Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Roaring In

It started as a whisper. A slight smell in the air, a hint of cold in the morning. Really, it gave me plenty of warning but I chose to ignore it, not wanting to admit that summer was coming to a close. There's no ignoring it now though. Every leaf in town exclaims, "Fall!"

Fall is actually my favorite time of year in Colorado. Cool nights give way to warm afternoons that continually re-define the term "bluebird day." Trails are tacky and can be ridden without an agenda since most major races are behind me. Yet there is still a certain urgency in the air. Knowing that in a few weeks it may snow and put an end to mountain biking for months is all the motivation one needs to get out the door.

The team spent several days last week in Las Vegas at Interbike and now are beginning to turn their focus to cyclocross and the final mtb race of the year, Iceman.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Jury Duty Would Have Been Better...

Well, turns out jury duty may have been the better choice after all. Who would've thought? About an hour into the first stage of the Breck Epic, I was descending a high speed fire road when I got caught in a rough line, hit a rock awkwardly and lost my front wheel. It was a hard fall, but I took inventory of my bones and bike (both fine) and started in pursuit of the leaders. Almost right away I knew something was wrong because I was breathing really rapidly for my level of exertion. I knew there was an aid station a few miles away, and began a very, very slow walk. I thought maybe I'd just bruised myself and would recover enough to finish the stage after some time with the nice aid station folks, but I continued to be short of breath and every bump in the road was painful--not conducive conditions for a high altitude mountain bike race. I got a ride to my car from...Dave, I believe ( a Breck ski patroller) and headed to the ER where they declared I'd collapsed some of my lung. Hopefully it heals itself over night and I can avoid getting a tube put in there. In the meantime I'm kicking back and prepping for a new Mad Men, which is probably what I'd be doing anyways--just not in a hospital bed while hooked up to an IV and oxygen. Bummed to say the least; even after just an hour it was clear to me that the Breck Epic is a sweet race.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fool's Gold and other Team News

Amanda Carey wins her 3rd NUE Series race, taking the Fo0l's Gold 100 in conditions so bad, the race was shortened to spare the athletes. Amanda is now 3 for 3 in the NUE Series races she's entered this season. She'll be going for the series title in a few weeks.

Colin is off and running at the Breck Epic. Updates coming all week long.

Read Judy's "My Life as a Bike Jockey on

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Athlete Update from Andy Schultz

After Nationals I have gone into hibernation from racing. Prior to Nationals I raced five weekends in a row and I felt like it was time to take advantage of a gap in the schedule to focus on training and getting faster as opposed to tapering for races every weekend. My training block started off with a bunch of long high country rides in Durango. These rides are all over 10,000 feet so the weather window to ride them is really small so it was nice to have a chance to take advantage of them. The air is so thin up there it feels like you are breathing through a straw but it is worth it to ride ribbon thin singletrack with a backdrop of peaks and wildflowers. The monsoon season is here which means we get some rain almost every afternoon. This leaves the trails tacky and my Small Block 8's stick to the them like white on rice and I've been ripping some really fun descents. After I got my fill of thin air I began to draw down the volume and bring up the intensity in preparation for the final races of the season. This weekend I'll crawl out of my hibernation cave and stretch with a Mountain States Cup race in Telluride, CO and then it will be time to hop on a plane and head to NY for the final big race of my season, the Windham World Cup.

Athlete Update from Colin Cares

A few weeks ago, the stage profiles for the Breck Epic looked innocent
enough. Now however, with the start fast approaching and some pre-rides
under my belt, the reality of what those squiggly profile lines indicate
is beginning to set in. I got some sage advice about recovery from
Amanda, which seems to be one of the biggest factors in a stage race like
this. In that respect, I should be in good hands since Hammer Nutrition
will be present providing valuable product and information. Today, I’ve
been getting my bike dialed and set-up with fresh Small Block 8 tires,
which I’ve found to be super reliable, both in terms of handling
characteristics and being tough to cut or burp. Still, having confidence
in my equipment only assuages my fears so much…I still have to do the

My participation in this race was actually thrown into jeopardy yesterday
when I reported for jury duty and was selected to a jury for a case that
was expected to last through next week. I had to stand up in front of the
judge, lawyers, and 60 other prospective jurors and describe my situation.
The judge seemed quite skeptical that I was professional mountain bike
racer and was unsympathetic, to say the least. After quite a bit of
pointed questioning, I was finally dismissed and practically ran out of
the courtroom before he could change his mind.

