The last few days have been pretty amazing... I thought I was some sort of mountain biker before but after a few days in and around Nevada and I am just starting to get this singletrack technical riding stuff down. FUN!!!
Monique and I headed out to spend Thanksgiving with some friends and get some time on some new trails. Looking back I would have been SOOO bummed if we missed this trip... Keevin had been telling us about it but there is just somethings you cannot convey about the trails out that way... "Fun" just does not do it justice but I still like the word ;-) Something about this trip was just so perfect. Amazing people and some of the biggest variety of trails I have ever seen and we couldn't have timed the weather any better.
We started our tour off with some riding around Bootleg Canyon. Caldera, Boy Scout, Mothers... I cannot even remember all the trails but we only got to sample a few and there are MILES of trails to go back to . . . . soon. We were chasing each other in the rain and being chased by the clouds that eventually caught up with us. Tight rock switchbacks packed by the rain and just enough climbing to keep the speed up and adrenaline pumping. I love to ride my bike ;-)
We finished up our first ride and it was off to Chipotle! I downed three tacos and then a burrito. Mmmmm... We had some big ridding ahead and met even more of Keevins friends for dinner that night. Good times.
The next day we were off to ride some more "local" trails around Blue Diamond. More rain(fun) that made a little mud(fun) and loads of fast singletrack(fun) with about 18 of us hootin and hollarin'(fun) as we made our way around the red rock landscape. I cannot explain how much FUN those trails were but with trail names like "little Viagra" you know they are exciting....
Here are some PIX from Bootleg and Blue Diamond and a little video shot over here
We had a feast at Lauries that night and we had so much to be thankful for... I am really stoked to have such good friends, a great wife and a job that lets me do the things I love. Getting to experience the vast "openness" of the trail systems out that way plainly displayed the design of an awesome creator...A humbling reminder. Yet the best of the trails was still before us! On to Utah for the next sessions!
November 30, 2008
The last few days have been pretty amazing... I thought I was some sort of mountain biker before but after a few days in and around Nevada and I am just starting to get this singletrack technical riding stuff down. FUN!!!
November 24, 2008
On a flight to San Jose and I just started downloading my pictures from the weekend. What a long weekend and tons of pic’s. Thought I would share some…
Friday, Monique and I headed up for a hike in Big Bear and then met up for a ride on some local trails with Paul and Karen. Amazing how many cool trails are out there and we were just getting started… Paul and I switched bikes after we reached a lookout and I thought I would give his rigid carbon fork a test. After a few turns I was starting to get a feel for it so I let off the brakes over some ruts and . . . BOOOMM!! . . . Total explosion with shiny stuff flying all over the place... It took a bit to figure out that his headset had completely exploded.
I felt pretty bad about it until Paul had mentioned he was packing his bike up when we returned for a flight to Portugal. If I didn’t make his headset explode he would have had 5+ days of non-stop racing on it at the Portugal XPD Race. Just let me know if you want me to give your bike a test before your next trip!
Our ride headed down to Bear Valley Bikes for a quick repair (and I got a new chain!) and then on to a killer dinner with Melissa and Christian to join us. It would have been perfect to fall asleep by the fire but we had to get back to the OC for a cross race the next morning. Cyclocross time!
Saturday was Monique first Cyclocross race and Jasons first race ever… Way to start it off J! Monique had some fun in the grass but I think she prefers the dirt on her mountain bike and much longer races. Why wouldn’t she have fun with a 45 minute heart attack after a few hard days of running and riding?
I think Jason already signed up for the next three SoCalCross races. Yes, he had a good time!
After the race Corby and I headed out for a quick ride… He got to ride the course at the xbike race and he was all amped up! The plan was to get out to old camp but we settled on a climb to the flag and a run down the luge. Not as bad as I thought it would be on my fully rigid single speed and it has me questioning that White Brothers fork for my 29er rig.
The area around old camp and the luge just opened up again after the fires and the trails are actually in better shape than ever and they even rerouted the end of the luge trail. The next ride with Corby is going to be a night ride! Oh yeah...
Sunday had some Cisco tests on the schedule before and after some stand up paddle boarding with the Sinatra’s. Much harder in the waves compared to the harbor but you can pull into just about any wave…Staying on is the challenge.
Posted by Slater Fletcher at 11:09:00 am
November 20, 2008
Results are posted and the pictures are trickling in. It was a strange feeling to be racing solo and miss so much of everyone else all day long. We had a pretty good crew racing and it kept our tent active all day long.
Monique, Lisa and Melissa (we love little people) were racing along side Heidi, Natalie and Jen (Dirt Divas) in a field of 29 teams. I got to see everyone except Monique on the course and I am so proud of those girls! I think they have been holding back on our rides because they were definitely throwing it down on Saturday.
