The Chequamegon show

Every midwest racer who has hit the mountain bike wants to win the Chequamegon 40 one day. Such a cool race set in northern Wisconsin can't be beat.

The 2009 edition was super dry, well groomed, and FAST. Coming from road racing all season long the hills don't seem so big anymore, but the trails are still difficult and you can put down as much hurt to yourself and the peloton as your legs can dish out.

The leadout was sketchy as usual with 1700 eager racers trying to get to Rosies Field first. Well, Cole House nabbed that honor for the second year in a row with the ATV motorpacing session after the neutral. I was comitted to staying in the front and not getting swarmed into Rosies Field because of the headwind on the road. I took it from way too far out, but I lead the peloton over Rosies about 10 second behind Cole.

After Rosies, I just kept a nice steady tempo about 80% and rode the front through the opening 5 miles of Birkie Trail. It was good to stay in the front, but prolly should have backed off even more as the miles to come were much more difficult.

After the first long dirt road on Phillips Fire Lane Road, Cole and B Matter punched it and I went with. Tilford, Mike Phillips, Chris Peariso, Jeff Hall, and my teammate Bjorn all made the lead split.

After that the lead group was made and Tilford, Phillips, and I traded pulls at the front. Cty Rd OO came and went, and I missed my bottle feed. Whoops.

Things pretty much stayed the same until the base of Firetower. I kept the pace steady at the front with the plan that if I faltered, Bjorn would take over on the climbs in the final Birkie Trail section. Coming into Firetower I could feel I was getting dehydrated and starting to cramp. Tilford took front wheel into firetower and I was 2nd.

Tilford and I gapped most of the crew up to the final pitch in Firetower, but I faltered over the top and Cole lauched past me right up to Tilford at the top. Eventually B Matter, me, and Bjorn made up the few second gap on the downhill and the race was on!

I told Bjorn to go....he tried, and cramped. I told myself to go...no way, I can't stand up right now without my legs involuntarily locking up! Oh man, there goes B Matter, Cole, Tilford responds too...that's all she wrote. It was all I could do to make it over the remainder of the Birkie, get into the chase group with Marko, Dewy, Olheiser, Bjorn, Tristan, and Hall and sprint for 4th.

I was fighting so many leg cramps going up to the finish bowl I didn't know what to think. Somehow I turned on the gas to get a gap before the descent, came down well...and blotched my sprint. I gave it what I had, but Marko took the best line in the uphill sprint and got me at the finish line. 5th place.

Congrats to a great win by B Matter and a really strong ride by Cole and Tilford.

I'll be back next year!


Anonymous said...

Good pics!

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