With a little luck finding internet access in Breckenridge, I’ll post
daily race reports for those that want to follow my progress. No matter
how much I suffer, it will still be better than jury duty.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Athlete Update from Judy Freeman

After Nationals, August started out with the Crankworx festival in Winter Park. I finished in 4th on the 26 mile point-to-point past the neighboring town of Fraiser back to the Winter Park Resort. The next weekend was the Colorado State Championships at Keystone. Amanda and I both rolled up to the XC and pulled in 3rd and 2nd respectively. Keystone has a lot of climbing, but a sweet descent payoff. The next day's short track brought another 2nd year! Decided to head to high country for a little riding in Crested Butte and on Monarch Crest trail. 3 days of R&R. We'll not really, someone in the group was always turning the screws. But it was 3 days of epic climbs, epic views and super sweet single track descents. Next stop....the World Cup Series Finals in Windham, New York with Andy. Wish us luck!

Leadville and Winter Park Updates

Amanda Carey took 2nd place at the Leadville 100 on Saturday, August 14th. This year was an epic battle for the top spot which carried on most of the race. After being attacked in the feed zone, Amanda spent the next few hours making up ground on the 10 minute gap. She was undone by a flat tire on a downhill section which sealed the 2nd place finish. Still, she managed a top 50 overall (men and women) and beat her previous best times finishing the 100 miler in just over 8 hours.

In men's racing, Colin Cares won the Mary Jane Circuit Race in Winter Park, CO which was contested on August 14th. This win adds to Colin's season of podium finishes. His next event is the Breck Epic Stage Race

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kenda - Felt MTB Team Update for July 2010

It's been a busy July the Kenda - Felt Mountain Bike Team. The month started with the Firecracker 50 which doubled as the US Marathon National Championships. Although we had high hopes for this event, luck was not on our side. Colin Cares, running in a podium spot suffered a catastrophic flat from the detritus on course ending his day. Andy Schultz also ended his day early with a header on the first lap causing him a slight concussion. Amanda Carey also struggled to find her rhythm ending her sting of wins on the marathon circuit. As we say, that's bike racing.

The following weekend the team headed to Colorado Springs for the final event on the ProXCT calendar. This was a 2 event weekend with both time trial and cross country events. Colin and Amanda took top 10's in the TT with Judy Freeman rounding out in 11th place. We'll note here that Judy hadn't been able to train all of June due to family emergencies (more on that later). The following day, Judy took the top 10 in the cross country with Amanda following close behind.

From there, the team headed to Granby, CO for the US National Cross Country Championships. Again, Judy put on a strong performance taking a top 10 in the cross country and following that up with a 6th place in the short track. On the men's side, Colin had one of his finest days since moving up to the senior ranks taking 7th place in the short track. Andy was close behind finishing the day in 11th place.

The last event for the month was the Teton Pass Hill Climbs, a combination event with back to back road and mountain climbs. Best cumulative time wins. Amanda Carey took on this challenge with delight, winning the event and setting new course records in the MTB portion and the overall.

August will be a busy month for the team. Andy, Colin and Judy are attending Crankworks this coming weekend, then heading to the Keystone Revival Mountain States Cup on August 7th. Amanda will be participating in the Leadville 100, Fools Gold 100 and the Shennandoah 100 on Labor Day. She is going for the overall win in the NUE series. With 2 wins already booked, she is on track to complete that task. Towards the end of August, Judy will be racing at the Windham World Cup where she hopes to ride as a member of the US National Team. Colin will take on the Breck Epic stage race.

We also want to pay our respects to Judy's family after the loss of her father in late May. Judy and her family were fortunate to be with him in his last days. We're reminded again of the importance of family and that the bikes will be there when the time is right to ride.

Until next time,

Kenda Felt MTB Team

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Colin's Race Report - Too much sleep?

I have the nap monster to blame for my lack of updates lately. Nap
monster, for those who don’t know, is what one turns into after an
alarm-less afternoon nap. This debilitating condition, characterized by
lethargy and grumpiness, is usually treated easily with sunshine and green
tea. On rare occasions, however, such as frequent hard training blocks
and races, it can last days, which is the state in which I’ve been finding
myself a lot lately. While I’m not very productive as a nap monster, I
figure it indicates that I’ve adequately extended myself in training and,
with rest, can expect to a boost in fitness. That’s the idea at least.

After the Teva games, I took advantage of two consecutive weekends off of
racing to do as many long climbing rides as I could handle in anticipation
of Marathon and XC Nationals. Sometimes I wonder whether I truly target
races, or whether races are just convenient justification to spend my days
exploring the mountains with a pocket full of bars and a good Pandora
station. Big dinners and early bedtimes cap off these gratifying training
days. Ah, the wild times of a bike racer.

While this type of training ostensibly set me up well for the Colorado
races, it didn’t leave me with the kind of rested, punchy legs necessary
to excel at a sea level, world-cup style race like the Wisconsin Pro XCT.
I managed a 17th in the XC and a 10th in the STXC, which, given the solid
international fields, was actually a big confidence booster going into the
slew of Colorado races, including the Firecracker 50 (aka US Marathon
National Championships).

