Monday, September 21, 2009

RATM storms WI and the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival

September 19, 2009 was the 27th running of the "40." The Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival is probably the biggest race in the midwest. I've done this race every year since 2004. It is more than a race, it is a time to hang out with friends and spend a weekend in the great north woods of Wisconsin. This year Chris, Marni, and Scott made the trip back to WI to see what it was all about. Wed after work we loaded up my Element and headed east. We ended up driving to 2 A.M. CST. which was longer than we expected. Thursday morning we got on the road and headed to Eau Claire WI to meet Jim Parman and ride Lowe's Creek. Man that trail is fun. The riders in Eau Claire do a good job of keeping that trail in good shape and adding new fun trails. After about an hour of riding we went out to dinner and my parents, sister, and niece met us out. Friday morning lead us to Hayward and the rented cabin were all were awaiting our arrival to register. Jim cooked everyone an amazing dinner of chicken, pasta, and broccoli. An early rise and pancake and egg breakfast was the making for a good race. I had a goal of 2:35, which would have been a pace of 15.8 mph. I got a good warmup and a better start than expected. The gun went off, and we left the start. This year the pace was quite a bit slower than usual the first couple of miles. Once we hit hwy 77 the pace jumped to that of a road race. I hit Rosie's field, and it was game on. The rolling terrain of the Birkie was tough, but I was feeling good. I made the first split at OO which is at mile 16 in 58 minutes, and I was very happy with the speed at which miles were ticking off. I made it a point to work with riders as much as possible. My heart rate was in the 175-185, which I felt comfortable maintaining for the whole race. The Seely Fire tower climb is at about mile 28. It is a four pitch loose climb. Strong riders can middle ring it, but many people are forced to walk because of how tough it is or someone choosing a poor line in front of you. I felt great, and middle ringed it the whole time. About 2/3 of the way up, some random dude behind me said "you climb like you are from Colorado." Flabbergasted, I stuttered a few words and asked if he recognized my jersey. He had no idea where I was from or who I was and it turns out he is from Westminster CO. He likened it to climbing Mt. Falcon, which I would not go that far, but it was funny. At the start, the announcer stated the race was 40.9 miles. At the low 30s I started doing the math, and realized if that was the case, I would be close to being sub 2.5 hours, but would have to hustle. I again started to work with a group of riders, Don Edinburg among them. I stayed in my big chainring through most of the climbs and rollers. I fast approached the final climb, flew down the backside, and jumped up the last little climb to a time of 2:28:13. I smashed my goal. Shortly after I was done, Chris rolled in too. We celebrated the evening with a trip to famous Dave's and several beverages and stories.

Sunday saw the four of us head up to Rock Lake near Cable. That is another amazing trail system. Lots of flowing midwest single track with rocks and other obstacles. I would strongly recommend riding there if ever near Cable, WI. I could not have predicted better weather or how things fell together for the weekend. It was great seeing a lot of friends, even if brief, seeing family, and introducing some of my Colorado friends to my Wisconsin friends. The biking was great all weekend. The driving sucked, but was well worth it.

Guilty parties
Nate Jasperson
Paul Kekstas
Jim Parman
Justin Lund
Jeremy Vogels
Sara Birdsall
Luke Utech
Chris Plesko
Marni Plesko
Scott Deleeuw
Jesse Shoemaker
Brett Ebben, of coarse

Results for:
Brett Ebben
Chequamegon 40

Bib #578
City, StateDenver, CO
Team Name:ride against the machine
Age GroupM 30-34

Split Results

Finish Results
Finish Time02:28:12.9
Overall Place180 out of 1778 Chequamegon 40 finishers
Division Place160 out of 1475 Chequamegon 40 Men finishers
Age Group Place24 out of 161 M 30-34 finishers
Gender Rank176 out of 1622 M finishers

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monarch Crest Trail

Friday nights place to sleep

Its a trail, its a river
Chris on a hidden trail
Erik, Michelle, Chris, Marni, and I
The Monarch Crest Trail is one of the higher rated trails in Colorado. This past weekend Erik, Michelle, Marni, Chris, and I set out to ride there. It starts at 11,300 ft, climbs to 12,000 ft, and then descends to 7,500 ft in about 33 miles. Typically, you would shuttle this with a vehicle on the top of the pass and one at the visitor center in Salida (more on this later). The day started nice and sunny, though a little cool, but that is to be expected at that elevation. The ride has quite a wide variety of terrain. We climbed for a while to start. The first extended downhill section dropped us 1,000 ft in no time. Most of the descents throughout the trail are rocky and contain a fair amount of roots. Some of them were really loose. We occasionally went through small scree fields. But there was nothing that was really tricky. After a while the the skies became overcast and there was light rain and thunder. In a bunch of places the trail was overtaken by flowing water. There was a fair amount of hail that missed us. At lower elevations the weather was better, almost warm for the last bit. The day went pretty well. The only thing that made the trip interesting was that the keys to the shuttle car at the bottom were locked in my car at the top. Fortunately there were many others out riding and I was able to get a ride to the top.