Tag Archives: racing

SSWC 09 Durango Rocks!

Singlespeed World Championships or the SSWC  is perhaps the best showcase of people who love riding bikes for the love of riding bikes.  The only requirement (aside from the entry form’s coloring contest) is a love for riding your bike with only one gear.  Leave your gears and your derailleurs at home sissies…THIS world championship is for those in love with a single cog.

Luckily for Team M2M – we had two riders in the race…yours truly, and Mark Wiggins of Denver.

One thousand riders, nearly two hundred of them women, dressed in all manners of drag, tutus, onesie’s, and even a few speedos ala Micheal Phelps with an oversized bong in their camelback. Nurses, cheerleaders, and frisky frauleins frolicked at the start line as we got ready for a mass start up down Durango’s Main Street.  And that was the men.  Our racing group of lined up in front of guys in hot pants and security uniforms, and more than one person was heard commenting that perhaps this was the coming out party for Durango’s gay pride movement.   Our support crew, aka: ’sexy cop’, a red-headed Dorothy, and Elvis worked the crowd, perhaps enjoying the start line all the more knowing their only requirement for the next few hours was excessive drinking.  Sexy cop ‘arrested’ a Micheal Phelps look-alike, wearing nothing more than a speedo, goggles, and a giant bong in his camelback.

Okay, so the course may have been shorter than any other race I’d done, and the atmosphere more akin to a cruiser bike pub crawl, but the course was brutal.  The first hike-a-bike was a couple miles out of town.  Winding singletrack so steep and narrow we had to dig our cleats into the hillside to keep from sliding down into the hundreds of riders below us, calves cramping with the effort of avoiding the dreaded domino effect.  Looking above, racers snaked their way at a turtle pace up to the rideline….a dispiriting sight.  Luckily, in the spirit of SSWC, the surrounding banter was side-splittingly vulgar…men dressed in all manners of tutu’s and pink knee highs, shouting profanities at friends, teammates, and strangers above and below as we inched our way painfully up the hillside.   I searched for Mark in the switchbacks above me, wearing a blindingly silver disco shirt I felt sure I’d be able to spot him.

Feet blistering from the extended climb in bike cleats, my decision to ride in a Catholic schoolgirl style skirt was starting to wear.  Literally.   We crested the ridge for the first of many impending beer stops.  Cold cups of Dales Pale Ale were handed out by cheering spectators.  Never has a beer tasted so refreshing, and I needed a little courage in a cup  to get me through the next few miles of  technical rock ledge ‘riding’.  Riding?  More like a combo of one-legged skateboard style coasting and endless dismounting, till finally the crowd thinned and the riding began through seriously hairy ridge riding towards a wicked descent where you could hear hundreds of spectators cheering below in a wild beer filled party.  I was greeted by a large, shirtless man who jumped in front me, thrusting a can of Old Chub in my face, demanding “chug it!”.     Thrilled to have made it off the ridge relatively unscathed, I happily obliged, smiled and sped off for the second half of the race.  Passing by our riotous support crew, made up of ’sexy cop’, ‘redheaded Dorothy’, and one hell of an Elvis, passing out jello shots they made at the condo the night before.

I knew the second climb would be tough after the hike a bike, but I didn’t how much that took out of me…I’d been hiking/riding for two hours and was sorely wishing a grim death to that stupid girl with the nalgene full of white wine.  The rest of the course passed by as a series of beer stops, whiskey shot stations, a bacon stop, and even a twinkie stop by literally hundreds of supporters who littered the course; cheering, shouting, taunting, and proferring up all manners of alcoholic drinks and junk food.  Three hours in, and desperate for some actual hydration, I asked one group if they had any water at all…alas, they were out.  But they did have a cooler of melting ice that had played host to several cases of beers a hour earlier.  Eagerly I unscrewed the cap of my water bottle and dipped in, avoiding the worst of the floaters.  I drank it down to the ice, and refilled, thanking the angel of mercy for his mucky cooler water and sped off to finish the course, knowing one last hike-a-bike was in my future.

