Thursday, December 31, 2009

Triple D winter Race (run Update)

Due to popular demand...
The official awarded run route will the 23 miles from Dyersville to Durango. However, we will time and recognize you for the following two additional options:
1. Full Marathon 26.2 miles
2. Ultra Marathon 50K (32 miles)
Both of these routes are out and back on Heritage Trail the longest being the 50K ultra will take you just past the Sageville Trailhead at Highway 52.
You will be allowed to resupply and receive support at the Durango Handle Bar (race headquarters) before heading back out.

Thanks to MrDaveyGie a nice map of heritage trail can be found here (i learned a couple things from the annotation): HeritageTrailMap (note: Click on Show to see a profile - disregard the spikes as these are not accurate.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Triple D Winter Race - Winter Run, Winter Bike, & Ski Event

This year is shaping up to be a banner year for Triple D: Great trail conditions for all even standard mountain bikes, runners and skiers.

10 day forecast looks great (unlike the last two years) with mild temps in the high teens to low 20’s and only a 20% chance of new precipitation except for today’s 1-3” which will be well packed again by this weekend.

There are still some rooms available at the Grand Harbor Waterpark and Resort, if you have already booked a room make sure it was put under our block, you can email to get your room added to the block. They are still taking reservations under the Triple D Winter Race.

Get your entries in ASAP, they are due by Jan 4th. So far it looks like we will be at about the same numbers as last year – about 50 racers, however, this is the year to race as the my guess is that all the runners and skiers will finish and over half the bikers will finish as the trails are in primo condition.

Why Triple D?
1. Choose your winter discipline (run, hike, ski, bike, bike push [jk])
2. Stay in shape over the winter
3. Eliminate cabin fever and depression associated with indoor spin and treadmills
4. Free bar tab at the finish and pizza / canned drinks at the awards ceremony
5. Pub crawl in historic Dubuque after awards
6. Cool snowflake medals for all racers
7. Hand crafted awards for category winners
8. Bragging rights that you competed in the most difficult winter day race in NA
9. Bikers can get their first Dirty Hundy of the year (off-road metric century)
10. Misery loves company (suffer with 50 other cheerful souls)
11. Event headquarters at Dubuque’s indoor waterpark/hotel resort
12. Coincides with Dubuque’s ICEFEST festivities
13. Race with unique individuals from all over the US (racers from NC, FL, MI, MN, WI, IA, IL, MO are already registered)
14. Free sports massages after the race
15. TV and Newspaper coverage
16. Professionally photographed
17. All on closed course (except first 2 miles of bike on historic Dubuque brick streets)
18. Minimal required gear list (flashing lights front and back)
19. Cash lottery (amount depends on race budget – first year was $900, last year was $160 in cash) more racers = more $.
20. All transportation and sag supplied (including limo bus for the runners and skiers)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Triple D - First Trail Report 2010 Race

Thanks to Dave Giegerich's photo... the Triple D (DDD) trails are shaping up, bridges repaired, and a nice packed base of snow, with small refreshments on the way. With only 3 weeks to go, I believe this will be a banner year (knock on wood).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Triple D 2010 Registration is Open

Registration is now open for the Triple D Winter Race
Snow is in the forecast so timing on this email is perfect! The famous Triple D Winter Race is in its third year, and I’m sure this year will be the year when everyone finishes (sarcasm).

This year’s race will be ran in a similar fashion to the prior years, so browse the prior year’s photos and racer blogs to learn a little more. I’ll be posting information on this year’s Triple D and winter racing on this site every couple of days this month. Also, you can read about the prior years by clicking on the Triple D links on the right hand side.

Important Dates & Times
1. Hotel Reservations under our Group rate at the Grand River Center in Dubuque are due by December 22nd. Please reference “Triple D Winter Race” when making reservations. If you want to share a room let me know and I’ll get you hooked up with other racers.
2. Registration Data (see below) and check to me no later than Jan 4th
3. Race Day Check in / Race Packet pickup at 8-9 am on Jan 9th
4. Prerace Meeting for runners and Skiers 9:15 am on Jan 9th
5. Prerace meeting for Bikers at 9:30 on Jan 9th
6. Race Start 10 AM sharp from Dyersville and Dubuque simultaneously on Jan 9th
7. Recommended finish no later than 10 pm (not mandatory but you’ll miss the free beer, pizza and such)

Registration Information:
Name of Participant:
Race Cell Number:
Preferred Category*: Bike Ski Foot
Secondary Category (optional): Bike Ski Foot
* category can be changed on race day, but please mark what you think you will be doing as this helps schedule transportation requirements.

Mail Registration information and $50 check to:
Triple D Race c/o Lance Andre
1735 Eden Lane
Dubuque, IA 52001-4027

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Colesburg 40 Gravel Road Race Results for 2009

Click on the Image above to compair times with prior years. The short course was changed in 2007 making it 2 miles longer.

Another year of Colesburg is done (18 of them so far), and this year was a good one: a new course record, near record participation, not a single hospital visit, injury or wildlife alteration. The Chain Reaction club made $400, we handed out $800 in prize money and $100 for the course record and hill top prem. New this year was a guess your time which split $50 to two racers who got it exactly right.

Our race sponsors were Bicycle World of Dubuque with cash value gift certificates in bottles and a finish line shade tent, Free Flight Bikes of Dubuque for the other finish line tent, and Momentum Sports in Platteville who brought a huge crew to the race.

We had a great group of official volunteers (Jody Bramel, Traci Andre, Bill Stoffel, Karl Steichen, Sherry Spahn, Martha O’Conner Leigh, Christopher Bramel and Mimi Vaassen). We also had a great group of neutral support crews from all parts handing out bottled water to the racers!

