Monday, April 14, 2014

Singletrack!

This past weekend was awesome weather. It was 70 degrees on Saturday and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to ride. We got word that TK Lawless was dry and clear so we geared up and headed down to the middle of nowhere just north of the Indiana/Michigan border. It was an interesting mix of people as Dwight, Jay, Summer, Mike, Dwight's Nephew, Bill and I headed out.

It didn't take long....and I got shot straight out the back of the pack....again. TK Lawless is super tight and twisty in the beginning and the end...and I don't corner very well because my center of gravity is high, so I was really slow...and out of sight they went. I kept chugging away and was just simply enjoying being on my Epic for the first time in 2014. Eventually I caught up (because they were nice and waited for me) and the trail opens up with some climbs. There is just under 10 miles packed into that tiny little park and it is amazing to see people that might be 300 yards ahead of you....or a few miles ahead of you. The trail twists and turns and comes within an arms reach a few different times. A nice change of pace compared to Yankee Springs and Fort Custer...and a ton of fun. Eventually I got back to the car after my first lap and everyone was there waiting for me. We regrouped and headed out for another lap.

It was supposed to be just an easy lap but I got dumped out the back right away again. I kept them closer, but eventually they were gone again. I was just riding my pace....no reason to try to kill myself to keep up...I know they are all faster than me....but I am faster than I was last year....so I wasn't nearly as far behind. I crested a hill and saw the group waiting for me again. I rolled up to the group and slowly maneuvered through them and kept going. I was in the lead! I was actually in the lead longer than I thought I would be when I heard Dwight coming. He passed me on a hill and Summer was close behind him and they were gone...boom. That's ok, still a handful of people behind me.  TK has a cutoff at the 6 mile mark but I drove down there and was feeling pretty good so I chose to keep going. Managed to not be the last person back to the car!

Felt pretty good riding 20 miles on singletrack. Especially with sore legs from running 2 miles a few days before. Any singletrack is good....it was a long wait this year. Overall I am feeling pretty good. My daughter started soccer practice tonight so I ran....actually ran 3.1 miles on the track around the sports complex. I might pay for it, but I need to boost my weight loss program. Fort Custer Stampede is in 3 weeks and I want to be sub 240 or even sub 235 by then so I can gun for podium. Right now there is nobody signed up in my class so I like my chances!!!

Moving forward!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Facing the wall...


I see it coming in the distance. Those weight numbers that I have only attained once the last 2 years. I was close last Monday....sliding the weight to 240 on the dot. I have only been in the 230's once....it was 238 and then I shot back up to 260 shortly there after. Knowing this wall is facing me it has been on my mind for the last few weeks. 

I am not really sure what it is...I am not scared of it. I want it. But I know this wall is there and I haven't been able to get through it. This time, I will get through it.....or rather....over it. 



I know that you could simply walk around this wall in the pic above.....but what if it isn't that easy. Maybe there is a hole, or a mean dog, or barb wire or whatever. The only way to get through this barrier is to go over the top of it. Not the easiest.....but if it was easy...anyone could do it.

So, I am staring at this wall....and I will make my first attempt to get over it this week. I might make it, I might not. If I do, it is simply another step towards my ultimate goal. If I don't, I dust myself off and try again. My mind state is so much better than it has ever been that a setback is no longer a derailment. My perspective changed. Now it is time to take the next step and get into the 230's......



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Lowell that wasn't

Well, I had intended on racing this past Saturday for race #2 up in Lowell. I was actually talking to my teammate Mark about what time I would be picking him up....and then something came....uh....up. And by that I mean my entire system decided to purge. No racing for me the next day. It was the craziest thing too. I was fine and eating dinner when I got that "I just ate 4 plates of food" feeling in my stomach even though I wasn't even half way through my plate of chicken and veggies. Apparently it wanted out. And the last time I got sick was 4am on Saturday....about 2 hours before I was planning on leaving. Knowing that I needed to stay in bed and be within close proximity of a bathroom I slept all day Saturday. Blech. Oh well, out 1 entry fee but saved the gas.