This climb was as brutal as the first.  Unending switchbacks where  I hopscotched with a fat man in a pale green tutu and afro, and a local girl with white angle wings who knew what was coming next and enjoyed shouting back, “just a few more switchbacks to go”, a bit too gaily.  I thought about ripping off her wings and shoving the down her throat, but realized that would simply waste too much time.

I spent the next few miles why the race course organizers hated bikers so much…until blessedly, I passed a woman who shouted, “One more mile to the finish and its mostly downhill!”  I nearly got off my bike and kissed her.   Instead, I shouted my excitement, wiped the dried drool from the corners of my mouth, and sped like a banshee to catch that chick with the pom poms I’d seen on the ascent a few hours earlier.

Hundreds of racers didn’t make the time cut-offs, so it is with pride that I confirm that both members of Team M2M represented well, made the time cut-offs, and came through relatively unscathed… already looking forward to expanding the singlespeed side of Team M2M for future races!

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Team M2M – August Sightings

Jersey sightings continue through August with triathletes in Steamboat Springs classic tri, and mountain bikes at the Laramie Enduro and Tipperary Creek, and of course runners at Pikes’s Peak Ascent and at Mountain to Mountain’s 2nd Annual Race for the Mountains!

Thanks especially to riders like Denver resident, Paula Telck, for her kind words after racing 70 miles on her mountain bike in the Laramie Enduro a few weeks ago.  Riders like this capture the spirit of what we are attempting to do.

“From the 7 am start and one of 400 racers, I wait anxiously to start the Laramie Enduro. This is not your sit back and relax kind of day, but one that requires the right amount of energy and to a much bigger degree endurance. Over the course of the 111km race, I will feel exhilarated, hopefully, anxious and, yes, pain but mostly honored. Today I was given the opportunity by Shannon Galpin, to represent Mountain to Mountain, an organization making an impact in young woman’s lives in Afghanistan. I’m fortunate to have been born in America where opportunities like today’s race exist for women. In America, nobody can deny me this moment. Something this wonderful and simple should be universal and afforded to all women. There are endless streams of smiles and cheers as the riders cross the finish line including myself. It feels good to be done, but the smiles from my face also come from a place deeper in my heart. I wear my Mountain to Mountain jersey with great pride, honor and in support of the efforts of this absolutely amazing organization. ”

Next month keep an eye out for us at  Singlespeed World Championship 09 in Durango, CO.   More than one of us will be riding our singlespeeds at this epic event!!

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Random Jersey Sightings

The Team M2M jersey has been busy after its launch at the Breck Epic.  

Saturday, July 11 Breck Epic team member, Mark Wiggins, wore his jersey proudly in the 21st annual Triple Bypass.  An epic road biking event that covers 120 miles, three mountain passes, with around 10,000 feet of climbing.   Having raced only three days prior on the Breck Epic team relay climbing over 10,000 on his mountain bike for the monstrous Mt. Guyot loop, he pulled out all the stops and did the same again on his road bike.  

The same day, I dusted off my jersey and lubed up my bike to race in Winter Park in their point to point cross country mountain bike race.  I thought after the 7800 feet of climbing in my Breck Epic leg on Tuesday that the race would be a walk in the park.  I was wrong.  It hurt.  A lot.  Tired legs don’t get much break on a singlespeed.  Neither does your ass when you ride a hardtail.  But the jersey got a second place podium finish.  

A week later, we had a third Breck Epic teammate wearing the M2M colors proudly on his road bike up Mt Evans for the reknowned Bob Cook Memorial Hill Climb.  Steve Recca left the mountain bike at home to take on this 28 mile road race for the mountain goats…a constant uphill climb to the top of one of Colorado’s classic 14’ers.  Topping off at the 14,000 feet – its not just strong legs, but an ability to deal with the lack of oxygen, that challenge the riders that choose to tackle it.  

The same day as Steve was racing up the slopes of Mt. Evans, the Breck 100 was taking off in Breckenridge.  We didn’t have any riders respresenting this year with the short notice, but we aim to change that next year.  As the non profit recipient, Team M2M did have a presence at the start/finish to promote the team as well as staffing a few marshall and aid station check points with volunteers.   