The girls all managed to avoid the carnage on the course... Not all of us were so lucky... Rob ended up separating his shoulder and another guy got some branches lodged into his shoulder! Yikes! I saw a girl dripping blood from her head and she was asking me if I think she could do another lap... Dude, chick... your going to bleed to death! Shock does some funny things to your ability to reason.
The course, however, was being taken care of all day and night by Jason the RD and crew. I have heard so many positive things about Jasons races and now have experienced first hand how awesome they are... Jason was all over the course cheering people on throughout the day and his dad was even working the aid station refilling bottles. Rad!
Sean Clancy, who could have been crushing everyone's dreams if he was racing himself decided to be the support crew for us all. He probably needed some rest after his undefeated season with a record NINE first place finishes ending with a final win at the Adventure Racing National Championships. We were all grateful to have his wisdom and time on our side.
Chuck posting a 3rd place finish in the Solo 40 category although the real race was between Keevin and Chuck all along. Last year, Chuck pulled out for his last lap IN THE WRONG DIRECTION! By the time he figured it out and turned around he came in 4 minutes short on his last lap and it did not count. Not this year! Keevin never gave up despite the cramps from lap two on and is still recovering from those cramps he was fighting for almost 12 hours.
Keevin and I actually shared a secret goal for the race...We were just trying to keep up with Mandy and not let her lap us ;-) She pushed strong all day and I think her frozen towel strategy worked! She ended up getting in nine laps and a third place finish. Nice work!
Paul and Karen ended up dropping in to race with the Intense just days after returning from their 3rd place finish at the Adventure Racing Wold Championships. Not only were they recovered but Karen ended up having the fastest womens lap of the day @ 51 minutes and Paul also had the fastest mens lap of the day @ 43 minutes!! They really do "go FAST and take chances"! They also ended up winning the 4 team open division just to round it out. It looks like we maybe riding with them on Friday so we better rest up...
I ended up burning just over 8900 calories and I have been pretty hungry over the last few days. This was my 2nd longest ride ever and more time than I have ever been on a bike. Here is a shot of my food prep the night before... I did not eat the majority of this stuff but you never know what your body is asking for so variety always a safe bet.
More pictures posted over Here >>http://slater.smugmug.com/gallery/6708038_DvbzN#428955450_Nuntu
Here are some other random stats
Expert Solo Men
SLATER FLETCHER 11 (11:45)
1:06 1:02 1:04 1:19 1:04 1:00 1:14 :58 1:00 :55 1:03
GPS Summary Data
Total Time (h:m:s) 12:49:44 (longest time on the bike ever!)
Moving Time (h:m:s) 11:54:20
Distance (mi ) 113.91 (second longest ride ever!)
Moving Speed (mph) 9.7 avg. 28.4 max.
Elevation Gain (ft) +21,420 / -21,445
Avg. Heart Rate 141 bpm Zone 3.7
After a little recovery, we are heading out to Vegas to ride some trails at Bootleg Canyon and then on to Utah for Gooseberry Mesa, the gym and others... Hard to get up motivation to swim or run after a weekend like this ;-)
Posted by Slater Fletcher at 2:23:00 am
November 16, 2008
I did not have any expectations for my solo endeavor at the 12 Hours of Temecula this weekend beyond trying to complete the entire 12 hours riding my bike. I had decided to sign up for the race after realizing I did not have enough running miles behind me to do the Catalina Eco marathon that we were already registered for this weekend so this race would be “just for fun”. Besides I had been on my bike more than ever and it would be a good test to see if the extra miles would help. Whatever lap times I would roll and my overall placing were second to steady persistence with no excuses. I was there to race my race. That simple goal and the people who helped me throughout the day would lead me through a race that ended much better than it started off and carried me much further than I had ever expected.
The race started with a parade lap which would determine our order getting into the course. I wanted to move up in the pace line but I resisted the urge because I did not want to start out too fast. That turned out to be a mistake… The first lap was a mess with people backed up all over the trail which was now covered in a cloud of dust. People were piling up all over the place! I got caught behind a lot of beginners by holding back and on one of the downhill pile ups I jumped off the trail to avoid the carnage and went over the bars. Two minutes later I busted my chain. Not a good way to start off a long day.
Unfortunately, I continued that theme through the next few laps. I went over the bars again and managed to drop my chain between my cassette and spokes two times until it broke… again. Lap three and had broken my derailleur hanger and chain for the third time, I really started to think it was not going to be my day. Then I managed to catch a bee in my helmet and I got stung right above the eyebrow. Ouch!
I had to laugh and remember that this was a long race and I still had a lot going for me. I had the heroic work of Sean Clancy keeping me going every time I got back from a lap and he even managed to string together two chains and keep me fed so I could focus on the race. I pressed on remembering my goal of just riding the entire day/night and not giving up. I started seeing more friends through the laps and settled into my ride. After all, this was perfect training and I really got to practice passing people and I still felt fresh.