The Firecracker 50 being a home race of sorts for me, I was admittedly
fired up to do well. Half way up the first long road climb, I knew I was
feeling good and settled into a conservative pace that I felt I could
maintain for the entirety of this VERY hard race. I was sitting
comfortably in 4th behind JHK, Sam Schultz, and roadie Pete Stetina (who
eventually crashed out) with mostly descending to go when I heard an
alarming THWAP, THWAP, THWAP sound coming from my rear triangle. I jumped
off my bike to discover an ancient looking 4-inch nail had pierced
straight through both my tire and rim. Running I adrenaline, I tore off
the tire and got a tube in before next-placed Dave Weins came by, only to
botch the change by snapping off the valve stem when I went to hit it with
a Big Air CO2. When it comes to fixing a flat, I guess there’s a fine
line between just enough and too much adrenaline. I vented most of my
frustration in the relative privacy of the woods and began the long walk
of shame back to the feed zone. I kept the nail, and I think I’ll use it
to hang a rabbit’s foot or a horseshoe or something, thereby nullifying
its bad karma and preventing it from every harming another Karma tire

After such a hard race, I’ve been voraciously consuming fruits and veggies
in addition to Hammer supplements to combat the dreaded nap monster and
recover in time for the Colorado Springs Pro XCT time trial this Friday.
It’ll be a hard three-day chunk of racing, but hopefully the perfect
primer for the XC National Championships in Granby, CO the following
weekend. I hear it’s a newly cut course, which hopefully means it won’t
intersect with any old mining roads where there are likely to be nails.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

WORS Report

Wisconsin Report

Colin and I are currently on our way home from a weekend of racing in Wisconsin. On tap for the weekend was the second to last ProXCT race of the year. The ProXCT series partnered with WORS (Wisconsin Off Road Series) to put on a race at Mt. Morris Nordic area in the middle of Wisconsin.

The reputation of WORS precedes itself. It is known to be one of the strongest mountain bike series in the country. It didn’t disappoint.

I had my doubts about the race on Friday. Colin and I showed up to preride the course and we were one of three vehicles in the parking lot. There were also only three team trailers around. Things changed dramatically between then and mid-day Saturday though. When we arrived for the race the parking lot was packed and a field next to the race was filled with tents and campers.

WORS designed a great course that passed within a hundred yards of the Start/Finish multiple times on each of our six laps. That made it a very spectator friendly course and the spectators showed up. In some sections they were three deep and screaming loudly. This race definitely had the best fans of any race I have been to.

While Colin and I’s results weren’t spectacular we still gave it our all and got a lot of cheers for Kenda.

Next we head to Colorado for three big races in a row. First up is Marathon National Championships in Breckenridge. Next is the final ProXCT race of the year in Colorado Springs. Finally, we’ll race in the National Championships at Sol Vista. I think all of us are looking forward to getting to altitude and racing some races that suit our strengths.

More about the weekend on my blog.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Triple Crown # 3-Hoo Ha Race Report

This past weekend I made the journey out to Virginia for the final race in the Triple Crown MTB Race Series. I had mixed emotions coming into the weekend. On one hand the race was on the east coast, which generally means roots, rocks, and MUD. I am terrible at riding in muck and wasn’t looking forward to that aspect. But on the other hand I was looking forward to checking out a new part of the country for me and seeing a new venue.

Well, my trepidation about the mud went unrealized. The course was still rocky but there was no mud to be found, only tacky dirt. And the venue didn’t disappoint. The Shenandoah Bicycle Community has done amazing things with this trail system. They have built many big banked turns and spent days moving gigantic boulders around to make a bunch of features on the trails.

First up for the weekend was the Super D. I’m not known for my descending prowess but I amazed myself by tying for 5th place. After an early bobble I focused on riding smooth and pinning it on any uphill. The strategy worked pretty well.

Later that day I toed the line for the STXC. I spent most of the day 50 yards off of the two leaders, unable to fully bridge. I was able to take advantage of crash in the last corner of the race and take 2nd place. This is my strongest showing in a STXC ever.

The final event of the weekend was the XC race on Sunday. I was feeling pretty good about my fitness after the previous day’s two events but unfortunately Murphy’s Law struck. It started when I bent a chainlink near the beginning of the race. I tried to continue to ride with the bent link but my chain was skipping all over the place whenever I put down any power so I pulled off the trail, used a chain tool to pull out the broken link and then assembled my chain with a “Quick Link” that I type to my bike. After the chain was fixed I knew that a great result was out of the question but instead just focused my effort on passing as many people as I could. That was more difficult than it sounds because the uphill was almost all on singletrack and people weren’t too keen on letting me by. I did my best though and worked my way through the field only to hit a rock really hard on the downhill and hear the dreaded “hisss” of a flat tire. I was able to get the Stan’s “No Tubes” sealant in my tire to seal the leak and was able to continue racing, only needing to stop to fill my tire with my Big Air twice.

