Archive for August, 2008

No fun at all, well not at the time

August 20, 2008




July the 15th was a bad day.  Well mostly just for me.  I have thought about the race since the day I rode it and have concluded I should have done better.  Now don’t get me wrong I tried really hard to finish and I did, but I really needed a smaller gear to have done better.  

The race started with a neutral roll out, about 1 kilometer through the town then up a huge mountain, no really a mountain.  The roll out was fast, oh lets say 18-20 mph, and me on a SS, what was I thinking?  As I hit the first climb the realization of the pain and suffering I was in for was apparent.  Not good at all.  Climbing for what seemed like EVER!!!!!!!! did not make me feel all warm and fuzzy, rather it left me feeling all tired and beat up.  

Of course the climbing didn’t stop after one mountain, it never seemed to stop.  I am not sure I want to relate what I really felt like during the race and after.  I was not happy and not at all impressed with the race organization.  Aid stations had less than helpful people, several of the aid station volunteers heckled me, and I really mean heckled.  I was called stupid on more than one occasion, for being on a SS and I think on a couple of occasions far worse.  Needless to say,  I think had I not been heckled I may have stopped and gone home.  

The saving grace of the race was the single track descending.  It was, and will remain for awhile, the sweetest trails I had ridden in along time.  Tight, twisty, rooty and fast.  Good stuff and I made people who had passed me specks in my rear view mirror.  Okay I don’t have a mirror, but after the 35.5k mark nobody passed me.  I am sure that is because of the cut off for the medium distance, but there were still a good number of people on the long course.  Whatever.  

I still am not real happy with how the race went, I walked way too much, not that I really had much choice.  It was steep, steeper than any race I have ever done, and 34×19 was a very bad choice for a gear.  Next year I will go with 32×20 or 21 to see how much faster I can ride.  Heck I may even do the series.  I had a terrible day riding, I had a worse time with my competitors.  Of course I didn’t really have any SSers to race against.

In hindsight the race was a great test of my willpower to finish even though I knew I was way off the top times.  6:28 was more than twice what the winner did, but next year…  Yeah I still won’t win, but I bet I can do under 5:15.  I just had way to huge of a gear.  

On a positive note, I would have to say about half the racers who where just out to finish, like me, noticed I was riding a SS and had a ton of positive thing to say (the Pros did not) as we rode and sometimes walked together.  Most asked if I done the race on a bet with my SS or what.  I explained I always rode my SS all the time.  Hopefully next year a couple of the folks who spoke with me on the course about my bike will try the race on a SS.  I guess the race was fun.  If fun is 3700 meters of climbing in 75 kilometers.  In case you are wondering, it was really hard.




August 7, 2008

So I went to SiS and didn’t win, but really that was never an option.  All I really wanted was a good ride to see a bunch of friends, and I did accomplish that.  Most of you guys know what SiS is, most of the people who will read this were there, but for those of you who don’t I guess I need to describe what it is and why I keep going to the race.


Schlaflos im Sattel is a race that is run only at night.  So literally from sundown to sunup.  There are other races that do the same thing, but I think, and I have no proof, that this was the first, at least the first I knew of.  The course is, quite honestly, really good for this type of race.  Not too terribly much climbing, not too much steep death defying descending, and not enough single track, but really can you ever have too much single track on a race course? 


 Ed von Keili.

So at 20:52 or 8:52 pm the race began with my partner Marty doing two laps.  I have yet to start this race, maybe never will, mostly I think because I see it as less of a race and more of ride with a bunch of friends at night.  Starting might make it seem like I needed to go fast instead of encourage other riders and talk to people I know on the course.  This fun ends at 5:59.  As good a time as any to stop a race. 


So that is pretty much the how I rode part, now for the I really had an excellent time part of the too long and somewhat boring report.  Again I need to mention how different this race is from any I have ever done in the US or really for that matter here in Italy.  Now don’t get me wrong the Los Lobos rides and races that they put on are special but I had done SiS before having met them and therefore it is the original more fun than pain race. 


Every year I arrive at the race it becomes harder and harder to find time to ride.  People I know and have met are everywhere and new people to meet are even more prevalent.  Talking about bikes, new bikes and what bike or part we have just purchased seem to dominate these conversations and I have to assume those of you who don’t ride would likely think we where speaking several foreign languages, aside from the several that are spoken at the race because of all the nationalities represented. 


Well as I have said before and will continue to believe, this is one of the most inviting and least insular events in the world.  That could be because of all the countries represented or that we all just share a similar interest, BIKES. 


Most races have definite groups, the SS group, the racer shaved leg group, the scum bag I don’t care how fast I go, but I train all the time group (really the one I best fit), or who knows what group.  But here in Weidenthal all the groups seem to drop pretense and just hang out.  It is truly a unique environment.  Seeing everyone just talking and hanging out and racing without that ever present “attitude” is the best part of this race.  It is something you have to see to believe and something you have to experience to understand how bike racing used to be.  It is something I have never witnessed in the US, but hope to one day.  This is one of the best races in the world and if you ever get the chance you have got to go.  I will miss this race when we finally leave Europe, but at least I will be able to remember how “it” was and look for events in the US that try to capture that same spirit of riding. 


Maybe next year I will go solo and put out a huge effort, but then again that is not really the point of SiS for me.  

Racc von Keili.

This is a friend and a great guy to ride with.  Chris is 4 days back from downrange and rode solo, great job at SiS and all around good guy.