Coronavirus Edition

5 05 2020

Not sure about anyone else, but not much new in my world since last time I posted.

There were so many things I wanted to catch everyone up on from the time before our current dystopian discontent.   But for the sake of limited time and bandwidth, here are the post-apocalyptic highlights:

Thank you Dr. Meditz!  Alchemist team rider and infectious disease wunderkind, Amie Meditz, was featured in the Daily Camera for her work on the COVID-19 pandemic.   Strong work, Amie.

 

Also. it’s about time for a new Team kit.  Nothing like frivolous spending to improve your quarantine-induced ennui.  2020 Team Kit below:

 

The Alchemist gaiters/buffs are expected in this week.  Not an N95 by any means, but enough to deflect the dirty looks when out riding/running/walking/shopping/displays of public intoxication.  Summer weight and moisture-wicking, so you can breathe through them without suffocating, over-heating, or fogging up your specs.  Limited supply, but more coming.

More to come soon with team updates.  Stay safe everyone.





Alchemist Summer Recap: Drew at Kokopelli, Lindsey to Kona, and more!

24 09 2018

It’s been a grand ole summer, folks.  Let me explain.  No, let me sum up.  Alchemist had another big season of racing and riding.  Need a smidge of toilet literature?   You’ve come to the right place.

Drew at the finish of the Kokopelli 140 MTB race. Broken rib, unbreakable spirit. You are a warrior, Drew. Read the write up below.

Alchemist tackles the Kokopelli 140.     Kokopelli is a fertility deity of the ancient Pueblo & southwest tribes. He is a humpback flute player & a trickster seen primarily at night in the waining moon. The Kokopelli trail was created in 1989 running between the iconic mountain bike towns of Fruita & Moab over 145 miles and 14,000 vertical feet of climbing. The route is partly single track but mostly rough jeep roads. There has been a unofficial, secret solo self supported race for years. The route is extremely difficult unsupported as there is virtually no water on the route for most of the year. The solo self supported record is held by Rebecca Rush who rode the course in 13:32. The Kokopelli 100 started a supported race last year with an abbreviated 100 mile event & this year extended it to the full 145 miles of the trail. I have wanted to ride the entire trail for years but the logistics conspired to make it no fun – until now. The race was set up with feed zones about every 20-30 miles. It starts at midnight and there are no course markings – navigation is part of the game. Around 100 riders entered but 30 had become wiser before the start with 70 showing up to ride. There are also several other simultaneous events going on – a 100 mile MTB, a relay, and a 100 mile ultra run. There was supposed to be an easy roll out for 5 miles on bike path before we hit the single track, and you all know what that means – race on full speed 45 seconds after midnight. I was “full gas”, just hanging on to the lead group. Five of us split off the front & were having the times of our life on the initial Fruita loops – Mary’s & Troy Built. Anyone who knows those loops knows some of it is on a cliff edge but of course we could not see any of that. I did not want to let this group go as we were working well together & mostly because of navigation. A couple of the riders knew the course & also had live GPS navigation. I kind of know the course & had a map on my phone – in my pack, hardly the same. It was pitch black out & there are hundreds of turns. It was well worth while to share light & route finding with a group. We reached the 2nd feed zone at 50 miles way ahead of our fastest predicted times. I decided to take my time & feed well but lost my group. My downfall is I don’t eat enough. Toni force fed me for 5 minutes & I was set to go, feeling great. Of course I promptly got a wee bit lost. It is very disorienting in the dark, in the desert and tired on top of it all. I reached a split & could not decide left or right. Eventually after a mile or so of floundering I got back on course. Pretty much everyone got lost for a bit that night. Dropping into the Colorado river at 70 miles, riding fast, alone, in the dark – smart. There was a two foot wide ditch. 29ers roll over everything right? Ouch! Picked up the pieces, checked the equipment – lights? both OK, wheels? All one piece, bike seems to work. Right 4th rib – pretty sure I used to have one & now I have two. Oh well, I hear those grow back. Still feeling strong & got going again. First light is always special on night rides. I rolled in to the Dewey Bridge feed on the Colorado river just at dawn. Toni again stuffed me with a burrito & a smoothy & I rolled out. I was feeling my best so far, moved up to 3rd place but this part of the course is wicked. It is really steep and if you like babyhead rocks on a sand surface it is your kind of ride. There is no shade & it was now 95 degrees. The next 3 climbs would take a combined 6 hours. I was hurting at 100 miles & totally cracked at 120. Everyone had to be hurting as well so I took a short 20 minute, lay down , loosing a couple sports, & then pushed on. I ultimately finished 5th overall in just over 16 hours. My goal was just a finish and I was thrilled with this. There were 15 total finishers in the 140 mile race & a few relay teams & 2 day racers finished as well. Two ultra runners finished the 100 mile run – the leader took 27 hours. This was a really great event! I would not want to mislead anyone & talk you into it next year. It is really, really, really hard. I suffered for hours. You will need to ride long, steep in the dark & in the heat while you navigate the course. If you are up for an adventure this is a good one. Have fun all! Drew Geer

Over 140 miles, I guess you have time to stop and take some photos. Nice shot, Drew.

Lindsey is back!  After a nutso Scapula fracture last year training for Kona, she has busted her ass to come all the way back, and is even stronger as she heads into the Ironman World Championships again.  Here she is in Austin, winning her division.  Keep an eye on her in Kona on Oct 13th.  The other competitors better keep an eye out too.  This kid is coming in hot!

 

Another Ironman Podium in Santa Fe.    More to come, Lindsey.

