11 July 2016

Fireweed 200 - the "quad" team edition

9th July 2016 was the date for this years Fireweed 200 event.  The current version of the race starts at Sheep Mountain Lodge and takes highway one to the Richardson highway where it takes a right turn and finishes in Valdez, 192miles and only two turns at junctions.

I was racing on a team called numbnutz as a stand in for a rider who was unable to race.  The team has competed in the event for a number of years and are a slick machine.  As the team all reside in different locations we decided to car pool from Palmer. On our way out we received a call from Bryan who had unfortunately been involved in a car collision, whilst driving on the old glen the car following him failed to see he had stopped due to traffic and barrelled into him at around 45mph. His bike and rack took the majority of the impact and although no real damage to him the bike and car were a write off it seems. 

not a great start to Bryan's weekend. 
Team numbnutz were down to three and one of them (Jim) had been sick or so he said :)
After getting dinner at Subway we headed up the road to set up camp at Sheep Mountain Lodge. 
After setting up camp we discussed team tactics a little, now that we were down a team member, possibly two if Jim really couldn't ride our rest periods got a lot shorter and although I have the capability to ride the distance I have never raced that far. 

training nutz

Looking towards the start area from the airstrip
 which is where we all camp.

morning on a beautiful day

Pete geared up and ready to roll
Pete took the first leg and was flying when he came past me as I stopped to get some photos.  
Pete chasing down a member of CPR who we played leapfrog and chase with all day.

Pete on leg one
The course heads out east from the start, after a little climbing descends into Glennallen where at around 75  miles we make a turn to the right and head towards Valdez.
The weather was hot and at Glenallen we picked up a relentless headwind all the way into Valdez around 120miles later.

Our plan was to ride for roughly 15-20min stints and then switch out however once we hit the headwind those stints got a little shorter.  
Pete was my incoming teammate and Jim my outgoing. My day pretty much went like this:
When I came in from my ride I would check the time, load bike my bike onto the vehicle (unload Pete's bike, load mine, load Pete's), after four min set off after team mate (Jim) in the support vehicles (one was being driven by Julie who is Jim's wife the other was driven by Pete and I), check on rider progress then try to find a good place to hand over which will be around 10 to 15min of total ride time, stop unload Pete's bike, watch the time for when he left, after 4 min set off after him, check how he is doing and then try to guess where we should be handing to give the 10 to 15min ride time, stop car, put keys on the dash, unload bike and get ready to ride when he comes in. This was a lot more tiring than I thought it was going to be as the riding was flat out but also the driving and guessing where to stop for the team mates was a real learning experience. To top all of this I had to find time to eat and drink.  
Pete heading up for a change over

looking for Jim

setting off

wow Jim was really flying

and we are off

full gas Jim
Our team swaps got a lot slicker by the end of the race.
Photo opportunity going up the pass

slick change over

Pete crossing the line

me rolling in way after him....

Numbnutz at the finish line. 

In total I completed 15 segments and raced around 72 miles. For me the whole race seemed to go really fast as we didn't stop at all. If I did the race again on a team I would probably do things a little different food wise, I didn't feel I had enough variety however I was happy with the race. My two teammates I rode with rocked the riding though even with Jim's "Sickness", I was glad I was able to join team numbnutz for a year and help them out.  Will I do this event again... who knows but the solo ride did look tempting....

How did we do?

We finished in 8th place overall (10hrs 31min 25sec) and 3rd in our age group.  We had a really good battle with another team called CPR.  Josh, Roger, Michael and Tony had the three of us on our toes all day and in the end finished just over 3 min ahead of us.

Full results

Team CPR who we battled with all day, well done gents
Picture of the race results - photo by David Henke

My buddy Brant

I want to put a special mention out to my friend and team mate Brant.  He rode the 200 event solo which is totally awesome. I have ridden a lot with him on longer events and he is great fun to ride with and always up beat. He can also set an incredible pace into a headwind unfortunately for this ride he got lots more practice, headwinds really do suck. 
On this ride he ran out of water, got a flat tyre and also sunburnt....... He was still super chipper at the finish line, it was great hanging out with you after the event.  
uphill and a headwind at least it wasn't raining. 

finished in seconds over 12hrs

All my stints

Stint 1 - my fastest average speed, fresh legs help. 

Stint 2 - 

Stint 3 -

Stint 4 -

Stint 5 - and into the headwind we went

Stint 6 - this was a really tough stint

Stint 7 - 

Stint 8

Stint 9 - I think this was my least favourite stint

Stint 10

Stint 11

Stint 12

Stint 13 - topping out the climb I really enjoyed this one

Stint 14 - this was one of my favourites as the wind had died down for a little bit of it.

Stint 15 - Pete and I rode together to finish the ride, well until he blew me away and I just struggled to the finish. 


  1. 120 miles of headwind. It was great to ride with you.

  2. Where did you find the full results?

    1. A friend posted a picture of the results on facebook from the board by the finish.

  3. what was your time for the 4 man relay?

    1. ooophs I forgot to write it in 10:31:25. blog now updated.

  4. Would you be able to share the photo of the results? Nice work! We were too far behind ya!

    1. No problem David, the photo I got was from David Henke, it is up there somewhere.