Canada eh??

The last couple weeks I have been putting in some major travel time. It all started with a trip to the east coast. When I landed in Newark I looked out the window and noticed this as we stopped. As it turned out one of wheels caught on fire when they dropped the landing gear. It was the quickest thing I’ve seen at Newark airport – 15 fire trucks surrounding the plane in an instant upon landing. After my adventure in Newark it was off to Mount Tremblant for the first round of the Canada Cup. It’s about a 7 hour drive from parents house to Mount Tremblant just north west of Montreal. My first race didn’t go as planned since I took a bad line and sliced my sidewall 10 minutes into the race. I visited my dad in the feed zone where I changed my wheel and finished out the day in 18th. 20120606-132747.jpg

After the race it was back to my parents house for a couple days of rain before heading up to Baie St Paul for the 2nd round. 9 hours later I arriveisn’t the race course north of Quebec city and Mount St Anne. After 4 laps of pre ride I felt like I knew the course as well as I possibly could. It had a couple figure 8′s within the loop – an east coast technical style course with a lot of up and down on roots and rocks. On race day I had a solid first lap and stayed out of trouble and continued to move up. After the second lap I had locked into a battle for third. With a lap to go, Jeremy Martin (Rocky Mtn.) and I started to fight for position into each section. In the end I came up a little short as Alex lit me up inside the finial 1.5k. I cruised in for 4th, good day for a bear, and was looking forward to the following race weekend.

After four hot days in NY, it was off to Hardwood Hills near Toronto. Split the drive in half and stayed in Rochester NY with uncle, aunt and cousin. Also Kricket flew in to Rochester to hang out for the finall race and take in some cold rainy weather. After the drive up and another successful trip through customs, I checked out the course which was super fast and fun. The soil was sand based and dry even after 3 inches of rain the night before. Besides from a couple slick roots, the trail was in perfect tackie condition. Sunday for the race… not so much. After I started to warm up I was thinking of trying one of those moves that never pans out for you – change tires! At 15 minutes before the start I really was considering the move as it just started dumping rain. Unfortunately for me I figured the trail wouldn’t take that much wear and boy was I wrong. The gun went off, I avoided the first pile up and was inside the top 10 when I quickly realized my fast dry tires with 17 psi weren’t hooking up at all. After laying it down hard in a rock garden I ended up almost clipping numerous trees in the first 3 of 6 laps. I totally was out of it and faded back to 19th before getting my head back in it and rallying back to 12th. I really wanted to call it day on the 2nd lap but I decided to stop trying to force it and just work on the bike handling. In turn, I started finding my lines and feeling good about my day. Wished I could have got that going a lot sooner but, oh well, valuable lesson learned and great mud practice.

Now I’m headed back to dtown after a good block of racing. Looking forward to recharging the batteries and coming back strong for the most important 4 weeks of my Mtb season – US Pro XCT in Colorado Springs, 2 world cups in Mt Saint Anne and Windham and US Nationals in Sun Valley

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Expectations

During my last 8 hours of Sea Otter 2012 I wasn’t expecting much.  First of all our property manager, Nick, invited us down to his euro style hotel off the beaten path in downtown Monterey for some drinks.  To show our appreciation we headed down.  Brady and his dad Russ were busy updating copy since their website was blowing up after the media explosion of Kappius Components.  Care-Bear and I were both cracking and looking to get to dinner ASAP.  Dylan met us there after a day trip to coach his son’s Lacrosse game.  Once we came upon the revamped hostel our plan was a quick in and out mission – one drink then we head to dinner.  Once inside Nick took amazing care of us.  Appetizers flowed for a solid hour for the 5 1/2 of us (Hoke joined us after a private dinner with Ettinger).   We had so many delicious, grande appetizers that we totally passed up on dinner. After we were all full Nick took us up and showed us this sweet deck that overlooked the Monterey Bay.

