Finish Time: 3:58:58
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Races for: Carmichael Training Systems
Shattered Lance's 2011 time and came out with the new course record.
You more or less made a name for yourself doing 24-hour races. Why a race that's nipped in at under 4 hours? What do you like about mixing it up?
I have had significant success in the 24-hour race world and that has become what I am best known for, but I race XC races, enduro events, marathon races, stage races, etc. I love all styles of fat tire, dirt bike racing. I have been racing bikes for 15 years and to stay challenged and motivated it is essential to keep fresh events in my race calendar. There is nothing too short about the Alpine Odyssey!
What were your goals going into this race? Were you set on beating the record?
From the start line I was intent on forcing the pace at the front. My strength as a racer is when the road gets steep. So I did not want to waste any of the course that was tough climbing. I was aware that I might get caught on the descents because a group of riders can go so much faster than a solo rider back down towards Gothic. But they still had to chase and I was counting on that wearing down the contenders. I do not sit in or wait for the race to develop -- it is just not my style. Oftentimes it backfires, but sometimes it works. At the end of the day, I would rather lose trying to take the race to my competitors than ride wheels and win in the end. That is why I race mountain bikes. I was not thinking anything about setting a course record. That was just a bonus at the end of the day.
What did you think of the course? Any favorite spots in particular?
My first thought on the course was that it was hard. There was just nowhere to hide out there. You could always be pedaling hard and if you let up you were going backwards instantly. It was a huge challenge. I liked the first climb up Slate River Road. I felt like I could find a rhythm and tick out a really nice pace. But without a doubt the best section was the single track at the end. I went back and rode it more on Sunday, because that section was outstanding. Ripping around the berms and hitting the little jumps helped me forget the suffering that was taking place on the climbs. I cannot envision a more gorgeous day in Crested Butte -- absolutely perfect weather.
Tell us about the bike you rode and why it worked well for this course.
I was racing a Trek Superfly dual suspension 29er. I noticed that I seemed to be one of the few riding dual suspension but I would not have traded it for a few less pounds. Dual suspension helps my climbing by making sure my rear wheel stays, giving me the traction I need. Undoubtedly it descends way faster and keeps the collective chatter of the long ride from wearing me out. The Trek is insanely light as well, so really there is basically no penalty.
One of my unique setups was running a single ring 38-tooth rotor chainring. I have been running Rotor Q-Rings all season long and they have made a huge difference in my power transfer to the ground. As a long time singlespeeder, I have embraced a mash style of pedaling and the Q-ring helps make sure I can make the most of the power I have and pushes me quickly through the dead spot of my stroke. I love riding with them. Just like grips or tires you like, the Q-rings just feel good to ride with.
You're rolling with a new POC. That type of helmet is really growing in popularity. What are the benefits?
The benefits of the POC helmet are that you look rad! Seriously these are so far and away the best looking helmets in the market; it is not even close. I actually just got the helmet. I have wanted one for a long time, but it just showed up Friday before the race. I put it on and it was spot on from a fit standpoint. POC helmets offer a clear mountain-bike style with all the performance benefits that racers otherwise can only get from road race helmets. They are lightweight, with great ventilation, and make you feel like hitting some jumps. Have you seen all the colors the offer? I want one of each.
What's next on your calendar?
My race season is winding down but I still have two more events left. This coming weekend I will race a warmup XC race in Palmer Park here in Colorado Springs. That will lead into the 24-Hour Mountain Bike National Championships, also here in Colorado Springs. I have won three separate 24-hour national titles. In 2005, I won the Elite Solo title; in 2010 I won the Solo Singlespeed title; and then last year Daniel Matheny and I won the Duo National title. Of course I want to win -- I am fit and ready -- but I am not stressing about the race. Josh Tostado and I, among others, will have an epic battle. It will be one for the history books. I guarantee that.
And, finally, Leadville in 2013? What do you think?
I have never raced Leadville. I have always said that I wanted to do it, and I think this will be the year. I will focus the vast majority of my summer around the race. I look forward to the challenge.