One week later, I was riding one of my favorite rides in the Front Range, the new connector trail between Heil and Hall Ranch when around the corner of a switchback was a familiar looking jersey on an unfamiliar face.  Apparently the rider had purchased the jersey at the Breck 100 and it was now her favorite jersey.  She was excited to chat about our projects (or maybe she just needed to catch her breath on the uphill).  It was exciting to see our jersey on the trail totally randomly.  The ball is rolling!

In the meantime – keep an eye out for our jersey in the Laramie Enduro, the Steamboat Springs triathlon, and a few UK endurance races!

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Race for the Mountains

Race color logo

 

August 23rd brings runners and walkers will expend their leg power on the mountains surrounding Breckenridge, Colorado in the 2nd Annual Race for the Mountains.  This trail running event was started in 2007 as Mountain to Mountain’s keystone event.   In its inaugural year, two hundred men and women sweat their way across the face of Peak 8 to raise over $7,000 for girls education in remote mountain communities of Pakistan.  

This year, R4M, hopes to extend its reach as Mountain to Mountain works to build schools and create opportunity in Afghanistan.   A change of date to late summer means we avoid our  late June snows and still muddy trails.  It also means we need runners, racers, and walkers to get our new date on their busy summer calendar.

Not a runner, grab some friends and hike the short course!   The trails are calling out and the mountain views are spectacular.   

Whether you race, run, walk, or hike, join Board Member, Megan Weber and set up an online fundraising page.  Megan has set a goal to run the 5km short course to celebrate her journey towards health after dealing with lupus for two years.  She set up a page at Firstgiving.com and is asking friends and family to help support her efforts and in turn support girl’s education in Afghanistan.  Support her efforts, or join us and set up your own fundraising page with a goal that means something to you.  Maybe you want to run your first 10km, or set a PR, or simply win bragging rights for putting your sweat equity to work at 10,000 feet.   Simply select Mountain 2 Mountain as your charity partner and then you are ready to upload photos, links and set a goal for friends and family to support.  Email your friends, post to your Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace pages and let people know that you are racing to support Mountain to Mountain!

100% of the race entries go towards Mountain to Mountain’s projects thanks to the generosity of our sponsors.   You can register online at active.com 

 

 

 

The creation of Team M2M

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Breck 100

6 DAYS TILL THE BRECK 100!

Whew – one epic mountain bike race down and another high class event in our own backyard hits this Saturday, July 18.   Thane Wright of Warriors Cycling has supported Mountain to Mountain since our first event in 2007, and this year has dedicated part of his hallmark race proceeds to our organization. 

Several members of Team M2M that raced in the Epic are showing up for the short course which benefits Mountain to Mountain.  The Breck 32 is the first loop of the 100 mile course.  If you fancy joining us, we’d love to help bring more racers to this shorter course which is suitable for intermediate riders and racers.  Want to take a bite of something a bit meatier?  Take on the 68 and ride the first two loops, or take on all three for the endurance 100 milers.  As Race Director, Thane Wright describes it, “You’ll cross the Continental Divide three times, climb 12,000 foot passes and forge high mountain streams while all the time returning to the support and encouragement of our staff, friends and teammates who are waiting for you at Carter Park in historic downtown Breckenridge. ”

Resistance is futile!

We have more jerseys, so any new riders for the Team itself are welcome to race with us.  Your only requirement (besides loving to mountain bike) is setting up a fundraising page on Firstgiving.com and trying to raise some cash to offset your sweat equity.   Super simple and totally secure, it’s a fantastic way to help Mountain to Mountain gets our projects off the ground in Afghanistan. 

We want to help out Thane and make the Breck 100, 68, and 32 run smoothly – so besides our call for racers, we are also rounding up course marshalls and volunteers for registration, or whatever else Thane needs.   Contact Thane at thane@warriorscycling.com or check out the race 411 at    www.warriorscycling.com

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A singlespeeder, a pro, and four sport riders walk into a bar…

The inaugural Breck Epic came to a close on Friday with the final stage on Gold Dust.   Board chair, Steve Recca and Breck local, Lauren Ross had a fantastic time – so much so that Lauren didn’t need the pepper spray swinging from her camelback for mountain lions.  (I’ll never let her live that down!)