Our short course is mile for mile hillier than the long course, we just cut out all the long flat sections…
1. Evan Hartig Dubuque, IA / Chain Reaction 1:22:44 (New Course Record)
2. Juan Ochoa Dubuque, IA / Chain Reaction 1:23:58
3. David Hartig Dubuque, IA / Chain Reaction 1:23:59
4. Parrish & Natalie Marugg Dubuque, IA / Bicycle World 1:29:00 (1st Tandem)
5. Randy Vannordel Dubuque, IA / Bicycle World 1:35:02
6. Chris Congdon Cedar Falls, IA / Bike Tech 1:37:53
7. Marge O'Connor-Leigh Dubuque, IA / Free Flight 1:39:43 (1st Female)
8. Paul Pettinger Dubuque, IA / Chain Reaction 1:49:20
9. Jeremy Riniker Dyersville, IA 1:54:00
10. Logan Perleth Dubuque, IA 1:58:46
11. Laurel Darren Moline, IL 1:59:03 (2nd Female)
12. Joe Freisinger Dubuque, IA 2:16:58
13. Karmen Woelber Waterloo, IA 2:26:50 (3rd Female)
14. Brian Oliver Delmar, IA 2:49:00

Gravel conditions were loose and sketchy in parts so the record times are even more amazing… This is an open category 41 mile race, so the cat 3, 4, 5 Sport racers get to mix it elbow to elbow with the pro, 1, 2 and Experts in a white knuckle 30 MPH gravel start… oh the fun! Here's the Long Course Results:

1. Brian & Kim Eppen ICCC 2:02:23 ($50 Course Record, Overall and 1st Tandem)
2. Joseph Hetriex Iowa City 2:03:25 ($50 Prem for First Hill at Mile 6)
3. Jeff Barnes Iowa City, IA 2:03:28
4. Jeff Bradley Davenport, IA 2:10:29
5. Maxwell Anderson Platteville, WI 2:10:31
6. Nick Martin Iowa City, IA 2:11:03
7. Chris Eastburn Cedar Rapids, IA 2:12:08
8. Ben Damhoff Platteville, WI 2:15:35
9. Daniel Galles Iowa City, IA / Team Skin 2:15:41
10. Ryan Nenninger Iowa City, IA 2:18:10
11. Todd Gillihan Team Skin 2:19:16
12. Kevin Wohlford Eldridge, IA 2:22:08
13. Jeremy Fry Waterloo, IA / ICCC 2:23:01
14. Mike Dalton Dubuque, IA / Free Flight 2:23:54
15. Bruce Grell Davenport, IA / Dice 2:24:36
16. Randy Vaassen Dubuque, IA 2:24:47
17. Jeremi Walker Iowa City, IA 2:28:59
18. Lance Andre Tampa, FL / Free Flight 2:29:26
19. Randy Peterson Lancaster, WI 2:30:51
20. Colm Flannery Chillicothe, IL 2:32:46
21. Gary Johnson Moline, IL 2:33:54
22. Tony Damhoff Platteville, WI 2:35:52
23. Corey Kronser Platteville, WI 2:35:53
24. William (WM) Huntsberger Davenport, IA / Dice 2:36:50
25. Joe Nolan Platteville, WI 2:41:04
26. Jeff Spahn Dubuque, IA / Free Flight 2:41:56
27. Greg Aronson Bettendorf, IA / Dice 2:42:54
28. Landon Beachy Kalona, IA / Bike Tech 2:43:28
29. Chris & Monika Martin Iowa City, IA 2:45:21 (2nd Tandem)
30. Nick Book Dubuque, IA 2:46:25
31. Jeff Abel Bettendorf, IA / Dice 2:47:29
32. Jamie Jorgensen Coralville, IA / Team Skin 2:47:52
33. Tim Ingram Platteville, WI 2:50:07
34. Bruce Timmerman Dubuque, IA / Chain Reaction 2:56:26
35. John Adamson Cedar Falls, IA / Bike Tech 2:57:19
36. Kathleen Porter Cedar Falls, IA 2:57:19 (1st Female)
37. Paul Meyermann Cedar Falls, IA 3:00:06
38. Jean Gilpin Coralville, IA / Team Skin 3:00:09 (2nd Female)
39. Lor Hutchison Dubuque, IA / Free Flight 3:02:52
40. Nicole Hutchison Dubuque, IA / Free Flight 3:03:05 (3rd Female)
41. Mark Steen Bettendorf, IA 3:09:24
42. Don Fish Davenport, IA 3:12:12
43. Matt Klemish Bettendorf, IA 3:18:02
44. Thomas Finnegan Bettendorf, IA 3:22:40
45. Sandy Kilburg Bellevue, IA / Fever River 3:32:02 (4th Female)
46. Gerry Voelliger Bettendorf, IA 3:34:09
47. Deb Wood Bettendorf, IA 3:36:23 (5th Female)
48. Gary Bramel Holy Cross, IA / Free Flight 3:36:39
49. Michael Feldpausch Grove, IA 3:38:44
50. Sean Endicott Bettendorf, IA DNF (finished but not by any official route, so he still had fun on the gravel but by himself)
51. Cassandra Kessler Iowa City, IA / Team Skin DNF

Sunday, August 9, 2009

2010 Triple D Winter Race Date Set

The 2010 Triple D Winter Race (bike or Ski or Run) date has been officially set for Saturday, January 9th, 2010! Nearly all festivities will remain the same this year... so feel free to check out all the prior year’s photos and information using the links to the right of the page.

There will be no ultra distance Ski or Run but we will utilize the extended out and back that we did last year, so that the Ski & Foot race will have a full marathon option.

New this year will be a 2010 commemorative calendar for all participants (biking in the winter all year long!!! Now what could be better than that???)