From this point on I lost track of what lap I was on and just started riding to a rhythm. Somewhere around the seven hour mark things started getting better. My chain was holding and I started making complete laps without any issues. At this point I started hitting our transition tent only long enough to switch bottles and load up my pockets with fuel. A few laps later I passed Keevin working his way up a climb. He had been suffering from cramps all day in his quads but he was not going to let it stop him. He is always keeping me motivated! I found inspiration in so many people throughout the day. If I learned one thing from my first solo it is that it is a huge TEAM effort just like everything in life. . . . Shortly after passing Keevin I busted my chain again! When I stopped to get it fixed I realized that I left my chain tool back at the transition after the first few fixes and I was out of a tool… I was not out of luck however and Keevin showed up right behind me and handed over his min-tool. Saved again! I broke it off right at the point where I had a link bent and removed the next three links. My chain was now too short to get it around the largest chainring in the front but it was now back up and running with no more bent links. I was praying that it would just hold on for the rest of the race.By now the sun was starting to set and I knew the end was near.
The changing of the day to night made passing much easier and I still felt great. I started focusing on everything in the day that went RIGHT! Maybe all the stops from the mechanicals were a perfect chance for me to get some rest on the early laps? I still had plenty of power in the legs and was well hydrated and fed. I started doing the math for how many more laps I could get in… I still had no idea how many laps I had behind me at this point but I figured I was at seven or eight. I had about four hours left and I knew if I wanted to get in three more laps I would have to power the next two so I would have some spare time on the last lap or another issue. At this point I started focusing on "the race". I asked Monique to check my placing the next time I came through… the final hours and things are getting interesting! Monique told me I was heading out for my ninth lap and I was in the top 2 for the solo pack.
Number 9 and 10 was no holding back... I was at about 100 miles and 11 hours in the saddle. Maybe 15,000+ feet of climbing so far... If I really wanted that last lap I was going to have to push it. When I checked in after lap 10 I asked the staff how much time I had left. One hour twenty minutes.. Aghh… I was off again and knew I could make another lap in that window of time but I was going to have to dig deep. I was spent from the last two laps but this would really be my last lap so I gave it all I had left as I headed out into the night.
It would be too easy to just crank out another lap. About 20 minutes into the final lap my helmet light went out. Doh! I didn’t plan on riding over three hours with my lights and that was about the max battery charge for lights on my helmet and handlebars. I still had some charge on my handlebar lights but I noticed the light starting to blink, signaling they were almost gone too. Less than two minutes later my handlebar lights faded away. . . Darkness. Complete black and alone on the top of the ridge. I looked over the lake and saw the reflection of the moon lighting its way across the water. I don’t want it to end like this. . . If I could not make it back before the 12 hour mark the attempt for another lap would not count. Please let me finish this lap I prayed!
I stared pushing my bike through the darkness now contemplating my choices. Just when I was ready to give up on myself and the task at hand I had another unexpected helping hand. This time it was from a complete stranger. Someone else was making a late night last minute lap and I saw his lights as he crested the hill behind me. Light(S)! Please, Please, Please can I use one of your lights!! PLEASE. “ahh..Ok. Sure”. I think he was kind of in shock and with a plea like that was not going to say no. I think I said please like 50 times… I was so stoked and could not believe I was back in the race. Unbelievable!! Thank you God.
We had a fast pace to push if we were going to make the last lap under the 12 hour mark and I had already lost a good chunk of time. I was in such a scramble to get his light on my bars that I didn’t wrap the cable around my frame and ended up pulling the plug on it two times. That could have been a complete disaster riding the ridges at night… Even if I felt like I could ride the loop with my eyes closed by this point the fear of those two close calls snapped my adrenaline right back into my body. I stopped and fixed the light like I should have the first time and hammered with everything I had left in me.
I crossed the line in my final lap, made the cut and was the only expert class solo rider go get in 11 laps. My second longest ride ever distance wise on road or mountain and I think I was more shocked than anyone. Eleven laps and a 1st place finish. Two things I really didn’t think were possible and could not have happened without the help from so many people. Stoked!
Results and Pics over Here
Posted by Slater Fletcher at 8:51:00 pm
November 12, 2008
Just when I was ready to settle in and wait to hit the trails in Temecula this weekend , Monique and I got to sneak away today for a peak at the course. Wow, I have ridden some of the trails in the 12hour course before when racing the Xterra Triathlon and California Mulitsport races but I have never seen some of the trails we rode on today. . . rocky, tight switchbacks on loose sand and technical! A few long hours of this in the heat and then into the night will be quite the adventure...
