Race Recap: Island Lake XC

We had a solid showing at the Island Lake mountain bike race this past sunday. With a race roster of Joshua Hall, Nate Benke, Phil Huyghe, Erik Huyghe, Jake Samborski, Melissa Seymore, Mark Boden, and myself, I think it is safe to say this was one of the best turnouts O2 has had at an MTB race. Not to mention we had Mike Dega, Chris Wanely, and Mary Raftery show up as part of the support squad. The O2 tent was set up in prime location and my better half Becky helped me cart our grill out to make sure every one was fed after the race.

As for the racing, there was some good, some bad, and tons of exciting. Josh took 4th place with Nate in 6th in the Men’s Expert 30-39 race. This is a tough field and Josh’s second Expert class race. After listening to him worry about making the jump to Expert all winter, I think we can put the speculation to rest, the man is fast! Nate’s 6th place finish was also a strong result, especially in a field with the likes of Jeremy Merz and Eric Langley.

Jake Samborski originally came to hang out and support the team, just getting cleared from a broken bone in his foot that has had him off the bike for the past month. At the last minute he decided to register and race in the single speed class. Unfortunately for him, he blew his tire at the start and fell down. To make matters worse, the racer behind him ran over his head! Jake stayed and hung out for the rest of the day, collecting 4 stitches above his eyebrow on the way home.

Mark Boden, the Huyghe’s and I raced sport class in our respective age groups. I took 5th in the 19-29 race, I feel like I could have contented with the lead group but the race for the podium ended in the first two miles. One particular racer decided to actively and aggressively block any passing attempts in the first 2 miles of single track… his attempts proved fruitless because we were eventually able to pass and he ended up in last place. These antics gave the lead group of four a hefty gap on the rest of the field. I tried my best to chase them down, not knowing how many people were even in front of me. I’ll take the top 5 result with a smile given the circumstance. Erik Huyghe took 7th in the 30-34 race. I don’t know how Mark and Phil did because the results still haven’t been posted online but I know they gave it their all in field that is generally known for being large and competitive.

One big highlight of the day was Melissa Seymore in the women’s sport 19-39 race. New to mountain biking she was debating racing beginner or sport. She decided on sport… and ended up taking 1st place. Way to go Melissa! With good results in cyclocross, road, and now MTB, she is proving to be quite the asset to any division of our team.

After the race we all hung out and grilled some food and drank some ice cold beers, all generously provided by O2. So if any of you Island Lake racers or hanger-outers see Mark Cahn or any other board members, be sure to extend a thank you for giving the MTB team a budget this year. I want to extend a thank you of my own to anyone who came out on Sunday. Getting good showings like this is exactly what I want to accomplish as MTB race captain. If you missed the race/party I plan on doing something similar at the Addison Oaks race in the fall.

Keep the rubber side down,

Alec L – MTB Race Captain


Yankee Springs MTB TT Race Recap

“Josh Hall, Jake Samborski, and myself went went to Yankee Springs for a long weekend of camping, riding, and racing. I had never ridden Yankee before, it was a blast, lot’s of elevation for lower Michigan, something about melting glaciers. The trail had some awesome descents which is a nice change up from the smaller, rolling hills found at our local trails. Yankee was Josh’s first Cat 1 XC race and he placed 13th out of 32 in the Cat 1 30-39 race!

Josh Hall

Mr. Samborski (aka the Gnardawg) definitely felt at home on this technical course, he placed 7th out of 19 in the Cat 2/3 Single Speed race and was geared 2:1! I just missed the podium with a 4th place finish in the Cat 2 19-29 race. Great weekend with some good results. Look out for an announcement regarding the Island Lake race on May 22nd.”

-Alec Linton, MTB Captain

2013 Lumberjack 100

While James Ignash and the rest of team O2 were kicking butt at the Cherry Roubaix race on Saturday, I was at the Lumberjack 100 mountain bike race (lumberjack100.com) near Manistee.

 For the LJ 100, I set three goals; 1) to finish, 2) to finish without being completely spent and 3) to finish less than 10 hours.  I followed a 12-week training program developed by Chris Eatough (chriseatough.com).

RACE DAY began with the “not-so-mandatory” 6:30 am rider meeting.  While on my way to the mass start I saw a familiar 02 jersey – it was Al Lake.  Al is a LJ 100 veteran and gave me tips regarding the start.  He advised that we start on the left so we don’t get pinched on the inside as we turned from pavement to the trail in a clockwise direction. 

 At the start, nearly 400 riders took off in a sprint.  I stayed on Al’s wheel as he safely led me to the single track.  As soon as we got on the dusty trail, I was amazed how many riders continued to push it at max power and redline their heart rates.  I kept my heart rate down and settled into a comfortable pace. 

 The first 33 mile lap felt good.  The dusty trail made breathing tough at times but I felt strong after L1.  A quick bottle change from Mary and the rest of my “pit crew” and I was off for lap 2. 

 During L2 I conserved energy by allowing gravity to give my legs intermittent reprieves on the descents.  A crash on a sandy decent and a broken chain cost me about 15 minutes to repair.  Considering the lost time, I was happy with L2. 

 I had 67 miles behind me and fresh bottles for L3.  On the first climb I realized I may suffer on this last lap.  I coasted on most descents to conserve energy.  Although my legs felt good, my upper body started to feel the cumulative effect of the race with about 20 miles to go.  With about 15 miles to the finish, my handlebar clipped a tree and I sailed over the bike; no permanent harm to man or machine.  I ultimately crossed the finish line at mile 100 in one piece and accomplished my goals.

 In summary, the LJ 100 was a great experience.  Although the route is sandy with a lot of climbing and steep descents, I would not consider it technical.  It was great starting with Al Lake who guided me safely during the first treacherous mile.  His endurance was evident as he climbed past me as I pushed my bike up a sandy section towards the end of the race.  My pit crew of Mary and a couple other family members made the race a very special day. 

 Feel free to contact me with any questions,

 See these links for more info:





Mark Boden

New page for race recaps

If anyone is interested in providing me with a race recap, I’ll post it to the club’s website.  Paul Skorupskas submitted me with a great piece highlighting his race at Cone Azalia (CAT3).  I’m going to post the recaps under the Race heading, within a new page I created titled The 2013 Red Tail Recap.

Please contact me with questions, concerns or new ideas.