Also set to kick off this weekend is the award winning Dubuque Ice Fest (how appropriate):

2009 Colesburg Gravel Race (40+ & 24 Mile Road Race)

Alright, if I can come up from Florida to put on this little gravel race, the least some of you locals can do is show up! So, here are the details on the race that no one wants to talk about (do to repressed memories of pain and suffering)…

When: September 7th 2008 (Labor Day Monday), Registration until 9:30, Racing starts at 10AM.

Where: Colesburg, Iowa (NW Corner of Town at the City park)

How Much:
Preregistered Solo Racer $20 / Tandem Team $30 (by Aug 21)
Prior Year Solo Racer $20 (Prereg not required)
Prior Year Tandem Team $30 Total (Prereg not required)
Day of event, $30 Single or $45 Tandem Team.

Awards: Cash (real $$$ bills)- lots of it, lottery style payout, the better you place the more tickets you get. Everyone gets at least one ticket for starting this wrenched event.

Race Director Contact: Lance André at (563) 543-2784 or

General Details:

  • Sag supported with water
  • Well marked course (racer maps at sign-in)
  • Large Tandem Field
  • It's typically hot (bring two water bottles & a camel back)
  • Fat-tire mountain bikes and cycle-cross bikes recommended
  • Controlled 1 mile paced start
Long Course: 40.9 miles of Gravel (some pavement) - Sport/Expert/Prolevel riders - expect long gravel hills & a finishing time typically within 5 min. of your Chequamegon 40 finish.
Direct Cash Payout for Record Time.
Large $ pream on the first main climb*

Short Course: 24 miles of Gravel - Beginner/Sport level riders (finishing times range from 1:20 to 2:15+)

*Prem was first won in 2007 by Team Ergon pro rider Jeff Kerkove, who’s teammate beat Lance at Leadville last year and he finished 27th overall, unfortunately the locals made Jeff pay for that $ as he finished 4th behind the Eppens, Andre’s and Todd Gillihan.

This race has a long history in Iowa bike racing…
4th annual: “I’ve had enough, I’m stopping for a beer, me too… ditto”
8th annual: “no race director” (he was thrown in jail, he’s now married to the gal that caused the whole thing)…
10th annual “Broken collarbone, and a stolen car (the racers stole it)”…
12th annual “Dog to Vet with broken ribs, bike to the repair shop”…
13th annual “9 racers lost (to the sound of deliverance)” we have since improved the course markings…
15th annual – “is it possible to endo a tandem?” Ask the Hirsch brothers…
16th annual (last year)– “bloodiest year yet, multiple emergency room visits” Slow down on those D&# downhill corners!

Click on the flyer to view a larger version... email me for a PDF. You can also visit in a day or two for all the other information like a release form (to fill out ahead of time), detailed driving directions, a course map, etc.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

must read...

If you want the true story on how the Arrowhead Ultra 135 affects you mentally, you must read the transcripts from my good friend Charlie's visits to his therapist... there are multiple posts, so you may have to check back from time to time to read them all (start at the bottom).

Monday, February 9, 2009

Arrowhead Ultra 135 Race Report

What makes Arrowhead so difficult, and so much of an accomplishment?
It’s a hard question to answer…

Is it because the 135 mile course is so demanding physically? Well some of it… the route has long stretches that are completely flat that will coax you into a high rhythm, then it will slam you with 30 miles on step back to back hills sapping ever last bit of strength you legs have left. But that isn’t it… because the group of athletes that train and participate in this event are the toughest in the world (all over the world) and are more than ready for 20-50 hours of physical exertion.

Is it the cold? Well sort of… The International Falls area has been nicknamed the “ice box of north America” and for notable reasons. Even this year (not the coldest year) the race started at -5df with a 10-15 mph headwind on the out and back and finished at -34dF the night of the second day. The -34dF was actual air temperature not the wind-chill or fells like, that was lower. However, for most racers these temperatures are expected and planned for (the best that we can, some of us unfortunately don’t get to train in these extremes and must guestimate on how our equipment and clothing will [hopefully] perform). To exasperate the situation, the cold can wreck havoc on the bikes, skis and sleds. Numerous racers have had to resort to pushing their bikes (some over 80 miles of the route) due to frozen hubs. Skiers sometimes find it impossible to get a wax that will work at -30dF so they go with the coldest made and just “deal with it”. So the cold, while a big part of it, just isn’t it either.

Is it the sleep deprivation and mental stress? While sleeping at check points or out on the trail is standard for some competitors, most choose to push through the night in hopes of cutting hours from the race. In addition, at -34dF how well can one sleep anyway? Moreover, there are much longer ultra distance races where racers will go a week on end with only an hour or two of sleep each night, so that’s most likely not it either.

If you do the math, you’ll know it’s not the dangerous speeds, I mean how scary can an 8 mph bike race, or 6 mph ski race be? I suppose the lack of speed may have something to do with it, boredom comes to mind.

So why is Arrowhead such a difficult race… well this year:
Joel and I arrived at the starting line late (at about 8 am, about an hour after the first racers started). We wanted to let the trail get packed down as 4” of fresh snow had fallen the night before. There were about 6 main racers who were in contention for the win this year, four of them had rolled out at about 7:30 and were well on their way… It’s a very long race, but I’d trained well enough for this race that it’s hard to keep the speed down when the beginning is so easy… but I was doing a pretty good job on the first part of the out and back I was keeping my average at about 11 mph (which by the way is really fast for AH135). At about 2/3r’ds of the way to the turnaround (at 8 miles), two of the main contenders (charlie and dave) screamed past in the other direction doing at least 13! We’ll the race is on! I took two more gears and cranked it up to match their speed, and besides they were breaking trail through fresh snow, I had a 1’ wide swatch from the other bikes and racers who had started before. I finished the out and back with an average of 12 mph.

