Firecracker 50: Race Review

Pop Quiz! Back of the Pack Racing fans – What are the 5 most important words in single speed mountain bike racing?

Dead Last Doesn’t Mean Loser!

Let’s just hope everyone agrees!

The Firecracker 50 was an awesome race with less than awesome results for the Back of the Pack team. Oh well. We aren’t a bunch of sprinters, we are a bunch of heavy weights just trying to keep the cranks turning.

The Basics:

The Judd (Back of the Pack Founder, Leader, Philosofizer, Hustorian) was not firing on all cylinders. A bad chest cold caused some problems. But just minor problems, compared to the major problem. The major problem – I clipped a tree at mile 8. At mile 9 I discovered that the HD helmet cam was ripped right of the helmet. Depression set in. It’s hard enough to produce a decent effort when the body and mind are successfully tuned. But it’s nearly impossible to achieve one’s goals when the body and mind are suffering. Well, lucky for me I don’t really know how to quit. I forced myself through Lap 1 with the hope of finding the helmet cam on Lap 2. Good Idea Judd! The helmet cam was located in the woods near the site of the angry tree with the low hanging branches – the depression was cured, but the lungs were still on fire. Not a big deal, everyone needs a good 50 mile training ride at altitude. In the end my time was ~ 10 minutes slower than my 2009 race. My goal was to finish with a time 20 minutes faster than 2009. So, simple math says I was 30 minutes off my goal. That’s a bummer, but that is reality. There is always next year.

Tedd (Back of the Pack Morale Chairman) had a leisure race. Tedd successfully made the cutoff at mile 36 with 15 minutes to spare. Not bad. Tedd had a simple race strategy: hang out at every aid station, make a few friends, smell the roses and then pound some beers at ‘the jump’. Yes, there was a cool group of July 4th partygoers stationed around mile 2.8 / mile 28.3. The dudes / dudettes constructed a fun little jump and provided free whiskey and beer. So, Tedd hung out at ‘the jump’ for a good 15 minutes, visited with the B.P.R. crew (Denise, Avery, Paige + Mark, Lisa & family), and downed some brew.

Tedd was not the only one enjoying the suds provided at ‘the jump’. I hit the jump on both Lap 1 and Lap 2. My award or reward? Well the shot of whiskey at 10:15AM and at 10,000ft woke me up. On Lap 2 I ‘earned’ two good cups of P.B.R. Yep, P.B.R for B.P.R.

Word of the Trip:

Quote of the Trip:
“What do you think? Are there more gears here or more people watching the parade?”
…and there were thousands of people watching the parade!

Check out the data and photos:, click the link below:
Firecracker 50: Data and Pics

Check out a few videos. Nothing exciting. Just some cool video and cool tunes. There is not much racing video due to the man vs. tree altercation at mile 8. I turned the helmet cam off around mile 2 – I wanted to save the memory and batteries for the last half of the race.

Firecracker 50: just for fun

Firecracker 50 – July 4th from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
Firecracker 50 – 2010


The Firecracker 50: The GPS Track


The Firecracker 50: The GPS Data


The Brothers Rohwer, doing what the brothers do – mental imagery before the 50 miles of pain

Judd finishing Lap 1, heading out for Lap 2. Photo courtesy of Lindsay Mapes of 24HITEF and  Dawn til Dusk fame.

Judd, crossing the finish line and thinking of free beer

Tedd (B.P.R. Morale Chairman) thrilled that the race is over.

The Overall Summary:

The Firecracker 50 is a great race. It is truly a 50 mile sprint – for all the bike racers out there. For us Back of the Pack racers the Firecracker 50 is a fun event held on one of the greatest days of the year – July 4th, Independence Day. It’s hard to complain about anything when we stop to think about July 4th, Independence and the freedom that we all have as citizens of the United States of America.

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