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,