In the end I finished well enough in the XC to end up in 5th place for the weekend. The result also secured a 2nd place in the overall Triple Crown Series. Despite the frustrating mechanicals it was still a great weekend and I’m happy with the overall result.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mohican 100 Report

The Mohican 100 was the 2nd stop on the 2010 NUE (National Ultra-Endurance Calendar). I met the race director, Ryan O’Dell, at last year’s Iceman where he convinced me to come to his race and he did not disappoint! He put on an excellent event that attracted hundreds of racers from all over the country. Everything he had under his control was totally dialed. What he couldn’t control, the weather, was absolutely insane.

It rained every day during the week leading up to the race, including a tornado warning and golf ball size hail the afternoon before. I was able to sneak in 2 short spins on the pavement during the 2 days leading up to the race without getting hailed on but both days were close calls.

When my alarm went off at 4am on race morning it was pouring buckets. Even though I am accustomed to riding in the high, dry desert west, I am becoming more confident in my abilities to ride in wet conditions, especially after my last 2 ultra event wins (Cohutta and Dirt Sweat and Gears) have been in the mud. Plus, I know my equipment was up for the shallenge. My 1.9 Kenda Karmas are the best xc mud tire out there, my Felt Nine tackles wet technical roots and rocks like a steam roller, my crank brothers pedals clear mud extremely well, my Pearl Izumi Octane shoes have sturdy Velcro closures that stay fastened no matter what and my KMC chain is just flat out stupid strong. In these kinds of conditions, good equipment is often more important than your fitness. This year’s Mohican 100 was as much a race of who’s equipment would function the longest as it was about fitness, so I am extremely grateful to the many generous sponsors who gave me gear that could withstand the conditions!

600 racers lined up in downtown Loudonville, OH and were promptly off at 7am. A 1.5 mile pavement climb did a good job of separating out the crowds until we got to the first bottleneck, a wet sloppy marsh like grass field that quickly displayed what the rest of the day would be like. Muddy, slick and difficult.

I rode comfortably with the eventual 2nd place woman, Cheryl Sorensen, through the first 20 miles of wet, rooty and twisty singletrack until Aid Station 1, carefully metering my efforts on the short punchy climbs, avoiding passing and just riding smartly. Because I stopped into the first Aid Station and she did not, we became separated for the next 8 miles. I struggled to chase her down after 2 separate mechanicals robbed me of more precious time. I eventually caught back on and we pulled into Aid 3 at mile 46 together (which was in a very nice volunteer’s garage!) We were elated to see a man with a power washer washing bikes while we stuffed our pockets and filled our bottles with complimentary Hammer Nutrition products. I left the aid station just slightly ahead of Cheryl and continued to ride in the lead and solo for the rest of the day.

At about mile 50 the course began to open up more into double track, paved and dirt roads, allowing me to maximize my ability to ride flats to make up some time. I was struggling to find my climbing legs all day, so I knew that I had to take full advantage of the flats. I also finally started to feel stronger about 5 hours in, giving me confidence in my ability to push the pace a little harder.

The theme of the day was discipline, as I had to stay extremely disciplined to deal with the conditions to keep my body and bike working. That meant stopping in stream crossings, cupping my hands, splashing clean my drive train then applying generous amounts of chain lube. It meant not forcing shifts if they weren’t happening, requiring me to get off my bike a lot in the middle of steep hills and walk. It also meant riding with my eyes closed through as many puddles as I could to preserve what little vision I had left! It meant embracing, not hating the suffering.

It started to pour, thunder and lightening and get extremely dark in the deep backwoods about 2/3 way through the course and like Cohutta, I kept wondering if they would have to call the race off because of the tornado warning. Little did I know, in the county just north of us, people were loosing their lives due to the severe weather. Scary.

The hardest part of the day was pulling into the last aid station and having them say “6 miles of sweet singletrack left to go!” I wanted pavement, not slicker-than-snot, hub deep muddy singletrack! It felt like the longest 6 miles of my life. The mud was so deep in places you could no longer see the roots, my brake pads had worn down to the metal ( stopping power) and I had lost almost all ability to shift by mile 80. I rode the last section with the goal of not shifting and not braking. Rough, but it kept my mind occupied and focused and was a nice distraction of the pain I was feeling in nearly every body part; my hands were blistered, my forearms almost numb from fatigue, and my behind was, well, let’s just say ultra-sensitive from riding in muddy shorts all day. I had rockin’ headache and my eyeballs were so red and irritated from riding without glasses (and consequentially loosing one contact lens) my vision was blurry at best.

