Jake’s Blog-Maverick Classic Criterium

In 4 years I’ve competed in dozens of XC races and we usually only see a couple of tables for timing and registration at the race events.  Since our XC races are held out in the country, there are usually little to no spectators.  However, last weekend was a big difference!  The Maverick Classic Criterium was awesome!

They put on a big production which made me really excited!  One thing that was unique about the Criterium was that the Announcers had a big speaker system to play music and to call out the names of the riders that crossed the finish line-that was rad!  The race volunteers put a lot of hard work into closing down all the roads and baricading the entire course. That was another thing that made the Criterium special.  The most unique part of the Criterium was racing in downtown Grand Junction which was filled with sidewalk cafes, art stores and a brewery.  The spectators cheered me on lap after lap, that made proud to be a racer!

The Maverick Classic Criterium was a great ending to our 3 weeks of road bike training and racing.  I’m really excited to get back to MTB racing and to see if it helped me improve. Our future race events, the Sea Otter Classic, Whisky Off Road and the USA Cycling National Championships will reveal if our road training has payed off!

Nyes Blog-The Importance of Family, The Maverick Classic

The town we live in ,Cortez, requires us to drive hours to get to our race events. So far none of our family members or friends have lived in these cities.  Here’s what it’s like to finally go to a city where our family and friends can cheer us on!

Last weekend, we had a TT, Road Race and Criterium at the Maverick Classic in Grand Juncion, CO.   At the Criterium we were doing our normal warm up before the start of the race.  We saw our Mom waving her hand to stop us, at that point I saw my Aunt, Uncle and Cousins, too.  I was so happy to see them I challenged my Uncle to a race.  All of the fun and conversation I had made me so relaxed, that the race was a blast!  The Road Race was great because my uncle was able to drive his car with my family behind me. They cheered me on, gave me water and advice. All of the support from my relitaves made me pick up the pace on the last climb and race hard the last 6 miles to the finish.   Also, staying with my family was great because one night we had a barbacue.  We sat in the backyard next to a fire and had a good conversation and great time.  Being able to race in a city where my family lives makes me happy and motivates me to have a great race.  Especially because I’m racing in front of my family.

It was great to get this chance to see our family at that Race.  I’m looking foward to seeing our grandparents, 5 aunts, 2 uncles and 2 cousins at the Iron Horse Classic in Durango.  But sadly, this will be the only time in our schedule that we will race in front of family.  I will be awaiting my next chance to do this again!

Nye’s Blog- Lessons for a Beginner Road Racer

Recently, were given 2 old road bikes and we’ve only been on about a dozen road bike training rides since. We just went to our first road bike race the Trifecta Omniium in Las Cruces, NM.  I would like to tell you how different I think road biking is.

When I train for road racing I have found that I need fast/speed gearing and consistant, fast cadence to complete these long races. Road racing is done at high speeds and I am learning to train my muscles to be in big gears. I need to learn to pedal at a fast, consistant cadence and teach my muscles to spin those big gears. Being able to push a fast, consistant cadence and those big gears will build my fitness for the races in the future that I know will be up to 6-7 hours long. I learned that staying with a Peleton and drafting is important because I got dropped early in this road race and I was in the wind all day by myself. Now I know that staying with a pelaton is important because it cuts back on wind resistance and the work I have to do. Yackle Brothers Racing is going to the Maverick Classic Omnium in Grand Junction, CO in 2 weeks and I will use the knowledge that I learned from the Trifecta Omnium and I’m sure I will do much better there.  I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Jake’s Blog-Behind the Scene-the Trifecta Omnium

I just returned from my first road race, the Trifecta Omnium in Las Cruces, NM.  I thought it would be fun to give you a glipse, behind the scenes as we go to our race events.  Each time we go to a race event we start by making a list of food and gear that we will need.  Followed by packing our camping and racing gear in our VW Wagon, Yakima cargo boxes, and our bikes on our Yakima Rack and Roll Trailer.  For this Race, we left Friday morning and had to wake up at 4:00AM to make the 8 hr. drive.  At Noon we reached our destination and set up our camp at the Percha Dam State Park.  To get to our 3 races each morning we still had to make an hour drive Saturday and Sunday.  After finishing our tent camp set up, we set out for some fun!  First, Nye and I had great time exploring the Percha Dam.  We came upon a spooky irrigation tunnel and climbed inside, it felt like I was in a scary movie, it was awesome!  The Park also had hiking trail and we hiked along the Rio Grande River. We did our training ride and then went to the playground. It was enjoyable too!  Our Races were great and we had so much fun at our Campground, but I have to admit packing up isn’t much fun.  Especially, because we had an 8 hr. drive ahead of us to get back home.  I’m always excited for the next Race event/adventure!