The next morning I wasn’t expecting much. I gave myself extra time knowing I was in store for adventure.  I set my alarm for 3:55 a.m. in order to catch the 5:35 flight from Monterey to Denver.  I called for a taxi the day before since I had such an early wake up.  My phone rang at 3:45 with the taxi cab driver asking me where I was staying.  I gave him directions, the gate code, started getting my stuff to the end of our driveway and began waiting patiently.  At 4 a.m. I figured maybe I should start walking down the private road to look for the taxi cab driver.  Sure enough he calls, and is lost. Just as I expected. So I keep walking all the way to the 68 Hwy. After a couple more phone conversations explaining I’m on the 68 by construction, another voice gets on the phone and asks me where I am.  As I’m explaining, I see the taxi! As I start walking towards it I was met half way by a sheriff who started interrogating me.  He asks me, “If you are headed to airport, where is your luggage!?”  I responded, “About a mile and half away since the taxi couldn’t find my place!” He then wanted to know what I was doing, where I lived, the address of where I was staying, why I was in Monterey… Before I knew it I was pulling out my ID and the cop was running it to make sure it was valid and I really lived in Colorado.  I guess I passed because the cop went on to inform me that a couple of cars were broken into in the neighborhood.  It’s some new get away – break into cars, steal stuff, then call for a get away.  Lucky for me my get away car was a taxi to the airport.

Sea Otter

 

This weekend my two teammates (known here on out as TDub and BK) and I from Team Clif Bar MTB and CX took on the Sea Otter Classic. Sea Otter has always been a challenge for me. In years past, I have done the following at Sea Otter: rented a motor home and almost crashed it, got strep throat, booked a ticket home for a week later and got so dehydrated I just stopped under a tree and began handing out bottled water to other racers. I have never been able to put together a solid showing at Sea Otter, probably because I get to used to the thin and cold air of the mountains and choke on thickness of Laguna Seca oxygen.

This year I came into the race without any expectations. All three of us had been racing CX into January and instead of doing are MTB homework the rest of winter decided to take a break. BK and I raced in Puerto Rico March and the previous weekend TDub and I raced in Rumble at 18 Road in Fruita. But other then that I didn’t have much intensity in me. I had instead been going for super long rides through the foothills of the Boulder County Front Range.

Friday brought on the first race of the weekend for us with short track. The Sea Otter short track course is notoriously bumpy and extremely hard to move up, so the start is everything. I decided in the morning it would be a good idea to attempt to ride the part of the XC to check it out before going to the line. I cut off section that I thought I knew well enough for the race and headed out to the new stuff. I looked at the time and decided I might not make it back in time for the start. I called BK hoping I could get him to meet me at the start with my number. No answer. At this point I am all the way at the bottom of the XC course and need to climb the back to the venue. I decide this will be a good warm up to drill it back to venue. Not so. But I did make it for the start and I got my number on the bike on the line. Didn’t start so well and then saw TDub on the side of trail after apparently having his bike launched out from under his arms by another racer. I moved up, got tired, moved back and then got pulled. The upside is I got to watch my good friend Colin “Care Bear” Cares of Kenda/Felt have a solid finish.

Saturday, Part 1, was the XC. This year it was a one lap 20 mile race. Kabush won in 1:14, so the race was full gas the from the beginning. I got off the pavement in safe and in pretty good position, which is a feat when riding with a bunch of MTB guys on the road. The course then rolls across a super hilly fire road and then into first single track decent. To my surprise, I was able to stick with the front group down the descent and up the next climb, and across until the course descended again. Me and some other guys on the tail end of the group got gapped off through the dusty descents, but we formed a solid group and kept going strong, picking off people getting dropped of the front group. By the time we hit the bottom of the course it was down to myself, Kris Sneddon, Niel Kindre and fellow Colorado bro Russel Finsterwald. I hit the climb first and kept going solid. I managed to get away from those guys and kept catching glimpses of JHK and Stephen Ettinger. Stephen was fading fast and I caught him hoping he could stay on my wheel and we would make it into the finish together, but no such luck. I came across the line in 9th. Which was not only my best Sea Otter results but probably one of my best results ever considering the strength of this year’s field. It is a nice validation after putting in some hard work this February and March.

That evening the Sea Otter hosted a CX race, I am pretty sure it is the first ever cross race held in April. But it was a fun event with no pressure and lots of people heckling. My highlights included taking a quesadilla feed, four dollar hand-ups, and possibly punching a spectator while trying to get rather risque hand up. Tdub and I finshed 4th and 5th and BK got 9th.

We are now off to the Whiskey Off-Road in Prescott Arizona, which will also be a super strong field. The race is ridden in memory of Brady, Troy and I’s fallen teammate, Mike Janelle. Come find us at the Kappius Components tent check out the sweet new hubs that BK and his Dad invented and just showed off at Sea Otter.

