Monday, April 20, 2015

Yankee Springs Time Trail 2015 Review

Jay and I got to Yankee Springs early to set up shop. Brian was there walking the dogs and came to the site to help us as well. It was cold when we got there....overcast and windy. Temps were in the 40's and it was chilly. But....before I get ahead of myself.....

Saturday evening as I was packing up and getting ready my allergies started to flare. I was thinking that it wasn't a big deal...until I woke up at 3am Sunday morning sneezing and with a very sore throat. Lymph node under my the right side of my chin was super swollen and hurting. Perfect feeling on the night before a race. The best part was...the little girls were up and ready for me to go Sunday morning so that was a bonus. lol.

So...we were set up and ready to go pretty early. We didn't go down to the start, but we knew a lot of people that were on the course. Those are super fast guys and girls. We were chatting with Dennis and we saw Jordan and Simonson come flying through. Those guys are just ridiculous fast. Sub 44 minutes on their first lap. Crazy.

Finally I started to get dressed. Nose running. Sneezy. Hit the 2 mile loop trying to get everything opened up and headed to the start line. Everyone was chatting and then it was time for me to go...when Martin says "hold on" and makes me WAIT! They were running a bit ahead because of the people that didn't show up. So I looked at him and said "this is like getting on a roller coaster and having it break down right before you go...NOT FAIR". He just smiled and said "couldn't have happened to a nicer person!". So it was time to go....3, 2, 1. GO. and I was off.

First mile wasn't terrible.....second was worse...third was WORSE yet. I was just plugging away but I was having trouble getting that deep breath that I needed. Lungs just would not cooperate. By the time I got to the guard rail climb I was blown. I just plugged away and kept going. A few people caught me right away, but not as many as I figured would. And these guys....Kudos....they were polite and asked to pass when there was an opening. I was keeping an eye and ear open too....because I was having a bad day...I didn't want to hold anyone up. By mile 5 I was like "ok, almost halfway". I still wasn't feeling the greatest...but hey....on the home stretch.

Just keep plugging away....a slow time is better than not finishing. I was shooting for an hour.....but I missed that. I was about 3 miles from the finish and was really struggling. Just wanted to be done. I really like mile 11 to 12 out there at Yankee. A guy passed me right before the 11 mile marker. This is where I am fastest on the I stayed with him. He got a little off kilter in one of the sandy sections and I got past him. I put the hammer down and never saw him again. One guy stayed with me and passed after a while...but he was definitely drafting off of me for a bit. I just love that section.  

So I finished. Took 19th in my class. Way off the leaders....but I can't complain. 1:07 was my finish time. Faster than last year. Feeling awful. up is Fort Custer Stampede. Hope to feel better and compete a bit more in that race.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Barry Roubaix.....didn't want to play

It was an empty parking lot when I got to the Long Lake Outdoor Center on Saturday morning. 2 cars. Surprising for only 2 weeks before the Barry Roubaix...but then again...everyone starts in Hastings now. I just stop at Long Lake and ride the course from some drive time.

Off I went on a solo ride. I had a goal of 13mph for the route because I was almost there the week before....and conditions were way better. The roads were a little soggy in some spots...but mostly spongy gravel that is just soft enough to slow you down some. There was some mud too....but the roads are drying nicely.

The ride went fairly well. I got to the paved road into Hastings and my stomach started to hurt some. Nothing major...just uncomfortable. I rode through town and headed out towards the Three Sisters. Stomach was really starting to hurt by this point....not so much stabbing system wants to empty pings. So...I had a choice....go out into the woods and hope for the best or just keep going. I just kept going and the pings passed. The problem was....I was slowing down because my focus was gone. I was more worried about how I was feeling and how I was going to ride the rest of the way back to my car. When I got to the first sister I slowly churned over the top. About halfway up the second sister my legs quit. I had to stop and walk. Then I didn't even try the third....just got off and walked. Legs were like concrete. It wasn't making any sense to me until I started to think about what I did differently on this ride. Only one thing was different....fluids. I put different fluids into my water bottles...and thinking back I was feeling worse with every pedal stroke after about the 15 mile mark. About long enough for the Gatorade G2 I was drinking to be throughout my system. 

The last 12 miles were straight up survival mode. All I wanted to do was get to the car. Knowing that it was the G2 made it worse...because it was all I had to drink and I wasn't going to go without fluids. Ugh. I just plugged away and eventually turned right instead of left to head out to Gun Lake Road. Good choice...only cut 2 miles...but I was glad to back to the car. Ended up with just over 34 miles at a pace of 11.9 mph. So....not terrible considering how awful I was feeling. Lesson learned. A lesson better to learn now than during...say...Lumberjack 100.

Friday after work we took the littles to Lake Michigan to see the remnants of the ice. There was water along the shore....but these huge mountains of ice still in place....covered in sand. Looks like the sand dunes are out in the water. Pretty cool.

We live so close to Lake Michigan...and we never really think twice about how awesome it truly is.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

2015 Schedule almost full

With my first race of 2015 in a few weeks I figured I would share my schedule...not that anybody cares....but if you it is.