The whole first ¼ of the race until the first check point was pretty uneventful, I kept my speed up as high as I dared, it dropped about a half mph for every bike I passed, as the trail became less and less defined. During this section I passed a couple of the top contenders (Lindsay Gauld [former Olympian], Dennis Grelk [2nd place tie with me at Triple D], and Mike Curiak [Iditarod record holder]). Mike interesting enough, noticed me approaching and pulled to side and grabbed his camera; he then proceeded to motion me to the wrong side of the trail so as to setup the perfect photo shoot (I think he deserves a free entry for being the unofficial race photographer, the picture, believe it the picture below is of me, taken by mike at about 6 miles out from the Gateway CheckPoint – you must visit his blog as his photograph is amazing, especially considering he’s racing while taking these photos). I moved into the fourth spot after passing Mike… and by timing when snow machines would pass and when I would see the other tracks reappear in the snow I was now in first place by almost 20 minutes! I started 45 minutes after Charlie and Dave but had closed their starting lead to only 20 minutes. I kept my stop at the gateway store to a minimum, buying only a hot brat and v8 juice. I knew I’d lose a couple minutes here as Dave stops for nothing. The big unknown for me though was two of the top racers (Terry Brannick [who would take 1st this year]), and Dave Gray [prior AH winner]) had started after me, there was no way for me to know how much time I was ahead or behind them, until the halfway checkpoint where I had planned a 1 hour layover.

The remainder of the first half continued to progress well, I was eating and drinking regularly, I was keeping my speed at a maintainable pace. I was watching the battle ahead of me as I could tell the front three were breaking up, Dave had dropped Charlie and Josh. I passed Josh not too long after the gateway store, he wasn’t happy about not having a bigger trail to follow (he wanted to start MUCH latter). I kept the effort up and was closing on Charlie but not Dave. I caught up with Charlie about 6 miles from the MelGeorges checkpoint. While he had been dropped and said he had bonked, his speed didn’t show it, and I was only averaging about a ½ mph more. Crossing Elephant lake was quite an experience, the wind was pounding from the side (I was running a disk on my rear wheel to prevent snow and ice buildup, and this section was tossing my bike to the side), Dave’s tire tracks while only 15 minutes old had already drifted over.

I pulled in to MelGeorges 15 minutes after Dave but 30 minutes into the lead (so far). I knew I wouldn’t get any rest as Dave would try to make up for lost time by heading right back out… I did get time to refill my camel back, partially dry my “super suit”, eat a grilled cheese and chug down a bowl of soup. But that was it Dave was back out! Charlie had rolled in only 10 minutes after me and wasn’t looking to bad. Terry who had started about 15 minutes after me rolled in only 20 minutes after… that meant I only had a 5 minute lead on him! Which, in this race is absolutely nothing – a dead heat! Terry would end up moving into the lead by leaving MelGeorges 15 minutes early.

After leaving the CP (about 20 minutes early than planned) I was back on the trail trying to work off the 15 minute false lead Dave had on me so that I could at least know where he was (my thought was, there was nothing I could do about Terry behind me but at least with Dave, if I could close the distance, I could keep an eye on him)… about an hour (or two at the most I had closed the gap and for all of about 5 minutes Dave was following me.

I pause here to say… “This is where things start to go wrong”
1. I was trying to win Arrowhead (my planning prior to the race was to finish in top 5, my pace had increased beyond what I should have been pushing, but oh, 1st place would be nice).
2. It was starting to get cold and dark (not that -5dF wasn’t cold at the start, it was), but it was getting real cold -15dF (at least for someone who had been living in sunny Florida (it was 75dF when I left Tampa a couple days earlier)).

So, with 1 and 2, why would these have caused things to go bad??? Well Dave is one of the most consistent determined riders I’ve ever ridden with… the cold had gotten low enough that I had to put on my “cold weather” mittens. But to eat I had to stop, remove the mittens get out my food, put the mittens back on and ride again. This, in addition, to the fact that I was geared to high to ride some of the hills that Dave was easily topping, had caused me to start to really max the engine to close the distance when on the bike.

About 3 hours of this (110 miles in) the fire went out! Instantly! Nothing! In normal races this simply would have meant limping in with a light spin, but remember, its -15dF, riding a bike on soft snow in the middle of nowhere… there was no limping home, my feet, hands and nose where starting to show early signs of frost bike (numb, tingling and stinging), I had to pick it up, but the fire was out. I could no longer keep my body warm, I was about 5 miles (or 1 hour) out from the “Teepee Checkpoint”, which we were told would have fire going (we equated to also mean getying warm)! So, with everything remaining I pushed hill after hill and rode when I could, as hard as I could, nearing collapse I arrive at the CP 15 minutes behind Dave just before 1 AM (about an hour ahead of the next rider). Unfortunately the teepee was on the top of the highest hill on the course which was wind whipped and bitterly cold; the fire was a small smoldering ring that simply filled the teepee with lung searing smoke and contributed nothing to warm the teepee (it was just as cold inside as out). But the decision to get there was made, I had nothing left and although it was only 22 miles from the finish and I’d freeze to death on the trail if I continued. I grabbed my bivy sack from the bike, found an open spot on the ground, stripped naked and climbed in my sleeping bag. The next 7 hours of intermittent intense shivering were only broken by the occasional racer checking in at the CP and checking in on us. Dave had also made the decision to Bivy at the last checkpoint as we had ran each other into the ground and continuing on at 2 in the morning with depleted energy levels could spell disaster.