 

Alex C. taking the top spot at the Hundito this summer in the stacked singlespeed category. (BTW, any category I race in is by default stacked, which of course explains why I finish at the back of the pack.) Strong work, Alex!

Mike S. rockin the Alchemist skinsuit and a 2nd place finish at the Hygiene TT. Who knew those skinny legs could generate that much power?  Great job repping Alchemist on the road, Mike!

 

Bill H. riding with First Ascents at Leadville this year.  He went into it off the couch and got his belt buckle, and raised a ton of coin for young adults with cancer.  What’s more impressive? His girls ran the whole course with him in flip flops!

Bill’s write-up: Thanks for your support and for helping provide kids and young adults impacted by cancer with an epic outdoor experience, there is no better medicine!! The race went well two weekends ago and I was inspired by your generous donations. The day started ~5am with temps ~40f and just enough of light to prep for the day, make some oatmeal and begin to get psyched for the big “race”. In reality after training for only six weeks, I was just hoping to survive, and I did! At mile fifty, the half way point and the highest elevation of the race, my legs were cramping pretty badly, and I thought the day might be over. I was also on a 12hr+ pace, though I wasn’t really tracking this very closely. However, after resting for 10-15 minutes, eating and rehydrating at the aid station at 12,200 ft, I was ready to go again! Luckily, most of the next ten miles was down hill, and then I was treated to a very nice welcome at the First Descents support tent at the sixty mile mark. After more food and drink, and hugs and kisses from my kids, I was feeling very good about the next forty miles. Somehow I began to feel better and stronger as the miles flew by. I wasn’t paying much attention to the clock as I had very little expectations regarding a finish time, other than knowing a sub-twelve hour time would be nice. Again, somehow around the eleven hour mark, one of the racers, of the small group I was riding with, pointed out that we’d have a good chance of finishing before the twelve hour mark if we continued at our current pace. So, the race was “back” on! I felt inspired and began passing people (though I was probably passed by more than I passed) and made it to the edge of town at ~11:35 mark. I could begin to hear the crowd, that extended a couple miles back from the start/finish line and it really pumped me up. In order to snag a small belt buckle you have to finish in under twelve hours, a larger belt buckle for the under ten hour finishers. So, the crowd of course knew this and was cranking up the noise. Then with about one hundred meters to the finish line I heard my wife, Julie, say, “there he is” and my three daughters jumped in to run with me through the finish line, whoop whoop!! A great day all around and for a very worthy cause! Here is a link to some interesting stats on the day as well as some fun pics! https://www.athlinks.com/event/219291/results/Event/680196/Course/1090830/Bib/1135 Thanks again, and your support will make a difference in the lives of those that are most deserving. Best, Bill

Women’s MTB Day in Moab. Linda, Dice, Ryn.  You look mahvelous.

 

Brad F. showing off the Alchemist winter gear. Thermal jersey, mtb shorts, and Brad make for a sexy combo.

 

Tara dropping it like it’s hot at the Revolution Enduro.

 

Paul in the midst of Everesting Mount Sanitas. 29,000′ of gain. Something like 30 laps? Paul is a prime Alchemist ambassador across multiple sports, and reps Alchemist wherever he goes.  Check out his Van below.

 

This baby was turning heads (mostly because of the Alchemist magnet). Sadly, this Truvato was wrecked when a lady crossed the double yellow on the way to Sea Otter. But happily, Paul and Robin were okay. Also, they are getting a brand new van. Looks like I need to get them a brand new magnet.

 

Paul S. with Moonstomper sporting Alchemist Wool for the 280 mile Rockstar Dirt Tour. He was one of only 8 out of 40+ competitors to complete the course due to snow and subfreezing temps. I like to think the Wool jersey kept him from freezing his arse off.  Mad props, Paul.

 

Elliot L. shredding and representing.  Go, Elliot!

 

Linda L. takes after her daughter. Here she is in the UK doing some Alchemist product testing with Tim. Bad-ass.

Thanks to all who shared there photos and stories.  Folks, if you have Alchemist photos or news, don’t forget to send them my way.

 

 





Max and Josh in the Media

2 05 2018

Been a long time, sports fans.  The blog is back for the spring season.

Max has been tearing up the high school mountain bike scene, but did you know his main sport is swimming?  He made the paper, and you can read more about it at Bocopreps.com.   Great job, Max!

Max in his signature event, 100 meter Butterfly.

 

And yet another impressive Alchemist accomplishment.  Who knew that our very own Josh Winer was not only a strong cyclist, but also the #1 NFL Draft pick, having his bare-chested image grace the cover of Sports Illustrated?  Congrats, Josh!

Hey Josh, we all know you asked to take your shirt off for the photoshoot, so you could show off your sweet Alchemist tattoo.  Atta boy.  Monkey power!

 

Hey Josh, we can’t see your chest hairs in this photo. What gives?

 

Hey Josh, now that’s what I’m talking about. Sun’s out, guns out. Blue Steel comes in handy for race pics and magazine cover shoots.





Brett at Xterra Worlds

6 11 2017

Brett competed in the Xterra World Championships in the Maui last week.  He finished 2nd in his age group (by less than a minute), and 5th overall.  That’s in the WORLD, folks.  Amazing!

His recap below (copied from his blog).    You can follow him directly here.  Congratulations are in order, sir!

 

~Maui~

I figure I better write this while things are still somewhat fresh in my mind.

Even with the Maui course being the longest and most challenging of the year, things still seem to fly by and blur together. Upon finishing, one is quick to forget many of the details of what actually transpired over the last 3 ish hours. The finish line provides a relief from the pain that starts in your arms just after 9:05 Maui time, spreads to your legs throughout the day and eventually settles in your heart and mind. By the time the run starts, there is nothing left but the mental image you have created and what heart that you have left to push through the immense pain.

