Monday, May 18, 2009

Winsted Woods Race Report

I have no excuses this time for you all. That was a tough course but I loved every moment of it. I couldn't have done any better. Monte won on a ridged single speed with the same gearing as me. So sick. He flew up the climbs! I could have gone with a lighter gear but as soon as the flatter single track hit I would be slower then molasses.

The start was insane as usual. Last year I would watch the Pros go off and Greg Carpenter would zoom off the front every time. This was no different. He's a great starter. Seamus Powell was awesome too. Up through the field and into the single track Tim Johnson was right in front of me up the first climb. I just wanted to hang with the big boys as long as I could. The first single track I was behind a guy from Bikers Edge right on his wheel while the leaders were gaping us. Down through the muddy switch back and onto the gravel road I made my move and spun like mad to pass on the down hill and power slid into the single track again. Bikers edge would pass my bonked ass later in the race.

I was feeling pretty good and tried to real in TJ and the rest but couldn't even see them. Randall Jacobs from wheel works was ahead of me now and was gaining distance. John Foley and Monte passed me before the really steep climbs. Monte wanted to pass me on the insane no brakes rocky decent but I yelled to him to hold on to prevent us from crashing into each other. That would have been bad. I was really proud of myself for descending that whole section every lap without touching my brakes once. Then we zoomed up the climb were Monte just sprinted up. Amazing! I cant wait to see him at Singlespeed-a-polooza! Him and Parsons are going to duke it out!

So now I'm just trying to pace myself and I was feeling good. On top of the course it was all roots and rocks and twists and turns. I was happy with my gear choice and was able to stand over all the rough stuff. A full sus bike would be the ideal bike for this course. Even a suspension fork would do wonders.

I got up to the field at the top of the hill just before the sick down hill section and I look back to see my team mate Josh Wilcox just coming into the field. I knew he would catch me but I was surprised that it didn't take him very long to do it. Less then half way down the mountain he was on me. I couldn't believe it. I thought I was bombing down that thing. He is so sick! So we rode together for a couple of laps and by the third one he was gone. My gear had beat me silly and my back was hurting really bad. I have yet to do a course where I stood the practically the whole time. This was it.

My 4th lap was terrible. I started to push my bike up the steep hills and felt like crap. By the end of the down hill section I was ready to quit. It was the closest to quiting that I had ever been. I just kept going. I figured as long as I was moving forward that was good. Surprisingly I was still having fun and enjoying the ride.

Winsted had beaten me. But it was a good beating!
I got 11th place out of 14 riders. How I didn't come in dead last I don't know.

I passed Tim Johnson while he was fixing his bike. I thought I would be able to beat him but he came back and passed me on my final lap as I was so damn tired. He did talk to me and said that he wants to get a rigid bike! I told him he doesn't want one. He said he would keep the gears though. Another guy in my class came spinning by me in the granny gear as I pushed my bike up the hill. He thought it was funny too (that I was pushing my bike as he spun 90 rpms up the climb). I think he said "that's what gears are for."

I was really happy to get cheered on by everyone. I guess riding a single speed automatically gives you some respect. I passed Chris Logan on his last lap and he yells to me "Single speeds rule!" Such a cool guy! I really needed that last bit of encouragement to grind it out into the wind on the field section. Other people would say "go single" as I passed them. Or "go ridged"

Respect! And Monte taking the cake on a ridged single speed for the win! So sick!

Bonesaw is my nickname! One day after seeing Spider Man I kept saying "Bonesaw!" like how Randy Macho-Man Savage says it during the Cage fight. I love that seen.
Nephew Leif Johnson (future pro mountain biker) and Bro-in-law Roger watched me go by on my bike. Thanks for coming!
Special thanks to my wife Jesse for being there to support me and filming. You are the best!


  1. The field up top was brutal. It looked all friendly and Sound of Music-y, and then the wind would try and push you back into the woods!
    Great job sticking it out James.

  2. You passed the gut check, buddy. As far as I'm concerned that's a victory in itself. Nice work!