Because I step on the scale everyday I can tell you that I lost 7 pounds in 24 hours. Most of it was clearly water weight, as I ended up 240 on the dot on Monday for a loss of 4 pounds for the week. I will take it even if it was not a viable solution to my weight issue.

So....now that it is April 8th and I still haven't been on my mountain bike this year I am getting ansty. Some of my team has plans to ride TK Lawless this weekend and I plan on being there. The trails are dry and NIMBA had a clean up day out there so we are ready to rock. I will get a solid idea of how my training is going based on some lap times down there.

Gonna keep moving forward! The Custer Stampede is only a month away.....and then the true season begins.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First Quarter Update

Tempus Fugit

Time flies.....or correctly...time flees.

I looked at the calendar yesterday and thought....April....already? There is still freaking snow on the ground and we only had 2 days in the 50's in March. Dang. Time does fly.

My race season started off pretty well with Barry Roubaix. This weekend is The Lowell 50 and then there was a pretty significant schedule change. The Yankee Springs TT was moved to May 18th due to FOOT of snow still on the trails. The WMMBA made the tough, although correct, choice to move the race. As trail advocates there is now way the group would allow a race with over 700 people to happen and risk major trail destruction.
Taken March 27th by Mark K.

Taken March 27th by Mark K.
(this is the bridge a few miles in)

So, that means I have Lowell this weekend and then The Fort Custer Stampede in May. This means that I have a few more weeks to train before my true mountain bike race season begins. Awesome. And, I can drop more weight in the next 5 weeks before Yankee, meaning I will be climbing hills faster. Just gotta keep plugging away!

And...AND! I decided to look at where my numbers are compared to last year. I have 245 more miles in the first 3 months of 2014 than I had in 2103.....and I am 14 pounds lighter than I was at this point last year. I will take it....but I still have work to do!

If you are at Lowell on Saturday I will see you there. Shooting for 2.5 hours over the 34 miles...for an average speed of 13.6 (which is faster than what I raced Barry Roubaix....hoping for better conditions). I would love to be at 2:15 finish time....but that is 15.1 mph......hey...shoot for the stars...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Barry Roubaix 2014.


The 2014 edition of the Barry Roubaix was my first race of the year. On my way to Hastings I drove one of the gravel roads on the course to check conditions. On that one gravel road the conditions were good. But, the rain that fell the night before had different ideas. 


Starting in Wave 1 was a new experience for me. I have never done that. I was chatting with a former rival (and former clyde) when we were staged up. Then we rolled up to the start line and waited the last two minutes for the start. 3, 2, 1...GO. I knew the start would be fast. All pavement. 150 people. The leaders went off like a rocket. I settled into my groove and just plugged away. We made the turn onto Yeckley Road and I could still see the leaders. I was impressed with myself for that....keeping them insight for nearly 2.5 miles. By the 3rd Sister the group was strung out and the leaders were gone.


I did start too fast....as usual. So I had to back off a bit but then I settled in. Starting in the first wave I had plenty of people to ride with. I knew Jay, Mark, Ken, Brian, and Lisa were chasing so I kept plugging away. Conditions were interesting to say the least. The roads were still wet and I could definitely feel extra drag. Some of the areas were awful. Deep mud and mud puddles which made it like riding in peanut butter. A few miles in a group of guys were passing and the first guy went down, taking two others down with him in some deep mud. I made it safely through and just kept plodding away.

Finally making to the pavement on Gun Lake road I really found my rhythm. I started to pick off a few people and I was able to hang with a smaller group and recover. I was comfortable. I knew I was going to miss my goal time by the 11 mile mark, but I was still having a lot of fun. Lots of people all suffering the same. Well...some were suffering more than others when they were hurling on the side of the road...but you get the idea.


