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Ironman NC Race Report

Now for a “very short” race recap:podium_imnc_2016
The day started out with news that they changed the 50 mile bike to 56 miles! I was happy, but still wanting a 200 mile bike, so I had time to shine ;). This race was different then most Ironman’s, in that the athletes were bussed to the swim start and were told to leave their support crew to see them transition. My family has always accompanied me right at the swim start so I could hand off my extra clothes, shoes, etc. This time I chose to wear a sleeveless wetsuit and had to give up my m
orning clothes almost an hour before we started the swim. After being bussed to the swim start, 2 imnc_2016miles down the road, I spent the next 45 min breathing in exhaust fumes trying to heat up behind the gas powered spot lights. It was finally time to get in the water. We all lined up, and when the cannon fired, the 73 degree water felt as if it were a hot tub! I was so relieved to get in the water and start swimming. After drinking about 4 gallons of tasty salt water, I finally reached the finish of the swim. 58 minutes! I was thrilled to make it out of the water in under an hour. I feared that, even with a faster swim, I spent so much time on my bike that my swim would suffer even more.
I was out of the water and on my way to my favorite part, the bicycle ride! I got my helmet and shoes on and pulled my bike off of the rack. Now it was time to have fun! I knew that with half of the normal distance I was going to have to push a bit harder in the beginning! The wind was relentless, giving me just under 21 mph splits for a few of the first 5 mile segments. I had no idea what was going on, but I kept passing people, so I put a smile on my face and rode as hard as I could. Once I reached 15 miles to go, the wind shifted! I showed close to 30 mph split on one of the segments and I wasn’t trying as hard! I felt great and saw my family several times during the ride! As I came to the final few miles I made it a point to stand on my bike to stretch my legs a bit. My most difficult part of the race was next.
After dismounting my bike and running awkwardly in bike shoes for .25 mile, I picked up my running shoes and entered the changing tent. I threw my shoes and bib on and took off for the run. I remember the beginning was lots of turns and rough terrain and I felt like a slug. I didn’t look at my watch until mile 4 or 5 and realized that I was a bit faster than my goal pace. I decided to roll with it and try and to run as fast as I could! The weather was perfect and there were several people cheering on the course. During the run, I remembered back to my 24 hour race and when Maggie said, “Only 35 laps more to break 500,” At that time I laughed and thought it was impossible, this reminded me that I am capable of more than I think. I then surged on to break my goal of a 3:30 marathon, finishing in 3:25. My goal times were all met, but with a shortened bike, the other guys were just faster on the run.
I placed 4th out of 58 in my age group and 18th out of 1130 overall. I am not ecstatic with my performance, because I didn’t reach my goal, but I am happy since I did better than last year. I placed 8th in my age group last year, 4th this year, and hopefully 1st next year 🙂
Once again, a huge thank you to all of my family and friends who came to watch and cheered me on from home! I could not do any of this without all of you :)!

N24HC Race Report

Hi again all! I’m back with another race report. This time my crazy friends dragged me to the National 24 Hour Challenge in Middleville, Michigan. This is a 24 hour bike race, draft legal, consisting of 3 loops. You start off with one 120 mile loop, then proceed to a 24 mile loop. You ride the 24 mile loop until dark, and then commence the never ending string of 7.6 mile loops.


This is the first year I decided to race my bike over 6 hours. I am very pleased to have tried it out. I say that now, because after a week of rest and recovery, i.e. a 50 mile run on Saturday, I can now enjoy what I have done. My friends Laurie and Zack, were the ones who twisted my arm and made me sign up for this 24 hour challenge.

A quick thank you to my family and friends who crewed for me. Every break I took, they were like a nascar pit crew filled with energy and motivation. I would stop, someone would grab my bike, the others would fill my bottles, and keep me going. You all are so very awesome! Thank you Renee, Ma, Angie, Maggie, and Angela.