Finally, I saw the campground where the finish was located. Woo-HOO! However, there was one final challenge: fording a chest-high stream! There were a bunch of volunteers there to catch us if we got swept under, and they had strung a rope across the water downstream just in case we needed to self-arrest. One more mile loop around the campground led me to the most welcomed finish line I have ever crossed. I managed to win the race by 16 minutes with a time of 9 hrs 15 min and can honestly say it was one of the most psychologically exhausting races I have ever completed. I was absolutely trashed by the end, but strangely enough my legs were not that tired. It was a total body/mind exhaustion that comes from riding in such extreme conditions. Your mind is 100% on the entire race, as one little mistake, one mechanical, one slip can cost you your entire day. I could tell the difference in fatigue, as I slept a solid 9 hours the night after the race. That NEVER happens to me as post-race insomnia is common due to the physical exertion. Clearly, every inch of me was exhausted!

The awards ceremony was a blast and a great opportunity to share all our stories of our misfortunes: broken chains, mangled drivetrains, epic chain-suck, absence of brakes and the full mental and emotional breakdowns that only experiences ultra racers can know. The post-race Mongolian BBQ was like pure heaven. The race organizers and the volunteers were simply amazing for managing to put on such a great event through the awful weather. I will be back next year…well, as long as the weather forecast looks good!

Thanks to everyone and especially to all my sponsors for all the support and encouragement. As always, thanks for reading. Hopefully, my next race report will include sunny skies and sunburns!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Colin's Report on Chalk Creek

I have raced the Nathrop, CO Mountain States Cup for about as long as I’ve
been racing bikes, but this year the race had a distinctly different feel.
There were more not-so-local pros, more stickered up team trailers, and
the prospect of more prize money, all thanks to the race’s inclusion in
the US Triple Crown of Mountain Biking. All of these were welcome
changes, and I felt pretty lucky to have such a quality race within a
couple of hours from home.

Both the short track and cross-country were unique in that they featured
windy road sections that leant themselves to road tactics. In Saturday’s
short track, I found myself riding towards the front with Jeremy HK and
Sid Taberlay. In that company, I figured the odds of winning weren’t in
my favor so I had nothing to lose by attacking. In retrospect, I’m not
sure I played my cards perfectly, but I ended up third, which was right up
there among my best short track results, so I have no regrets.

Sunday’s cross-country was similarly road-tactics heavy, and I felt
similarly out of my element. Nonetheless, I was pleased with my fitness
and I couldn’t have been more confident in my equipment, including my
Kenda Small Block 8’s. In the end, I got fourth after coming up short in
a sprint against Sid. This race was hopefully a good primer for the
Mellow Johnny’s classic, which apparently features similar terrain, but
much denser, hotter air. Too bad all high quality races can’t take place
in my beloved thin Colorado air.

Amanda's Report on Dirt Sweat & Gears

Dirt Sweat and Gears

I put Dirt, Sweat and Gears on my 2010 schedule because I thought it would be a great introduction to the 12-hr race format. Even though I’ve done many 100-mile races and have ridden my bike for 12 hours straight, I had never ridden in circles for half of a day.

My husband, Nate, and I decided to drive to Fayetteville, Tennessee instead of flying after carefully considering our packing list: 3 mountain bikes, an extra wheel set, a 10x20 Kenda tent, our dog, Nate’s dirt biking gear, a power washer, 2 coolers, an air compressor, a trainer and all the tools, tires and contraptions under the sun one could possibly need for a 12-hour bike ride. We meandered our way out over 4 days, making stops in Denver, southern Illinois and eastern Tennessee to shake out the legs on some nice singletrack. We then visited with some friends for a few days at their lakefront home in Gainesville, GA, took a evening motor boat ride to and from a local seafood joint, swam in their pool, enjoyed the local trails and begrudgingly began to acclimate to the southern heat and humidity.

My pre-ride lap on Friday revealed near perfect course conditions. The challenging 10-mile loop included a lot of tight, tacky singletrack and was full of typical east coast roots and rock gardens. The 1300 feet of climbing per lap came in lots of steep, punchy, technical climbs that kept you constantly on the gas with little time for recovery.

On race morning I woke up to 92% humidity, a forecasted high of 85-90 degrees and a 40% chance of severe thunderstorms and rain showers. Ick. At 9am, 300 racers lined up for the Lemans style start. I lined myself up in the second row and placed my bike in the perfect spot (the first bike on the outside of second row.) My strategy of sprinting as hard as I could to my bike paid off, as I made it on my bike and into the singletrack in the top 20. Only a handful of people ended up passing me during the first lap, so I knew I had saved a precious amount of energy early on by not having to pass a ton of folks on the first lap. I then kept with the same strategy the entire race: ride steady but strong, be conservative, have fun, stay far away from my redline and keep the rubber side down.