In my case, I look back and think of all the places I could have made up 45 seconds….hindsight sees a lot of opportunities.

My entire season was built with two races in mind. I wanted to win my Age group national championship and world championship. I knew if everything came together on race day, I had the ability, and had put the work in to accomplish both.

In september, I was able to tick off one of these boxes by grabbing the 30-34 AG National and Pan-Am championship as well as second amateur. With that kind of confidence I returned to Boulder with one goal left, to win worlds. While Colorado weather didn’t really cooperate as well as my right knee deciding to flair up and keep me off the bike a bit, I still came to Maui feeling fit and confident that I still had a fighting chance. The weather leading up to race day was rough, and I was forced to do my pre-ride on friday which would not normally be my preference as its a bit close to the race. Regardless, I felt great on race morning.

Swim

Swimming has been my achilles heal since I began xterra in 2014. I have knocked minutes off my swims, but I still typically come out a few minutes down on the fastest guys. In Maui this can make it tough if you swim slow, considering the large amounts of single track on the bike. I stood at waters edge with the mindset that I would attack the swim and no-one would keep me from latching onto that front line of swimmers. When the gun went off, I had a decent start, but got just slightly pinched off right away. This mistake cost me as I was stuck in a mess of people and couldn’t find a way out. The first buoy was also chaos because of this and I probably lost myself a good 15-20 seconds just trying not to get pushed under as I rounded the first turn. The swim back to shore and the shore run went well, I glanced at my watch and the first 850yards had me at 10:40 so I figured I would still pull it off in 22 minutes or less. Even though I had a clearer path to the second buoy, I somehow slowed up and ended my swim at 23 minutes and some change.

Normally I wouldn’t complain about this swim time, considering my previous times were in the  27 and 25 minute ranges, but the guy who beat me swam 19 and change. So did I lose it here?

Bike

The bike is the hardest bike course by far of any on the circuit. Its impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t done it, and it seems even I forget from year to year how difficult it is. I described it the other days as having multiple super-flagstaff walls all over it, then take aways some traction and add a lot of heat, humidity and scorching sun.

I attacked the first section known as the lower bowl fairly quick, passing as many people as possible as quick as possible. Once I hit the upper section which is 3.5 miles in, the competitors had thinned out and I was feeling pretty good. The big climbs came and went, I worked my way by a few more riders, and thinking back sat behind a few a bit to long. When I hit the last 5.5 miles of lower bowl single track, I was completely alone. I caught one more elite rider before transition but that was it, and I had a good feeling. When I ran into transition I couldn’t make out any bikes in the amateur transition area, but I knew that was probably not the case as I knew a couple guys who were better swimmers and I had not passed on the bike. Notably, Tate Haugen and Ryan Lewis who I had battled hard an nationals, had to be out front still.

 

Run

The run is something you try not to thing about until you get there as it can make you ease up on the bike. Basically you run uphill, then down a little, then up forever, then down a little, then up a lot more, then down a little, then across a beach, then up…and its hot.

Its a death march and really does separate the men from the boys. Sure enough, I caught Ryan Lewis about 2 miles in and he was going backwards fast. I was running on the heals of one elite competitor and the top 35-39 age grouper for the majority of the course. At mile 3 we passed Tate and left him behind as well. All I knew was there was one age grouper right in front of me, but he was not in my age group. He clearly had a leg on me and I had made up my mind that I would just do my best to hang on as I wasn’t feeling all that spry myself at this point.

On the final hill, a volunteer yelled out that I was fourth amateur on the course. This was the first information I heard all day and at this point, I was only about a mile from the finish and there wasn’t much I could do to change the outcome. I charged the downhill, the beach run almost killed me, and got to once again run side by side with my wonderful wife lindsay up the grass to the finish line.

I got 2nd and actually 5th amateur.

 

Final thoughts

Does it suck? yea it does, especially when I look at the 45 seconds I got beat by. I can think of so many places I could have charged harder on the bike to gain little advantages, moments when I coasted to get a little recovery, or when I was riding alone and maybe got a little complacent. If I could have just had a visual on the leader on the run, maybe it would have changed the game. I also know I can swim at least a minute faster which I will continue to work on over the winter. Regardless this was the outcome. I made huge improvements all across the board even with the setbacks leading up to the race. I made the podium and I have to be proud of that. My disappointment only comes from knowing what I was capable of.

My dilemma now is what do I do next year…Is racing amateur going to continue to motivate me? do I grab elite status and see where I stack up?  First I will work to get the knee healthy, get some recovery and maybe come december I will start to make some decisions.

On a final note, I have to give it up to my competitors. This shows the depth of talent in the amateur field.

 

 

Thanks to all the people who came through to support me this year.

My wife Lindsay is my #1 supporter and always beats me on that Maui finish line sprint!

Sabrina Huffaker for being a great friend, and supporter for every event I take on.

Marcus Hille is the best in the business. The healing hands that keep me in one piece

Chaun Sims for supporting me in one of my biggest wins of the season at Xterra Beaver Creek

Alchemist for keeping me constantly supplied with the best riding gear

Breck Bike Guides for making sure I always get my hands on the absolute best equipment

Roka for supplying me the best wetsuit on the market for nationals

Lindsey Deneen for almost drowning me in the pool many many times

Russell and Kelly Herbert who basically put me on this journey

James and Heather Doran for their constant support year after year

Rife Hilgartner for being a great friend, training partner.

