Monday, July 14, 2014

Scentsy 5k (Rock Your Socks)

Pre was sunny...
Chelle and I headed to St. Louis, Missouri for the Scentsy Family Reunion. A week full of fun and activities. One of these activites is a "Fun Run" or walk because Scentsy believes in Wellness. I trained a bit for this run and I was confident I could hit my goal of sub 34 minutes.

Jim and I getting ready
We met some friends at the start and I was hanging out with Jim while we were waiting. They bussed us from the Edward Jones Dome to the park we were running in. That was nice....didn't have to worry about parking or getting the car out of the garage, ect.

Lining up at the start
We were lining up and getting ready to go. Warmed up...sun shining.....HOT on the blacktop. Jim was rocking to Hair Nation.....and I forgot my headphones.....awesome. lol. We lined up near the front because we were running and didn't want to get caught in traffic.

Go GO Go.
It didn't take long to realize that there were walkers up front. Some people just can't follow directions...but I was like Forrest Gump...I WAS RUNNING. Because I was running the crowd thinned out pretty quick. The best part....the first mile was downhill. I was feeling pretty good and I just found my cadence and just plodded along. It was warm but I was alright...even with the black shirt on.

Almost done
One issue....what goes down....must go back up. The course was an out and back...meaning that the middle mile was flat...and the last mile was uphill. I grabbed a cup of water and started to push a bit to get up the hill. Heavy guy...uphill.....not fun. I chugged along....and finished in the time shown below.
Finally done (note, the time is not my 5k time...)
The time is misleading though.....the course was a bit longer than 5k and I didn't start at the 0:00. My 5k time was 34:24. First mile was just over 10 minutes, 2nd was 11 minutes and the last mile was 12 minutes. I will take it. Averaged just over 11 minutes for my fastest 5k ever. I did run last year with this same group and my time was 43 minutes and change. So....basically I was 9 minutes faster in a year. awesome. Been a crazy summer so far.....but enjoying it wholeheartedly!!!!

So SCENTSY???? Some of you know what it is....others may not. Well, Scentsy is my wife's home based business. She sells warmers, wax, body lotions, air fresheners and some other items. I mentioned it before, but that is why we were in St. Louis. Scentsy is an amazing company and if you are interested....or intrigued at on the link and check it out. Click HERE for her fragrance items. And HERE for the CHOCOLATE.....

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sweat Shaker 2014, first time for everything

What started as a car load ended with a loner and his bike driving north from Allegan County at 5:40am on Saturday Morning. It's okay though....I enjoy 2.5 hours of alone time.....and I pretty much was. Once I got to US-131 I set the cruise and never touched a pedal again until the S-curve in Grand rapids. NICE! All I was doing was thinking about my strategy on a course I have never ridden before. Don't start fast....Don't repeat the State Games race. Just find the guys in your class and hold on to the lead pack. Simple.

I got there early enough that I kitted up and rode the first part of the trail, just to get an idea. If I had to describe it in one word....bumpy. Niel S. came out of nowhere and we talked for a bit and eventually turned out onto the road and headed back to the starting area. I didn't have any teammates there, but I did see quite a few friends. That always makes me relax when I can talk bikes and just see people I know.

So....10 am start. Jordan, Matt and the rest of the fast guys tore off the line like freaking rocket ships. I chatted with Tom S. while we waited for our start....then it was go time. The Sport Clydes lined up with Sport Men 60+ and the Fat it was kind of hard to determine who was in my class or on a fat bike. I just knew there were at least 6 of us. The start was pavement and pretty I marked two guys in my class and jumped on one of their wheels. Another guy rocketed past me but he was on a fat bike so I let him go. As we hit the singletrack I was confident I was in the top 3. It got really congested as the trail closed in around us. After a mile or two and a lot of people passing from the classes behind things started to settle down a bit and I was riding alone. Then about 5 miles in I got passed by a guy in my class. So....either 3rd or 4th at that point. Keep plugging on.

The first lap was rough because I didn't know the course. I came through and started my second lap. I was feeling pretty good and I was still thinking I was top 5 in my class at the worst. I was alone though. Nobody passing...nobody to pass. I did about mow over a rider that was coming the other way down the trail, just out for a ride. I was more surprised than she was...and she was very apologetic...but she didn't slow me down at all. I was flowing pretty good now. Comfortable. Punchy problem. Tight and problem.