Team M2M did what it set out to do.  It launched two co-ed teams that included: one pro, two expert, one singlespeeder, three sport, and one beginner racer.   They raced alongside some of the best mountain bike racers in the country, finishing mid pack every stage.   The team also raised over $3,000 for Mountain to Mountain by setting up online fundraising pages on Firstgiving.com 

It also started to build on another long term aim: exposure.   The day after the race ended, one of the Team members, Mark Wiggins, rode in the Triple Bypass – called such for the three mountain passes it climbs over 120 miles on its way from Evergreen to Avon, Colorado.   He rode in his Team M2M jersey, and was asked by a total stranger if he had rode in the Breck Epic.   Nice!  Yours truly wore her jersey proudly as I raced my singlespeed in Winter Park for their Cross Country Point to Point race, with a 2nd place podium finish.  

Big thanks go out to our initial private donor that wanted to see this concept come together, despite the time restraints, in the hopes that we would be able to benefit from some early exposure to line up sponsors, racers, and tap into the energy of mountain sports and culture to help fund our projects in Afghanistan. 

Many thanks to all that donor who believed in us, and all the racers that wore our jersey while burning up their legs and lungs on steep mountain passes and donating some skin at times on knarly descents.  You guys rock!!

 

Shannon

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Breck Epic’s Two Big Stages

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The two toughest stages of the Breck Epic are history.  

Stage three was the truly epic 47 mile 9,800 feet of climbing circumnavigation of Guyot.  Two front range riders, and long time friends, Mark Wiggins and Jeff Kobriger tackled the beast.  But first Jeff pounded some Go Fast, and offered up some Go Fast gum that had a warning label promising some heady side effects if you chewed more than 2 pieces an hour.  I value my digestive tract and politely declined.  Next up, Jeff pulled out the retro pink fanny pack filled with various gu and gels for the ride.  This was in addition to two aid station bags and his camelback.  I grabbed the camera after slapping a Mountain to Mountain sticker on the front, and nearly doubled up with laughter when he modeled it in all seriousness ready to ride.  A few minutes later, he determined that it might cause too much chafing and it was left in the car.  

Three massive climbs over French Pass, Georgia Pass, and Humbug Hill that had more than one biker walking were paired with some of the most technical descents of the race and lengthy rocky descents that had hands and triceps screaming for mercy.   Mark came in at 5:14, grabbed an ice-cold coke from the cooler, some pretzels, and then sat in the shade to wait for Jeff to come in.  Jeff had some cramping issues and came in about a half hour later.  Turns out, that despite have ridden in 24 hour races, this had been Jeff’s longest ride EVER in one chunk, and both agreed it was one of the challenging days in the saddle they had ridden.  

Riders at the Epic have been griping about the length of the rides, as in, they weren’t long enough.   Race director, Mike McCormick, asked the riders to reserve judgement till Friday after the two tough stages.  Racing at 10-12,000 feet is unlike racing at lower altitudes.   Your body just doesn’t recover in the oxygen deprived environment.  Sure enough by the end of Stage 4 today, the same riders that had been complaining were lining up for massages at the Mountain to Mountain massage tent, and comparing aching body parts.   Back to back long, strenuous stages in the middle of the race were making themselves felt. 

Monique Merrill and Mountain to Mountain’s Development Director, Jake Quigley took on Stage 4.  Jake and others were rocked by the extended hike-a-bike section on Wheeler.  Jake hit it about two hours in, about an hour behind Mona and the other speedster pro leaders.  It drained energy and rhythm, and riders still had two-three hours of riding ahead.  Five and half hours in the saddle, a rest and a shower was quickly followed by three bratwursts and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s before heading to bed around 8:30pm.   Mona no doubt rode from the finish back to work at Amazing Grace, just another day in the saddle for her.  

Tomorrow is the best stage of the race, the fun Gold Dust trail.  Board Chair, Steve Recca is up for round two, after Monday’s stage, alongside Breckenridge local, Lauren Ross.  A shorter, 32 mile stage, with great singletrack riding.  The awards ceremony and party move to the Riverwalk Center from the elementary school campsite, assuming that beers and celebratory pub crawls can ensue.  

Want more?  Check out coverage on VeloNews of Stage Four and Five.

Shannon

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