About 3 hours in…kaBOOM! Thunder, lightening and a deluge of rain hit the north half of the loop. It was the strangest weather event I’ve ever seen on a racecourse. Half the course turned into a wet, sloppy, peanut butter mud filled death march and the other half remained dry. It then became an even tricky technical skills day, as some sections were as slick as ice, requiring conservative and careful handling, braking and accelerating. The other half of the course required you to shift your brain and riding style to dry conditions mode and not get caught riding overly cautious.

Thankfully, I had 2 great bikes to choose from when the conditions became heinous, both fitted with Kenda Karma's. When the rain hit, I was on my Felt Nine, which up to that point was the ideal ride because of all the technical climbing. But when it became so caked in mud that the tires would no longer roll I was able to get a fresh, clean Felt Six LTD which proved to be the better choice in the super muddy conditions. The smaller the wheel, the less mud that could accumulate on it, making it easier to pedal up all the punchy climbs. Of course, the lighter the bike, the easier it was to carry and to push it, too. As the day went on and the course dried out, I went back to my Nine, preferring its ability to simply steamroll over all the technical sections and to maintain traction over the slick roots, rocks and sloppy corners. After 3 laps, the directors made the smart call to shorten the course by about 15-20 min. by cutting the muddiest section off the course.

Although there were times that it felt like I was riding in a sauna, I handled the humidity and heat pretty well. Each lap I dumped ice water on my head, back and chest and I was sure to keep ingesting a steady stream of Hammer endurolytes pumping all day long. My pit stops were fast, efficient and dialed thanks to Nate. He kept my bikes running well through the tough conditions, filled my bottles and flasks with cold water, Heed and Hammer Gel and constantly reminded me of all the details I was forgetting when my brain started to melt inside my helmet.

I slowly built my lead throughout the day by turning consistent lap times just shy of 1 hour (on the short course). I lapped the 3rd place woman mid-afternoon and lapped the 2nd place woman just before 7pm. When I came into the pit at 7:40, Nate told me to stop riding. He said that I was done, had won it and that it was time to celebrate! The rule at Dirt Sweat and Gears is that only laps completed before 9pm count. I could have easily gone out and completed a night lap before the cutoff, as I would have had 1:20 to do so. However, there was no possible way of 2nd place catching me and all I could think of was how awful it would be if I had gone out and gotten myself injured on a lap I didn’t need to be on. Besides, 10 laps, 10:40 of saddle time and roughly 13,000 feet of climbing was more than enough for me! I was long overdue for a cold shower and real food!

The event had a great vibe for both the racers and the spectators/support crews. The timing was dialed, the rules were clear, the payout was equal and extremely generous, and it was just a fun, fun, fun day of racing. The race directors were incredibly gracious hosts and bent over backwards to show us all some great southern hospitality. The post race party was kickin’ with a live band, a rainstorm of schwagg and lots of good beer. The event itself was a fundraiser for the local trails group SORBA and a $10 donation to SORBA got you a bottomless mug of local Yazoo. All in all, I suffered, I was successful and most importantly I had a blast. Dirt, Sweat and Gears is definitely on my repeat race list.

Thanks for reading and of course a big thanks to Kenda, Felt and all my sponsors for their support and belief in me!

Amanda Carey

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A staple early season race for the Colorado Front Range has come and gone with the Battle of the Bear last weekend. 30 miles of racing around Bear Creek State Park is good for early season training; lots of flats, seated climbs and loads of passing intervals to do as there are usually around 100 riders on the 10 mile loop between all the categories.

I couldn't catch Kelli Emmit who made the move early in the race to secure first, but I made a good gap in the first quarter of our race to hold second. However, Tokyo Joe's rider, Erin Huck, made it back up by the middle of lap two. We started the final lap together and diced for position - trying to make up on our advantages and gain time on eachother. With all the riders on course, bridging gaps became tricky. I'd make up some time in the twists on the trail and Erin managed to get me on the climbs. It was just my second ride on my new carbon Felt hard tail. It took a little getting dialed, but I started to find the groove on lap two and was digging my new race rig.

