John Weathers took 5th at the Cascade Cream Puff on a Fifty-Five 1×9
Pretty darned impressive. John was the first non-pro to cross the line, doing it on his rigid Fifty-Five hardtail we built up a few years ago. The backstory of how he got the frame is pretty good too.
Mary and I met John on the first climb up the Cascade Cream Puff in ’07. The race started before dawn, it was chilly even though we were hammering up the race’s first climb. We mingled with the other racers, and John asked us about our bikes. We were offering a custom built frame as the race’s premier raffle prize… there was also a sweet piece of chainsaw art, a bear, we’d joked would be the runner-up raffle prize.
We all parted ways and had our own successful races. Later we reconvened at the post-race raffle. John, being a lucky guy, won the bear. Better yet, his wife won the custom Siren frame, and was nice enough to pass it on to John.
This year the bike made its way home to the ‘Puff, piloting the course in 9 hours, 4 minutes. Full results here.
I had a pretty amazing race on the Siren, exceeding my time and placing expectations. Did the first huge climb with the leaders and finished the first lap in 3rd. Through the two upper loops I held my position and just railed Alpine, attacking the corners and short uphill poppers all the way down. At the Red Covered bridge I still had third over half way through the race. On the only flat single track after aid 1 I was flying and then fiddle with my iPod and ejected into the poison oak, but no damage done. Pinned the rest of it.
On the 2nd huge climb two guys got by me as I had a “moment” where I think I got a bit behind on nutrition and the heat got to me. Got it back together to keep 4th place in sight on the big climbs and suffered through the steep single track climb on the 1×9 to hold my position entering Alpine. With two watermelon slices and some fluids I felt pretty darn good going down Alpine the second time, only getting serious foot fatigue. Arm pump never slowed me down.
I got 5th overall, first in my age category (35-44) and the best non-pro (Plews was singlespeed but is an OBRA pro for Ibis). My time was 9:06 and I was gunning for 9:30. The winner finished in 8:33 (Cary from Hammer Nutrition), Plews got second on a 38×18 singlespeed (amazing) and Ben Parsons from Hammer (who saved the fireman’s life at the TOE) got third and a guy from Montana got 4th.
What I’m most proud of is I never got passed in the singletrack– I really hit a groove on the full-rigid 55 and just smoked the downhills. It was key was getting a pre-ride in on th Alpine downhill the day before — I raised my stem 5mm and turned the brake levers up a bit which made it easier to sit back and stay loose.
High temp of ~85 degrees. Same weather as 2007 but over twice as many riders – over 200 started and almost 200 finished.
More pictures will come, attached is a quick shot of the 55, my clock and some of that amazing Oakridge dirt … sweet!
P.S. No numb hands – I used the Ritchey foam grips and did some grip training with one of these the month before the race. J