Sunday, March 28, 2010

San Ysidro Dirty Century: Race Review

First of all, everyone must thank Lenny Goodell and Big Wheel Racing for putting on the San Ysidro Dirty Century. These races just don't fall out of the sky. We all owe Lenny and the crew a big one. A big what? I don't know. A big beer. How about that!

As predicted, the San Ysidro Dirty Century the was biggest test yet for this Back of the Pack racer. What? Why? The B.P.R. fan may ask. Well young neophyte, there is more to life than 24 hour races, I promise. The SYDC is a long distance cross country race and it was one hell of a test. As stated in the previous posting, there was no camp, no breaks, no lawn chair, no fire, no shelter, no stopping for a brew and NO BREAKFAST BURRITOS. It was all or nothing. Life or death.

So, BRUTAL is the best word to describe the SYDC. I finished the 123.1 mile course in 12hrs and 25min. The data says I was off the bike for a total of 29 minutes. It was clear, it was cloudy AND IT WAS WINDY. So windy I was almost blown off the Dragon's Back at White Mesa. I paced myself well. I knew the sun set at 7:30 PM. A pace of 10 mph would get me back to the finish prior to sundown. Well, I was a bit slower. My pace was 9.9 mph and I arrived at 7:25 pm. (Not bad for the accuracy. As an engineer by day, fashion designer by night, I demand accuracy to 5 decimal places. I have some work to do, obviously.)

What can I say about the ride? It was intense. I busted up my knee skiing (I think) and the pain grew and grew as the day went on. Then at mile 65 I felt something pop in the knee during on short and steep climb. So, the next 58 miles were tough. But I survived. What's a little pain?Once my knees get trashed I can go for the titanium knee replacements - just like my dad.

Here is a short summary of the ride:

Rio Rancho to NGCS: windy
Loop #1: windy, scenic, scary
Loop# 2: windy, clear, cloudy, snowy, cold and windy
NGCS to Rio Rancho: warmer but windy

Tedd parked at the Natural Gas Compressor Station (NGCS) and met me on Cabezon Rd. He did a 12 mile 'warmup loop' and then the 41 miles of Loop #2. It was nice to have a riding partner. The far side of Cabezon seems like a million miles away from civilization, at least for a 210 lbs single speeder. It's always comforting to know you will not be left for dead if something happens.

I arrived at NGCS 10 minutes ahead of Tedd. (Tedd was a victim of a flat 2 miles from the end of Loop #2.)  After I replenished my supplies Tedd and I hashed out a 'rescue' plan - just in case I didn't make it to the finish. We also made plans for beer at Turtle Mtn brewery, the most important part of the conversation. After the 16 minute 'rest' I turned south, headed downwind. Well, it turns out I left NGCS with Tedd's keys in my pocket. Tedd didn't realize the keys were missing until I was long gone. Somehow Tedd was able to acquire a cell signal and by a stroke of luck able to contact his wife Denise. (Can you hear me know? Tedd obviously has Verizon service, My AT&T iPhone is dead as a door knob right outside of Rio Rancho.) So, Tedd made it in to Rio Rancho by 8PM. We had a few brews and then called it a night.  Due to my stupidity, Tedd and I had a nice 4 hour round trip to the boondocks Sunday morning. So much fun.

Anyway, all I can say is that SYDC provided me with added confidence that I can survive brutal conditions. Would I suffer like that again? Probably. I have nothing better to do. But it is truly amazing what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it. OK. That is a boat load of crap. Everyone involved in ultra endurance activities knows that your mind is out there to screw with you every hour / every minute of the event. So. Just fight off the demons. That is all you can do.

Check out the stellar views at White Mesa. (This video was taken during my SYDC preride on March 21st. The video is a week old but I like messing with video. And go easy on me. The video quality sucks, the track is rough, I'm an amateur on a rigid single speed, but video is fun.) Ok, not many things in life scare me. Well, a few things scare me. I'm scared of the dark and the monsters that lurk in the dark. The sidehills and cliffs at White Mesa freak me out.  I don't know why, they just do. Add in some wicked gusts of wind and the White Mesa terrain is 'extra special'. 

White Mesa = Scary, V3 from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
Just some cool views with some bumpy video action

To skip directly to the data follow the link to my race / data webpage. The link is below.

Judd prior to 12 hours of pain.

The data. Check my race data / picture website for the data on each section of the ride

The 123.1 mile course

Judd hurts! 97 miles down, 26 miles to go!