The morning had rolled around but the temperatures didn’t budge (although the sun will lift your sprits no matter the cold)… In talking with the guys tasked with manning the CP, Dave and I had decided to jump off course (allowed as long as you return where you left) and get some hot food in us to finish the race (even bagging it for 7 hours we were still in a tie for 5th place (although there wasn’t much fight in either one of us). In the process of getting directions from the CP guys, the exhaustion was altering my good judgment, I was actually disagreeing with the locals on how to get to the nearest town (Cook). They said Right then Left… all I could remember was Left then Right… Dave was off, I however, was faced with getting my frozen “super suit” on, yes my clothes were frozen solid, couldn’t even get my arm in the sleeves. I spent about 30 minutes with my frozen clothes inside my bag getting them warmed up enough to get them on (OH SO FUN). It was so cold that I had to nearly place my boots inside the smoldering fire to even melt the ice off them (but close enough they were to shrink the leather and melt the rubber – one ruined pair of Lake Boots, could barely even get them on).

Exhausted and barely able to ride, down the trail I went, then the road the locals at the teepee had mentioned in their directions… I took the left turn, a couple miles then a right on the highway (it was so cold that my bike computer was coved in a thin sheet of ice making it impossible to select different functions (I was stuck on Average Speed, Speed and HR). Needless to say the 11 mph on the pavement going into “town” felt good)… after what felt like an hour (it was) I still wasn’t in cook for the hot breakfast… kept riding, and there it was Lake Vermilion on my right (that the lake that we finish at… only its supposed to be on the left! I had ridden over 15 miles in the wrong direction (or some unknown direction). I stopped at the first sign of civilization to get directions and verify my impending drop from the race, and sure enough I had turned the AHU135 into the AUH 165… I was done. The contractor who was dry walling a summer cottage offered me a ride back to the trail; gladly I accepted even knowing that this was the end of the race for me. On our way back we crossed the AH trail and a meet Dave coming the correct direction from town with a hot breakfast reenergizing his body. I trailed him the last couple of hours to the finish stopping to walk so that I’d keep a little blood to my cramped feet. I finished in a solid 5th place for a minute or two, until I notified race officials of my outside assistance for the DQ.

I had a couple of people ask me when I got home why I turned myself in… I replied that the reason that I started the ultra endurance racing was not to win races, but to challenge myself, and this challenge isn’t just physical, or having the right equipment, or strategy, it’s everything combined including integrity. That’s what makes Arrowhead so difficult. It challenges every part of your being, and if you think you have it all together before the race, it throws in Mother Nature’s unpredictable wrath and finally the toughest individuals in the world to make the race even more of a challenge… now that’s a recipe for a race with the ultimate rewards to those who race it (finish or not)!

Next year??? I’ll be there again, a little wiser and a little stronger… but that’s next year…

Post Script: small little things have a huge effect in a race that demands everything to be perfect… I learned a lot this year and am confident that I will be ready for the three most extreme [winter] races - next year (Triple D @ 60 Miles, Arrowhead Ultra @ 135 miles and Iditarod @ 350 miles– yup Alaska here I come).
1. Can’t say anything bad about my new FatBack other than it was geared way to high, I was running a 36 front, will need to drop this to a 32, just couldn’t comfortable push this gear on the moderate climbs… nearly all the finishers were running a 32 or lower.
2. Loading my bivy bag under the front bars prevented me from seeing my front wheel and being able to reliably ride in Dave’s tracks, wasting energy, may opt next year for one of Epic Eric’s Burrito bags (the world’s largest seat bag).
3. My mittens were not warm enough, victim of living in the sunshine state, because of the whole mitten fiasco, I wasn’t able to consume the calories needed to sustain my pace once the temps started dropping, I think I may have to break down and get a pair of Epic Eric’s Poggies (this one item most likely cost me my DQ vs. 1st place, as others with Poggies were able to eat without stopping – actually passed on a number of “eat alarms” and even “drink alarms” so as to keep my time split on Dave and Terry).

My actual ride time on my computer was 18 hours 58 minutes with a total distance of 149.6 miles at an average ride speed of 7.9 mph (included pushing)! Yup a blistering 7.9 mph, doubt we’ll see any flicks from this race on the SPEED channel… I believe my “ride time/speed” was most likely the fastest for the event. My complete time to finish the race (all stops, detours, etc.) was 27 hours 54 minutes.

I suffered 2nd degree frost bite on the bottom of my nose and upper lip, and 1st degree frost bite (commonly referred to as frost nip) on all my finger tips. As I write this on Sunday night my fingers are almost back to normal, the blisters on my lip and nose are now just some minor scabs… Darn sensitive Floridian skin! But worst of all, I ruined my nice pair of Lake Boots!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Arrowhead Ultra 135 (I mean 150)

I'll post a detailed race summary this weekend.

However, here's a quick one: I went really fast for the first 20 hours was in first by about 30 minutes when, it got really cold, then I went really slow... this was with only 25 miles to go. Biv'd till sunrise, took a wrong turn rode 15 miles in the direction i thought there was food... nope, got a ride back to where i left the trail (not allowed, but I was tired as heii, turned myself in for the DQ, but i did finish the entire route), even with the reroute I would have gotten 5th. minor frost nip on my finger tips...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What do Mike Curiak, Dave Gray, and Dave Pramann all have in common?

They get to race the Arrowhead Ultra 135 with me tomorrow! You can follow the play by play action on the Race blog (watch out because this is about as exciting as an 8 mph bike race can be!).

Weather has been unpredictable, as the forecast has been changing by as much as 30d in a couple of hours, tonight the forecast is for a daytime high of 8dF and a low of -14dF with a wind chill of -30dF.
We're getting a heavy fluff of snow as I write this; the forecast is for it to amount to only about 2" total by mid day tomorrow, which may cause it to be a mighty slow race.