Ok, now for the actual ride report. Boy oh boy was it friggen hot. I believe the temperature got up to 91 or 92 degrees. I love the heat, but not while I am racing… The beginning of the race started out as one huge pack of riders. I rode somewhere in the middle of the pack getting passed by much more experienced pack riders. To be honest, I don’t like drafting in big groups. As an Ironman triathlete, I am much more comfortable by myself in time trial mode, but I knew I did not have the experience the other riders did, so I should save as much energy as possible.

Finally about 40 to 50 miles into the day I decided I had enough and would help pull the peloton. I made the move to the front where Damon had been and not too many back was Jessop, the soon to be record holder. Damon, Jessop, and myself shared pulls for the last 60 miles of the first loop. We had quickly dropped the large peloton somewhere around mile 50 or 60, I believe.

Damon, who was pulling super strong, stayed with Jessop and I through the first 24 mile loop. Once again we were each taking equal pulls and all were hurting because of the demon ball of fire in the sky. Struggling to stay properly hydrated, we all decided that we would stop every loop for a quick nutrition refill and then move on. After super strong pulls on the first 24 mile loop, Damon had some hydration errors, which caused him to wave Jessop and myself on. Damon stayed back to get things under control.


Now, with just 145 miles or so under our belts, it was just Jessop and myself working together. I never met Jessop before this day, but I could tell he was a phenomenal rider. My experience in ultra cycling was limited to 12 hours and I had no idea what to expect riding through the night. Well, it turned out I would be drinking Redbull and occasionally slapping myself in the face.

Jessop, 2 years younger than me, had done this race last year and did exceptionally. Little did I know, I would continue to ride with him for the next 16 hours or so. My crazy goal I set for myself was over 500, with no real expectations. Jessop, on the other hand had calculated that we were on pace to break the record. I was stunned that it could actually happen.

After another 5 loops on the 24 mile loop, it was time to turn in our day cards and start the 7.6 mile night loop. My friend and crew member Maggie, had let me know that I would need about 30 loops or so to reach 500, I laughed, and she assured me it was doable.

Into the night we rode and I couldn’t have been happier once the ball of death disappeared into the ground. The moon was up and it was a beautiful night. I was finally able to cool down enough to eat solid food. I had been using nothing but Carbo Pro and Cliff Gu’s the entire day. I scoffed down an Uncrustable and a few pretzel sticks. I felt phenomenal! After a few hours the night started getting to me. I kept head nodding and my eyelids felt heavier. Jessop had formed a plan that we would stop and refuel every 3 laps. This soon turned to every 4 laps to keep us in line to set the record.

The plan was working and our pattern of pulling and drafting became second nature. Somewhere around 6 am, with the sun just starting to peak, I began to get really tired. With about a mile and a half to go in the loop, there is a large downhill with a 90 degree turn at the bottom. It was a chance to gain some ground and rest up a bit. I was following Jessop at this time, starring at the red light on his bike and making sure I was close enough to get a proper draft, I closed my eyes. Next thing I know, I opened my eyes to see Jessop had already made the turn and I was going straight. I corrected and took a wide turn, peddled hard to stay on his wheel and knew I would have toJessop_Billy_Hug_N24HC stop. This was not our scheduled stop time and I knew he was strong.

When we came into the crew area, I had to make a difficult call. I had to stop, and felt that if Jessop stopped with me he might not get the record. I stopped to refuel, drink a Redbull, and wake up a bit. At that time I told Jessop to keep riding and he was sure to get it. Jessop reluctantly took off on his own. After waking up a bit, now on my own, I continued down the start chute. I felt refreshened and had no idea what my milage would be. I was sore for sure, but felt good around the 20 mph pace I was holding.

I finished 509 miles with 15 minutes left on the clock. I knew that riding 7.6 miles in 15 minutes was going to be more than I could handle, and with no partial loops recorded, I knew I was finished. I got off my bike ate a quick snack and waited for Jessop to come through the finish. I heard he had started the lap about 5 minutes prior to me finishing and he said he felt strong. He finished his last loop giving him 516 miles with 3 minutes to spare! What an awesome sight and feeling it was. Jessop and I worked together relentlessly, wanting to slow down so many times, but now it was all over. We were both done and filled with pain and joy. I was super excited that I was a part of Jessop taking the overall milage record!

