CCCC_2012 165-Miles

Rich Horn – Second place in the 165 mile event with a time of 6:52, 24 mph average! 

This is the first year the wind really cooperated, or should I say lack of wind!  What a perfect day for a ride.

Even though I placed second, my time was 30 minutes faster then the previous course record for the 157 mile event.

During the pre-ride expo the night before the race,  rumor had it that Brian Folts (Iron Man Triathlete) was talking to everyone saying he was going to win it this year.  Mark Goldentyer, who I knew from rides in Saguaro National Park and Mt. Lemmon, came up to me to give me the news.  I made a comment: “This is the same Brian that didn’t finish it last year (2011)?  I let him get ahead early on as I was trying to rally some of the other riders.  Caught him in Benson, pulled away on the steep section of I-10, never saw him again.  DNF.”   Mark didn’t know that he tried it last year.  Just hearing someone being so cocky before a race gets me worked up.  I started making claims that he would not win this time.  Especially with myself and Mr. McGehee in the event.  Don’t get me wrong Brian is a phenomenal athlete, he took first place overall in the Mt. Evens race in Colorado (running) a few months earlier.  However most tri’s I’ve ridden with just don’t do as well on the bike so I’m banking this is the same.  Never the less, he is only 26 years old, and his cycling equipment is worth about 5 times what my Fuji is.  I didn’t get as good a nights sleep as I should have.

When the race starts, I told myself I’ll be happy if I finish within 30 minutes of Mr. McGehee, after all he holds world records for 100 mile time trials and is 11 times winner of the 256  mile event.   Most important thing on my mind: Make sure that Brian kid does not win!

When the gun goes off, more like everyone counting down to zero, we are off on a neutral start till the first cattle guard.  After the event gets going, I find that for the first 10 miles it’s myself and a tandem on the front for most of the time.  Then we start approaching the gradual climb up to Bisbee.  

Having recently placed 3rd in Mt Graham, I knew the hill would not be a problem.  It was a piece of cake.  As a matter of fact our buddy Brian decides to drill it up the hill, every time I’d get on front to help out he would just come past me again.  He wanted to set the pace.  I was fine with this as he was dropping people every mile.  By the time we made it to the tunnel, there were only 4 of us left.  138 miles to go.  I was willing to work with these other three (Brian Folts, Dan McGehee and Shane Castle) for the rest of the rice, however Dan was a little perturbed that Brian drilled it up the hill so hard and said he was an idiot and we were not going to wait for him.   Three of us raced down the hill and pulled away from Brian with ease.  Each time we hit a small climb I made sure I kept the pace up so Brian would not close in.  By the Davis road turn off, he was no where in sight.

The rest of the race was fairly uneventful.  Just after we turned onto I-10 Mr McGehee flatted.  Shane rides up to me and said “What a shame, Dan has a flat.”  I will kick myself afterward for what I’m about to do.  I looked back and then told Shane we have to wait for him.  I soft pedaled with Shane for about 15 minutes until Dan got back with us.  After we crested the hill near Dragoon, Dan really started his tactful burning of our matches.  Every time it was his turn to pull, he would accelerate past the person who just finished their pull (me) and I would have to dig deep every time to catch back on. 

Somewhere in one of the little podunks about 50 or 60 miles from the finish, Dan wanted me to attack with him and drop Shane.  He could not hear me telling him my support was just ahead with my water and I would not attack right now.   About 50 yards before my support vehicle Dan attacked, he was talking over his shoulder telling me to go with him.  I would not right then because I was out of water and needed the feed.   He pulled away.   I grabbed my water bottle and stuffed it in the cage.  I think Shane made a comment, and there he goes!  I jump out of the saddle and said, well I gotta catch him.  I was off, and burning some matches.  I honestly can’t tell you if it was half a mile or 5 miles, but I caught up to Dan.  After I caught back on, he continued his tactful accelerations when I was done with the pull.  I knew he was getting ready to drop me because every other time he would try hard to drop me.  About 28 miles from the finish he made it clear he was going to finish on his own.  He let me do a long pull, then he would start to fall back.  He fell back about 50 yards or so, I thought maybe he was trying to take a layer off.  Being the nice guy that I am, I slow down to wait for him.  While I was not looking he accelerates … I hear the rumble strips as he crossed, I look over my shoulder just in time to see him on the other side of the highway going about 10 miles an hour faster then me.  Fooled me this time, no way I can catch him now, especially after a long pull and going blind.  

I look at the OD and see there is only 28 miles, I tell myself if he gains 1 minute per mile I’ll still reach my goal of finishing within 30 minutes! WooHoo! … uhh … mmm..  Didn’t realize, err forgot, how long riding 28 miles solo, in the middle of no where … feels.  