The picture above was taken the night before the Triple D race. It's my new FatBack by the boys at Speedway Cycles and our newest addicted snow biker Josetté André... she now wants to race with daddy all the time. You can also check out her artwork in a couple of the Triple D Photos, she colored one side of my rear disk. Think I could get a Pugs Tag-a-long?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Triple D 2009 - My View (and Arrowhead Ultra 135 Prep)

Photo by Mark Hirsch Photography

I had planned on posting a race update on the Triple D... so here it is: it was the worst bike race I’d done, pushing a bike through a foot of powder snow which has a sheet of glare ice underneath is not my idea of fun. Last year only 4 bikers finished the Triple D (which was perfect, I designed the course to make it difficult enough that only the toughest could finish), this year NONE! Taking into consideration the caliber of racers that attempted this race it is arguably the toughest 1 day race in North America or anywhere for that matter, multiple veterans of TransIowa, Idiasport 350, Sustana 100, and Arrowhead 135 all bailed before hour 11 (Ya, nearly 11 hours and nobody finished a little 55 mile bike race in Dubuque County Iowa). These are the guys that never give up... Nevertheless, it was fun, in a strange slogfest kind of event. It was also disappointing to a number of us having prepared physically and mentally for anything, and then to have THIS... I mean come on; could it have been any worse? (Don’t answer that, because the sun was shining and it was in the positive temps with a light wind, so yes it could have been worse).

The part that got me at Triple D was a bad “heat of the battle” decision… Dave Pramann, Dennis Grelk and I were trading spots for 1st for quite a while. I had ran out of water (had plenty to get me to Dyersville if we hadn’t been pushing for hours vs. riding). I had been eating snow for about two hours but was dehydrating… I needed water or I was going to drop or have to detour into one of the small towns… my decision… A beautiful running stream with crystal clear water (what could go wrong with this decision?). Filled up a water bottle and down the hatch! I nearly puked immediately it was the worst tasting water anybody could imagine! Long story short, Lots of antibiotics, antimicrobials and anti vomiting medication for two weeks! I lost nearly 10 lbs. in the four days after the race

This weekend I went for my first “ride” since Triple D and have started back on solid foods, so all is good. Today’s ride was with a bunch of roadie’s that I train with down here in FL. I showed up in shorts and fingerless gloves for a ride that rolled out at 30d F at 20+ MPH (it was colder than I remember Triple D being… I hate the cold).

I feel good about my gear and training for arrowhead, my goal this year is sub 24 hours which is achievable as long as the trail conditions are favorable. Reports from snowmobilers this weekend said the trails were great! Great for snowmobiling… not great for biking, the base isn’t firm and is difficult to walk on… this translates into awful to bike on. On the bright side: I got to ride with the master of snow biking (Dave Pramann) for a “couple of hours” at Triple D… I had nicknamed him Jesus after watching him ride his Pugsley over trails that the rest of us were having trouble pushing our bikes on. Watching his calm and relaxed riding style on tires with about 1-2 psi was awe inspiring, after doing my best to imitate him I too was riding, but more Charlie Farrow like, than the straight as an arrow no wasted energy Pramman. Dennis Grelk followed me in dropping his tire pressure way down and off he went… He’s the man to mark at AH135 this year as he rode Dave and me off his tire and was looking strong all the way until the end.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Triple D 2009 Results (man vs. wild)

Send me your blog links & photos! I'll post my race recap sometime this week for a more personal view of the bike part as experienced by me...

Well… it must be done… so let me apologize for hosting the most miserable “bike” race around. For you runners and skiers I won’t apologize because most of you finished… Let’s start this year’s race report with the bad:

For all participants but primary for the runners and bikers, the course conditions were worse than just about all of us could image. The weekend before the course lost 9” of solid well packed snow to a rain storm which left a thick sheet of ice. While bad, the ice would have been acceptable to most as studded tires work well and would have allowed the race to be completed in less than 6 hours by some. However, this ice was then coved by Thursday night’s 3” and Friday night’s nearly 9” of fresh dry powdered sugar snow. This created trail conditions that were miserable to be optimistic. For the runners and bikers the deep snow wouldn’t support weight and would slide on the layer of ice below, for those that opted for studs or other ice apprentices the layer of snow was deep enough to keep these from biting. How bad were the conditions??? Well, multiple veterans of the Arrowhead, Iditarod and Susitna 100 said it was the worst they have ever seen. While pushing parts of a race is SOP for true winter bike racers having glare ice under the virgin powdered sugar snow was a new experience for all.
Numerous bikers and runners dropped from wet feet due the deep dry powder working its way into every crevasse of their footwear then melting and thus soaking the feet, Others threw in the towel out of shear frustration of the initial bike race turning into the worst slogfest they had ever been a part of, others because there was a beer and a bar stool that was calling, and one committed racer because no one else was left.

For the good, this year’s weather was "pleasant" with temperatures during the race ranging from 20dF down to only 8dF. The race also garnered exceptional publicity which may help heal the pain that most racers experienced, as they can now say they were a part of the toughest one day bike race in North America (I mean how many people can say they participated in race so difficult that in 2 years there have only been 4 people have ever finished, or can say they ran a marathon in the dead of winter on a foot of snow covered ice... all cross-country across corn fields and half frozen streams). There were a number of local articles (click here to read the TH prerace article) and news crews around (click here to watch segment on the nightly news, then click watch video in upper left). Many thanks to the Dyersville and Dubuque Chambers for the help in promoting and putting on this event.