Follow us here and on Facebook and Twitter for more adventures

Here are some fun photos from the weekend

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MTB friends, Sunday recovery ride. There is a 1500 vertical MTB only decent. 

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Got to ride with my BBFs Colin and Stephen

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And this thing is just cool.

Best Rides,

Mitch Hoke

 

Product Giveaway

After the cyclocross season finished up I took a handful of weeks off and recharged the batteries on the couch and fairways.  Then it was time to get back to work riding hours upon hours putting in my base.  After weeks of battling wind, aggressive drivers and rough roads, I can say base 2012 is in the books.  The best part of my 7 weeks this year was that I had my new Stevens mountain and cyclocross bikes to put the time in on.  With my biggest week of base being 32 hours this year I put down a lot of Clif products.  My favorites include chocolate chip z-bars, margarita Bloks, lemonade Clif Shot electrolyte mix, and dipped Mojo bars.  During my adventures out on the open dirt roads, I got escorted off of Southern Ute land by a ranger.  I found this great ride from Durango to the Road Apple Rally trail system.  The normal route would be about 45 miles on traditional highways.  After some research on Google maps I found dirt roads that cut the trip down to 35 miles.  I did the ride once with no issues but on my 2nd attempt I was heading home about 1.5 hours from Durango 70 miles into my day when a Walker Texas Ranger truck pull up next to me.  I waved and kept riding. The guy, who really was a ranger, rolled down the window and told me to pull over, he had to talk to me.  He explained to me I was on Southern Ute land and I needed a permit to be on the land and they only give them to people in the oil and gas industry.  On the dirt roads you don’t see any houses, just oil well machines and big white pick up trucks with orange flags.  The ranger also explained to me the oil workers normally almost crash into him so its not very safe place to ride your bike.  Then after taking down my info he figured that he should give me a ride off the Southern Ute land.  I asked him if it would be possible to just ride my bike and he said sure but he would have to follow me.  So I ended up with a follow car for about 30 minutes of my ride creeping along with a head wind and a couple of steep climbs.

 

Now that I’m done with base, I’ve decided to do a Trois Biscotti trivia / Clif product giveaway.  Guess how many calories of Clif product I take in during a 6 hour training day. You can put your guess on our team Facebook wall www.facebook.com/TCBMTBCX  or comment on this blog post. Winners will be announced on Friday.

Euroland photos


The sun came out to play yesterday. Sun in Belgium doesn’t get much better than that.

Been putting in some training time with the great roads and hills around Oudenarrde.

With all the training we have been hitting the delhaize hard. Check out my sweet wagon.

Mitch got to play duckey in the centrum of Korktrjk.  With Christmas just two days away the Centrum of each town has been off the chain.

This is the best part of our accommodations in Belgium. Mitch, Gregory and I have been putting the machine thru its paces.

Waffle stand in Kortrijk nothing even comes close.  I’ve been making trips here since my first time to Belgium in 2005.

Europe

So Mitch and I ventured over to Belgium for a couple races before nationals. It was a quick trip home after Bend before we flew out on Wednesday. After the rough flight over the Atlantic we arrived in Belgium on thursday morning. My friend Gregory who I met years ago @ the usa cycling house picked us up @ the airport and has been our tour guide, logistic coordinator, and mechanic. Everything has been dialed. We are staying @ Hof ter Kammen a B&B in Oudenaarde right by the koppenberg. It’s nice to be able to check out a new part of Belgium for us.

Our luggage was delayed by 2 days. So we got our bikes together and went for a solid ride on Saturday. Before you could blink sunday was here and it was time to race the world cup in Namur. This was the hardest cross circuit I have ever ridden. Nothing could prepare you for the running that you encounter on the circuit. It was so steep and slick you wish you had a tow rope to help you up the run ups. The descents went straight down with slick turns at the bottom.

I had a terrible start and never could seem to get going. By the time i found my euroland legs it was coming towards the end of the race. I ended up 52 not exactly what I was hoping for. Mitch had a solid start but couldnt keep it together and ended up 54th. With this said we are looking forward to friday night in Diegem. My first race over here never goes that well. I feel like it takes a race to blow the flight out of my legs.

Troy

Bend Course Preview

Derby USGP

Team Clif Bar had a solid weekend in Louisville. Check out my preview video of the course with Towle lending his voice for the voiceover.

