lives sorted out after a long travel day back home yesterday but we'll try to get a race report to y'all (I learned a new term while down in Bama) sooner rather than later. In the meantime you can watch some interview, both pre and post race, here, here, and here. And there are a couple of photos of us on, here, and here. Enjoy. Thanks for all the support.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Andy's Report from Angel Fire

I got back late last night from the latest "Mountain States Cup" in Angel Fire, NM. I headed out from Durango early Saturday morning and got into Angel Fire early enough to register, hang out with the Hayes guys for a bit, and pre-ride the XC course with Colin Cares before racing in the STXC at 6:20. Before we toed the line though, Heather Holmes, raced in the pro women's stxc. Katie Compton destroyed the field and lapped everyone but Kelli Emmett. Heather was able to hold on to 3rd so she was in pretty elite company on the podium. Our race went well. Colin was on the front for most of the race drilling it while I dangled off the lead group of 3 to 4 riders. It was a hard course, with a pretty steep climb in it and it was at a high elevation which made it that much more difficult. In the end Colin ended up fading a bit and I overtook him and took the third spot while Colin settled for 4th.

We lucked out on the weather on both Saturday and Sunday. It was cool, in the 50's, and pretty rainy, but despite a few sprinkles during the XC race we never got too wet. The cross country went really well for both of us. Colin got a gap at the begining of the race and never looked back. It was nice to have a strong teammate out there for a change, as I was able to sit on Jay Henry's wheel for part of the race while he tried, to no avail, to chase Colin down, rather than having Sho-Air sit on me all race. While I would get a glimpse of Colin every once and awhile for the most part he was out there tearing up the course on his own while I battled it out with Jay. In the end I got the best of Jay and the Kenda-Tomac-Hayes team went 1, 2. Colin was absolutely flying out there which was great to see. When Colin gets a chance he'll send a brief report on his race along with some photos of the podium.

As always the equipment worked great. The course has a ton of climbing but also has a really rough and rocky descent. The Type-X was built for a course like that. It is super light-weight for the climb and the carbon frame soaks up enough of the rough descent to keep the body fresh. The bottom half of the course was dry but the top half was quite wet. I opted to run the Karma's, while Colin ran the Small Blocks. The Karma's didn't roll quite as fast on the lower sections of the course as the small blocks but they allowed me to ride much of the rocky, wet, upper part of the climb. With Colin's and I's placings it is quite obvious that both tires worked great out there and is a great testament to the versatility of the tires.

Now it will be a couple of days of rest and then Colin, Kathy, and I will be hoping onto airplanes and heading for Alabama for the next Pro XCT race this upcoming weekend. We'll keep you posted on how that goes.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Amanda's Update

Phew, it's been a busy few weeks for me! Lots of racing, lots of training and of course, a lot of graduate homework. The weather has taken a turn for the better up here in Victor, ID in the last week and it's been nice to be home to enjoy the green landscape, time with my husband and walks with my dog.

So, what have I been up to in the past month? I returned home from my latest trip to sunny California (for the Kenda Cup West Santa Ynez Classic) to sleet/rain/snow and temps in the 40s. Ick. I quickly decided to escape the nasty Idaho weather to visit my sister in Colorado and to train on a real moving bicycle (rather than the trainer). When I got there, I heard about a great race, the the Battle of the Bear, that was happening that weekend in Lakewood, CO. For some reason, I decided the night before the race that I was going to race the 50-mile option, the Front Range 50. You can click to my personal blog for the full report for that race. It was a great day on the bike for me-really hard, really fast and a great day of training for sure. I ended up in 1st place overall with a time of 3hr 32 min. The Tomac Type-X was the ideal bike for that race (as it is for most races!) as the course was smooth, full of tight, twisty singletrack and had a lot of short, punchy climbs.