No event would be possible without the many volunteers who tirelessly helped with this event, while I put a lot of planning in to this race (I did forget to coordinate the weather with GOD… and for that I apologize, next year I’ll see what I can do about that):
Course Coordinators: Traci Andre
CP Coordinators: Anne Potter, Patsy Troy, Sara Sroka
Trail Safety & Sag: Frank Flack, David Hartig, Mr. Austin, Paul Pettinger,
Race Photographer: Mark Hirsch
Trail Coordinator: Tom Spalla (Asbury Snow Hawks)
Other Organizations and volunteers: Dubuque County Conservation, Jim Heavens, Dyersville Police, Grand River Center, Dubuque Chamber of Commerce, Dyersville Chamber of Commerce, Chariot Limousines, The Handle Bar, Quick-n-Handy Dyersville.
Sponsors: Surly Bikes, GU Energy, Running Magazine, Asbury Snow Hawks, Free Flight Bikes, Grand Harbor Resort, Dubuque Chamber of Commerce, Chain Reaction Cycling

Here are the finishers for the Triple D 23 Mile Run:
1. Joey Richey (Overall) 5:08
2. Lisa Paulos (Overall Female) 5:15
3. Annte Hall 6:00
4. Mike Hodge 6:00 [+2:44 for 50K bonus loop]
5. Seth Dugeon 6:11
6. Paul Steichen 6:55
7. Karl Steichen 6:55
8. Marcus Nashelsky
The only skier to finish was:
1. Matt Maxwell 5:04 [+2:19 for 50K bonus loop]
Here are the finish times for the 38 bikers:
Yup nobody… but because competition was intense, if you could have seen the determination at mile 12 as the lead pack of 20 bikers were running their bikes uphill in deep snow… I did, I was behind that group saying to myself how much this sucks… we must give credit to all the bikers who didn’t know they were signing up for a “push your bike until you give up race”… placement for Triple D for non-finishers is determined by total distance traveled on the marked race course (check point in italics) + bonus for not having to be sagged (if you know your exact mileage please email me, and if you blog, email me that and I’ll link it (good or bad):
1. Corey Kronser (Dyersville in 7:00, sagged at Farley +2)
2. Dennis Grelk (Dyersville in 6:21, sagged at Farley)
3. Lance Andre (Dyersville in 6:30, sagged at Farley)
4. Dave Pramann (sagged at Dyersville 6:29)
5. Tom Miller (sagged at Dyersville 6:55)
6. Brad Dumville (Farley, Alternate sagged at Dyersville 9:10)
7. Justin Meyer (Farley, Alternate sagged at Dyersville 9:10)
8. Joel Austin (sagged at Dyersville 10:40) – Frozen Saddle Award
9. Nicholos Wethington (Farley, Alternate sagged at Dyersville 9:10)
10. Jesse Reyerson (Epworth, Rode Back Alt Route)
11. Adam Blake (Epworth, Rode Back Alt Route)
12. Josh Peterson (Epworth, Rode Back Alt Route)
13. Rob McKillip (Epworth, Rode Back Alt Route)
14. Mark VanderWoude (Sagged at Epworth)
15. Maxwell Anderson (Sagged at Epworth)
16. Ben Shockey (sagged at Epworth)
17. Tim Ingram (Sagged at Epworth)
18. Scott Marx (sagged at Epworth)
19. Trevor Rockwell (Sagged at Epworth)
20. Mark Sirek (Sagged at Epworth)
21. Devon Dyreson (Sagged at Epworth)
22. Coleman Retziaff (Sagged at Epworth)
23. Irene Schroeder (Halfway to Epworth, Route back to Graf) – First Place Female
24. Jeremy Riniker (Graf, Route Back to Durango)
25. Dustin Quade (Graf, , Route Back to Durango)
26. James Ryan Zimmerman (Graf, Rode Back Alt Route)
27. Todd Erickson (Graf, Rode Back Alt Route)
28. James W. Zimmerman (Graf, Rode Back Alt Route)
29. Joe Nolan (Graf, Rode Back Alt Route)
30. Scott Sundby (Graf, Rode Back Alt Route)
31. Sean Mullins (Graf, Rode Back Alt Route)
32. Eric Sovern (Graf, Rode Back Alt Route)
33. Michael Lemberger (Graf, Route back, Sagged at Sundown)
34. Ronnie Fangman (Sagged at Graf)
35. Nate VanDerWeide (Sagged at Graf)
36. Tracy Thompson (Sagged at Graf)
37. Grace Shirly-Couch (Humkee, Rode Back Alt Route) – Second Female
38. Jerome Full (Humkee Road, Rode Back Alt Route)
39. John Nelson (Humkee Road, Rode Back Alt Route)
There were lots of photos and videos taken and many will be posted in upcoming blog entries as I have them compiled. Also we hired professional photographer this year and I believe some of those photos will be available in the coming days.
Thanks to all, and I look forward to this hopefully being a different race next year! I know there will be a number of racers who will not come back next year and some that didn't participate that will called to the challenge of doing the most difficult one day race... well be forewarned this race is done in the true fashion of winter snow racing, we are dealt the weather and the route...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bad Water...

I'll be posting the complete and final results here in a day or so...

During the race I took on some "tainted" water, and I’m a "little" under the weather today, and maybe for a couple more...

Quick recap for all: Weather forecasters, should simply use the lotto system for selecting the weather forecast. This years racers SLOGGED the entire length of Heritage trail with nearly a foot of super soft powdered sugar snow over a super slick layer of glair ice, creating the most difficult trail conditions that even the most conditioned winter racers had seen. Run times were 3 hours slower than last, and NONE of the bikers made it passed the 2/3'rds mark. YUP, everyone abandoned the race. Our frozen saddle award (last racer on the course, 10 hours 40 min) went to seasoned Alaska winter racer Joel Austin who pushed his bike for 30 of the 37 miles to Dyersville and said the race conditions were about as bad as he'd ever seen.