Sorry for the lengthy story, but it was a long ride, lol. Hope you enjoyed my version of what happened that day/night. It had been a long race, so my story is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate ;). Have a great day and Happy Biking All!

Bike Happy Bro!

Billy V

Calvin’s Challenge Race Report

Here is my preliminary race report on my first ever 12-hour bike race.


To start off, I was roped into this race by two of my very close friends, Zack and Laurie, who also raced this year. I was going to sign up for the 6-hour race, which I had won the previous 2 years, but my friends Laurie and Zack told me to just try the 12-hour.

Fine I would do it, I was certain that I would have to take several breaks and I would not even come close to placing, let alone winning first.

The Thursday before, the day before we left, I received my new bike frame from Quintana Roo, and Zack and I began putting it together. I know it was kinda last minute, but this wasn’t a new thing. I have raced on brand new, never ridden, bikes in the past. After final assembly I jumped on the trainer for a 5 minute bike fit with the help of Eric.

Finally a new tri bike 🙂 It looked phenomenal, I was itching to try it out. I hadn’t raced on a tri bike since Ironman Muskoka in 2015.

Friday morning Zack picked me up and we headed to pick up our friend Laurie. Much different from last year, we were actually going to arrive with enough time to demo ride the course the day before. This was good news, especially since I never had my bike out on the road. 14 miles completed and the bike felt smooth and stiff. I had a good feeling about achieving my goal of over 200 miles for the race.

Saturday morning came, my aero bars were adjusted and wrapped the night before, I was finally ready. Nutrition plan was to swap out my food bottles after every 50 mile loop and to keep water in my front hydration system. We set up the coolers and equipped our winter gear. It had to be mid 40’s that morning and the forecast called for rain. I wore bib shorts, a light jacket, wool socks, shoe covers, balaclava, and gloves. I quickly shed the gloves, because they were sopping wet. For the rest of the race my hands didn’t fully function, leaving only my GU’s, liquid nutrition, and Uncrustables (at the school), available for consumption.

I lined up with the front group, as I normally do when racing. I figured I probably wouldn’t win, but I sure as heck was going to try. The first 3 loops I worked with a group that slowly dropped more and more people, leaving only 4 of us headed into the 4th and final big loop. My newly acquired friend, Wes, and I quickly dropped the other two at mile 3 or 4 and rode the rest of the big loop by ourselves. After much inspirational talk and polite banter, I dropped Wes at the aid station and took off on the 7 mile loops on my own.

At that point, I had no clue where first place was, so I just put my head down and pedaled as hard as I could. I knew that I only had about 2.5 hours left and I felt great. Finally with about 20 minutes or so left in the race I caught and passed Larry, who was in first. I looked over and said, “good job.” Little did I know, he would catch my wheel and continue to draft me until the last 1.5 miles where he passed me and left me to try and catch up with him. My legs were gassed and I could not catch up, but fortunately for me, Calvin’s Challenge is a millage race, giving us both “First Place” trophies.

Larry, a great recumbent cyclist, went on to win the UMCA 12-Hour Championship Jersey, by beating me to the final milage marker. Overall, I exceeded my goal by reaching 250 miles and taking home the first place trophy. What a great day to race, even if it was freezing and raining all day, I wouldn’t have asked for a different experience. It is in the worst of conditions, that we find out who we truly are.

Thank you to everyone who helped me have a great race that day! Special shout out to my sponsor Profile Design, and my friends Zack and Laurie who let me crash with them and for all the help they provided!

P.s. I will post more pictures as soon as I can find some 🙂

Cruising Fat Tad

Ed relaxing after a ride.

Ed relaxing after a ride.