The back and forth went on thru the final lap. In the last quarter of lap three, I made a push at the top of a particularly steep climb. I decided to go and see what would happen. With only a few more places to keep my advantage before the finish, I wanted to try early instead of leaving it to the last maneuver. Luckily, I made a little gap after that push and didn't look back. I finished second after a fun, but trying, game of cat and mouse.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Colin's Battle of the Bear Report

It’s finally spring in Colorado and training has been going accordingly
well. Last weekend, I contested the “Battle at the Bear” cross-country in
Bear Creek, CO. Despite the less-than-ideal race conditions created by
hundreds of people of all abilities on the course at once, the race was a
blast. In retrospect, all of the traffic added a unique tactical element
to the race. After crashing early on when I lost my front wheel in a rut,
I worked back up to leader Matt Beaton. We stayed together for a bit,
riding easy while behind people in single-track sections and then punching
it hard to get around them. Eventually, I got a gap that I was able to
hold for the win. Riding at the front of a race—no matter local or
national—is exhilarating, and hopefully I can retain some of that feeling
going into bigger races like the Triple Crown Race in Nathrop, CO this
weekend. My challenge now is to stay on the XC bike racer
straight-and-narrow while most of my friends revel in graduation
festivities. I bet I’ll be the only guy at graduation parties with
compression socks on under my pants.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Colin's Race Report

After a tough weekend at Sea Otter and a week of wondering where my legs
went, I now find myself brimming with optimism after some good races at
the opening Mountain States Cup in Fruita, CO. Never have I been more
able to relate to the idea that you’re only as good as your last race.

The weekend began with a 15 minute-ish time trial, which consisted of a
hard, though technically easy climb followed by a twisty, bermed-out
descent that left everyone at the finish line with big grins. I went so
hard up the climb and was so numb with lactic acid that I had to dab and
run a section that was about as difficult as riding up a curb. Not a pro
move by any means, but I think that bobble gave me the necessary scare to
completely push myself to the finish and get the win. The day was made
even sweeter when I checked the web and saw that Andy and Amanda had won
their respective 50 and 100 mile races. I suspect they were a lot more
tired than me. Lots of water, Recoverite, and a Chipotle burrito later,
I was excited and ready for Sunday’s XC.

If I didn’t know most of the pro men personally, I at least knew who
almost everybody was, which made the race—a huge 30-mile loop of mostly
technical singletrack—feel like a fun, albeit really hard, mountain bike
ride with a bunch of friends. The first few miles of rolling jeep trail
were pretty chaotic, but before long, I found myself riding out front with
Cannondale teammates Ben Sontag and Alex Grant, my podium mates from the
day before. I lost contact with them over some rough stuff only to
re-gain it later, thanks in large part to pacing by Colorado legend Jay
Henry. Just as I was starting to get excited about my prospects, I felt
the sinking feeling (literally and figuratively) of a slow leak in my
rear-tire. The sharp rocks and high speeds had finally gotten the best
of me. My Stans mostly did its job, and I made it to the finish after a
few Big Air blasts and some tire shaking. I was a little bit bummed but
mostly happy to have re-discovered the fitness that seemed to have been
missing at Sea Otter.

I’ve always found myself motivated more by good races than by bad ones, so
I’m now looking forward to some hard chunks of training before the next
big race, which will be the Triple Crown race in Nathrop, CO.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kenda - Felt Team has Record Day

Three states. Three races. Three victories. It was a banner weekend for the Kenda-Felt Mountain Bike Team.

Shortly after The Sea Otter Classic, which saw the Kenda-Felt Team riders meeting with sponsors, autographing cards, and racing hard, the team dispersed across the country. Amanda Carey hopped a flight to Tennessee to race in the first race in the National Endurance Series, the Cohutta 100. She knew she was riding fast after strong performances at the first two Pro XCT races of the year but this was her first long distance race of the year so she still had a little doubt about her endurance. Eight-hours, one thunderstorm, and plenty of mud later she had not only squelched that doubt but had also dominated the race, winning by over 20 minutes. She also beat the winner’s time from last year by over three minutes, this is especially notable because the course was much slower (the men’s winning time was over 45 minutes slower this year). Asked after the race what her secret was Amanda said “Having Kenda Tires as a sponsor was crucial to my success. When I saw that there was rain in the forecast and that the course may be muddy I was able to switch my tires to the perfect ones for the conditions. Those just happened to be Karma’s, one of the best mud tires out there.”

Back west Andy Schultz was racing in the Whiskey 50. It is a 50-mile race that begins and ends in downtown Prescott, AZ, next to the famed “Whiskey Row”. With long, sustained gravel road climbs making up a majority of the course his 29” wheeled Felt Nine LTD and Kenda Small Block Eight tires were the perfect choice. “With as much climbing as there is in the Whiskey 50 having a lightweight bike is key. Our sponsors have collaborated to provide the team with one of the lightest 29” bikes out there so I definitely had an advantage” Andy said. Andy ended up completing the course in just over 3 hours, 16 minutes, almost two minutes faster than the course record. “I rarely do races over 2 hours so nutrition is always a worry for me.” Fortunately I was able to talk to the experts at Hammer Nutrition who helped me design a plan that kept well hydrated, fully fueled, and cramp free.”