Barry Roubaix March 28th

Yankee Springs TT April 19th

Fort Custer Stampede  May 3rd

Lumberjack 100 June 20th

Sweat Shaker June 27th. (which may be a train wreck a week after a hundred miler...but we will see)

The above races are confirmed....I am signed up for them. The following are races that I may preparation for Lumberjack:

Hanson Hills 50 (good simulation of hills and a longer race)

Stony Creek 6\12 Hour (would be an excellent way to test endurance and nutrition)

And I will need to do at least 2 of these last ones to qualify for a CPS overall award.

Big M    July 26th (after Lumberjack I will know the course)

Maybury TT August 15th (love the course, lots of fun)

Addison Oaks September 13th (fun race, good atmosphere, would do it again)

Pando Challenge September 27th (hate the hills....but maybe not so much by this time of year)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Awesome weekend

The weather is finally getting warmer. This past saturday it was calling for temps to start in the teens and end up in the 40's. I had a super busy day of running the kids around starting around Noon so Jay and I headed out early to ride Barry Roubaix.

Our first pedal stroke was about 7:45. Temperature was low teens, but it didn't feel as cold....until we started moving. We were planning on pushing the pace a little and seeing what our legs were capable of. The strange thing about planning a faster pace is the mental side of it. I was planning on pushing it a bit....and my body was ready. The weekend before it was a struggle to just ride...let alone at any type of pace. we went. We were still cruising but we had a better pace going. The hills didn't feel as terrible....until the wall. Hills do not like me very much at this point. I don't mind them....but they have something against me. Like....they hold me back and stuff. At any rate....I had to stop on the wall for a second. But, I got back on and pressed forward without walking.

We rode the entire loop all the way into Hastings where the start\finish area is located and then took off again out of town. The three sisters are not getting any smaller....just saying. The first, not too bad. The second. Worse. The third...felt like it wasn't going to stop. My legs quit. I had to stop and walk for a bit. But when I got back on the bike my legs felt way better. Even Jay commented "it is amazing how that little rest made a difference". So we pressed on. The conditions were perfect. A few icy spots, but because we went so early the roads were still solid. I saw a lot of reports later in the day about how awful and sticky the course was. Glad we went early.

We got to Gun Lake road to head back to Long Lake Outdoor center and I settled into a nice pace. I am not fast on the climbs....but I just ride consistent and do what I can. Once the hill started to flatten out I just let loose. I wanted to get back to the car and I knew that the downhill was a good place to gain some speed. I kept churning all the way to Yankee Springs road where the stop sign is.....checked for traffic and took off again. Overall it was a very good ride. I averaged what I did last year in the race (in less than stellar conditions). I will take that 3 weeks before the race. I just need to cut back on the food....get the weight down...and the speed will only go up!

Sunday I went out for another ride because it was beautiful weather. I mustered another 20ish miles and held a decent pace. I even feel pretty good today after two longer rides. Just happy to be riding outside and that the warmer temps appear to be here to stay.

Barry Roubaix in 3 week.
Yankee TT in about 7 weeks.
Lumberjack is coming quickly too....