After a few great rides around my sister's place, it was onto a few days of riding the world's best singletrack. I camped out in Fruita, CO for a few days to enjoy the warm weather, dry dirt and pure joy that Fruita dishes out to mountain bikers of all abilities. Then, it was onto Heber City, UT for the next round of the Intermountain Cup. Soldier Hollow is a really fun, yet brutal course. Kathy and Chris Sherwin put me up for the evening even though Kathy wasn't racing she was kind enough to come to the race and do feeds for both me and for Heather. Thanks, Kathy!

I had woken up the previous few days with a sore throat, so I wasn't too keen about the monumental effort this race was going to require of me. Luckily, I had good enough energy on race day and ended up taking 1st. You can read a full write-up of the race on MTB Race News. I ran my trusty Karmas, which proved to be the ideal tire for the mix of loose, dusty turns and hardpack. Heather Holmes raced as well. From the way she was hammering on the first lap, I was sure that I was going to blow by trying to hold her wheel. However, she is still recovering from wrist surgery and cannot yet let loose on the downhills, so I was able to gap her on the descent and increase my lead from there. So, watch out world: Holmes will be on the warpath as soon as she heals that hand!

As for now, I am back at home catching up on life and looking forward to my next race, the Teva Mountain Games. Most of the Kenda Team will be at that one, so be sure to check back here for our team's updates. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Andy's Update

After the Santa Ynez race I packed up all of my belongings in Tucson and made the drive to Durango. It took a couple of days but I found a place to live. Since then I have been settling into a good training routine and have been enjoying feeling my blood get thicker from living at altitude. After two weekends without racing I started getting the itch late last week and discovered that there was a race in Flagstaff, AZ on Saturday. After a boring 5-hr drive across the Navajo Nation I arrived in Flagstaff late on Friday. I was up early on Saturday and saddled up to get a couple of hours or riding in before the race (while I wanted to do well at the race it was really just a training day that involved a bunch of hours on the bike with 2 hours of intensity). The race course was great. Long sustained climbs, some fast ripping banked-turned descents, and some technical rocky singletrack. The race went well. Halfway up the longest climb of the day I was off on my own and never looked back. It was nice to step onto the top of the podium for the first time this year and to know that the training is paying off and I'm getting fast.

Small Block Eight's seemed to be the tire of choice out there, including mine. They rolled fast and hooked up perfectly in the dusty hardpack singletrack. I swear that almost half of the racers out there were on them. There was also a lot of interest in my Tomac. The flashy, stylish white paint job caused more than one person to enviously reach out and stroke the toptube.

I'll be heading to Angel Fire, NM next weekend to join Colin, and maybe a couple of the ladies for the third stop in the "Mountain States Cup." I'll keep you posted with how that goes.

Thanks for all the support,


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Holmes Wins On the Road!

Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference Championships Report