With about 5 miles to go I caught the glimpse of a jersey. Hmm....that guy might be in my class. I got another spark....and started to reel him in. This is something new for it took me a while. I passed him with about 2 miles to go and left him in my dust! Then I started to think....none of the Elites have caught me yet......and then it happened. With about 1/2 mile to go I hear a voice....never heard his bike....but it was Jordan. He shot past and I was thinking...sweet....I will get to finish with him. That thought was short lived as he disappeared as quickly as he rode up behind me. Fast is an understatement.

So I ripped across the finish line and figured I was maybe 2nd or 3rd....but I really didn't know. I asked for the results and the promoter told me I would have to wait and it would be a surprise. lol. Well ok then....let the suspense build a little. Subway got there and I picked a spot at the table with a few other sport clydes and waited for the awards. Down the lists they went until they got my class.

"And in Sport Clyde....our third place finisher is.....Sean Evans"  

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I have never finished higher than 6th place in a Sport race and that was only because there was only 6 of us...and that was the Sunday before at the State Games race. SO.......I got a freaking medal. So stoked because I really didn't have any idea where I finished. I could have been DFL for all I knew....I was just hoping that I was top 5....and I hit the podium! So....naturally......the question was how many people were in my class.....8. HOLY COW....I RACED AND BEAT 5 PEOPLE.

If you follow along at all you know the bike in the above pic is not my Epic. It is indeed the bike I raced at Yankee with the original wheels....and it now belongs to me! FREAKING LOVE IT. I will do a review on it this week....because I think it deserves one.

So here is my awesome bronze medal. They didn't have a podium to stand we collected our medals and sat back down. No worries....didn't want to put that nasty sweaty thing back on. HA.

Below is a pic of the official results.

So.....A huge shout out to Dan from Custer Cyclery for setting up the Trance for me on a moments notice. I actually picked it up from his house around 9 pm on Friday night. A huge thanks to my loan officer too.....or I would not have been on the trance. lol. It was a fun day for sure!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

State Games of Michigan Recap

I did the first edition of this race a few years ago. I do like riding at Cannonsburg Ski area but racing is a different story. Knowing the course is always helpful, so I did head up the Sunday before the race to get a feel for the terrain again. The bad part was that the race course was different than what I rode....but....I still got an idea of what I was up against.

The worst part of racing at a ski area is that I know there will be climbing. This course starts off right uphill before it throws all different terrain at you. There were 6 sport clydes lined up when the started said "go" and off we went. There was a river running across the course right here so we just plowed through it. Ted (freewheeler on the left) pulled a sweet wheelie to get us started.
Photo credit: Jack H Kunnen
Go...go....go....up the freaking hill we go. I took off like a rocket. 2nd place into the singletrack and the start of the first climb. I felt like I had a bigger lead than the picture below shows, but hey...I will take what I can get. I was in second place to the top of the climb and then the inevitable body gave the big thumbs down. I have talked all year about starting too fast and how I don't like to do it because I always blow myself up. I had not done it this year at all. I did start fast at both Yankee and Custer but I was able to calm myself back down and find a rhythm. Unfortunately that was no the case on this Sunday.

Photo courtesy of John Oppenhuizen

I thought I was doing okay but I just coudln't get my breathing under control and the other 4 guys in my class passed me. Heart pounding I pressed on and came around my first of three laps. Brian started after me and caught me towards the end of the first lap. Here he is on his fatbike blasting the water crossing heading into his second lap.
Photo courtesy of John Oppenhuizen

 I had a solid first lap all things considered.....I survived....and was going to attempt to reel the group in. The problem was....right after this picture was taken is that damn climb that about killed me the first lap. The second lap was different....the hill was much slower and I was struggling even more. I was ready to mail it in. I slowed down and focused on my breathing. By now nearly everyone had passed me and I was riding alone.
Photo courtesy of John Oppenhuizen
I came around for my last lap and was determined to have a faster lap time. I had managed to gather my thoughts and when the time came for that climb I was ready. I dropped into my small chain ring and just spun the pedals until I reached the top. Having my breathing under control I was able to ride that last lap faster. Plus, I didn't have anyone passing me so I could concentrate on just riding and having fun instead of worrying about holding people up. I finally manged to hit some semblance of a rhythm and turned in a decent last lap. Best beginners caught me. Worst part.....I did have the slowest finishing time for any Sport class rider. HA. DFL. Hey....I finished a race that I was struggling with. I proved that I am not a fast starter. I proved that I can regain composure and ride faster the longer the race went on. I will take the 6th place finish first top 10 in Sport. Earned.