Though I was going blind and the legs were fading, I periodically thought I caught the gimps of a mirage ahead.  If I squint I keep thinking I see a bike ahead.  I knew Dan was gone, so could be riders from the 97 mile event, or just nothing at all.  Eventually I did start passing small groups of riders from one of the other events, I figure that must have been what I saw.  When I finally come to the finish line, Dan is still on the road.  People tell me he just finished.  I come to find out he was only three minutes ahead of me.   What! @#%$!#^!! Dang, all I had to do was shave 6.5 seconds per mile off the last 28 miles and I would have caught him.  I thought Dan was in a class way above me so I kind of eased up after he dropped me.  Now to find out I could have easily come back.  Lesson learned, next year I’ll play his game my way.  He may win, but I’m not going to give it to him again. 

165 mile event with a time of 6hrs 52min.  Going to get drunk tonight!  -Rich

CCCC_2012 97-Miles

CCCC 2012

 

First off, great recon on the riders from the south, Beto.  You called it like it was!

Groupo compacto getting to the hill (after the tandem attacked repeatedly and got away) and the full flex going up the hill.  I got shelled, along with most of the peleton, but was only one of two to claw back on after a serious push burning many matches.  Barber spun easily with the big kids.  Around mile 65 we pulled the tandem back.  They rode like dicks repeatedly attacking, then swerving crazily and sitting up.  They kept killing the rotation.  There was a few attacks from riders seeking individual glory and I just sat back, knowing I had little left in the tank.  Based on Beto’s beta, I would just follow the tandem as they tried to advance the interest of their friend, Scott Flanders (wearing a jersey with his name) and quash any attacks.  

Y and Doogie did leapfrog support along with a solo Ariana and the biting dog (another story).  Y kept telling me to watch Flanders, and that he would crush me in a sprint.  I wanted to tell him I felt lucky to have caught back on, how tired I felt and that a top 15 was cool with me.  

The tandem over-cooked a corner about five miles from the finish and a Carmichael rider attacked.  When the tandem came back it was game on to pull him back and set Flanders up.  I was first wheel and Flanders took me off the wheel of the tandem (good move for him), so rather than fight I just locked and loaded.  I surfed his wheel and… and… got him at the line.  In my fuged-out state, I thought I had won, complete with throwing up my arms and doing some good yelling.  

Oh well, I’m good with second!  Thanks to Brent, Doogie, Ariana and Y for support.  You guys are awesome!!!

Coco 250

 Coco250
I’ve had been contemplating this race, was anxious and nervous since I had never done a multi-day self-supported mountainbike event.  Once my friend Dave Wilson from El Paso completed my custom bikepacking bags, I was totally in, better yet, he was also in and we decided to do it on our singlespeeders. Two trial run overnighters to Parker Canyon lake, and I was dialed in.  My total setup was around 45 pounds. My father hooked me up with an ultra-light downbag for my Bday, which eased much of my anxiety.  We decided to roll out at 6:30 instead of the 7:00 a.m. meeting time at the “The Place, ” a family restuarant in Flagstaff.  We made our way to the FUT’s and began our roll towards Fisher Pt.  The ride along Andersen Mesa was just as you would expect – bumpy…but soon we descended down the swoopy fun section of the AZT across Lake Mary Road and picked up the trail on the other side.Shortly after leaving FR240, we passed on toping off with water at the ADOT yard and road some gnarly singletrack into trail. Dave spoke about the awesomeness Hangover Trail we were bypassing on the route, got to go back for that one.  After fueling up at the local Circle K, we pressed on to enjoy the super fun singletrack of Sedona.  After paying our Red Rock State Park fee, it was on to Lime Kiln Trail.Ah yes…Lime Kiln Trail… Having never rode it before but hearing stories, I was somewhat prepared for what followed…HAB up a steep ridge in the beginning, deep sand in the middle with at times a very faint trail, followed by a fun, ledgy descent into Cottonwood, riding with the last hour with our night lights.  All in all, great fun, but damn, I never knew the Verde Valley was such a WIDE valley…whew.
After we arrived In Cottonwood, we had a time sucker, finally navigating to a local store/grill. It was our last refuel stop before heading up Mingus and the long haul to Williams.  I tanked up on as much water as I had capacity for (about 180 oz) and enough food to get me to Williams. We road 1000 feet above Mingus and took a 3 to 4 hour nap. At approximately 1:30 a.m. we proceeded up the mountain.  Initially, the climb wasn’t bad; sitting turning my 32×22 was easy.Then it got steeper…where standing turning a 32×22 was about perfect.  Then it just got silly steep…no way I was gonna burn my “glycogen matches” trying to muscle up the steep grade.So off it was, walking my way up Mingus Mtn. Occasionally, the grade would lessen and I’d hop back on until finally hitting the single track.
Oh boy….the single track up Mingus…technically, I guess you would call it single track, but holy crap, quickly turned into something only suitable for acrobats and mountain goats.  There were times when it took every bit of effort to heave the bike up and over the next big boulder, then squeezing the brakes while I then heaved my body up.  This “bike-body ratcheting” exercise continued for what seemed like an hour.  During this wicked HAB sufferfest, I swear I saw Jesus three times and maybe even a few of his disciples.Finally, after scratching my way up this rocky, overgrown excuse for a trail, I hit the top where some useless a-hole decided it would be fun to litter the now-level-trail with tons of babyheads.  At this point, my “chunk avoidance system” was shut down for maintenance as I was the ball in a life size pinball game.  FINALLY, it was game-over!
My L&M Stella descent down Mingus was crazy good…big wide, banked switchback turns in between which were smooth sections of bench cut trail begging to be ridden fast.I then made my way north, along a rocky powerline access road which must have been a goathead farm at some point.I kept hearing a “tink-tink-tink” sound as a goat-head stuck in my tire and hit the frame with each tire rotation.  Thankfully, I emerged from that unscathed.
Before the big downhill of the Verde, you slowly climb along the north end of Mingus Mountain on what is actually a very enjoyable dirt road.  It meanders in and out of several drainages until finally, you make a left turn and become a human torpedo due north to the Verde River.  I was could not match Dave’s speed, his momentum (6’5″) and fully loaded rig, I swear he reached 60mph. 
At the Verde, we crossed the bridge and found a nice spot to access the river where we proceeded to filter 3 liters of water.  It was a very serene spot with the river flowing, big shady trees that were just begging to have weary bodies lying beneath them.
 