The weather in Utah has been so crazy lately, it will be nice all week, like 70s and 80s in Salt Lake and then it will snow like crazy over the weekend! This past weekend was no different, I woke up to snow on the ground Saturday morning in Park City. So, I drove down to Salt Lake and luckily I avoided the rainstorms for a hard three hour ride up Big Mountain, with the road all to myself because it was still closed to cars due to the bad weather. Then, I headed out to help with the crit my collegiate team, University of Utah was hosting. I watched as all of the riders were suffering through the cold and rain, and for some of them it was their second race of the day! By the way I’ve decided that the Women’s B category has the toughest athletes out there, I think half of the field wasn’t wearing gloves. Every lap was getting more and more wet, and all of the pink fingers made me watch in awe as each girl stayed in the race determined to battle the cold weather. The road race scheduled for Sunday morning was near my home in Park City, with a hard course that included some climbing. I was planning on doing the race to get a good hard workout in, but due to the snow that was accumulating at higher elevations the race had to be moved to the Larry Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele (by the way they were awesome working with us and accommodating our last minute change of plans). Some of you may recognize the venue name because the men’s Tour of Utah had a TT at the same location. I wasn’t too excited to race a flat course, but I woke up Sunday morning to snow in Park City and decided it would be hard to motivate to do a hard ride in bad weather. I made myself a delicious breakfast and gathered up all my gear, an entire rolling suitcase full of cold weather cycling clothes (thank you Voler!), and drove the hour and 15 minutes to Tooele and escaped the snow. I wasn’t sure the road race was going to happen because it was raining and cold in the Salt Lake Valley, but when I showed up to the venue the Women’s B and Men’s B and C races were in progress. I decided to commit to doing the race, and hoped I wouldn’t freeze or have to ride the entire race alone (sometimes I’m not too smart in road races). I got dressed, did a short warm up because it was freezing out and lined up for the pre-race instructions. I was a bit nervous because I’m just getting back to racing and riding after having surgery on my wrist in January. Sea Otter was fairly nerve racking for me and I assumed a road race with 30 women surrounding me and having to go through several corners was going to be horrifying. I decided to get to the front at the start to get a feel for the course (we weren’t able to pre-ride it) and so I wouldn’t be worried about everyone around me. I started to calm down a bit, and decided that I was going to ride as hard as I could for the six, seven-mile laps. I really want to get my fitness back and suffering in a race is the best way to do it! Luckily, I brought along my Hammer HEED and gel flask so I could stay hydrated during the race. I covered several attacks and even went off the front a few times on my own, I was never able to stay away, but boy was I getting a great workout! After about an hour I was sure I’d burned all of the matches in my book, I wasn’t sure how hard I would be able to go for the rest of the race. At the beginning of the last lap two girls attacked, I decided to chase them down and keep riding as hard as I could because it was starting to rain. The last thing I felt like doing was spending time in the freezing rain! The group eventually caught me about half way through the lap, but the rain was getting stronger and I didn’t want to spend the next 15 minutes working out a sprint finish. I took another hit off my gel flask and drank some more HEED, went to the front of the group and went as hard as I could to get in one last hard effort and to speed things up before the finish. I looked back a few minutes later and I was alone! I was surprised and decided to put my hands in the drops and go as hard as possible, and I managed to stay away and crossed the finish line in first place! After the race awards were given out and I was all smiles because I was warm and out of the rain. Brad Duncan from the U of U cycling team did a great job planning the race and dealing with the bad weather, and Joel Hsia spent a lot of time dealing with registration and even found time to take photos.

Cohutta Race Report from Danielle

On April 25 I competed in the first 100 miler of the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series, the Cohutta 100 in Ducktown, Tennessee.

The race started with a 3-mile climb up a paved road. I found myself in the lead group of men and tried to tuck myself into the group to conserve energy. Temps were in the 50’s and my legs felt great. Eventually the road start to pitch into a higher grade, and the group started to break apart. I entered the singletrack as the first female and kept a fast pace to maintain my lead.

My new Tomac Carbide was amazing and seemed to float over all of the rocks and roots. Riding it was absolutely effortless and I found myself smiling every time I bombed down a descent. It was so much fun!

The first 20 miles passed in a blur and before I knew it the singletrack was over and it was time for some serious climbing. Eventually, Carey Lowery (Specialized) and Betsy Shogren (Cannondale Factory Racing) caught up to me on one of the long descents, and the 3 of us were within minutes of each other for quite some time.

By 10 a.m. I started to feel the effect of the heat. For the past month in Michigan I had been training in 40-50 degree weather. By noon the temperature had risen to 88 degrees and it felt absolutely BRUTAL. I could feel my power fading and focused on remaining hydrated. By the time I reached Aid Station 4 (Mile 65) I had worked my way back into 2nd place but had a mechanical shortly after.

This cost me some time and I rode alone for most of final miles. I finished with a time of 8:33, which was good for 3rd place. More race coverage and photos can be found at:

In two weeks I’ll be returning to Tennessee to compete in the 12 hours of Dirt, Sweat and Gears. It’s race #4 in the USA cycling ultra endurance series, where I’m currently tied for 2nd place.