We pulled up to the Vail Lake campground and there was still a chill in the air. I even put a jacket on to start things off. . . Perfect weather after a short warmup but by Saturday it is going to be cookin!! As we started our loop we met a local, Kyle who lives just down the street and has done about 4 of the races in the past. He was kind enough to hang with us on the loop and give us some insight into what Jason the RD is planning for the future of the “12 hours” and other races in Temecula. That place has huge potential and after seeing a bit more of the trails today we are sure to make some regular rounds out to the area.
As we made our way up the dam climb I really started thinking about what made me want to sign up for this thing SOLO…. Aghh.. It is going to hurt. The "survival" is going to be about having the discipline not to blow up on that first climb/lap(s) and easing into it. The "Damn climb" is by far the longest sustained climb. I am just rounding the corner on my sinus infection but the climb had cleared me all up. I had multicolor snot rockets blasting out every direction. Wamup complete. After the first major climb comes a plethora of tight switchbacks down steep loose sections with tons of rollers and fun turns.... There is bound to be some pileups out there and good times to be had!
Monique was cranking up the hills with her cute little red face glowing and letting it rip on the downhill’s. I am so stoked she has no gravity fear on the trail! This felt like "real" mountian biking with the majority of the course on single track and a full body workout. I am sure I will be seeing the rocks in my dreams after it all goes down Saturday...
The lap ended up being exactly 10 miles and about 1800 feet of elevation gain. Sounds like a bunch but I think that most of it is from the "Damn climb" and all those little whoops. The big question is how many of these laps can you crank out in 12 hours?
Just when we started getting warmed up we had to head out but we got to grab a quick lunch with Christy (moniques cousin) that lives just down the street before we headed home. Let the resting begin until we met again.
Posted by Slater Fletcher at 3:30:00 pm
November 10, 2008
Less than a week to go and I am ready to ride despite getting a lingering sinus infection... At this point I have had more time on the bike in the last few months than I have EVER had stringed together so my confidence is up for the task at hand. Next year, I am changing up the racing to focus on just two series and this race may have a lot of influence on what direction I take.
This week I got a few short rides in to watch the sun set and got out on some wet trails. I cant wait for more rain!
Unfortunately, it looks like we will have anything but rain this weekend with projected temps in the upper 80s! Just one more thing to add to the challenge of the course.
So far we have a pretty good group going with Mandy, Keevin, Chuck and myself racing solo and Monique and Heidi heading up a few girls teams. The jury is still out on the Vegas crew but I am sure that Mike will lap most of the expert solo's if he shows up. Last year he won the series and all three races and he is just getting faster. Moinque was almost about to race her single speed rig because she just cannot get off of it but I think she is going geared (for now!). We rode the Fullerton loop for the first time this week and Monique beat us all out on the final sprint (and all the climbs!). Go girl!
After fighting a cold/sinus infection all week I decided to get into the doctors today to try to get it taken care of before it gets any worse. . . After talking with my doc and telling him I wanted to be back to normal for a race this weekend he said, " Hey, are you racing the 12 hours of Temecula?" What kind of doctor knows about stuff like that? To make a long story short I discovered he is the coach of Monique Sawicki "Pua". Monique has dominated the dojo for womens mountain bike racing for years! She just won the 24hour National Championship race by finishing TWO LAPS ahead of the next competitor. Crazy. What a small world! My doctor even raced Vision Quest a few years back and I am stoked to have a doctor that understands on all these levels. Hopefully I will be 100% by the weekend because we are racing rain or shine!
Posted by Slater Fletcher at 5:12:00 pm
November 04, 2008
. . . and what would a ride so close to Halloween be without costumes?!? This weekend a group of about 25 of us headed out on a long tour to San Diego for Keevins Halloween ride... In costume!
Creativity was off the charts with every kind of costume including the Village people, a lobster, pirates, caveman (and woman) just to name a few...the creativity, however, was to be expected when you can add a bike, 90+ miles and hours in the saddle into the mix.
Details like the custom molded spurs with derailleur pulleys that Sean Clancy was wearing or the molding panties that Mandy was sporting did not go unnoticed!
The ride had everything that you would expect from a long ride in costume... Attacks on the front, vampires bleeding in the streets and costumes starting to melt away with the miles. Even when I was beating myself up for being a part of the only crash on our ride we had friends bringing "spirit" back to the situation... It was a fun little spooky ride. Monique and I got to meet up with some of Keevins friends from Vegas we are always hearing about and we saw first had just how fast and nice they all are. We got to spend the entire weekend with tem and even got a ride down to the beach with them on Sunday!
Just when the group was starting to fade and we made it to San Diego it was train time. This was the perfect ending to a long day. We packed in the bikes, got some food and relaxed as the sunset over the water and we sank into our seats. The perfect way to get back home. Too many good stories from the ride . . .
Until next year when the costumes will get a bit more crazy!! Are you going to come ride with us??
I posted some more pictures over HERE and some from Sean over HERE and Keevin over HERE
Posted by Slater Fletcher at 10:16:00 am