What the Hell? Who is this? A dude in the "Meadow of the Witch"?

The dangers on the SYDC course. 
A cow with cactus stuck in the nose. Saw this dude during our 4 hour truck retrieval trip.

Next B.P.R design. Skull and Crossbones.

How does one celebrate survival? Cheetos burrito. Obviously.

Next year? I'll be there. Maybe I'll break 12 hours. Maybe not.

Friday, March 26, 2010

San Ysidro Dirty Century: Tomorrow, March 27th

The alarm goes off at 4AM. The big day is almost here. The San Ysidro Dirty Century might be the biggest test yet for this Back of the Pack racer. Why? Because, there will be no breaks, no timeouts, no cat naps, no help, no base camp. It's me against the elements for 123 miles, 123 miles in very remote New Mexican desert. And it's a race against daylight. The start is at 7AM. I hope to roll into Rio Rancho prior to 7:30PM.

So, there are three possible outcomes, as described below:

Judd A. Rohwer
May 1, 1973 - March 27, 2010

Judd Survived!
123 miles in 12 hrs X min

Judd's a loser and a quitter!
91+ miles then gave up

I do have some insurance for the race tomorrow. Tedd has volunteered to ride the 41 miles around Cabezon Peak. That's cool. Loop #2, Cabezon Peak, is the most remote part of the race. So it will be good to have someone tag along, just in case something happens.

Tim? Who knows what Tim is doing. Well, actually I do know. Tim is going through his "I wish I was Shaun White" mid life crisis. That's cool. Snowboarding is great training for the Dawn Til Dusk race on April 10th. I'm sure Tim will be in top shape and log a huge 65 miles at the race. But, even though I am a bit sarcastic and miss the camaraderie with the B.P.R. elder statesman, I do know that Back of the Pack requires one racer to linger at the back of pack. So all is cool.

The Last Know Photo of Judd. Will It Be?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

White Mesa Video: Dragon's Back and Final Frontier

This may be my final 'video' exercise prior to the Dawn til Dusk race on April 10th. White Mesa is absolutely the best set of trails to video. One word defines the ride - Intense. My 1st three rides at White Mesa were all at night, each during a full Moon.

Well, the true glory (or danger) of White Mesa cannot be fully appreciated at night. I had no clue what 'over the edge' meant until I saw 'over the edge' in daylight. One word of caution, if you're riding with your buddies at night (during a full Moon, of course) don't get anxious and pass the slow poke. Just chill out. Otherwise you may be....dead.

Check out the video. Awesome, awesome views. Whatever you do, go to 8:50 of the second video. Check out the wicked view, I mean cliff. (Scared me and I'm fearless.) The camera may alter the view a bit, but the ride is INTENSE!

The ride up / across / down the Dragon's Back at White Mesa. Unreal Views!

White Mesa - Dragons' Back from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
Riding White Mesa - parking lot to Marker 6. Ride is basically the Dragon's Back, headed north

The ride south, up the east rim, across the east rim and back to the parking lot.

White Mesa - Final Frontier from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
Riding White Mesa - Marker 6 to Marker 22, then to the lot

What I do for Back of the Pack Racing. I am absolutely not a Babe Magnet with that stupid helmet and helmet cam. The helmet is now in the trash. A new helmet will be here Friday. The helmet cam is staying. B.P.R. adventures must be captured and posted in cyberspace.

Thanks Padre for taking the picture. I just love it when people go out of the way to point out how stupid I look. So Padre, did you drive like 80 miles round trip just to take the pic? Well, it's worth the Cheetos you dropped off!

SYDC - Preride Loop #2

I can't say much about my weekend. Well, I can say that I had a very long ride with....myself. I logged 66.4 miles, a few short of my 70 mile estimate. That's OK. I road Loop #2 of the San Ysidro Dirty Century (SYDC) and the clockwise loop at White Mesa. It was a good ride. 

I had some exciting moments. The Rio Puerco was basically a muddy torrent near the BLM1113 and CR279 intersection. I committed to the adventure and executed a B.P.R. approved crossing of the 'ripping rio'.  Lucky for me there was a concrete slab submerged 5" below the surface. So, in the end, there was no need to worry about a potential face plant in the murky, raging Rio Puerco.

I did make one wrong turn. Turns out I took a private tour through a herd of cattle grazing near a 'farmhouse', if you want to call it that. No one chased me off, no one shot at me. So all is cool.