Thanks again to all of my sponsors!
Danielle Musto

Four Podiums in Two Days!

Kenda athletes scored well this past weekend with Amanda Carey and Kathy Sherwin taking the top spots at the Kenda Cup West in Santa Ynez, CA. On the men's side, Andy Schultz, despite losing his rear brake at the start of the race, pulled off a 3rd place. He managed to cross the finish line running after a crash and flat near the end almost derailled his race.

Danielle Musto also landed on the podium at the Cohutta 100 NUE, taking 3rd place after 100 miles of riding.

More stories and photos to follow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sea Otter Wrap

All six Kenda XC athletes made their way to Monterey, CA for the annual Sea Otter Classic this past weekend. They were joined in the tech area by John Tomac, Joel Smith and Clarke Dolton from Tomac Bikes who were on hand to show the new sub 22 lb. Carbide SL full suspension bike the team will be riding later this summer. As always, the Kenda crew Jim, Matt, Stefano and Nick were on hand to help throughout the weekend too.

This year was unique for the Sea Otter in that it was sunny, hot and dry throughout the weekend, something the athletes weren't used to this early in the season. We were happy to see Jeff Kletter from Kinesys who brought plenty of sunscreen which we really needed! Many of the pros had just returned from the World Cup in South Africa so the pro field had plenty of competition to contend with in both the short track and XC races.

In the men's short track, Colin Cares posted his first top ten of the season with Andy Schultz finishing in 14th riding the Tomac Carbide for the first time in a race. On the women's side, Kathy Sherwin took 15th, Amanda Carey 19th and Heather Holmes at 25th (still riding in a wrist brace).

On Sunday, with temperatures soaring above 90, the officials cut the XC races short, but that wasn't enough to help many racers avoid the effects of the heat. Almost every athlete came through covered in goose bumps, a sign of dehydration setting in. Kathy Sherwin survived the heat to finishing in 15th, Amanda Carey in 23rd and Heather Holmes in 32nd. Zephanie Blasi succummed to the heat and was taken off the course to cool off at the medical tent. On the men's side, Colin Cares survived the heat to take 23rd spot and Andy Schultz dropped out before reaching the dehydration point. In all, 1/4 of the men did not finish, most due to the extreme conditions.

You can view more team photos on our Facebook page.

Extra thanks for David Clopton (Finish Line), Ed Fonda (Voler) and Shannon Halsam (Tifosi Optics) for being there to support us too!

After a few days off to recuperate, the team will meet again next weekend in Santa Ynez for the 4th Kenda Cup West race.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sagebrush Safari

Kenda athletes dominated the Sagebrush Safari race at Bonelli Park this past weekend. This was the 3rd stop on the Kenda Cup series for 2009 and a good indication of where we are as a team heading into the Sea Otter April 17th.

Andy Schultz took 2nd place for the men after battling with Sid Taberlay all day. On the women's side, Amanda Carey took 3rd and Kathy Sherwin took 5th giving the team 3 podium spots for the weekend. Does Jim Wannamaker look like a happy camper in this photo with the team? I think he does.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spa City Race Report

This past weekend I race in the Spa City Extreme, a 6 Hour Solo MTB race in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Since Michigan trails are still unrideable, the race was a great opportunity to get some trail time, and collect points (Spa City was the third race in the USAC Ultra Endurance Series). 

I didn't have to look far to know that the field was going to be competitive, since I was sharing a house with Rebecca Rusch, two-time 24 hour World Champion. At the start line the promoter called off the different States being represented, and it was good to see many endurance athletes ready to duke it out so early in the season. 

We started out with a typical Lemans start, and ran around an unfinished BMX track. Even though the run was only a few minutes it seemed to last forever. I was happy to finally hop on my bike, and entered the single-track in 3rd place behind Rebecca Rusch (Specialized/Red Bull) and Anna Jean Dallaire (Sobe/Cannondale). 