Whiting Leary for supporting the cause this year

Blair Murphy for teaching me not to swim “pretty”

There are so many more.

 

Also, Many more pictures to come..





Alchemist Summer Wrap up

3 10 2017

Folks,

This blog has been idle while a lot happened over the summer.  So, here it is in all its glory.  Or rather, with nod to Inigo Montoya, there is too much, let me sum up.

Brett continued his dominance on the Xterra circuit with another win at Beaver Creek. The man is on a mission for World dominance.

 

John P. rode like a man on fire at the Hundito to earn this 3rd place podium spot in the Singlespeed cat. I went out fast, but couldn’t hold him off, as he went by me at mile 30 like i was standing still. Strong work, Pavlik!

 

Hooge (middle) busted out another impressive Trail Run Podium at the Quad Rock 25 in Fort Collins. This was one of his shorter races, normally competing in some of the hardest running Ultras on Earth.

 

Drew went to Italy to compete in the 24 Hour Solo Worlds. Two years ago, he won the 50+ group in California. The competition is traditionally much stronger in Europe, but Drew, as per usual, showed up with guns ablazing.        “In just about 13 hours I will start the 24 Hour world championships in Finale Ligire Italia. Start is 10 am – about 2 AM your time. I have an ace support team with more than 30, 24 hour races between them – 2 mechanics, 1 ⅓ therapist, 2 camp “moms”, 1 photographer – of course this is all  3 people; Toni, Wesley & Nick. We have the system dialed. Hopefully I put in the work over the past 6 months to ride well.
The event is huge – 400 solo riders. We are all on a 10 k course so things will be tight. Lots of “ciao”, “grazie”, “tranquillio (calm down). It will not be lonely out there.  I did well in the WEMBO worlds in 2015 in California but this is a whole different deal. We are in the heart of cycling here. No expectations for placing, just hope to ride well.”

 

He rode so fast the cameras didn’t have time to focus.

 

Railing a turn on the way back into the transition point.

 

Some pretty spectacular night photos. Drew wore his custom Team kite with WEMBO World Champ Stripes and the American flag. The ghetto number plate was his backup. Bike #1 crapped out, so he had to ride Bike #2 for much of the race.

 

Drew’s doppelganger joined in the on the fun.

 

Drew’s impeccable crew. Toni, Wesley, and Nick. Loads of 24 hour experience between them.

 

“Sorry – this mail never went out. We are in Italy after all. Anyway, the internet crashed so there was no line timing anyway. Just finished the 2017 World Championships. I finished 3rd in the 55 year old age group. The winner, Peter, from Australia was 2nd behind m I. The 2015 Weaverville worlds and he won the 3016 event in New Zealand. He was just too strong all 24 hours. He led from the start, I got close but never close enough. It was back and forth between the Belgium in 2nd and I and he prevailed. I rode really well on a tough course. Very, very twisty the entire course. Rocky, steep loose technical climbs. A bit too hot for my liking. I had some trouble eating enough (editors note: he was puking his guts out) and had to take a break at 2am – something that won’t work if you want to win. I recovered well (editor’s note: after two hours of tossing his cookies, he dragged his ass back into the saddle and pedaled like a warrior poet) and moved back up the field. Very fun race. This is a huge event with concerts and parties all going on while we raced. Our course goes across the stage. My crew was of course, perfect. Now a little down time on the Mediterranean coast of Italy.”

 

Well done, Drew. Makin us proud!

 

Josh stomping the dirt at the Gold Rush Gravel Grinder. Is that Blue Steel?

 

Noel and Russ competed in the Glacier 360 in Iceland. Those two adventurers are no strangers to exotic and hard-ass riding. They raced La Ruta a couple years ago.

 

Spectacular terrain. And wet feet.

 

The duo were strong day in and day out in the exposed and rugged conditions.

 

Job well done, Fellas!

 

Gangsta

 

Max has become a force on the MTB circuit. He is riding for Boulder High, and he dominated the Short Track C series this past summer. Here he is on his way to winning the Short Track race, cape and all! Justin G. was hot on his heels and took second in the race. Way to go, fellas!

Laurie completed her first Half Ironman. She is normally an ultradistance cyclist, knocking out ridiculous 1200k rides in one sitting. She just started running and swimming this year.

Way to go, Laurie!

 

Another sub 5 hour century in the books. The fall edition was impressive. “Solid turnout yesterday, sorry we missed you! Not sure if you’re still keeping the Alchemist blog up to date? Regardless, here is the first of a few emails with my pictures from yesterday’s effort. No Hooge professional photog out there today — just me trying to capture the chaos while red-lining my heart rate and holding on for dear life to the wheel in front of me. Oh, and I hoped not to take anyone down in the process… 16 started: Geer, Vigil, Schaeffer, Brunner x2, Asnes, Pierce, Youngblood, Kellagher, de Kerf, (unknown), Doriese, Fross, Kreidl, Swanson.”

 

The start was strangely foggy. Here is the group riding into the pea soup.

 

Mike runs a tight ship. If you don’t keep a dialed paceline, you will be flogged.