So, I took 57th place in my age group. Missed my goal by 19 minutes. Finished the race with a smile on my face. The new run into the finish was awesome. 3 miles of pavement but another long climb. I was ready to be done so I crushed it. I passed a lot of people and then let it rip over the top. It felt good to crush the last roller and then be going full tilt into the finish line. Awesome time! Even with conditions I was able to shave over 5 minutes off of my fastest time ever (2012) at this race.


Our whole team finished and was glad to be done! Here are our team members that were here:
Back Row: Left (me!)
Andrew G.
Ryan (hiding in the back middle)
Jay B.

Front Row: Brian B. (left)
Lisa P.
Ken S.
Mark K. (right)

It was a good time on a tough course. The Lowell 50 is next on the schedule on April 5th and then Yankee Springs is the following weekend. Season off to a good start! I weighed in at 242.25 this morning which puts me at 24.75 pounds down for the year. I am shooting for 239 next Monday. Just gonna keep plugging away!

Riding bikes is awesome.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Twas the night before Barry....

Twas the night before Barry....
and all through the house....
nobody is here except for me.

that didnt rhyme.
i don't care.

I am almost ready for my first race of 2014. I will be loading up first thing in the morning and heading to Hastings for the Barry Roubaix. 36 miles of gravel, pavement, and 3000 like minded people. 



My house really is empty. Just me and the 2 cats. Wife is taking pics, son is at a movie, one daughter at her friends house, one at my in-laws, and one babysitting. Quiet. So, I have just been plotting my attack for tomorrow. Starting in wave 1 will be interesting. I need to make sure that I don't start too fast and blow myself up. I know for sure I can ride hard for 25-28 miles. 36 miles won't be much different....just a bit further. 

So....start....steady.
2 miles....the tree sisters.....early in the race....attack them
more......
more.....
more...
more..
more..
right turn onto the home stretch....one more climb and then a left, 2 rights, and a left....done.

See you tomorrow.....

Monday, March 17, 2014

Last Barry Roubaix training ride

With the help of my friend Tony I got my hitch installed on the Crosstrek. I was down and out on Saturday. Had a fever and sore throat. Didn't do a darn thing. There was a training ride Sunday morning so I figured I would give it a shot and loaded up.

I had to take the Kuat rack from a 4 bike down to a 2 bike so it is easier to carry. lol. Honestly, the 4 spot rack is just overkill for my little car. The changeover was simple (4 bolts) and I had it on the ride and ready to rock. Thankfully I got to sleep in some because the ride wasn't until 11am.

Upon arrival I saw Jay and Dan T. along with Dwight, Charles and a few other WSI riders. Dan S. pulled in and we were ready to rock. Dan S. brought a tank to a Formula 1 race. What I mean is...he had a Borealis Yampa with Studs. Yes...a fat bike with studs....6 PSI...and the roads were like concrete. The majority of the group was on CX bikes and a few were on their mountain bikes. It was evident that the ride was going to be good for a fat bike. He opted for the 24 mile route. Wise choice.

The group made the turn onto the 36 mile loop and there was a river crossing....yes...a river crossing in the middle of the road. It was only about 5' wide and 6-8" deep. The Barry is a CX race....so no biggie right? lol. I was on the Defy again with the CX tires and the roads were in awesome shape. Only one road we hit had ice and it was a short section. There were also some areas where it was getting soft and you could tell that the mud was there a few days before. Thankfully it was frozen because temps were in the low 20's when we were out there.

The group opted to cut the ride short because of the lower temps. We took M-43 and cut out the finish/start of the route. The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. Nailed the long climb on Gun Lake Road and ripped it back to the car. My average speed was .6 mph higher than my fastest race time. And my average heart rate was 9 beats per minute lower.....so I am doing alright.

Rick just posted the start waves for Saturday. I get to lead the pack out of Hastings. Wow....that will be an experience. Having around 3000 people behind me trying to beat me to the finish line. Hey...I will always have someone to ride with.....See ya Saturday.