Park City Point 2 Point 2014

Hamilton Smith reporting on the Park City Point 2 Point 2014:

There is no mystery why the Park City Point 2 Point has become one of my favorite races in the past few years, and this year Paul Nash and I toed the line for Team Jackson Hole for possibly the very best edition they have had on offer to date. I’ve seen the good the bad and the ugly in Park City; from 6:00 a.m. lightening storms, to broken bits of bike, body and spirit. It’s all on offer as you embark on a geographic meet and greet of Park City’s three major ski resorts, and the incredible network of trails linking up the mega-park. Simple statistics include 75 miles almost exclusively on single track along a route that not once crosses or doubles back on trail previously travelled, hence the rare opportunity to ride a true Point-to-Point endurance racecourse. From the reasonable 7:00 am start at Round Valley to the finish line beckoning at the base of the Canyons racers ascend Deer Valley, Park City Mountain and the Canyons resorts.

Hamilton P2P 3

If one truism persists, it is that you should never settle in or get too comfortable in one mindset here, because you always need that little something in reserve for a high-speed technical descent or a lurking, stomach-punch of climb right when you least expect it! The Point 2 Point is truly seductive in the opening hours, smooth and gentle, stoking the ego, only ever so incrementally steeping in grade, and luring you on ever faster. In the past it has been about 4 hours in, while climbing some scrabbly-ass switchback at 9,500 feet, that I have gotten the haunting notion that I waaaay overspent my budget, and had so little in reserve to make up the difference with hours left in the day.

Hamilton P2P 2

This is the type of event that one can spend an entire summer building up to, a LotoJa of single track, and it is wise to approach it this way. The miles and/or elevation gain alone should not deter anyone, but combined with a track that includes enough chicken heads, shark’s teeth, and other intermittent gnarl to undo any air tight race preparation, combined with the typical suite of mountain weather curve balls, this one can go epic on a rider in a single pedal stroke, just about anywhere on the course. That is where this course demands true resilience, and maybe some patience.

I laughed to myself finishing such an epic in Sturgis earlier this summer thinking that I had survived what I had coined at the time as the 3:2:1 of disasters; 3 wrecks, 2 turns off course, and 1 flat – not totally unusual for this game, but during this year’s Point 2 Point, I kept a clean sheet, 0:0:0, not a single disaster, and to boot the course itself was in the best condition I had ever seen. Add to that the weather stayed almost perfectly in check, if not just a wee bit chilly & greasy during a spell of showers. I had nowhere else to look for performance or lack thereof, than within. In many respects I rode smart and within myself, preventing horrific bonks and dreaded cramps, but at the end of the day I sensed that I had spent too much time in little “r” mode (recovery) on the course, and not enough time in Big R mode (Racing) which resulted in too much left in the tank at the end of the day. I was left with that perplexing question of how the heck does one get to a faster level, w/o detonating into a miserable heap out on course?

One easy adjustment for a singlespeed rider is to drop a tooth from the rear cog. I went in a bit intimidated, and should have demanded a bit more from myself by running a taller gear. Second, I have been a bit smug lately about “flying blind” on the racecourse, meaning w/o computers tracking mileage, speed…let alone heart rate, cadence, or GPS tracks to latch onto or distract. This approach does cater to the zen-like state of settling in for a day in the saddle and exclusively following the internal power meter, with one goal, happiness…oh yeah, and one more, finishing! Check and check: however; in a very un zen-like way I am not entirely satisfied with the time slot I finished in, identical down to the minute with my 2011 result! Is it too much to ask to get older, wiser…and faster?

Hamilton P2P 2014

After the past 2 seasons I am now a firm believer in setting very real intensions, and I went into this year’s P2P very much with an intention of riding a clean, disaster free race, but also with the expectation of a faster final time. These are the seeds of learning that keep bringing us back for more, and as elated as I am about not sending the bike into the stout trunk of an aspen, or slicing through tire sidewalls, next time I think I’ll need to take the bit with that much more firmness, and ask for more from the steed! I would be remiss if I did not urge each and every one of you to go give this race a shot. It’s relatively close to home, an amazing long weekend that is incredibly family friendly – especially if you grab a room at the Canyons Resort, and well…super burly! In a good way. I threw the gratuitous racer pic in the story to show off the local non-profit Team JH has been riding for this summer on my sleeves! Check out Hole Food Rescue and give them any support you can They provide an invaluable service in Jackson Hole, and stand for sustainability and reduction of our carbon footprint, by reducing food waste, helping to feed people who are in the greatest need, and pedaling bicycles to get it done. Wahoo to that!! And thanks for reading!!