 

The day cleared up for a great day of riding.  Mercifully, I was committed to a U10 soccer game, so I had to miss the fun (i.e. didn’t have to get spit out the back of the peloton)

 

Brett is still on fire! “Well, we got some hardware today. One spot off the top of the amateur podium, but I snagged my first Xterra Pan-American AG Championship and my first Xterra U.S AG national championship. Not a bad day in ogden after been sick for so long. All the love to Nick Truitt and Sydney Truitt at Breck Bike Guides and my main man Jeff Wu with Alchemist. Kappius Components for helping keep me on the absolute best wheels on the market. So many more to Thank! Also congrats to Kiki Silver on her AG U.S Championship. Representing the Colorado Athletic Club Boulder crew! #paincave #xterranationals A few others that must be thanked and they know why. Lindsay TackSabrina HuffakerWill KauanuiLindsey Ness DeNeenBlair Carroll MurphyErin HanselWhiting Dimock LearyRussell Herbert and of course Marcus Allen Hille”

 

Big thumbs up! Brett has several wins this year along with being the Pan American Champ. He will be representing Alchemist and the U.S. of A. at the World Championships in Maui later this month. Get some, Brett. Want to know more? You can follow his training and competition blog here: http://bretttack.com/

 





Ironman Boulder: Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner

21 06 2017

Adding to Alchemist’s gawdy trophy case, Lindsey followed it up with another Alchemist smackdown at the Boulder Ironman last weekend.  She crossed the finish line (in 10:26) as not only the winner of her age group, but the top overall female amateur!  For her efforts, she punched her ticket to Kona.  We’ll be following closely.

On the men’s side, first time Ironmen, Dan R. and Stuart, crushed their first Ironmans (Ironmen?) in 11:09 and 12:01, respectively.  Great work out there, fellas.

Congrats to all the Ironman competitors.  You looked fantastic out there in the Alchemist Triathlon kits.

Lindsey looking fresh after stomping on the competition. All those ladies to her right just got made.

Ironman FB video.  You can see our girl coming out of the shoot at around 32:18 into the vid.  She’s in the Under-1 hour group of fast swimmers.

Dan has had an epic saga just getting to the start line.  Once he finally got there, he was a freight train. Nothin gonna stop that man.  See his story below. It was featured on Ironman’s athlete spotlight.  Sweet!

Daniel Ryan, you are an IRONMAN!

 

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FIronmanBoulder%2Fvideos%2F1323913297721893%2F&show_text=1&width=560

 

Stuart also finished strong at 12 hours in his first Ironman.  He lost so much weight, his shorts looked like baggies by the time he crossed the finish line.  Time to go bulk up, Disco!

Disco and his lovely wife and support crew.

Adorbs

Yes, he looked this happy the whole time.

Still feelin good.

Go Stu

IRON MAN STUD

 

Congrats to all the Ironman competitors.  Makin us proud.

Mtb results and podiums to come in the next post.  Stay tuned.





Brett’s Xterra Win, Take Deux.

12 06 2017

I haven’t dialed in the embeds from Instagram, obviously. Here are Brett’s words and photos/videos. For reals this time.

View this post on Instagram

Small recap of today

A post shared by Brett Tack (@tackhammer63) on

tackhammer63Small recap of today

tackhammer63Victory baby! #breckbikeguides #teamalchemist #mauiherewecome #kappiuscomponents





Alchemist Triathlon Winning Biggly

12 06 2017

Lindsey just annihilated her age group at the Boulder Ironman. What does that mean? She punched her ticket to Kona, baby! Big congrats to Dan R., who crushed an 11:09 in his first IM, and Disco, who busted out a 12:01 in his first IM as well. More photos and race details to come in the next installment.

But in the meantime, in the world of Xterra, Brett went down to Alabama a few weeks ago and won the darned thing. Brett, take it away:

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

Small recap of today

A post shared by Brett (@tackhammer63) on May 19, 2017 at 9:07am PDT

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

A post shared by Brett (@tackhammer63) on May 20, 2017 at 5:34am PDT

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

Victory baby! #breckbikeguides #teamalchemist #mauiherewecome #kappiuscomponents

A post shared by Brett (@tackhammer63) on May 20, 2017 at 10:18am PDT

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

Congrats on the win, Brett. Nice lead up to X-terra Worlds. More to come!

 

 





Drew at 24 Worlds

7 06 2017

Drew was in Italy this past weekend at WEMBO 24 hour solo Worlds.  The competition was even more fierce than when he won the Championship in Weaverville, CA in 2015.  He was just behind the leader for over half the race, then the “vomit monster” hit at 230a, sidelining him for a couple hours.  But like the warrior poet that he is, Drew got back in the saddle and climbed back from the dead.  Words and photos:

Hi all,
In just about 13 hours I will start the 24 Hour world championships in Finale Ligire Italia. Start is 10 am – about 2 AM your time. I have an ace support team with more than 30, 24 hour races between them – 2 mechanics, 1 ⅓ therapist, 2 camp “moms”, 1 photographer – of course this is all  3 people; Toni, Wesley & Nick. We have the system dialed. Hopefully I put in the work over the past 6 months to ride well.
The event is huge – 400 solo riders. We are all on a 10 k course so things will be tight. Lots of “ciao”, “grazie”, “tranquillio (calm down). It will not be lonely out there.  I did well in the WEMBO worlds in 2015 in California but this is a whole different deal. We are in the heart of cycling here. No expectations for placing, just hope to ride well.
I think I have the live timing site:
The event site is here but they don’t update anything:
Wesley will send some updates to this mailing list. She will also post to my facebook.
Ciao,
Drew

They do it right in Italy. The race takes place during a 24 hour giant party with live music and topless women everywhere. I may have made up that last part. But the ride in front of the stage and live band is no joke. Here is Drew coming across on one of his early laps.

 

The riders are silhouetted against the backdrop of the stage while live music plays on through the night.