I think I'm fairly well prepared for the 123 mile SYDC. I logged some decent miles in the last month, considering the weather. But as we all know, it doesn't matter how you feel on the Tuesday before the big race. It's how you feel during the race.

Cabezon Peak, from the west, i.e., looking east

The Black Sheep Highlight and the Open Range, well the open range with barbed wire!
(Nothing like a southwestern barbed wire fence, keep the cows in and the hooligans out!)

Another view of Cabezon Peak, from the south

Below is the Google Earth plot, the GPS data and a few B.P.R. interviews. Hopefully Tedd and Tim ride a section of the SYDC. I could use the company and it's always good to have someone tag along in case of a random disaster or mechanical problem. I'll survive, either way.

A short interview on the east side of Cabezon Peak. Spectacular country. Believe it or not.

SYDC PreRide - East of Cabezon Peak from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
Just some comments. Around mile 14 of Loop 2. Mile 22 of the ride.

Some random thoughts. New Term = SSTS.

SYDC PreRide - South of Cabezon Peak from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
Just some comments. Around mile 27 of Loop 2. Mile 35 of the ride.

A few comments during the long drive home Sunday night.

SYDC PreRide - The Drive Home from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
Just driving home and enjoying Cheetos

Meadow of the Witch

So...You Think I'm Always Joking

It is safe to say that I am a self-proclaimed pantomath. (Via Wikipedia, "In theory, a pantomath is not to be confused with a polymath in its less strict sense, much less with the related but very different terms philomath and know-it-all.")

I copyrighted the term 'Meadow of the Witch' a while back to define a section of the Albuquerque Foothills trail system. Well, people may think that I am just full of S*^T 24 hours a day. Every term I use has meaning. You, the B.P.R. fan, may not understand this. But it fact, I am a pantomath.

Search for the news clip on KRQE that describes the events on March 22nd in the Albuquerque Foothills. I've included a section of the article, but removed the names. Last night I posted this info but included the names of the murder suspect and the murdered individual. Well, my blog received a number of hits from people looking for info on the crime. Needless to say, Back of the Pack Racing is not interested in attracting those interested in murder or affected by murder.

Anyway, back to the story:

Summary, a 'witch' killed an acquaintance in the middle of the 'Meadow of the Witch'. I can't make this stuff up. It's real, dude.

Check out all my previous postings, you will quickly see the use of the geographical descriptor 'Meadow of the Witch'.

Search the KRQE website for the news article on the March 22nd murder in 'the meadow'

Below is a excerpt:
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Albuquerque police arrested a self-described Wiccan follower for the murder of a man in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains Monday evening.
Woman "A", 30, is charged with an open count of murder in the stabbing death of Man "B"
Police said the two had previously met at an Albuquerque-area casino about a week ago and exchanged phone numbers.
Around 4:00 p.m. Monday, police said "A" called "B" and invited him to the Sandia Foothills Open Space east of Tramway Boulevard to celebrate a Wiccan ritual for spring.

Woman "A", claims to be a witch in the religion of Wicca, according to police.

Below is a Google Earth map of the area that I define as "The Meadow of the Witch".  

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Albuquerque South Foothills: B.P.R Routes

Winter 2009 / 2010 was a brutal one. I guess it's still winter in / around Albuquerque - since it snowed 8 inches at my house last night.

Anyway, due to the wicked cold and El Nino fueled snowfall I was limited to endless miles in the Albuquerque Foothills. (Check out the info on the sidebar for data on the Back of the Pack routes throughout the foothills.) I generated GPS data of the foothills a few months ago. I'm just getting around processing a video of the B.P.R. routes in the south foothills.

The Google Earth Data

The GPS Data

All you B.P.R. fans out there - go easy on me. The video is not exactly stable; I had to speed the video up by 8x. Why? Because, it's impossible to find a killer song that's 20 minutes long. Metallica, Tool, Guns N' Roses all max out around 11 minutes. So, if you feel sick, close your ease and chill out to Tool.

AND remember:

1) This is only a trial run of the B.P.R. video machine. My plan is to use the helmet cam to document the race courses -> ride info + GPS data + on course interviews. So these initial videos are classified as 'training exercises'. (Yeah - play on words.)

2) Remember, single speed riding is not a 'geared' experience, i.e., it is not a ride in the park and therefore I can't keep my head entirely still. To put it another way, a single speeder can't shift down to 1st gear, read the paper and drink a cappuccino.

So, here's the video You may need to go directly to the B.P.R. Vimeo site. The video is ~ 1GB.