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Open Letter: Mavic

Hello Mavic,

     My name is Sean Evans. I am a Mechanical Design Engineer, father of four, and avid cyclist. I am a mountain biker by heart, but I also own (and ride) a road bike. I like that I can jump on the road bike and get a solid ride in without having to drive to a trail. Given the time, I will always choose the mountain bike over the road bike. Mountain biking is how I first heard about your products.
     Many years ago I was at a little race called Iceman Cometh in Northern Lower Michigan. After eating dinner I was looking over the bike and heard a clink when I spun the rear wheel. Perplexed, I spun it again...sure enough....clink clink clink. I stopped the spinning and took a closer look. 3 broken spokes. Not good the night before the race. I had that Mavic was going to be at the Expo that night and that a demo was possible. We went to the expo and I headed straight to the Mavic booth. Frantic, I explained my situation. The guys in the tent were awesome and told me they would hook me up in morning and all I had to do was be there early enough for them to get my bike set up. We got there early and sure enough they threw a set of demo Crossmax wheels on my bike. Truth be told....the wheelset they installed was worth more than my entire bike at the time. This made it even more exciting. I was at the start line and a few people were asking about them. I explained that they were loaners and everyone was very impressed that Mavic would loan such an expensive set of wheels to a beginner level racer. The race went ok....but I loved the wheels. Needless to say...I was hooked.
     Time passed and I stopped riding for a few years. Eventually, about 8 years ago, I started riding again. In typical cyclist fashion my bikes got more expensive and the components followed suit, minus the wheels. The set I wanted I could not afford. The Mavic Crossmax wheels. So I waited. 3 years ago I finally needed to buy a new wheelset. A teammate had a set of Crossmax SL wheels that he wasn't using anymore. Barely used....I got a solid deal on them. My shop owner put a lot of trust in the wheels telling me they would be "bullet proof" I jumped and bought them. I set them up tubeless and absolutely loved them. But....the bike is a 26er and last year I made the jump to 29er....regrettably giving the bike and my favorite wheels ever to my son. He loves them too for the record.....but I miss them.
     So that brings me to the point of this letter. I technically don't need a new wheelset...because the wheels that came with my bike are very nice wheels. I WANT a new Crossmax wheelset. While doing some research I was looking around the site and realized that Mavic has a lot more to offer than just the wheels. I knew Mavic put cycling shoes on the market, but I didn't realize Mavic has pedals too. And not only pedals, but the style of pedals I love to ride. I am a huge Time Pedals fan because the SPD style locks me in too much and puts stress on my knees. Wheels, shoes, gloves, pedals, helmets....a lot.
   My question is this: Does Mavic have any sort of ambassador program? I ask because I think it would be an excellent idea. I also volunteer to be the first in the program. I would use shoes, pedals, helmet, gloves, wheels, and whatever else you would be willing to offer. What would I do in return? Well, I write a blog that is read all around the world. I also have a facebook page that has a decent amount of traffic. I would do product reviews. I would do product spotlights. I would also talk to everyone I know about your awesome products. At races, I would wear Mavic shirts, hats, team kit and be a walking/riding billboard. I would also put stickers on my car and bikes as necessary.
     Why Sean Evans? Well.....I love the sport. I love to ride. I love to race. My story might not be the greatest. I have stood on the podium on a few times...but they have been awesome each time. I am doing my first 100 mile mountain bike race in June of this year. I am moving along. If Mavic were to allow me to be an ambassador I would attribute any success to the awesome components and products you have. I would share my stories with everyone, just as I do now. Only I would be able to say "Mavic has been awesome in helping because of...." or "these wheels have truly made climbing faster" or "I see you ride Time, I switched to Mavic and ......" . So many options.
     In closing, please consider an ambassador program. Many well established companies already have them, and the programs help get their products in front of more eyes out on the roads and trails. When people see other people out riding the brands, more attention is given to those brands. People are interested in what other people are using, riding, wearing. If you would like to have a conversation about this I am more than willing. I completely understand if you do not. I doubt this letter will ever even reach Mavic, but I wanted to launch it into cyberspace in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, it would reach the right person.

Thank you for reading,
Sean Evans
Singletrack Chronicles

Sunday, February 22, 2015

First Barry Roubaix of 2015

Jay and I decided to head out into the cold morning air to test out the Barry Roubaix roads. We saw pictures and had reports that the roads were icy, with snow, sandy spots, and some gravel spots showing. I pulled the Defy off the trainer and threw the CX tires on, especially since I knew Jay was bringing his new TCX.

Do I really want to do this?

I left the house a little after 8am and met Jay at the Long Lake Outdoor Center a little before 9. Parking lot was empty. We geared up and off we went. Roads were not bad. Passable....albeit slow. We rode slower to prevent a disaster. I did have one minor accident. I caught a icy ridge and it kicked my bike out from under me and I fell right into the snowbank. No harm. Slow speed. 

Jay B.s Giant TCX (Photo courtesy of Jay B.)

The pic above was one Jay took of his bike at the top of "The Wall". That climb is always rough. I am learning to love the hills. The hills, however, hate me. Felt like I was dragging an anchor. The hills out there are always brutal....but they felt even worse on this ride. I think because it was so cold my body was struggling to stay warm. At any rate it was awesome to be out there riding with a friend and teammate....testing the early season fitness.

After the ride

We got a decent 22 miles in around 2 hours. Average Temperature was 23 degrees according to my Garmin. It felt really good to be outside and riding in the hills. With 5 weeks until Barry Roubaix I have to get outside more...but winter has a cold grip on SW Michigan right now. I felt pretty good after the ride...just cold. The season is coming quick and winter won't last forver.

Below is a video of our ride. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

2015, off an

This year is already off and flying by. Living in Southwest Michigan is always and adventure. We had 2 feet of snow on the ground in November. Hardly any snow on Christmas. And got 18" over the course of two days here a few weeks ago. As I type this we are under a Winter Storm Warning. Lots of blowing snow and frigid temps. So....I hide indoors.

January was a solid month. I started it off right with a ride (outside) on New Years Day. Haven't ridden outside since. I have had a few nice days....but missed the opportunity to get out there and break the monotony of the trainer. Instead I got a few of the Sufferfest videos to change things up.

In total...I had just under 300 miles in January. Just over 400 for the year so far. My speed is pretty solid too for this point in the year. My frustration is my weight. I feel stronger, but I am slowly losing weight. My own fault. Feel pretty good on the bike.....and the legs are surely getting stronger. Nutrition has to be dialed. I will get there.

So....the season is shaping up like this

Barry Roubaix (36 miles)
Lowell 50 (34 miles....or 57 depending on BR results)
Yankee TT
Custer Stampede
Lumberjack 100
Sweat Shaker

Those are verified.

These are not...but on the radar

Hanson 50/100
Ithica 12 Hour
Ruby 50

All I know is that I will be riding a lot to keep my fitness up. Gotta stay focused and be ready on June 20th when I have to ride 100 miles.....wait...RACE 100 miles. Have a goal time in mind right now...but won't let that leak.

Hope you all are enjoying your winter.