Preparation, Never More Important for Enduro Success-Jake’s Blog

IMG_3444Enduro Racing is a blast!  From: traveling to new places and adventures, getting to ride and race, awesome, fun and unique trails, to meeting cool people. Throughout my 8 years of racing I have gained a lot of experience, from maintaining my bike, knowing my limits and knowing when to eat and hydrate. There is one thing experience can’t account for, and that is NOT BEING PREPARED!  So, when race day comes around, you’re at the start line, and the buzzer sounds, there is only one thing that is going to guide you to success and that is PREPARATION!!!  There are multiple things you need to do to be prepared.

Being prepared is the key to success, and to be prepared you need to:

A)    Keeping Your Body Is At Peak Performance, by having proper nutrition and by staying hydrated, drinking lots of water and electrolytes and making sure you aren’t tired and fatigued, but well rested.                                                                                                                       B)    Pre-check Your Bike, make sure you check, your shifting, tire pressure/tread wear, shock pressure and anything else you think might be damaged or worn.                                                              C)    Prepare All Of Your Gear, make sure you have enough energy and water, check to see if you have the tools and gear you need to fix your bike if you have a mechanical problem, and if you have an early race it is especially helpful to lay out your clothes, helmet, shoes, glasses, gloves and anything else you’ll need.                                                                                             Version 2D)    Pre-ride, in my opinion pre-riding is essential to prepare yourself for the race!  When pre-riding I take mental notes of the trail, like what gear to be in on a certain obstacle.  Pre-riding is also helpful because you’ll  know what is coming up on the trail. It also tells me how long I’ll be racing and how much food and water I’ll need to take.  Knowing these things helps me go much faster on race day!

 

Though pre-riding is a huge benefit!  Completing it, is not always an easy task!  There are many differences between pre-riding a cross-country course and an Enduro course.  On one hand pre-riding a XC course is relatively simple, you park near the start line, get your bike ready, and go for a ride that is only about an hour or two long.   Pre-riding an Enduro course is much more difficult!  Enduro Events are held many hours of travel from our Home, so going there prior to the event never is an option for Us.  Having working Parents means scheduling extra time before the race is difficult, too.  Plus, with the stages spread out over 50 or 60 miles and multiple days, accessing an Enduro course can be quite difficult, let alone having the extra days to get pre-riding done.  So we are faced with the daunting task of trying to pre-ride the day before we race-it’s a difficult situation!  IMG_3409If you wanted to pre ride the day before the race, you would use up a lot of energy, but you would gain valuable knowledge of the course.  It rarely comes down to that choice, because the lack of time, it still is logistically not feasible to preride an entire course!  Those racers who can preride have a monumental advantage!  Contrast our last 2 Enduro races.

Bend Enduro                                                                                                                               IMG_3385We arrived at Bend Friday afternoon and set up our camp at the race venue. Saturday we  decided to get up early to pre-ride all 5 Enduro stages.  We spent most of the day pre-riding the stages, scouting the fast lines and riding the fast lines until we comfortably knew the course.  We took mental notes of what gears to be in before obstacles, and figured out how much water and energy we need to take. On race day we felt that other racers didn’t have an enormous advantage!  In just my 3rd Enduro, knowing the trail and it’s obstacles helped me place 4th in the U18 category, only 9 seconds behind third!  That wasn’t our only benefit from pre-riding.  We were the last group to start, there were so many racers before us, and the Enduro suffered race delays, so there wasn’t any water left at the feed stations.  It effected many racers who relied on it, but not us, because we pre-rode we knew how much water and energy to bring!

Wildwood Enduro                                                                                                                         IMG_3876When scheduling our Season, we decided to spend our week between the Bend Enduro and the Wildwood Enduro races by taking a vacation down the Oregon and California coastline.  So as we typically do, we arrived at Fort Bragg, near the Wildwood race venue (our 1st 2 day Enduro) the day before the race.  We realized that the posted Course Map wasn’t sufficient to direct us to and around the Jackson State Demonstration Forest, so we had to wait until 3:00 PM for Racer check in to see about better maps. We were pretty frustrated since many riders took advantage of the Race Promotor’s guided Tours of the course 2 weeks prior to the Event and had been practicing it ever since.  The guided tour was something we couldn’t take advantage of anyway, because Wildwood was a 16 Hr round trip for Us!  After we checked in we knew we needed to set up our camp because the camp areas were tight.  By the time we finished setting up it was around 4:00PM.  However, now we finally had details to get to the Race Course area!  We went over to Saturday’s start area of the Enduro (Wildwood was a 2 day event) and were deciding whether or not at this late stage, a preride ride of just the 1st of 8 stages was even worth it, at this point!   We knew, if we did more we would have been miles from where we parked and would have finished just 2 Stages late on Friday night.  IMG_3732Brianne Spiersch, fellow Marin Bikes Racer convinced us it had to be somewhat helpful to preride at least one stage.  So we did and came back to Camp and prepared our: bikes, bodies and gear for Saturday’s race.  My race started at 9:00am and I was glad that I had already prepped myself for the race.  All but one of the stages on Saturday were narrow, difficult, tree lined trails with lots of blind corners and super sharp, blind switchbacks.   After each stage I kept thinking to myself, “it would have been so nice and beneficial to pre-riden that trail”!  The final stage was the one we pre-rode and I felt like that was the one I did best on because I knew what was coming up on the trail!  Sunday went just the same way as Saturday, the trails were very tight and technical with lots of ruts, sharp corners and undulating terrain which put me at a disadvantage not knowing what to expect.  In the end I came away with a 7th place in the U18 category.  I’m certain, difference between my results at Bend and Wildwood proved how vital it is to pre-ride!  Whether or not my family can get me there beforehand, with sufficient time to do that is another question!