My team had a great showing too! Lisa took 2nd, Mark 3rd, Brian 4th and Jay with a 12th. Fun day at the ski area....on bikes!!!!

Next up....Sweat Shaker. 20 miles of fun at Mid-Michigan Community College where I have never ridden before. Should be interesting!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Been a while

So...where to start?

Um.....had a pretty tremendous crash a few weeks ago. My Epic was still in pieces so Dan loaned me his 616 fatbike for a rip around Fort Custer. Well.....I made it about 2.5 miles before I clipped a stump and got dumped into a pile. In a moment of honesty......I didn't clip the stump.....I full on jacked it with my right pedal and got shit onto the ground like a rocket. Not only did I crash one of Dan's bikes....I took Dan out too. He was on my wheel and when I went crashed he was right there for support.....or maybe I was....because he landed on me. So.....I had a terrible walk of shame out of the woods. Other than partially separating my shoulder the bike was fine. Dan survived with a bruised knee. Thankfully I got my shoulder to feel better in about a day because I used to injure it that way when I played baseball. No harm done.

Finally got the Epic re-assembled last Saturday. Dan and I went for a ride before heading to the shop for the day. I was super rusty on the bike. First....I was tentative because of the crash the week before. Second....I had not ridden that bike in over a month. Third, my last MTB ride (besides the crash) was on a borrowed bike at the Yankee Springs time trail. I was glad to be back on the Epic.....just rusty.

The next day was Father's Day. I got up early and headed to Cannonsburg Ski Area. The State Games race is June 22nd and I wanted to get familiar with the course again. I felt awful when I got there. Just tired and suffering from allergies. The worst part of this trail is the first climb. This ride was no different....I started up the hill and felt like I was going to die by the time I reached the top....OF THE FIRST CLIMB. Thankfully the rest of the trail isn't bad and I was able to get 3 solid laps in before heading home and hanging out with the family.

So.....State Games on Sunday. Sweat Shaker the following Saturday. Super busy as usual. 245.5 pounds. Hanging in there.

Monday, June 2, 2014

First Half Century of the year

I was able to get out last Monday night for a solid as a solid ride. My average speed dropped over a full mile per hour when my brain quit. Totally checked out.....couldn't give up though......and I was able to get home. Yuk. But.....still some mileage.....

So.....this past weekend was my girls' dance recital on Sunday. They had rehearsal on Saturday and Izzy had her last soccer game. I took her to the game and watched her team dominate. She even scored a goal!!!! Chelle had the other girls at the rehearsal. After soccer we were running around helping at the rehearsal and then set up for the remainder of the dance pics. Done....dinner....9pm. Permission to sit.

I set my alarm for 7 am so I could go for a longer road ride Sunday morning. I didn't end up leaving the house until almost 9 because I just didn't want to get out of bed. Fueled up and out the door. Sun was shining and it was about 70 degrees. In my head I was thinking 50 miles. I just kept going and going and going. Eventually the road ran out....which meant I was at Lake Michigan. I turned south and headed toward 109th street. I was feeling pretty good, but I was also riding into a headwind for quite a while. When I turned south the wind was worse. I just soldiered on. I saw a few other cyclists and waved to each of them. Each of them waved back. Great day to be on the bike.

I made the turn back East to head home and it felt like the wind changed. I would guess that I was just running out of gas because I could feel the gusts still....even though it felt like it was constant. ha.

I chugged the whole way home and ended up just over 50 miles for my longest ride of the year. Good start to June.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Let's be honest.....

This is a post that I have been trying to write for a long time. Probably since Easter. I took a stroll away from the a long way from the wagon. I strayed past the wagon a few times over the past few weeks. And then Memorial day showed up.....and....well....

