Monday, June 30, 2014

Racing the Boggs 8-Hour on the B-Side




by guest writer,  Uri Friedman, owner of  Swell Cycles

Boggs is an 8 hour mountain bike race that takes place every Spring in Cobb, a tiny 5 x 5 mile town
100 miles north of San Francisco. Over the years, it has become one of my favorite bike races because of the beautiful location (of which you can camp out for 1 or 2 nights before and after the race), fun course, and awesome fellow riders. With just 2 months of opening and running our (Will Rose and I) new shop, Swell Bicycles, I thought the odds pretty slim that I'd have the opportunity to continue my love affair with Boggs for the 4th year running. Plus it sells out hella quick, and just like every year, was sold out within weeks.

That was until a friend Sasha Magee, who races for Super Pro team, came by to check out the new shop and mentioned he was racing as part of a two-person single speed team but his partner had broken their collarbone and, der, could no longer ride. We knew what we had to do: Enter the race together and make an epic team name that would be hard to forget: Short Guys with Russian Names.

Now I had one month to dial in a sweet ride and get some extra dirt miles in to prep. I have been a loyal rider of 650b wheeled mountain bikes for several years, but as a necessary contribution to the bike shop starting gods, I sold my uber limited Ridley Ignite carbon single speed bike, and thus was without a mtb bike in which to race with. Knowing my criteria for a ride: steel frame, reasonably priced, sliding drop outs to allow for single speed, and good looking. The B-Side from Soma Fabrications was the first option that came to mind as it meets all the requirements and is designed locally by the savy folks at Merry Sales in South San Francisco.

Within a day of picking my new the B-Side up it was built up and slaying trails on Mt. Sutro. I was impressed with how well it handled and the confidence I immediately felt. I could believe how well it cornered! I was set.

Fast forward to two weeks later and Sasha, his partner Kelly and I were on our way to Boggs Demonstration Forest on Boggs Mountain, near Clear Lake. After 3 hours on some windey ass streets, we drove through Cobb, where the streets seemed to be filled with tough looking men and even tougher women. With several hours of sunlight left, we set up camp and chowed down. I brought me some quinoa, steamed vegetables, and avocado and while it was tempting to hang out with the Super Pro crowd and drink into the night, having been my 4th year at this race, knowing full well what the next morning feels like with a Super Pro party under my belt, I opted to retire early. The night after the race seemed a better option for campfire time, anyways.

The 5:30am alarm came as early as I expected. My typical pre-race meal is a 24oz. smoothie consisting of green juice, coconut juice, yogurt, flax oil, chia seed, avocado, and brown rice protein mix. I also ate a Nana Joe’s Swell bar to add some solid food with more carbs and fats. The next most important part of my morning is getting a huge cup of coffee brewed. Fueled up I begin doing reps of the start climb to get warm. 



The race start is similar to a pack of Tasmanian Devil's traveling together complete with mini tornado of dust surrounding us. 

My first lap goes pretty well and I’m feeling strong. Then something happens over lap two where I gradually start feeling sluggish. I exchange with Sasha and return to camp to stretch, change, and eat. Crucial to a racing on a team is never loosing track of your calculation of when you teammate will come through ready to exchange. Checking my chain I’m relieved to discover it wasn’t entirely me sucking. Turns out: my chain tension was a bit on the tight side and I get to work readjusting it.



After the second exchange and I stop by to check the standings. I’m pumped to see that we are currently third in our category and second place is really close. And when Sasha rolls in and he has just barely gotten us in front of the former second place team!

We have now done 5 laps each and I wait for Sasha to roll though and see if he’s ready to keep going or wants to switch. Sure enough he has crushed his lap and put us back in the 2nd place spot but wants to exchange. The motivation to hold on is strong and I begin the lap right behind Matthias Behrens, solo single speed racers extraordinaire. His pace is perfect and I follow as best as I can and finish my lap with plenty of time to spare to retain our position in 2nd place!

This marks my third podium at Boggs, all in the two-person single speed category. While the competition has gotten stronger over the years, thanks to Sasha’s strong riding Short Guys with Russian Names are on the podium. Beers, food, and shenanigans around the campfire follow.



Sunday morning came, and we started it off right with a big ol' plate of fried eggs, toast and avocado. A group then meets up for a lil' recovery ride around the park. I feel so fortunate to be in such an amazing place and able to enjoy not 1 but 2 days of world class riding and hanging out with friends before returning to San Francisco. Want to hear more about Boggs or interested in bike racing? Come by the shop at 41st and Irving St, or holla at us on ze book of Face
Post a Comment