Jake’s Blog – My Progression as a Racer

Won my Red Rock Desert Rampage Race in St. George, UT.  This time in the Cat 2/Cat 1 (13-15 yr olds) classification not the Cat 3 I raced the 2 previous years.  I am really pleased with how much I’ve improved and I took my first win at this Race!  I am blogging to reflect on the progression in my racing abilities from my first race at Red Rock Desert Rampage at age 9 to my third race at age 11.  This blog will show just a small bit of how much I’ve improved over the last 2 years.  Racing at age 9, I completed the course in 1:18 minutes, now I’m 11 and my hard training has paid off with great fitness. This time I completed the race course in 1:04 minutes!  Back then at 9, we would ride the technical Zen Trail for fun.  One part of the Trail had a such a difficult decent, with a 15% grade and embedded rocks and at the bottom is a sharp right hand corner with a gnarly drop off.  In 2010 I walked my bike on this part.  Now I am 11 and I cleaned this section and the entire Zen Trail as we rode it just after winning my tiring 14 mile XC race!  In 2010, because I was so inexperienced, I tried to go all out through the entire race but couldn’t maintain the pace.  Over the past two years I’ve learned to focus more on the mental aspects of racing by having a strategy, knowing my physical limitations and being confident.  Before, I didn’t know that food and water were so vital during a race.  Now, I know to eat and hydrate during races which helped me shave 14 minutes off of my 2010 race time.  My race results have been great and I’m going to continue on my same successful path!  I can’t wait until next year to again gauge my progress!

Nye’s Blog-Red Rock Desert Rampage Race

Just came back from the 2012 Red Rock Desert Rampage Race in St George, UT. Not only is it a great early season Race but we also love the city and the region. St George’s Mountain Bike Trails go from beginner to expert, fast and flowing to technical. You can ride in the region all year long. The Deserts by winter and Mountains by summer. The hiking trails at St. George are fantastic, whether your squeezing through Fat Man’s Crack or climbing ropes at Red Cliffs Canyon. I like to go to the Race because the course is technical, fast, flowing singletrack and has 2 long climbs. Also, we get to leave winter and go enjoy some riding and racing in warm weather. This beautiful City has a lot of activities, it’s surrounded by red rock cliffs, lava rock topped mesas and sits next to Zion National Park. We have been going there for 5 years and I know that the Red Rock Desert Rampage Race and the City of St. George are special when I come home with a smile on my face and a story to tell everyone!

2012 El Paso Puzzler

The El Paso Puzzler….. Solved?

Mission Impossible ….take two boys ages 11 and 9 and enter them in a TMBRA Endurance Series Race, The El Paso Puzzler.  What…!!   Ask them just complete the race, but as the race ends you find they were super competitive in this 35 mile version of one of the toughest courses in the Country.

Mission Accomplished………!!!

RESULTS   35 miles/3500ft   56 racers   Men’s Open Class Field

13th Place   11 yr. old Jake   4 hrs 45 mins 21 sec

14th Place    9  yr. old  Nye   4 hrs 45 mins 56 sec

Here’s their story!

Yackle Brothers Racing Team members, Jake and Nye have etched their mark as top national junior XC MTB racers over the last 3 years, winning National Championship Medals (Gold, Silver, Bronze) along the way and dominating their peers!  Challenging themselves seems to be the only logical course for these two top athletes.

In their hometown of Cortez, CO and the Corporate Headquarters of one of their most supportive team sponsors, Osprey Packs they start their MISSION!  They completed their exemplary 2011 XC season, their training started at the Phil’s World Trail System in late Fall 2011.  Over three consecutive days Jake and Nye tested their metal, completing 30+ miles each of those days.  They proved to themselves they had the fitness to step up their racing game another notch.  Confident that the Puzzler was not only possible, but was a race they were legitimate threats to their competitors they pressed on. Over the remainder 2011, and as the January 15, 2012 race date approached, they trained daily with passion and commitment. Two weeks before the race they made their finishing efforts. Two days of 30+ miles on the High Desert Trail Gallup, NM, followed by 2 days in Moab, UT to complete some long miles on some of the technical trails at the Moab Brands and Klondike Bluffs Trails systems.

They were trained and ready!

4 A.M. Thursday, Jan 12.  The day begins as we start our 8 hour trek to El Paso, TX.  Bikes, bike and camping gear stowed securely in our Yakima Rack n Roll Trailer pulled by our fully loaded VW Jetta TDI Wagon we press on to fulfill the MISSION!  Our plans were to get 3 pre-rides in before Race day, to add to our knowledge about the Franklin Mountain State Park bike trails and race course.  Two years ago, on our way back from San Antonio, TX we stopped at El Paso and rode the northern section of the Lower Sunset Trail-rocky and rugged!  Today, we expected to uncover some kinder, gentler trails to go along with this trail!  What is the rest of the Puzzler course like?

3 P.M Thursday, we ventured out from the Tom Mays Park, on the Westside of the Franklin Mtns.  Under cloudy skies and bristling, cold winds we began our preparation on the southern section of Lower Sunset Trail.  The expectation of some rolling and flat trails was soon dashed. Rocks of all sorts-loose, embedded, round, jagged, limestone, granite- this isn’t what we expected on the trail. As we continued we found it had steep climbs and descents as it followed the contour of the Franklin Mtn. drainage washes.  We told ourselves, Oh well!  There’s tomorrow’s trails!  Should find some relief there!?