 

“Just finished the 2017 World Championships. I finished 3rd in the 55 year old age group. The winner, Peter, from Australia was 2nd behind me in the 2015 Weaverville worlds and he won the 3016 event in New Zealand. He was just too strong all 24 hours. He led from the start, I got close but never close enough. It was back and forth between the Belgium in 2nd and I and he prevailed. I rode really well on a tough course. Very, very twisty the entire course. Rocky, steep loose technical climbs. A bit too hot for my liking. I had some trouble eating enough and had to take a break at 2am – something that won’t work if you want to win. I recovered well and moved back up the field. Very fun race. This is a huge event with concerts and parties all going on while we raced. Our course goes across the stage. My crew was of course, perfect. Now a little down time on the Mediterranean coast of Italy. Drew”

As is typical of Drew, he vastly understates the shittiness when he says that he “had some trouble eating enough”.  Toni said he was tossing his cookies throughout the 21st lap.   He was pretty deep in the hurt locker, but as is typical of Drew, he got back in the race, and fought is way back onto the podium.  Atta boy.

Much more been going on.  Next post coming soon with more updates.

 

 

 





Sub 5 Century 2017

9 05 2017

The 4th annual Sub 5 Spring Century went down last weekend.  Mike W. and the crew motored to a new record of 4:23:49.  Check out the Relive.  I joined for the last 40 miles and still got spit out the back by these thunder-thighed studs.

Enjoy these photos from the day.  Thanks also to Paul H. who leapfrogged the group in his super deluxe adventurmobile to capture some of these shots.

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Big crew for the Start!

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Mike S. moving back into the fast lane on his way back up for a pull.

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Heading back to the start point on the Diagonal

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Aloha, Busse!

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Mike W. cracked the whip to make sure everyone kept it smooth.

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Like a well-oiled and sunscreened machine. The pace line rotated clockwise to keep things fast and efficient.

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Arn leading the pace line and showing us his injured thumb.

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Beautiful weather!

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Backdrop ain’t bad either.

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Horse X-ing. Yes, a lot of horsepower in this group.

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Paul got some aerial shots from the top of his van.

 

 





Cape Epic Blog

23 03 2017

John and Joel finished stage 4 in 12.  They are hanging in at 11 in the GC.  https://www.cape-epic.com/teams/2017/9503/alchemist-mountain-flyer

 

Below is from the Mountain Flyer blog. Enjoy!

 

John Bliss Cape Epic Blog: Day 1 in Cape Town

Sparkplugs in their Mouths

The Morning – As Inspector Clousseau was fond of saying, “we have arrive –ed”. 19 hours of traveling from Denver through London’s Heathrow airport, a quick exit through Cape Town Customs, grab our bike boxes and we were met by a quiet middle aged woman with smiling, warm eyes, Leeny. She brought us to our driver, a GQ model like-looking young guy with rapid fire chatter, a tour guide’s monologue of what we were seeing, and into the traffic we plunged.

But this traffic was notably different – down the miles of cars inching along to work in the city, along the center divider, were hordes of black men in packs, meth heads, he said, slowly and methodically scanning each car. They walked with a swagger like they owned this highway. Our driver said they were looking for single woman with handbags in the front seat to rob. They do this in full view of the traveling masses, he said, in broad daylight, typically during rush hour when cars are moving slowly. “Too many of them and not enough police.”

“I tell my wife everyday to put her purse in the boot, but she won’t listen,” he says with a pained expression. “She says, I put it in the center console so they can’t reach it from the driver window.” He tells her, “But they break the front window and pull it right out.” He tells me to look closely at their mouths. “You will see a spark plug in their teeth.” I did. “That’s so when they jump on the hood, they press the spark plug to the window and it shatters.” We did not witness this, but he said he had. “Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore,” I thought.

On the other side of the highway were encampments, shanty towns. 20×20 ft. corrugated square boxes. No windows. District 9 without aliens.

The Afternoon – We walked around our hotel, the Southern Sun Waterfront, to get the jet lag out of our legs and found a bike shop, The Handle Bar, with an espresso bar. The bike owner, a skinny, narrow slope-shouldered dude that looked like a former pro roadie, said we could ride to the local mountain biking “tracks”, a national park called Table Mountain.  He said it’s a steep road climb and then you’ll hit “tar roads” and jeep trails. He wasn’t kidding on the steep road part. Thirty minutes of continuous climbing and 2500 feet of gain and we arrived at Table Mountain. A  breathtaking view of Cape Town harbor, a gentle warm breeze, 82 degrees.  It felt and looked like I was back in Hawaii where I grew up. Every rider we ran into was warm, helpful, smiling, interested in our story but quick to say they weren’t fit enough to do the Cape. Even a guy who dropped us on several of the climbs riding a single speed said he wasn’t up for it. Shit, I thought, what have we gotten ourselves into?

The descent back into downtown Cape Town at 4pm was in rush hour. It wasn’t for the faint of heart.  It required every ounce of street smarts. Cars coming at you from every direction and of course our instincts were wrongly tuned to driving on the right. When you need to make split second decisions, this isn’t helpful.

They had intermittent bike lanes, big green things, but they were effectively short term parking for many delivery trucks and cabs. Pulling around them in traffic was the gut check moment because it was one lane only in each direction. At one point, a car on my left and a car on my right wanted to switch in front of me, squeezing me down the middle with a foot on either side of my ergon grips separating me from their front car doors. At least one guy said he was sorry as he cut me off.  We managed to make it back to the hotel intact. I found myself pining for the safety of singletrack.

From shanties to Paradise, what a bookend of experiences.