South Foothills, B.P.R. Routes from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
A short ride through the Albuquerque Foothills to document the Back of the Pack Routes

Funny stuff! Back of the Pack is propagating throughout the country. Check out the photo below which was taken at a wedding in Houston. Seems like Back of the Pack gear showed up at the reception. Walt "I wear tight Wranglers - you got a problem with that" Pimentel determined the BPR gear was more appropriate than a suit and tie. I agree!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Single Speed Stress Test

The Single Speed Stress Test is a classic Back of the Pack ride. Why? Because, we never want to do it, and therefore we seldom do it. Actually, I'm starting to ride it more - just because.

This data was not generated for you, the B.P.R. fan. It was generated for use as the test set for a 'software' project to integrate video and GPS data. It may take a year or two to figure it all out. Maybe I'll farm out the project to someone that actually understands all this software stuff.

Below is the route mapped out in Google Earth and the elevation profile. Doesn't look that bad, does it? Well, set up your 29er with a 32 x 18 and meet me out on the trails. I'd like to see how you react when your heart rate blows through 175 bpm and most likely caps out above 180 bpm.

Here is the video of the SS Stress Test. May or may not work in your browser. I suggest you go straight to the B.P.R. Vimeo site to view the highly acclaimed production.

SS Stress Test: The Ride from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
Single Speed Stress Test
Albuquerque Foothills - South
March 16, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Calm before the Storm: The Storm Just Arrived!

Well, 6 inches of snow in a few hours. Nothing like a spring snowstorm. I guess I'll go skiing tomorrow. Why? Because. Why work when you can ski?

The last few days were a bit disappointing. I wasn't able to pre ride a section of the San Ysidro Dirty Century. 2 thugs are terrorizing the San Ysidro area. The dirt bags broke into a house at 4am on Friday, shot a dude four times and scared the living hell out of the family. Since these thugs are still on the run I figure I better stay out of the area until they get what they deserve - whatever that is.

So, I put in some decent miles in the ABQ foothills. Nothing great. But miles are miles. I decided to ride the 'SS Stress Test'. It was fun. Yeah, real fun.

The Single Speed Stress Test

my thoughts on the SS Stress Test
Just an Interview before the Pain

my thoughts near the end of the ride
Just an interview

Ghetto Judd: Urban Mountain Biking with the Black Sheep. 
(Don't Worry just 100 yards or so between the 'dirt')

Is Spring here? No, it's not defined by "muddy trails". It's when you can sport the Farmer's Tan. No, I'm not flexing for the camera, dude! It would be obvious if I was.

Spring runoff in the North Foothills. Yeah, it's snowing too!

Yeah, just when you think spring is here...
Farmer's Tan on Saturday, Frost bite on Sunday!

Just like I thought. Spring is here. Sunny until 4PM. 6 inches of snow by 7PM. Cool!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Life is good, right now. I have many updates to add to this bitchin' blog. Until then, check out the links. I have a new version of the North Foothills video. Ok, Ok. In the last blog I asked that all constructive criticism be withheld until I have the opportunity to generate more video.

WELL, all my friends had the same comment - more horizon and less trail. NO SHIT! I'm one step ahead of all of you, but I actually need to leave work at a decent hour before I can acquire new video. Maybe tomorrow, maybe not.

Check out the link below. This is the old video processed with some new features. Yep, I'm learning. It cracks me up. But I can find humor in a decapitated mouse, i.e., I laugh at anything and everything.

New Version of B.P.R. Video: North Foothills

Below is a link to the new Back of the Pack Racing trailer. I filmed this on the way to work. Why would I do that? Because I get bored on the drive to work.

BPR Trailer 1 from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.

And just so we are all clear on nutrition - nutrition is defined by ounces of Cheetos. BUT - one alternative is 15 boxes of Girl Scout cookies and some serious IPA!
And just in case all you fools, freaks and psychopaths out there think that I have zero influence in this dream called 'Judd's Earth', check this out....My 2 beautiful nieces are addicted to Cheetos. Why? Well, go buy a bag and contemplate the world without Cheetos - that world would be brutal.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The North Foothills: A New Era for B.P.R.

What can I say. Data is King, but Video will make you Global. What? Yeah, I'm just full of S*^T. But it's fun.

Last week was a good week on the bike. My goal was 150 miles. But I only logged 113, I think. The weather on Sunday screwed us all. Oh well.

This posting includes another set videos. I'll get a hang of it, eventually. I have some big time goals for videography and Back of the Pack Racing. Why? Because, I have the time - Dude! So relax and keep your 'constructive criticism' to yourself. I know it's not perfect, yet.