Jake exclaimed after the Race:

“Lower Sunset’s brutal, rocky climb offered up a huge group of Racers.  We destroyed them in short order!  Nye dug deep and put out like a Pro.  That fired me up!”

Friday, waking up to an icy, but welcomed sunny morning, we moving our race camp over to Bowen Ranch, the Eastside of the Franklin Mtns., the site of the Race Venue.  There we continued our pre-ride regiment. Today’s MISSION!  Mundy’s Gap, the signature climb of the Puzzler, a 1500 foot climb topping out at 5875 ft.  We rolled out of race camp, on the Lazy Cow Trail, a crushed granite, singletrack trail on a flat, creosote bush, strewn plain, we were stoked!  Flowing and fun!

Nye chirps after the race:

The trail was fun, fast and flowing.  That refreshed my spirit for what was to come!  Next, shredding Mundy’s Gap!”

We quickly hit the Tin Mine Rd. double track, that marked that our luck was to be changing!  Looming in the distance we could see the switchbacks that was Mundy’s Gap.  A couple of rocky miles of moderate grades gave way to long stretches of 15 % grades, maxing at 21%.  These types of trails were more suited to Mountain Goats and Big Horn Sheep.   As Colorado kids, Nye and Jake are growing up on these kinds of trails in the San Juan Mtns.  They hit the Mundy’s climb and appear to soar up the old road like a raptor floating on thermal drafts seeking its prey!  A more difficult climb would be harder to find, but this is the rarified air where these amazing kids excel!  On the summit we could only peer down the descent.  We thought of the warnings we have been told of a even steeper, scree field descent!  Descending and reclimbing wasn’t an option in the preparation plans, as 16 miles and a major climb today was plenty of riding for the day.  A restful late afternoon was what we all craved!

Nye exclaims after the Race:

“Mundy’s Gap was set up for us!  We blew past racer after racer.  Preparation pays off!  We knew we would kill it!”

Sunrise, the day before Race day.  We had one more goal, to check out the newly completed Sotol Forest Trail en route to Hitt Canyon Trail and North Pass Summit.  This traced the start of the race and the return route, too.  A mile and a half of rocky roads and we jumped on the Sotol Forest Trail, known for it’s Sotol Yuccas lining the trail and the hillsides in plentitude. The 600 feet of climbing, roughness and newly tilled narrow nature it possessed was sure to break up the starting pack of over 150 racers. Descending 200 feet off the summit to the Hitt Canyon Trail we hoped for some more of that flowing and fun, but short Lazy Cow Trail.  Not!  What we found was the toughest singletrack yet.  Hitt Canyon Trail was like a mine field of embedded granite and limestone rocks, mixed into the pebbly, dirt soil.  The chunky trail undulated up and down around Sotol Yuccas, drainages, and rock outcroppings for several miles as it made a sporadic ascent to North Pass.  Like yesterday, today’s 17 mile pre-ride loomed sufficient. We were very content looking down at 15 switchbacks on the singletrack up the Westside of North Pass.  We contemplated the advice that several were unrideable.  Race day would have the Yackle Brothers climbing up this little Devil!  Today we just ate our lunch at the Summit, which marks the 27 mile mark of the course.  Retracing the burly Hitt Canyon Trail and Sotol Forest Trail would complete the final 8 miles of the 35 mile race course and today’s pre-ride.

Says Nye after the Race:

“Those trails after the burly North Pass climb were rocky, chunky, gnarly and punishing. I sucked it up and pumped myself up for the intense trail ahead.  Trail knowledge kept us off the dirt and in the front of the Race!”

Returning to our Race Camp we began the last phase of our Mission. We learned from our pre-rides, that a race speed of 7 mph would probably be all that they would muster on this brutal race course.  Finally, Jake and Nye needed to prepare for being out on the Race Course an estimated 4.5 to 5 hrs.  Thankful, their hard training was now a comforting fact because they would be racing 2.5 times longer than any other Race they have done. As a reference, their races at USA Cycling Nationals were between 30 and 45 minutes long. Checking bikes, race clothes, packs for  readiness for the 8:00 A.M. start. Extra bike parts and tools, full water bags and Honey Stinger gels and bars to provide 150 calories every ½ hr were essential!  Ready to GO!

Says Jake after the Race:

“The Osprey Raptor Hydration Packs were flawless!  They stowed our gear, quenched our thirst and kept our confidence raging!”

Nearing 1:00 P.M. on Race day Jake and Nye finally appear at the top of the hill just before the Bowen Ranch Finish Line!  Showing the toughness of this course, the winning elite racer had an average speed of a mere10.46 mi/hr.  We were proud that Jake and Nye were able to record an average race speed of 7.26 mi/hr!

Jake sighs:

“Whew! I’m done. So proud, yet so tired.  I conquered the Puzzler!  People congratulated me, I’m stoked!  Food at last!

Nye proclaims:

Crossing the Finish Line makes me so happy.  Boy I’m ready for some food!  Great Race and people let me know!

Mission Impossible, Mission Accomplished is now the reality!

Yackle Brothers Racing…….…..The Puzzler Solved!

Great Raceng Boys!