We capped off our last race in Big Bear with a few great results at the Crafts and Cranks festival (crafts as in craft beers, not crafts as in yarn and glitter). This weekend event included an xc, downhill, enduro, a 50 mile endurance event, and an expo and full-on beer tasting festival at the bottom of the Snow Summit lifts - a convenient place to sample California's finest ales and celebrate the race and/or the season.

With full racing schedules the past 6 months, Troupe is still going strong and showing no signs of slowing down. A perfect example of the team's stamina was apparent at this last weekend's third event in the Rim Nordic series.

With temperatures in the triple digits, the Troupers set out to attack the 6 Hours of Temecula. They normally race the 12 hour class, but opted for the shorter version as a better fit with other races on the calendar.

Everyone entered solo, with the exception of Michelle and Willie who were in the two women class. They rode a fast and smooth race, took the win, and secured their 1st place for the 3 race series with the final race in November.

The second race of the series as full of action and a few trails that we haven't seen in a while which helped make this course another epic and a good example of why Rim is one of the best venues around.

With a few of the team absent, it was important that the team put in a good ride for points. Once again, the women had a dominating showing sweeping the podium and banking lots of points for the team standings. However, halfway through their race, Michelle flatted and spent tons of time trying to fix the damage. Erik and Tim were able to get a wheel out to her and she rode on to 3rd. TIP : check the sealant every so often. Lesson learned.

This weekend’s Kenda Cup 45 mile endurance race exceeded expectations. Trouper Andrew Glaspell entered with no previous solo endurance experience, but has been anxious to give the longer race format a shot. After feeling out his competition during the opening hour, his goal quickly turned from simply finishing to racing for the top step of the podium.

Entering the long Skyline singletrack on lap one of two, Andrew decided to put early pressure on his two opponents. Attempting to bridge the gap to first, he dropped the third rider he had been hanging with. Plenty of Honey Stinger gels and CarboRocket were "taken onboard" in an effort to fight the coming fatigue during lap two. He eventually learned the infamous lessons of endurance racing. Cramps started to settle in his legs, and hydration was a priority in the 80 degree heat. Finding himself far ahead of third place, Andrew gathered all remaining energy to focus on the final descent: a 4.5 mile trek down Saturday’s first and second enduro stages.

WIND, RAIN, AND HAIL FOR THIS YEAR'S EPIC RACE IN PRESCOTT, AZ.

The full report and details haven't come in yet, but we know this much: Kimmi raced on a last minute borrowed single speed bike and still was able to have a great ride for 4th! It was windy, it rained - and it even hailed, but she pushed on and earned one of the coveted Whiskey 50 flasks for the top 5 in each category.

The 50 Mile Ridehas been happening here for 10 years. It's a huge charity ride that draws in a massive amount of the local MTB community to raise funds for Rwanda. Local companies put tons of prizes into the pot, and to date the organizers have raised a reported $800,000.

The Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR)is new to our program this year and it definitely did not disappoint. This is a first rate, 5-star fondo with waffle breakfast, crazy nice swag bag with pint bottles of beer from Lost Abbey, a Belgian inspired lunch after the ride, more Lost Abbeybeer, t shirts, a mini expo, and even more Lost Abbey beer. Riders choose from 2 courses; the 140 mile Waffle, or the 60 mile Wafer. Fields are open - there's no age groups. Riders with pro licenses get called up to the first wave, but everyone is ranked together. 

Willie and Charlie took on the Waffle, with Michelle, Tim, Jeff, JJ, and Travis opted for the Wafer route.

We all know the deal at Sea Otter. Long days walking/working in the sun, late dinners, and if we're lucky, lots of riding. It's hard to sit with your legs up and not take in everything going on at Sea Otter, and that can make for a not-so-great race. This year, Michelle and Tim even added in the road fondo event before she and Jeff Jacobson took on the all-mighty XC race.

Both had one of their best races of the year. Each held back in the lead group to let tactics play out before launching their own moves later in the race that would put them both on the podium. Michelle came in for 2nd, while Jeff took the top step!

Gravel grinds are all the rage. Problem is that here in SoCal, we don't have a lot of gravel to work with. So, "mixed media" rides are a big deal; long road rides, tons of climbing, and sections of gravel roads or wide trails - all done on a road bike.

It's been a while since we've raced at Fontana (aka "Fontucky"), and while most riders love to hate this course, we actually look forward to it. It's one of the more technical courses on the Kenda Cup West circuit, with lots of fast and twisty single track, punchy climbs, and a rock feature here and there.

Our legs still are hurting from this one. All the rumors and stories about the difficulty of the race and it's courses were true; This was truly an experience of a lifetime. We rallied everyday with 600 other riders and headed out for hours of some of the most epic, amazing, and challenging trails we'd ever been on. While our bikes and bodies took a beating, some of us were ready to sign up again as we crossed the final finish line in Whistler.

 

Grab a brew, hit play, and check out all the shenanigans of the Orange Dirt team from the past few weeks. From Fort William to Schladming, and a whole lot of arsin' about inbetween, check out Phil, Jacob, Ben and Isak as they rearrange the furniture in Weatherspoons, see who can pull each others nipples the hardest, destroy an east German bike park, and hit the podium in Leogang. www.facebook.com/caldwellvisuals