Team Alchemist/Mountain Flyer are ROLLIN’ at Cape Epic

22 03 2017

John Bliss and Joel Davis are flying the American Flag and representing Team Alchemist/Mountain Flyer at the mother of all stage races, Cape Epic.  They are creeping up the leader board and on the verge of cracking the top 10. Check it out here: https://www.cape-epic.com/teams/2017/9503/alchemist-mountain-flyer

John is writing a blog on the race for Mountain Flyer. The following is his first post:

 

John Bliss Cape Epic Blog: Holy Shit It’s Almost Here

Why the Cape Epic you ask?

Ironically, it was this guy, Mike Hogan (behind the GoPro, screaming “I think I broke a rib! Fuck,” in this YouTube video avove) and his teammate, Thomas Dooley, both former teammates of mine on Boulder-based Justin’s Nut Butter, that got me interested in the Cape Epic. Even after Hogan had to DNF with a broken collarbone, he and Thomas promised to be back for another crack at the Cape.  (They returned and finished the following year.).  Hogan/Dooley: “They treat the amateurs like pros. The race is so well organized, the service so amazing, the people so nice, the food top notch. This will be the most amazing bike racing experience you will ever have. It was life changing.”

They’d both done TransAlps, BC Bike Race, Breck Epic, TransGermany and still put this tops on their list.  “Bliss, before you get too much older, you need to do this,” they told me. “If you race Grand Masters Coed, you and Michele (my wife) could do really well.” (Even though Michele was a big Endurance Racer on the Singlespeed, her reaction was “Hell no, I’m not interested in racing 8 days. Are you crazy??” So much for that.)

I’ve always liked big challenges and pushing just a little bit more each time. I’d done several BreckEpics http://breckepic.com, and, on a dare, raced one 6 day solo Breck after doing the Leadville Trail 100 MTB race http://www.leadvilleraceseries.com/mtb/leadvilletrail100mtb/.

So, I figured, I’ve essentially pulled off a 7 day stage race, can be that much harder to do 8?

Yeah, it sounds epic, but can I do it?

I started researching the race and talking to more people that had done it. It’s much bigger from a volume standpoint than the BreckEpic (all stages except prologue in years past have been 50+miles, and more elevation gain) but then again, the Cape is at sea level whereas Breck is at 10,000 ft to 12,500 feet, and there is no snow!

I was encouraged by the stats of the 10th place finishing team in the Grand Masters last year: They’d spent about 37 hours on the bike, averaging about 5 hours/day. I could wrap my head around that.  That seemed doable.

But the one nagging element of the Cape was I’d never (and to this day still haven’t) ridden any bike (cx, mountain or road) at race pace for eight days, nor had I ever ridden this many miles back to back at ANY pace. What would happen to me physically, emotionally, psychologically? I felt like the early seafaring explorers worried about Monsters at the edge of the Flat Earth! Can I do it? Or will I be devoured?

Melissa Thomas

I reached out to a friend and former bad ass pro mtb and xTerra racer, Melissa Thomas, who had done the race. Me: “Any tips?” Melissa: “Get really fit, and get ready for a lot of wind and road tactics.” Me: “I’ll be weighing in at 129 lbs and never raced road.” Melissa: “Then enjoy the sites!” And she posted on Facebook a pic of a guy on a cruiser…Smart ass. But that’s Melissa. And she never mentioned that she finished 3rd in the 2004 Mixed at Cape Epic!

Palmares. You may be thinking that if this aging “Fred” can do it, so can I. And you’d be right. My palmares? They are virtually none. I’m at best a decent rider in Boulder.

I’ve had a few podiums in each cat in both MTB and Cross. I’ve had a few top ten finishes at Nats and one top 20 in CX Worlds.  So, I’m essentially upper mid pack fodder. But hey I’m committed! I’m the “A for effort” guy, or, in baseball parlance, Johnny Hustle.  And I can suffer…

Will You Be My Partner? Once I’d kind of come to the realization that yes, I could spend the time to train and could make the case to myself and others that I could probably finish it, I had to find a partner. (Cape is two person teams only, divided simply into five categories: Men, Women, Mixed, Masters and Grand Masters.) It turns out finding a partner for something like this isn’t easy. You must find someone that is in the right decade, has the money, the time, the commitment and the right culture fit. Many were initially interested but when push came to shove (i.e., registration deadline looming, and big cash deposit necessary), all backed off for one reason or another. Some reasons were legit, some sounded manufactured – “I think I’ll be experiencing problems getting away from work around then,” said several candidate’s months in advance.

I first looked for someone local that I knew and had raced with, figuring it would be easier and cheaper to arrange training rides and check off the culture fit box. They all declined. I found one guy that was willing to race up in age, but then he thought the better of it. Then it dawned on me, why not reach out to the very people that got me racing in the first place? There seemed to be a bit of poetic justice in the idea, particularly as I mulled over whether this could be my last big “bucket list” race of my racing career. You never know when work (or, worse, deteriorating health) might make it impossible.

I reached out to Joel Davis in early October 2016. Joel was one of several riders in the Blue Diamond/Las Vegas area that encouraged me over 15 years ago to race MTB’s as a Beginner in the Big Bear MTB Race Circuit. I still remember those first bike race conversations, “John, come race with us.” “Nah, I just like to ride for fun.” “John, racing IS fun”. Ultimately, while intrigued by their response, I still had to be dragged to my first Big Bear race. I can remember pre riding one lap of the course, and Joel who was racing Expert even back then, was coaching me on belly breathing. He doesn’t remember this but my belly does.  As I crossed the finish line, I vividly remember thinking, “When is the next one?” Mountain bike racing was a drug, that was my first “hit” and I’ve been addicted ever since. I don’t think I’ve missed a racing season.