In Colorado Colin Cares was racing in the first Mountain States Cup events of the year in Fruita, CO. Toeing the line were some of the fastest riders in the area, who just happen to be some of the fastest riders in the country. The day’s event was a 15 minute-ish time trial. Colin charged up the course’s only climb, leaving him, in his words, “numb with lactic acid.” The effort paid off though and he finished with the fastest time of the day, winning the event.

In all, this was one of the finest days in the history of the team. More to come!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blogging by Colin

Having already raced once this year, I figure it’s about time to revisit another “professional racer” pastime: blogging. This year, I’ve been trying a few things differently in hopes of getting fast, the biggest of which has been relocating to warm weather during the winter months. This past February, I drove from Colorado Springs to Tucson, AZ for team Kenda/Felt’s first training camp of sorts. Amanda, Judy, and I shared a place, and Andy was already down there. It was more or less the training utopia that I had hoped for with riding, refueling with Trader Joes, watching the Olympics, and, well, not much else occupying my days. That sort of ascetic athlete lifestyle was perfect for a few weeks, but I soon began to romanticize about the hectic school life that I had been so eager to leave just a few weeks earlier. If you ignore the training, I had effectively gone from a college-kid lifestyle to that of a person from the geriatric neighborhood in which we rented our Tucson house. Oro Valley, AZ, it seems, is ideally suited for the elderly and athletes alike.
From Arizona, I took the long way home, seeing the Grand Canyon (indeed grand), stopping for three days in Moab, UT, and even fitting in one last day of skiing at Copper Mountain, which means I ended up using just half of my “four-pack” pass...ouch. Weather on the Front Range was still pretty sloppy, but the dry Moab weather enabled some long rides during which I recalled lots of previous Moab adventures—from some of my first experiences mountain biking, to a few harrowing 24-hours of Moab-induced bonks, to a training trip with then-teammate Sam Schultz and now-teammate Andy. That’s right, I was following the Schultz brothers long before
After a few days back in Colorado Springs, just long enough to remind myself how fun it is to ride with numb fingers and toes, I flew to San Dimas for the first Triple Crown race. My result wasn’t stellar but I was satisfied with my form for this early in the season and even happier with my new Felt LTD 29’er. With it, I went over the bars once going down Santa Barbara’s Cold Spring Trail; without it, I would have gone over the bars many, many more times. Turns out the recent 29’er craze isn’t all just hype.
My week in Santa Barbara was the antithesis of the Tucson training trip. Instead of staying with two dedicated athletes, I stayed with ten friends from school who were on their spring break. I did some of the hardest rides I’ve done all year, but thanks to evenings spent grilling with friends, zero time in compression tights, and very little bike-racing talk, the hard work was hardly hard. It’s becoming increasingly clear that for me, balance between training and rest, work and play, spinach and chocolate, etc., is the most direct route to’s finding that balance that’s the hard part.
Now I’m staying in San Clemente for a few days before the first US Cup in Fontana this weekend (huge thanks to Lydia Tanner and her generous, unsuspecting housemates). I never really fancied myself the So-Cal type, but I could certainly get used to the ride/beach time/Mexican food routine that we’ve fortunately fallen into here. Then again, the So-Cal sunshine wouldn’t feel warm with the cold Colorado days, both of which, I hope, will contribute to a good race this weekend and a good season.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Judy Freeman Joins Kenda

Rider Bio:

Judy Freeman
DOB: January 3, 1974 – Frankfurt, Germany
Residence: Boulder, CO
Discipline: XC Mountain Biking
Year Turned Pro: 2003

A Colorado upbringing on swimming and lacrosse, a BA from CU Boulder in Communication and French, a stint as a bike tour guide in France and a couple of years in England and Japan all led to the next logical step - competitive mountain biking?

In 1999, Judy moved to Vail, Colorado to snowboard all winter, picked up mountain bike racing that next summer - and has been hooked ever since.

Now a top-10 rider on the U.S. national scene, she can also be found riding with local Boulder groups and teaching at mountain bike skill clinics.

Judy will be new to the Kenda/Felt Professional Mountain Bike Team for 2010. She’s excited to be racing Felt bikes and ripping it up along side Amanda Riley-Carey, Andy Schultz and Colin Cares.

You can read about Judy’s biking experiences on her column, Life as a Bike Jockey and her blog,

Career Highlights:

39th World Championships – Canberra, Australia
7th XC and STX National Championships
1st Mountain States Cup #4
2nd Mountain States Cup #3
8th US Pro Cup #4
Colorado State XC Champion 2008
2nd Colorado State STX Championships
5th NMBS Series Finals STX
8th National Championships XC
10th Overall Pro Women XC & STX NMBS Series