The kids clinic is always out of control in Louisville. About 40 kids going for it. it’s really cool to see the skills the kids are rocking.

Saturday was game day. At the USGP’s the big day is Saturday since its always the C1. The C1 day is big points and money. I was able to get another 7th. After a terrible start I put down the fastest lap of the day for my 2nd lap to bridge to the main chase group. I was hoping to put down a solid sprint for 5th but a gap opened in the turns and left me sprinting jones for 7th. Not really known for my sprint somehow I timed it perfect and just got him on the line.

Mitch had a solid day coming in 17th and the Brady the BK Ripper was 35th.

Sunday I was in the mix for a while but then faded hard and just wasn’t on a good day. Mitch and BK both had better days. Mitch was battling for 10th but had to settle for 13th. BK but down a 25th.

Also keep an eye on Mitch’s movember ‘stache.

Thanks to bill @ challenge we all ran the grifo xs this weekend. It was tje perfect tire for the fast course. Also Myron had everything dialed in after our week in Cincinnati. Hopefully we can all step it up. Next up is jingle cross for Brady and I. Then we will all be in bend for finial round of the USGP.

Iceman and Cincinnati

The Crew

Myron working the pits in boudler

This weekend almost killed Myron, Brady (BK Ripper), and Troy. It all started with Troy and Myron spending a night in O’Hare airport after their finial flight to traverse city had a pilot MIA. It’s not a good sign when an airline can’t get a hold of a pilot. Needless to say it was a quick night of 4 hours of sleep before the 6:30 Am flight to Traverse City for the ICEMAN Cometh. Got off the plane killed a couple of hours then it was off to pre ride the course with the veteran Brian Matter. We had a good crew with BK Ripper, Finsty, Matter and Troy. Myron dropped us off @ the mid-way feed zone then headed to the finish.

Next up was the expo @ ICEMAN which is like a mini vegas. Thousands of people running around checking out the latest stuff. Brady, Troy and Matter signed some autograph. Check out Colt’s pre-race interviews on Cyclingdirt to see the seen.

Race day came fast. After a great breakfast @ the green cafe in traverse city it was race time before we could blink. ICEMAN is intense from the start with the fight for the single track. After that it is fast and group racing. Troy made the front group and was in the lead group with 10K to go but had some mechanical difficulties that left him settling for 15th. BK ripper missed the initial split and rolled in for 25th. Check out Colts coverage @ cyclingdirt.org

AFter ICEMAN the race was on to make it to Cincinnati. After trading rental cars @ the airport we settled in for a 8 hour drive.

Traveling Light! (That’s with zero bikesn just two bike cases)

We pulled into a hotel in Lima, OH about two hours from the race venue. Thanks to the time change we woke up around 10 a.m. the next morning. On the way to the venue we hit the chipotle (lunch of champs). Once we made it to the venue it was game on sort of. Troy, Brady and Myron all felt the drive. Troy ended up putting in a solid ride for 7th. Mitch was 8th on the day and put in his 3rd top 10 performance in 3 days.

Today Myron and Troy went to work and cleaned all the bikes. After a couple days in Cincinnati it will be time for Louisville G.P.

Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge

While my other two Clif Bar teammates are shredding the cross scene stateside, I’m over in Langkawi, Malaysia for the Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge (LIMBC for short). It’s a 5 day mountain bike stage race on the island of Langkawi, ‘the Hawaii of Asia’. Not sure how big the market is for Clif Bar product over here but it was a once in a lifetime chance so I had to take it.

After 5 separate flights we got here last Friday, giving us a few days to get acquainted with the area before the racing really began on Tuesday. Getting adjusted to the time zones was surprisingly easy, my travel partner, Russell Finsterwald, and I had no trouble. After traveling that long I guess your body just gives up. The first few days can be summed up in the following pictures:




Late Monday night / early Tuesday morning death struck. Vomiting every 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Spend a full 24 hours in bed, only ate 1 cup of oatmeal and a pack of Clif Blocks. It was rough. Missed the first stage but I didn’t really care. I was just happy to start feeling better. I started stage 2, but wouldn’t consider it racing. I made it a bit longer today. Hoping to keep progressing for tomorrows uphill road TT. Short track on Saturday and thats it! I’ll keep you updated. Or follow me on the Twitters.

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