Joel and I sealed the deal after many Facebook Messenger chats and discussions with our wives and his boss, and when we both learned in March that our applications were accepted.  We were now a Grand Masters team: Team Alchemist/Mountain Flyer! Holy fuck. It’s real.

The Cape Epic is more than a 2-man Team Race!

It sounds so cliché but it’s true. You can’t pull this off alone. If I succeed, and I may not, it will be due to a very large cast of characters in a dramatic comedy, starring, in addition to my partner, at least the following:

The Coach. When I moved to Boulder in 2005 I’d just cat’d up to a Cat 1/Expert in MTB.  That was a slap in the face transition from California Sport.  I reached out to Colby Pearce for a bike fit and coaching http://www.colbypearce.com.  Colby is

a former Olympian on the track, hour record holder and just all around bike racing stud in any discipline. Colby’s approach is very holistic: it’s as much about what you’re doing when you’re not on the bike than when you are: nutrition, rest, strength and conditioning, stretching, proper bike fit and, of course, because I live in Boulder, meditation. It’s also very practical: no, I’m not ever going to be a pro, nor do I have time to even train like one, so let’s fit this into a real life scenario: sudden trips, aging body, changes of weather, injuries, etc.  Joel quickly became a client too and it’s been great to commiserate on our training schedules and routines. Our goal with Colby has been pretty simple: get us to the point where we have a strong chance of finishing the race as a team. And call it good.

I realize that’s kind of an odd goal and may seem kind of low bar, but if you read the Cape Epic results it is indeed quite an accomplishment just to finish as a team.  For example, last year in Grand Masters, 43 teams finished the Prologue, but only 25 teams completed Stage 7. There are a helluva lot of racers that either DNF or have their partners DNF and then are forced to try to complete the race as “Individual Finishers”.

The Trainer.

Probably one of the best self assessments I’ve made in my racing career was to admit that I’d become less than durable as an athlete. So I set out with Jed Glass at Rally Sport http://www.rallysportboulder.com to change that.  It’s simple physics, if you have a malleable and strong core, when you crash, you’re less likely to get seriously injured. I’m not where I want to be yet, but it’s not due to Jed’s lack of trying!

The PT/Nutritionist/Wife.

My amazing wife Michele, aka Lil Ant, is a manual physical therapist who owns her own PT business — http://www.blissworkspt.com. She is a long time road, mtn and cx racer and for the 10 years I’ve been fortunate enough to be married to her and she has calmly put me back together after all my crashes and overuse injuries. These have ranged from a thumb busted in 3 places on an icy corner in a 9 degree CX race, to a crazy artery bleed-out caused by a road crash on my hip, to a separated shoulder in the 5th stage of the 6 stage BreckEpic (I finished w/fancy duct tape around my shoulder), to a nasty gouge across a forearm that the ER doc stuck his entire finger into, to the normal run of the mill crap we all endure.

The Masseuse. Michele works with some really good massage therapists that I see typically when it’s too late. I never knew the IT band was actually NOT supposed to feel like rebar. They always say, “you really ought to schedule something more regular.” I never do.

The Wrench. Since my first BreckEpic in 2010, it was “Daimo” Shanks/Service Course, but he had the audacity recently to close shop to become a lawyer. He put up with my incredible stupidity when it comes to bike mechanic shit. I like to race bikes; I don’t know how they work and I don’t care to.  Now, I’m working with an equally gracious, polite and skilled team of Jeff Wilbur and Mike Gavagan https://www.houseofspin.bike. They share space with Colby, who shares space with Panache who shares space with the Cycling Universe.  And House of Spin offers a great cycling cocktail: one part wrench, one part conversation and one part espresso.  Visit them and tell them I sent you.

The Team and Clothier. Alchemist. My Team. My Homies.

The ring leader, Jeff Wu incredibly as it may seem, has in his “spare time” launched a cycling clothing company when not doing multiple all nighters as an ER doc! The clothing is awesome, and we’re fortunate to be sporting it.

Thanks Jeff! We hope we’ll do you proud. Check out their cool stuff! http://teamalchemist.com

The Media. MountainFlyer. Without a doubt the coolest, best pic cycling magazine out there. It really is a coffee table-browse over your favorite beer or espresso- delight. And its Owner Brian Riepe couldn’t be cooler (or faster on the bike). Take time to savor their mag http://www.mountainflyermagazine.com. Thanks, Riepe, for allowing me to freelance for you…

Nutrition.

They say most endurance races are eating and drinking competitions. Apparently, this is particularly true with the Cape Epic.  I’m a big fan of bacon, particularly in the later stages of a race (i.e., 40-50 miles in). It’s like desert to me. When not eating bacon, I try to drink a shit load (but typically fail, and cramp my ass off).  Recently, Joel and I have been very happy with Fluid as an energy drink. Thank you, Fluid http://livefluid.com, for your support! And for those who know the problem, let’s just say there is no gastric distress with their product. It’s become a great addition to the nutrition tool kit.

All of you.

But honestly, the “Team” is really so much larger: it’s all the people you run into on a ride that offer encouragement, the casual conversations over coffee, the Facebook posts.  And encouragement also comes from non-riders, who utter comments like “That’s fucking ridiculous. Why would you do that?”

In answering that question, I guess I come back to where I started and why on Mar. 12 I’m headed to South Africa with Joel and Michele: “Because I’m not sure I can.”

Stay tuned. I’ll try to blog once more before we go, and if I can muster the energy, during the race as well. You can also follow me on the Twitter @boulderbliss or look for me on Facebook Live.

Thanks for reading.  And thanks for your support.

John Bliss








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