Waiting for the always feels weird to line up without a bike!

The 10-mile course was a great combination of tight single-track, a few water crossings, and short switchback climbs. My tires (Kenda Karmas) handled the washed out corners perfectly, and I always had a lot of traction. 

6 Hour races are shorter then most of the races that I do, and I tried to keep my pace as fast as possible throughout the day. As I headed out for my last lap, my mechanic informed me that I had gained time on second place and that she was only 2 minutes ahead of me. I knew that I would have to lay it all on the line if I wanted to catch her. 

I don't remember much about the last lap except powering up every single climb as fast I could. It's funny how a course changes throughout a long race. I thought that the course was relatively flat when I started out. 5 hours later, the course seemed like it was all uphill. 

With only 2 miles to go I caught second place! She was halfway up a climb and I think I passed her before she reached the top. After that I just lowered my head and did a time trial to the finish line. After almost 6 hours of racing I ended up taking second place by a minute.

Podium pic
Here we are with the top guy finishers posing for pictures
Thanks for everyone's support. It's going to be a great season!!!

Posted by Danielle

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tomac Type-X's Read to Rock!

I came home from vacation last week to an office full of bike boxes direct from the factory. These are hot from the molds Tomac Type-X hard tails that the team will be racing this season. I loaded each box with Thomson posts and stems, our Shimano drive train parts and sent one to each athlete. Heather Holmes has hers built up and ready to ride during her 2 week field experiment trip to Mexico. Colin plans on riding his during spring break in Boulder. Kathy Sherwin called very excited just looking at it! Andy will most likely initiate his at a local race just after the last bolt it tightened...Thanks to Joel at Tomac for making this happen so quickly!

Danielle Musto 2nd at USAC Ultra

Danielle Musto took 2nd place at the Spa City Ultra this past weekend. She is tied for 2nd place in the series after 3 events. Look for an update from Danielle shortly.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Kenda Cup West Race 1- Bonelli Park

There are usually only one or two races that I'm more nervous before than the first race of the year. The first race is always tough because I don't really know where I stand fitness-wise. I've been training hard all winter but I always have a nagging little voice in the back of my head asking me questions like "Are you sure you've done enough intervals?" or "Shouldn't you be a couple of pounds lighter than you are?" or "Are you sure you want to put yourself through all that suffering?"

We'll I had to deal with that little voice last weekend. I made the drive from Tucson to San Dimas (middle of L.A.) with my girlfriend. While I toed-the-line with a less star-studded field than I will be for the U.S. Pro XC Tour, there was still plenty of competition. I did my best to ignore that little voice until the gun went off and then I forgot about him completely. The race went well. I was happy to set a comfortable tempo on the front of the field and whittle the field down to four riders. I ran into trouble though when both Sid Taberlay and Sam Jurekovic attacked me. I tried to respond and would accelerate for 10 seconds or so and then fall back into the same pace I had been keeping all race. I guess I'm just lacking any high-end speed. But that's alright for now. It's still really early. So, long story short, I crossed the finishline in third.

I would like to extend a big thank you to Jim Wannamaker. Jim threw the weight of Kenda behind the Kenda Cup Race Series and helped keep cross country racing alive in the U.S. He was also a huge help to me at this race.

L.A. Isn't it beautiful?

The Kenda Cup Scene

The Podium

Monday, February 16, 2009

Season Underway

The Kenda MTB Team season opened up this past weekend in with athletes competing in two separate venues.

In Tucson, Andy Schultz took part in the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo as part of a composite team, winning the four person open category. The team completed 22 laps over the 24 hours ahead of the Kona team which also completed 22 laps.

In Texas, Danielle Musto competed in the Mas o Menos 100k, the first event of the USA Cycling Ultra Endurance Series. She finished 5th, making the podium in her opening bid to win the series for 2009.

Check back for athlete updates soon.