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Six Team JH Riders Take on Pierre’s Hole Mountain Bike Race

Pierre’s Hole Mountain Bike Race, 50k/100k/100m on August 16, 2014

Team Jackson Hole had six race entrants to Pierre’s Hole Mountain Bike Race on the day, and we all happened to land in the 100k distance. It was great to see so many local riders on the starting line, and the very humane hour of 8:20 am, a consolation for those not stepping up for the three-lap, 100-mile format.

Carri Wullner represented on the woman’s side; Dan Durkin and Pat Kearney were running gears; Paul Nash, Chris Pace & I were gunning hard for strong finishes in the singlespeed category.
team Jackson Hole at Pierre's Hole mountain bike race

To underscore what a small world our niche of endurance mountain biking is, I was stoked to race on this day with three guys I essentially started my racing career with 10 years prior at the Leadville 100, namely Rich Pampe, Jim Mitchell, and Dave Saurman. Great to see so many familiar faces dedicated to the sport coming out agin and again to support this local race as it continues to evolve and improve year after year.

And improve it truly has. The race founder used the trail network available seven years ago to the best of his abilities, and as a result the race aptly earned a reputation as one of the toughest hundred milers anywhere. Even the 50-mile distance was stout enough to inflict great suffering and copious amounts of misery! The present format is the result of numerous miles of creative singletrack development courtesy of Andy Williams and Grand Targhee staff, which in short brings this race at all distances to a much more tangible, and achievable goal for a broader range of racers, and yet still offers all the challenge and competition the hotshots can ask for.

Gone are the days of banishing relentless inner demons, questioning ever riding a bicycle again, or weeping pathetically for your mommy. I may be dramatizing, but as the site of my only voluntary DNF a couple years back, an experience that still sticks with me, I’m happy to see the fun factor eclipse and now far exceed the demoralizing potential of the course.

And on this particular day, perfect race temps and trail conditions where the icing on the cake. Standing on the starting line in bibs and jersey, not even shivering, and as the day progressed just about every time the direct sun felt a touch strong, a perfect cottony cloud would drift across and keep things civilized. Gotta say, it was a good day – even though I personally didn’t bring my “A” game. I landed fourth in the group, just minutes off of the podium, but did so without a sense of great injustice. Tons of good vibes all along the trail made it worth it.

I didn’t go too hard on the 1st lap, only to crash and burn the second time around. And I kept the rubber side down, but for possibly the dorkiest-ever attempt to pat a teammate on the back mid-pass, which resulted in a hooked handle bar, and a near miss at straight-lining Peaked through a boulder field. I think I’ll just keep the hands on the bars next time, Chris! I pedaled strong for 6+ hours, and made it home in time to walk the baby around the block before dinner time…it was indeed, a very good day. Go get your Pierre’s Hole on next year, it’s too close to miss, and offers a distance for every appetite!

Team Jackson Hole's Paul Nash 2nd

Paul Nash placing 2nd for Team Jackson Hole in the Singlespeed division of the 100k race at Pierre’s Hole

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Tour De Transalp Update

Tour De Transalp: St. Vigil Day 3

So, day three of the Tour de Transalp was interesting. It is one of the shorter days in anticipation of the the Queen Stage tomorrow. We started in Brixen and the neutralized the first 10 K. A very loose term over here. Let’s say it is not like a NASCAR yellow flag. It was a total cluster with literally hundreds of riders sneaking up on the opposite lane and then complete stops every time we came upon traffic in the other lane.

Constantly putting a toe down and then ramping up again. Even though Rob and I start in the first couple of hundred riders, I am guessing, after 10 km, we were probably 500 back. Then right at the end of the neutralized section we went into a very narrow climb with consistent 13% grades for probably 800 vertical meters. Another cluster as it was hard to pass with that many riders in front. After that bump in the course we got into long sections of 3 to 4% grades and it was full on motoring until we got to the base of the Gardena. Then 7 to 8% and things got spread out. A beautiful climb with a great decent into Covara with the spectacular Sella Massif on our right. Long downhill with the usual crazies and then 5 km uphill to the finish in St. Vigil.
We have all been dealing with bike issues mostly due to the first days wet weather. They have on site mechanic at the start and finish of each day and they are very well equipped but it adds another dynamic to the while logistics. If we were only pros and had our own support staff. Scott has been a regular at the mechanic tent. Kevin had some pretty significant freehub issues today but got that sorted out. I have had shifting problems but got that sorted out on my own last night. At least till it rains again. Weather looks like it is going to get sunny and hot as we move south tomorrow but we are going over the Passo Giau. Sitting in the hotel bar having a beer with no English spoken, but Pearl Jam on the radio. Go figure.