We then left with about 130 oz of water on board hoping that would get us up the never ending ascent to Williams.  Grinding up that road, it was mostly ride-able with the exception of a section where you pass a layer of flagstone.  The road then became steep and loose, which together equals HAB on the SS.  The climb is nothing short of brutal – false summit after false summit until finally, the presence of Ponderosa pines signals you are nearing 7000ft.  From there, We continued north on the getting an occasional slap in the face with another small climb as the road undulated along the landscape.  Finally, we reached the Benham trail that leads you up the south face of Bill Williams Mountain.  This well built trail would be a treat with some fresh legs and an unloaded bike- two things I did not possess that day.  Finally, down we went, hands death gripping the brakes, down some steep, relentless, never-ending water bars.  I swore there were over 1000 of them suckers. I had to stop twice to get the feeling back in my hands and feet. Rolling into Williams, collecting my thoughts and thanking God I cheated death one more time.  Williams provided some delicious pizza on Route 66, then off to Safeway to refuel after some cross town navigation errors.   The long day (or two) in the saddle was starting to take a toll on both of us, yet knowing that we had approximately 70 miles to go kept those pedals cranking.  We agreed to lay down for the night on a nice peaceful FR one hour from Williams after 19 hours in the saddle.  We discussed the fun factor and how a good nights rest would contribute.  Refreshed and excited we rolled out at 4:30 a.m in an uber chilly roll down to Sycamore Canyon.  I could smell the finish…even though it was 40 miles ahead, I had strong legs and thought of finishing was as though someone had just sold me his spare EPO shots.  We proceeded to have a great time riding the chunk of the Sycamore Rim trail, picking our way at dawn through the lava rock. Finally emerging on the powerline trail, we  then hit the roads that led us to the Texaco, our last refueling spot, a nice cold frappo and cheese danish, yes!! 
We pressed on with the Wing Mountain moto trails, rutted, loose cinder grooves down to hwy 180.  Then up the FR151 climb  and steady rhythm going up FR151 with great anticipation of the upcoming descent down the AZT, funnest descent in Northern AZ, gripping and ripping that single track that I’d ridden a couple of times before.  Even with a weighted bike, I tossed it around those turns as though it was a feather.  We were having so much fun that we missed a couple of turns, little frustrating when you are having so much fun, yet the GPS tracks were not 100% accurate.  Finally, merging with Schultz Creek trail, we continued as fast as we could railing the final turns and eventually hitting Quintana Rd.  My father was waiting for us at the finish with a huge smile (old school cowboy who understands the backcountry adversity).  We were the first finishers and I was more than stoked to have finished my first bikepacking adventure.  Dave was a huge inspiration and his company definitely made this all worth while.

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  • Mission

    Aggress is a Tucson-based statewide / regional cycling team formed in January, 2004.
    As a developmental team for both road and mountain bike racing, Aggress continues to actively – yet carefully – recruit according to a philosophy that emphasizes teamwork in both training and racing tactics.
    Our focus is to race as a team, utilizing team tactics to get our man the win. We ride in support of our designated racer, with each member in turn supported in the key event(s) of his choosing.
    We are aggressive when we race, but we behave in a courteous and sportsmanlike manner at all times. We also have team training rides that we utilize throughout the season.