IMG_3457I truly belive that no matter how skilled you are, if you don’t Pre-ride and Prepare yourself you won’t be highly successful. The Bend and Wildwood Enduro races are perfect examples of how pre-riding and NOT pre-riding can effect your race!  So next time you consider whether or not to pre-ride and prepare yourself, just remember that it could cost you a lot more, like a serious crash, than just the top spot on the podium!

Stelvio Elite….a Great Bike Takes You Amazing Places—Nye’s Blog

IMG_8178Road racing this year seems so much different racing on Marin’s Stelvio Elite Road Bike. I haven’t ridden and raced on a better road bike so far in my career. Combined with Visions Metron 40 Wheelset it crushes the steep climbs and glides around corners carrying momentum and shoots you out of them going even faster than before. They are also very attention grabbing with the red Vision logo. When you go fast enough it looks like a red lightning streak.  There are a lot of great things about the Marin Stelvio Elite Road Bike, how great it performs and the great places Cycling takes you.

The Stelvio Elite Road Bike is Fantastic! It’s so light, picking it up feels like you’re picking up a newspaper. I’ve had four road bikes in my life and I can tell this one is tops.  Wimagee do all of our local Road Races, Time Trials and Criteriums on our Marin Stelvio Elite Road Bike and it seems to have a nitch for every one of those races.  In Crits it’s perfect, the bike is very maneuverable, which is just what you want to keep you out of danger and position yourself for the podium.  Since we don’t have a Time Trial specific bike we do all our Time Trial races on our Stelvio Elite Road Bike.  Its great for Time Trialing, the bike is very aerodynamic and stiff, and that benefits me a lot.  In the Road Races, going up the steep climbs is much easier with such a light bike.  Earlier this year Jake was doing a race in the men’s Cat 4 Road Race and they were coming down the finish straight away and someone swerved across the entire peloton and took many people out! Jake made a split second decision to crash into the ditch rather than into the big pile of people in the middle of the road. Once he crossed the finish line he was scratched up a bit but his bike survived undamaged! No damage! That’s a durable bike!

image There are always memorable road races, Crits and TT’s that just stick in your head, sometimes, like if you had a crash or you won your category.  2 years ago I raced in the Valley Of The Sun Stage Race in Phoenix, AZ which was a super cool experience.  That was one of our first really competitive races and I placed 2nd in my age group and that made it a very memorable experience.  In Reno last year we got to do a charitable ride with the Schleck Brothers and Jens Voigt. I had a blast!  It was fun talking with professional racers about their experiences in their races.  We were driving back from one of our races in California and stopped to watch the finish on the Time Trial in The Tour Of California last year.  We even met Peter Sagan!  I asked him what he liked more Road or Mountain Bike Racing?  He said he liked road racing more because there’s more money in it.  That made sense.  The Sea Otter Classic this year would be unforgettable because I met my bicycling hero Nino Schurter! WOW!!! I didn’t think I’d ever get to meet him.

imageOne pretty memorable race was the Nevada City Classic Criterium in Northern California.  The race course was really challenging.  There was a 1/2 mile climb with an average grade of about 8% and a steep decent with two pretty sharp corners at the bottom starting the climb.  Last year I didn’t do as well as I had set a goal for.  This year coming into the race with my new Marin Stelvio Elite Road Bike with Visions Metron 55 Wheelset and Shimano’s Ultrega Drivetrain and Brakes I’m feeling really confident that I’ll achieve my goal!

imageMy thanks to all of my fantastic Sponsors: Marin Bikes, Shimano, Full Speed Ahead, Primal Wear, Yakima Racks, Panaracer Tires, Osprey Packs, MET Helmets, Sidi Shoes, Lauf Forks, Slime, Genuine Innovations, Marzocchi Suspension, Xpedo Pedals, Ergon Bike Ergonomics, White Lightning Lubricants, Light and Motion Bike Lights and Velo Reno Bike Shop because I couldn’t do it without you.  Thank you Mom and Dad for all of the hours you dedicate to me and our team.