Photos from the start in Brixen and Scott at the finish smiling.
Must not have been that bad.

Rob and I slipped a bit to 26th in the division. Kevin and Scott had a strong day. You can check out results on the Tour de Transalp website. Click the Datasport link for details.

Stay tuned.

Note: Jim Verdone, Kevin Burke, Rob Mahoney, and Scott Horn are currently representing Team JH in the Alps!


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Introducing the Interlaken 100

New Century in Region May Appeal to Team Jackson Hole Members

Interlaken 100 is a new bike ride on August 23, 2014 from Pineview to Bear Lake via Monte Cristo. The fully supported ride will be a good two weeks before LOTOJA and will serve a great training ride for those riding LOTOJA this year.

Interlaken: In·ter·la·ken (in-ter-lah-kuhn) is a town in west-central Switzerland southeast of Bern. It is a popular resort in the Bernese Alps and the inspiration for our ride from Pineview to Bear Lake.” — Interlaken 100 website

With over 5,600 in total elevation gain Interlaken 100 offers a fun, yet challenging, ride. Hopefully, some Team Jackson Hole members will rally and participate!

Find some information about the Interlaken 100 here and use this special discount code to save $10 on registration for Team Jackson Hole members.

Team JH Discount Code: BIKECLUB2014
($10.00 off)


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Race Report: Wasatch Back 50

Wasatch Back 50

by Dan Durkin

Image of Dan Durkin from LUCA sunscreen website
My second year (and only second race ever) in the marathon distance mountain bike racing began last weekend June 7, 2014 with the Wasatch Back 50 mountain bike race in Heber City, UT.

The course constituted two 23-mile laps that totaled approximately 5,400 feet of climbing. I mentioned afterward to Team JH member Chris Pace who also raced, that it was a good deposit in the training bank, he summed up the race by saying “if suffering = training then it was gooooooood training. “

Also racing from Team JH was Paul Nash, as well as a host of others from Jackson area. So, yes it was a tough and humbling race. The laps were essentially split by a long climb followed by a downhill with a bunch of “blown-out” switchbacks followed by sections of up and down. Very dry and dusty conditions.

For me it was concentration from the opening gun, whether climbing or descending. Unlike road racing, there is no sitting in the back and sucking wheels. I ended up 8th.

Another Jacksonite asked me if I would do it again, and I all I could do was shake my head, but I am sure I will be back for more suffering! Final comment is that the race was managed perfectly and would highly recommend it.


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Molly Breslin Finishes Third in Xterra Lory Triathlon

Top Finish for Team Jackson Hole Rider in Off-Road Triathlon in Colorado

Team Jackson Hole at Xterra Lory

Image Credit: Without Limits Xterra website

In her first race for Team Jackson Hole, Molly Breslin finished third in her category in the Xterra Lory Off-Road Triathlon in Bellvue, Colorado on Saturday, June 7, 2014.

The Xterra Lory Triathlon features a half mile swim, a 12.2 mile mountain bike, and a 4.8 mile run.

Breslin finished the course in 2:13:04. Her time was good enough to finish 30th in the women’s division, which included 115 athletes. She finished 132nd overall out of 318 athletes.

The triathlon is located in the Lory State Park and is considered a beginner-friendly course for newcomers to the off-road triathlon scene.

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Run & Ride Duathlon June 1st, 2014

A couple Team Jackson Hole riders competed in the annual Skinny Skis Run & Ride Duathlon this past June 1st.  The event is a fundraiser for local cancer patients through the Cancer Support Fund at St John’s Medical Center,  and drew close to 100 competitors.  Under beautiful weather conditions, Doug Cook and Jim Verdone did their best to keep up with out-of-towner Sam Krieg, who won the event with a blistering time of 40:41….quite possibly a course record.  Cook finished 2nd overall with a time of 44:15 (20:00 run/24:15 bike), while Verdone powered his Men’s Combined team to a first place finish with a strong ride of 24:56.  Click for Full Race Results  

A couple pics of the podium area:

Run and Ride 2014 Run and Ride 2014 Jim Verdone

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