Funky Times!!! – 1st Single Speed 100K

Funky Times!

I got my FUNK on at the Funk Bottoms Gravel Grinder. This was the second time that I have ventured over to the Funk Bottoms. The first time was quite the challenge and the second time didn’t disappoint. It rained an inch or so the day before, so I knew it would be similar to my race in 2015.

First, I want to send out a high five to Chris (race director) and his gang for another spectacular experience. They continue to put on a true grassroots race in the Funk Bottoms Gravel Grinder. No entry fee, a challenging course, scenic and super sweet prizes for the winners of each category. If you haven’t ventured over to the Mohican area in Ohio then you are missing a treat.

I originally signed up for the 200k but I decided to do it on my single speed mountain bike, so I changed over to the 100k distance. Lesson learned…don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. Even though I won the 100k single speed division, it was a strenuous effort trying to spin that machine up 20+% grades with 2.0 tires. I was very pleased with my suffering and look forward to my next race.

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The Funk Bottoms Gravel Grinder has grown over the years and this year there were nearly 100 entrants and ~80 towed the line. The course is bit more than 100k at ~70 miles with 7000 feet of climbing. If you decide to do the 200k then you get to do the course twice! It is constant climbing with grades that will make you want to punch your own face repetitively with brass knuckles. Due to the heavy rains the day before, the course was soft for tire plowing, resistance training bonus. I rode most of the day solo, which allowed me to take in more of the surroundings. You ride through Amish country and it is beautiful, almost pristine. You ride along the Mohican River and traverse back and forth over very hilly terrain. There was very little traffic other than a few horse and buggies (like going back in time) along this course, which allows you to focus more on your effort. During the course it is very likely that you will be hike-a-biking at some point. On this day we were rewarded with a huge downed tree that required a quick jungle trek only to be followed up with a wet and rutted out one mile climb up double track that had very limited tread purchase. Lots of people were hike-a-biking that section. It is a challenge and that is why it is labeled as Ohio’s Toughest Gravel Grinder.

If you are around north central Ohio around the end of June, you should go test yourself on this course. Chris puts on a stellar event that you will remember. Everyone out on course was super chill and respectful. The well marked course travels through some very scenic areas and there is no entry fee.

Thanks to all of the volunteers that were at the start/finish and the aid station.

Thanks to my sponsors as always for keeping me outfitted with stellar products that see me through whatever is thrown my way!

Now it is time to head west and enjoy some vacation time with my lady while enjoying those libations.

Cheers!

 

Hanson Hills 100 – 1st Single Speed

fullsizeoutput_766It has been quite some time since I have done a 100 mile specific mountain bike race. The Hanson Hills 100 happened to fall at the perfect time with me starting my summer break. I was interested in the course as there happens to be a 24 hour race there in September. I wanted to get a preview of the course in order to know how the terrain and trails treat you in an endurance format.

Fun Promotions puts on a great endurance series up in Michigan. I was very pleased with the grassroots feel of the race. Fun Promotions make you feel at home and are very accomodating. I arrived the day before the race and set up my tent for an overnight and then I hit the trails for a preview. Hanson Hills Recreation Area is a ski hill in the winter time but it has a nice network of trails to enjoy in the summer. The trails have a nice feel to them as you rip around them through sand and rolling hills. The climbing is deceiving as it adds up over a long course but it is spaced out with flow and some fun descents, especially at the end with a bomber jump on an exposed hill side coming into the finish.fullsizeoutput_762

My goal was to put down my best 100 mile time on single track. Most of the racers were competing in the 50 mile version of the race. We all gathered in Grayling at the Kmart and were led out of town under a controlled pace. 3.5 miles to the trails and then it was 4 laps of 24.5 miles. I had a good start and established my pace, which lasted for the first 50 miles. After the 2nd lap, I started experiencing some spasms/minor cramps in my quads. I dialed the pace back and continued to take in my electrolytes and fluids. On the 4th lap, I began to experience stronger cramps in my quads, which resulted in me dismounting at one point to walk/stretch them out. Interesting enough I was able to manage the cramps even though they slowed me a bit over the last 2 laps. The course is very clean and beautiful as it rolls through hardwoods with very little undergrowth giving it a pristine feel. It was warm and a bit humid at times, which contributed to my cramps I suppose as well as being a bit dehydrated the day before the race. I rode with a few other racers for stretches as we paced each other. Everyone was friendly and respectful out on the course.

My goal was obtained as I set my fastest 100 mile specific single track mountain bike time. I finished with a time of (7 hr 33 min) and the single speed win. I’m super stoked over this result but especially with the finishing time. There isn’t much beta out there about the course numbers but it was well over 6000 feet of climbing according to my Garmin. You finish this race knowing that you have climbed.

I hung out with a few of the racers after the race and had lunch with them. I’m looking forward to going back to Hanson Hills in Grayling, MI for the 24 hour race. It is a fun course that most people can ride but it is challenging over time in an endurance format. I recommend giving the Fun Promotion events a try as I had a very enjoyable experience. This was actually my 2nd event put on by Fun Promotions and my experience was the exact same at the 8 hours of Ithaca. I’m really feeling good as I enter summer with my cycling fitness. Next up is the Funk Bottoms Gravel 200K Race. Time to get FUNKY!!!fullsizeoutput_764