Race Report: Ed Messer

Guest post by Ed Messer, Team NeighborLink cyclist.

Fort Custer Stampede Mountain Bike Race

May 5th, 2013

I opted to do this race on a whim.  A friend of mine told me the Wednesday before the race that he was going to, "do the race as fast as I could until I couldn't go fast anymore.  Then, I'll just ride."  This immediately took away any pressure I usually put on myself to put in a podium-level performance.  You see, I haven’t ridden  my mountain bike since the creek at Franke Park was mostly ice.  (Well, that could have been last week given the Spring weather we have had.)  I haven't really trained a whole lot at all this spring, save for a few rides around Franke on my cyclocross bike, and those could hardly be considered 'training' rides. 

So we loaded up for Fort Custer for our 12:30 race start.  They started this race in waves based on Categories (Elite, Expert, Sport, etc.) and age  (19-29, 30-34, 35-39 etc).  I raced the Sport category for a 41 year old.  There were about 28 riders in my Category/Age wave.

Even though I was mentally aware that I wasn’t pressuring myself for a stellar performance, anxiety built as my start time drew near.  Sport Category all staged at the line in waves and each wave was launched at one-minute intervals.  Each successive wave rolled off, putting me that much closer to my actual start.  With that, my nerves ramped up.  I ride and race with a heart rate monitor and I watched my pulse inch up as the waves went off ahead of me.  My pulse at the starting line, before turning a pedal had already reached 140 BPM.  Nerves indeed!

Now it is time for my wave to go off.  Ten seconds to go.  Five.  Go time.  With little fanfare, we were off.  We had a starting course that had us hammering through a parking lot to the flagged chute that put us on to the actual race course.  Surprisingly, competition for the holeshot into that funnel was not as insane as I expected.  I picked a good line, and sat in comfortably behind 7 other guys.  Was I really in 8thplace going into the woods? 

I knew that probably wouldn’t last as I knew my legs wouldn’t hold up for what I expected to be close to two hours of racing.  I decided to just settle into my own rhythm and see where that took me.  I was pleased to find out that my bike handling skills were still there.  Several times I found myself riding up onto the tire of the guy in front of me.  At one point he even said to me, ‘Hey I need that tread on my rear tire to finish the race.’  I held my tongue as I knew I didn’t have the legs to back up any smack talk.  Besides, I had already seen him pull away from me on the longer, straighter sections.  I had him in the tight and twisties, but he had me where you needed a motor.  And with that, I resolved myself to just riding my race. 

Once I had that firmly in mind, I let myself have an absolute blast.  I didn’t need to worry about holding off a passing rider.  I didn’t need to get frustrated being stuck behind a technically slower rider.  I just got to ride fast when I could and I rode slow when I had to.  I got to see how much ground I could make up on the rider ahead of me when we were rocking the twisty downhills and I got to see how empty my legs were when I had to grind uphill.  It was pretty tough trying to conserve energy that I knew I would need on the second lap but doing so in a way to not totally lose time. 

Well, that aforementioned energy did leave me about a third of the way through the second lap.  I knew it when I got shook up at a chance Ed-meets-tree event.  I was trying to put my bottle back in its cage and couldn’t quite get it.  I kept ahold of the bottle and tried to grab a handful of brake but the bottle wouldn’t let me.  I didn’t really slam into the tree, it was more of a glancing blow and I didn’t go down.  But I hit it hard enough to know that my energy stores were gone.  I had done a good job of drinking energy drink and gel during the race but that only goes so far when your glycogen storage system is not fully developed. 

So I rode off from that tree encounter with a new mindset:  finish.  Yep I was wore out.  I kept on with the energy drink and water but I knew that it was going to be a tough 30-40 minutes.  I knew that the trail was not terribly hilly but I also knew that what hills were on the course were on the last half of the lap.  I was not disappointed.  The hills were really tough to climb on empty legs and I really had to recover at the top but I kept on going.  I took comfort in the fact that the trails were really nice, and that in several spots it ran along the lake.  The sweet smell of a cool breeze blowing over a lake really carried me along in those sections.  I thought to myself in those spots, “Maybe I should just stop here.  This is really nice.”  Then the competitor in me chimed in with, “Yes.  AFTER the finish.”  So on I went. 

I made it to the finish glad to be done but also glad that I had raced.  I was glad to know that my technical abilities were well intact and that all I really needed was some saddle time to get the legs up to snuff.  I was happy to have ridden the trails at Fort Custer and will be glad to do so again.  I took my friends advice to heart in that I rode as fast as I could until I couldn’t.  Then I just rode.  I am glad I did.

Ed Messer


Place No. Name Team Lap1 Lap2 Time

  • 1 156 Troy Crady Mox Multisport 43:52 43:57 1:27:49
  • 2 163 Todd Meredith Cross Country Cycle 44:00 44:51 1:28:51
  • 3 170 Kevin Stacey Cross Country Cycle 44:01 44:51 1:28:51
  • 4 172 Tom Stoner Cannondale Midwest Racing 45:22 45:56 1:31:18
  • 5 160 Robert Gribble Freewheeler Racing 45:14 46:50 1:32:04
  • 6 169 Matthew Smith Freewheeler Racing 45:56 47:15 1:33:11
  • 7 161 Chuck Kovick Aberdeen Bike 46:09 47:59 1:34:07
  • 8 152 Eric Bauman 46:17 47:55 1:34:11
  • 9 7231 Jonathan King Rbs Mountain Bike Team 46:07 48:20 1:34:27
  • 10 154 Rob Capps 46:42 47:47 1:34:28
  • 11 447 Lee Messersmith Wheel Fast Racing 45:57 49:14 1:35:10
  • 12 158 Dean Foster 46:56 48:16 1:35:11
  • 13 173 Chuck Truex 46:50 48:25 1:35:14
  • 14 153 Jeremy Cadaret Pridgeon And Clay - Alger Bikes 47:43 49:04 1:36:47
  • 15 367 Paul Leason 47:38 49:43 1:37:21
  • 16 162 Jeff McDonald 50:35 47:20 1:37:55
  • 17 164 Edward Messer Team Neighborlink 46:49 55:19 1:42:08
  • 18 168 Joel Schultz 49:28 53:42 1:43:09
  • 19 165 Matt Morrow Cross Country Cycle 49:49 53:58 1:43:47
  • 20 157 Scott Daigle Rapid Wheelmen 53:40 53:38 1:47:17
  • 21 159 Erik Frazier 52:54 54:29 1:47:22
  • 22 437 Jason Rinker 50:04 1:00:25 1:50:28
  • 23 167 Stacy Rainey Post Racing Team 48:31 1:02:22 1:50:53
  • 24 171 Joe Stoner Cannondale Midwest Racing 1:11:07 45:08 1:56:14
  • 25 387 Jj Ramon Wsi/team Active Racing 1:00:39 1:00:40 2:01:18
  • 26 7214 Trevor Townsend Wheel Fast Racing 1:05:18 1:00:54 2:06:12
  • 27 166 Jasson Orbeck 2:11:57
  • 28 155 Chee Cheong 59:40 1:12:56 2:12:36