I sleep in B.P.R gear, I eat breakfast in B.P.R gear, I live in B.P.R. gear.

The helmet cam video (attached below) starts in The 'SP' Lot and shows the ride up to The Apex and down through Sherwood Forest.

OK, Plan B. The video is too large to play correctly in the blog. So follow the link below.

North Foothills - 2nd Attempt from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.

The interview at The Peak is included below. Tim and I cranked up the East Rte, through The Triad and then up the last ascent to The Peak.

South Foothills, The Peak @ 3PUAH from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.

The final interview of March 6th occurred at Tim's Peak. Tim's Peak is south of The Meadow of the Witch. No joke. An albino witch hangs in the meadow during the week. SCARY!

South Foothills, Tim's Peak from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

White Mesa = The Mesa of MUDD (like JUDD)

Well, it has been a good week of bike riding. I am putting in the miles with the hope of being in stellar shape for the San Ysidro Dirty Century (March 27) and Dawn til Dusk (April 7th) . Get it, stellar - like Black Sheep Stellar. Oh wait, I'm a Black Sheep Highlight guy, Tedd and Tim are the 'Stellar' freaks.

I busted my iPhone at the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo, so I laid down the cash and bought a new iPhone 3GS. Guess What -it has video. I am now a video freak.  I also bought a VHoldR Contour HD 1080p helmet cam. It's time that we take Back of the Pack Racing to the forefront of Ultra Endurance Bike Racing. What is the 'Forefront'. Hell, I don't know and I don't care. But we are going places, If only we had a navigator - right Tim?

Tim and I spent the last Thursday - Saturday turning the cranks in the Albuquerque foothills. (I will post the details later.) Tim got bored. So Tim had the brilliant idea of riding at White Mesa today. Great idea. Below is the Google Earth plot of our ride. 

Check out additional details of the White Mesa track - available via a B.P.R posting in November 2009.

Well, White Mesa is a truly killer setting for mountain biking. Believe it or not, today was the 1st day I experienced White Mesa in the daylight. I usually only travel out there for the ultra romantic full moon rides. Yeah, romantic. Us Back of the Pack racers are all about romance. 

Only one word is required to summarize the ride today - MUD!

Because I am about to enter the world of cinema and leave my engineering job way behind - I mean way behind, I will build this posting in chronological fashion. So to start of the video and pics... 

The Drive In

We made it out to White Mesa after Starbucks and 2 big breakfast burritos at La Hacienda in Bernalillo. That is 2 breakfast burritos per B.P.R. team member. (BTW, at Back of the Pack Racing - nutrition is defined by caffeine, burritos and Cheetos.)

We arrived at the White Mesa parking lot jacked up on caffeine and full of green chile. Ouch! Then we quickly realized that it was still raining, raining hard -  so we waited. Out of the blue Tim decided to go for it. What? Did the Guns N' Roses get to him? Yeah, the same song over and over, Guns n' Roses / Coma, will break down even the toughest dudes out there - except for me, I train for this mental torture.

The Cliff of Death

The Mud - 4 Miles To Go!

Scary, scary sink hole!

Yeah, Junction 12. The worst is yet to come!

Like my wheels will rotate with all this natural concrete stuck to the Black Sheep.

Nothing like carrying a 20 pound bike with 30 pounds of concrete. No other options.

The Lookout. Romantic at night. Romantic in a wicked rain storm!

The Lookout. Summary of the Ride

What's next for Back of the Pack Racing?

This video stuff will be my late night addiction for the near future. I'm thinking that it would be TONAR to integrate video and gps data. What? Yeah, just like I said. Just wait. Some smart dudes are already doing this on the internet. I need to find the 'shareware' and make it happen. Check out this link, scroll down to the bottom - Killer Video and GPS Visualization.

Anyone available to help me out? We need to make this happen, ASAP - B.P.R. fame and glory depends on it!.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Risks of Mountain Biking

Well, we all know that risks surround us in the daily grind. But the risks that us Back of the Pack racers experience are usually a bit unique. Yesterday Tim and I had a very close call. Some people think that a 'near miss' with a 2 ton truck is something to talk about. How about a 'near miss' with a big ass mule deer? How about a large herd of mule deer? What's a mule deer? It surely isn't a white tail deer that those Michiganders like to talk about.

The leaders at the Front of the Pack - I mean Front of the Herd

The Back of the Pack - I mean The Back of the Herd