The only bikers of the 40 who started even made it to the turnaround point at Dyersville were:
1. Dennis Grelk 6:21 (dropped at Farley on the way back)
2. Dave Pramann 6:29 (dropped)
3. Lance Andre 6:30 (dropped at Farley on the way back)
4. Tom Miller 6:55 (dropped)
5. Cory Knonser 7:00 (Cory would eventually travel 2 miles further than Dennis and Lance, to take the overall win (determined by greatest distance traveled on the designated route))
6. Brad Dumville 7:10 (dropped)
7. Nicholos Wethington 7:10 (dropped)
8. Justin Meyer 7:10 (dropped)
9. Joel Austin 10:40 (dropped)

We had a lot of racers this year who were making this their first “Alaska style” race, and well, other than the warm weather (9dF towards the end) they got the worst of the worst.
Kudos to all who helped and all who raced.
Again, when I get some sleep and fluids to stay down I’ll write up the full race report.
Sorry, Lance
Only one skier finished: Matt Maxwell, who also skied the extra loop for a 50k.

We had 7 runners finish the entire 23+ mile route, and one slogged the extra loop for the 50k (Mike Hodge). The winning runners (Joey Richey & Lisa Paluos) posted respectable times of 5:08 and 5:18 given the foot of fresh powder they had to slog through.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Check the weather! The SNOW IS COMING!!!, and gone...

They were calling for 5-8 inches... last night, but we've only gotten 1" of new stuff. They’ve lowered the forecast for today to only a total of 2-3 inches. It will also be warm today (about 20d) so the snow should pack well IF any snow machines head out...

I'll be finishing the marking of trails today... Cheers!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dubuque TH Artical

Nice Article, they didn't mention two key local sponsors (Dubuque Conservation Board and the Asbury Snow Hawks) without these two local organizations we wouldn't have these unique winter trails to race on.
TH Artical

2009 Late Entries

  1. Due to cancelations we have FOUR openings for Runners or Skiers (looks like we will get a bit of fresh snow tonight and tomorrow).
  2. I'm also accepting late entries for bikers.
  3. In either case, for a late registration spot in this year's race you'll need to contact me at 563.543.2784 to reserve a late entry.
  4. We are also looking for a volunteer or two to help with the finish line at the Durango Handle Bar. It's an inside post with free drinks...

What is Triple D?

(photo by Juan Ocho)

What is Triple D? Triple D is a winter endurance race that traverses Dubuque County in the dead of winter by bike, ski or foot.
What makes this race different from other marathon distance races? Winter racing isn’t just about being in shape, it’s about mental toughness. You must be properly prepared to handle the extremes of winter weather for hours on end. Racers will spend many hours in all sorts of extreme winter weather so that they can test various clothing and equipment options.
How difficult is Triple D? Last year all the runners and skiers (who started) finished the standard distance event of 23 miles in -9F temp. However out of the large group of over 35 bikers (who started) only 4 finished the ultra marathon distance of 66 miles. The bikers were exposed to -30F wind-chill for over 10 hours and more extremes of weather as they were not on the sheltered Heritage trail all the time as the runners and skiers were. The first 1/3 of the event is on private snowmobile trails hosted by the Asbury Snowhawks… and as most can imagine bikes aren't easy to ride in the snow. This year (2009) dealing with the ice and avoiding injury will be the determining factor for success. Remember this race is only entered by the toughest of competitors (this isn’t your easy summer marathon), so for over half of the racers in 2008 not to finish, it’s tough! Think you have want it takes???

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Triple D 2009 - Race Roster

Below is the official and unofficial roster for the 2009 Triple D Winter Adventure Race (updated 1/8, 8 pm). I’ll update the roster on a daily basis as the late entries arrive. There’s still time to talk the unsuspecting soul into joining us.
Update: We had a couple skiers back out: There are still FOUR openings on the Limobus to Dyersville for runners or skiers.
====== Official Roster ======
1. Run Joey Richey
2. Run Seth Dudgeon
3. Run Karl Wagner
4. Run Lisa “the ultra queen” Paulos
5. Run Paul Steichen
6. Run Annette Hall
7. Run Mike Hodge
8. Run Marcus Nashelsky
30. Ski Matt “you can’t punish me enough” Maxwell
31. Ski or Run (TBD) Karl Steichen
50. Bike Ben “the shock star” Shockey
51. Bike Dennis "Finished '08 and kept my toes" Grelk
52. Bike Lance “I hope this year is better than last” Andre
53. Bike Scott Marx
54. Bike Corey Kronser
55. Bike Justin Meyer
56. Bike James Ryan Zimmerman
57. Bike Ronnie Jr. “Love the Girls” Fangman
58. Bike Nate Van DerWeide
59. Bike Michael Lemberger
60. Bike Trevor Rockwell
61. Bike Brad “I signed up for Hypothermia not a race” Dumville
62. Bike Scott “What am I doing” Sundby
63. Bike James W. “I’m racing in my Birthday Suit” Zimmerman
64. Bike Irene “I love studz” Schroeder
65. Bike Jerome Full
66. Bike Sean Mullins
67. Bike Mark “Result of Anxiety” Sirek
68. Bike Tyler Graham
69. Bike Eric “I hate bike poetry” Sovern
70. Bike John Nelson
71. Bike David “I’m staying dry this year” Pramann
72. Bike Jesse Reyerson
73. Bike Todd Erickson
74. Bike "Jesus Joe" Nolan
75. Bike Jeremy Riniker
76. Bike Adam Blake
77. Bike Joel Austin
78. Bike Coleman Retzlaff
79. Bike Nicholos Wethington
80. Bike Josh Peterson
81. Bike Tracy Tompson
82. Bike Grace Shirley-Couch
83. Bike Dustin Quade
84. Bike Devon "Off the grid in Arizona" Dyreson
85. Bike Max "the man" Anderson
86. Bike Timo "i'm not watching this year" Ingram
87. Bike Thomas Miller
88. Bike Mark VanderWoude
89. Bike Rob McKillip
====== Unofficial Roster ======
9. Run Adam Harmer
10. Run Nick Martin
32. Ski Mike Zeigle
33. Ski Jeff Barnes