Untitled from aaron elwell on Vimeo.

I need to start making shorter videos so I can upload them with more quality, but when there is an hour of sweet singletrack footage its hard to condense it without leaving out some good stuff. The famous part of the trail is blood rock somewhere in the middle of the video.

I never really reported on the trip to Bump N Grind in Pelham, AL. I cruised down South with Travis and Garret from the Ethos Coalition. We had a great drive down with a stop in Memphis for some BBQ and then got up the next morning and went and prerode the course. It is one of the fastest and most fun trails around. This was my second trip down, but first time I had gotten to run the long loop. The race is two laps, but its essentially one big lap that crosses through the start/finish once. I rode around in 4th and 5th most of the day. The people in front of me was always changing, but I was just riding steady. After crossing through the start finish I picked up the pace on the long climb to the top of the course and found myself in second turning for the descent to the finish. On the first section of the descent a spectator says 25 seconds to the leader and Im thinking I should be able to close that, as I was 2 minutes when I came through the start finish only a few K's ago. Then the air went of out my tire. I was only a few miles to the finish so I just put air in it and tried to continue on. This wasnt really working and I eventually rode in on a completely flat tire, not real good on a carbon wheel, but I was not in the mood to fix a flat. There is a big payday for the win and I was pretty excited about getting that. I ended up 5th and we loaded up for a late night drive back. Arrived home about 3 am and it was a great way to spend a weekend.


Topeka Tinman 2011

The Topeka Tinman was contested yet again Saturday.  This year we had a crew of 3 lining up in their respective classes.  All three had taken a somewhat leasurely approach to training.  Ben led the way by doing absolutely no training and deciding to enter the race two days before it started.  Shannon decided that training was somewhat optional, and sleeping the night before was really not necessary at all as she was headed out to a concert after I was already asleep.  Katie has been having the problem of work getting in the way of her training and she has been hesitant to go on training rides while in mainland China and such places.

 Ben decided to take a little break midway through the swim.  Rumor was he was looking to get the phone numbers of lifeguards, but this guy wasnt really what he was thinking.

Shannon suprised herself on the swim and survived.  This led to a good bike and then she headed out for the run.  Who needs more than 3 hours of sleep the night before an event anyways.

Here Ben is happily on dry land and finishing up his bike leg.

Katie hammering in from the bike.  She has been on a month long taper/recovery block, and the freshness showed as...

She found her way to the podium!!!!  4th place!!!


Hardtail Summer

The summer racing season begins this weekend at the Subaru Cup, it and rest of the XC season will likely favor the hardtail, which Im super excited about.  With this in mind I headed out for a 4 hour jaunt of singletrack last Sunday on the hardtail.  My back wasnt real happy about this idea so when I got home I tried to figure out how to make the hardtail a little more forgiving.  I settled on mounting up a set of Maxxis Ikons.  They look like downhill tires they are so big.  Katie was making fun of me, calling my bike a cruiser.  I took off some 1.8 tires to mount these 2.2 monsters up.  They arent much heavier and roll super fast.  The biggest advantage is that due to the huge volume I can run them at ridiculously low psi.  I rode today at 20 psi which might have been pushing it, but they were awesome.  Its like riding a softail that still accellerates like a rocketship.  I wish I would have put these on a long time ago.  I dont forsee ever taking them off and now im sure Ill be riding the hardtail the rest of the season.  Two ProXCT's, Nationals, Cheq 40, and the Iceman.  I never ride the hardtail except for racing, its just not much fun.  But after doing all my offroad riding on the dually or 29er, its amazing how fast and light that bike feels.

Special thanks to High Gear for getting this hot rod all ready to race. 

My Brother in Law made the trip down to Austin for the Mellow Johnnys Classic and has a bunch of pictures posted on his photoblog here.  It reminds me how much I like that race.  Cant wait for next year.


KC Cup

the KC Cup at Landahl Park was this years Mo state championship. The fact that it was at Landahl, the Heartland guys were the promotors, and that is was the MO state championship meant for a good crowd of fast guys. The course was wet. it wasnt really muddy but it was really slippery. overall it was a great course.

The race didnt start off well for me. I got in one pedal stroke before my chain popped off, then managed to tangle itself up on the second pedal stroke. So the entire cat 1 field was gone and I got it untangled and set off in chase just ahead of the start of the singlespeeders. So I was a minute down already. The chase ensued. It is not easy to ride through and entire field of racers when the race has just started and everyone is feeling fresh. Nobody wants to move over and the passing was a bit tricky. by the end of the lap I was up to 4th and on Chris Plochs wheel when my chain popped off a second time. this time wasnt as bad, and I got it back on fairly quickly. chase time again.

The end of the second lap I had reattached to the group and Ploch and I had gotten away from Kent McNeil and passed Travis Donn who was dealing with a flatting tire. The third lap started with me a few seconds down on Ploch who had gotten through the last rocky section cleanly and I did some running. Halfway though the lap on the wide open field section I put in a bit of an effort and cresting the hill I had a little lead. This stretched out some on the last half a lap for a nice win. No state champ for me though. Ploch gets that honor. Pizza Shoppe on the way home for Katie and I and time for some Dauphine Libre.

Results are here. It seemed like a lot of traffic on the first lap... made it past about 26 cat 1 racers in the singletrack on that lap.


ABA Grand Nationals

Untitled from aaron elwell on Vimeo.

Got home at 3am from Alabama so Ive got some sleep to catch up on. I needed some inspirational race footage to get me through the week and this is the best I came up with. ABA Grands from a few years ago, I was 8.


Was in 2nd with a couple miles to go when the familiar sound of a flat rear tire slowed my progress and I ended up 5th.


So they talked me into driving to Alabama for bump n grind. We stopped in Memphis last night for BBQ.  Preride in the books and waiting for the race tomorrow. Awesome trail.