Working in a bike shop, we sometimes receive some great perks. One of the greatest perks besides helping people find their love for cycling is trying out new bikes. It has to be one of my most favorite things. Carrying a broad spectrum of bikes allows us to constantly try out our brands across all types of bikes.

Recently Sun Seeker came out with one that I have absolutely loved. Being a road rider riding road and time-trial bikes it’s usually about carbon fiber and good components. Well this time, things have changed. While flipping through our supplemental September catalog our eyes came to rest on the Sun Seeker Fat-Tad trike. This thing showed 3 fat tire wheels with a coil over suspension on the frame and an integrated suspension on the fork. It was also paired with a front derailleur and rear Sram derailleur giving you 24 speeds to roll over a plethora of terrain. Needless to say, the shop HAD to have one.


Which one has more horse power!?

When it got in, it was quickly assembled so it could head out on its maiden voyage. First sitting down on it, you can’t help but feel the comfort of it. It’s got a full padded mesh seat giving you great comfort as you sit down on it. The other great features are the handlebars are right there at your sides as you’re reclined back in the seat, not  to mention your feet go straight out which is surprisingly comfortable too.

Taking off is a breeze from the low gear. I was easily able to climb up the incline right out our door to make my way to the trail. On the ride the trike felt incredibly stable and smooth. I’ve ridden a standard fat tire bike a few times and the one thing I’ve noticed is that the tires act as shock absorbers themselves, but couple this bike with the suspension and this ride is silky smooth. Shifting is a breeze and finding that perfect gear is pretty simple. On my ride I jumped off the towpath and rode up the embankment next to and never felt like I was going to tip over. I just found the right gear, kept pedaling and the bike went where I pointed it. All in all I was so impressed that I hooked up my new GoPro camera to it to film the action and then make a little video to share. All in all, this thing is a blast and seems to catch everyone’s eye too.

Written By Zack G.

Video filmed and edited by Zack G: Facebook Video Link


The Sun Seeker Fat Tad

Adventures with the FatBike

I first received my SE F@R FatBike in February. I wanted to put it through heck and back, to see if it was worth it…. it definitely was! From riding across a frozen lake with 10 inches of snow to riding through 3 feet of water on the beach, each time I ride, I get a new feeling of excitement.

On March 28th, I took the FatBike to Michigan for the Barry Roubaix Killer Gravel Road Race. I had raced the same race in 2013 on a Cyclocross bike and new what I was in for. I woke up at 3 a.m. to pick up my buddy and drive the 4.5 hours to Hastings, MI. After we picked up our packets, we had about 20 minutes to prep and get to the starting line. After filling my massive tires to 25 psi, we jetted off to the start line. I was the first wave and had to move a barrier to jump in line 30 seconds before the gun went off. From what I saw, I was the only Fatty (One who rides a FatBike, lol) to attempt the 62 mile race. There was several other fatties racing the 36 mile and 24 mile portions. After a grueling back and forth race, I came across the finish line with a gleaming smile. Never during a race, have I been called fat so many times and praised for my hard effort. I came in about 120 out of 165 people. Averaging close to 16.5 mph for the 62mile race.

The FatBike is not only an all around fun bike, but a great training tool as well. My Triathlon bike was being custom painted during the winter, therefore my FatBike was the only bike I had for several months. I rode on it several times a week and in my first race on my Tri bike I improved my milage as opposed to last year. Calvin’s Challenge is the race to which I am referring and will write more about it in another blog entry soon.

The pictures below are of my adventures, I have also attached  a video of me taking it through about 1.5 feet deep water…. in slo-mo!


Happy Riding!


Billy Volchko




Headed home from the Barry Roubaix race.

Headed home from the Barry Roubaix race.

Parked on the lake during the Polar Bear Plunge.

Parked on the lake during the Polar Bear Plunge.

Fatbikes can be faster than road bikes!

FatBikes can be faster than road bikes!

Fat Biking at Portage Lakes State Park

FatBiking at Portage Lakes State Park