Over Easter weekend I must have eaten my weight in jelly beans......and chocolate....and well...whatever else I could get my hands on. I did ok though. It was like a phase that lasted about a week. I went from 240 back up to 245 and then dipped back to 243. I floated around there for the next few weeks. I was still riding. Still running. Feeling good. 

Then......we went to dinner at Logans and I had some of their rolls. They must have been like crack because I was then eating rolls, cinnamon rolls, sandwiches, pasta, and anything else with gluten or wheat or whatever the hell it is that tears my system up.....including pizza. mmmm. Pizza.

But.....this time I continued eating wheat. Didn't stop. Cereal. Had a drink. Had another beer. Pile it on! Over these weeks I did race my bike. Did alright at Custer....and did the best I could at Yankee. Was feeling alright. Still right around 244 and knowing...KNOWING I was lucky to be that weight considering the garbage I had been pushing into my system. 

Then....Memorial Day weekend came. I had been eating okay....just not the greatest. It started Friday when we had Chinese. Then Saturday I had McDonalds to start. Then ate whatever I could get my hands on at dinner.....including strawberry shortcake with ice cream and whipped cream. It continued into Sunday at the Hotel. Had biscuits and gravy, with a cheese omelet, and sugar filled mango juice. After breakfast I rolled into the truck to go and visit my Grandmother. After a nice visit we headed to Applebees for lunch. Scampi pasta.......are you seeing the gluten/wheat trend. Ugh. Oh, top it off...we stopped at Dairy Queen on the way home. lol. 

So.....I put garbage in....and I paid for it. I was 248 this morning. Ugh. Monday night after the DQ I did head out for a road ride. Got 35 miles in but the last 12 were awful. My brain checked out.....and it was all I could do to get back to the house without calling for a ride. So....I felt awful. Slept awful. Had a very long day on Tuesday at work and was just tired. Today I drug myself out of bed again. I did load up the Defy to attempt Wednesday night worlds....but felt miserable all day so I decided to just head home. 

My realization is that eating like crap makes me feel like crap. Duh right? But, I was able to cheat for a while, but now the time has come to pay up for all the garbage that I have taken in. It sucks. I am lethargic. I am tired. I feel like crap. I can't focus. I can't sleep. Just blah. This does not bode well for me finding the positive in everything. I guess....i am learning something yet again. 

My weight gain always happens this time of year. I find the excuses and let the weight pile back on. Not this time. I had chicken and veggies for dinner and I am going to bed earlier. Tired of my allergies bothering me (which never did when I was gluten free) and tired of feeling like dirt. So, I am looking at the wagon. Trying to find the way to climb back on.....and continue this journey I started in January.

On a positive note....I am still down 20 pounds for the year....just gotta keep moving forward.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Yankee Springs Recap

The day started off fairly normal. Got Zack and Izzy up and while they were eating breakfast I loaded up the Crosstrek and was ready to go before they were done eating. Off we went and we got to Yankee just after 10am. Our teammate Mark and his family were camping so we parked at their site and set up shop.  We headed up to register and saw Dan S. talking with Jay and Mark. This is where the day took a strange turn.

Jay was holding my Epic for me. He picked it up and it rattled. The rear shock is worn where it connects to the upper link. Looking at it..Dan says..yeah you are not riding that today. I was what do I ride...and he said "ride this" which is a Giant Trance 29er with carbon wheels and a 1x11 setup. This is the bike I want....and he handed it to me for the day.

I headed out on the warmup loop to get antiquated with the new bike. It handled different, but I was fairly comfortable by the time I got done with the 2 miles. So, I had a bike to ride and we were in business.

Headed to the starting corral and got into line. They were sending riders off every 5 seconds. Got to me and GO!!!

Photo courtesy: Dan S. (the best shop owner ever!!)

As usual, I started to fast. This bike just wanted to go fast. Before I started Dan told me "listen, ride the bike..don't worry about breaking anything....just don't hurt yourself". He gave me permission to ride the bike like I stole it. lol. I did. I was riding hard because I wanted to get a top 10 (out of the 20 pre-registered). The bike certainly helped. It is lighter than my Epic (because of the carbon wheels) and it climbed quicker. I am not sure about the setup, but I was very comfortable on it. I felt like I was more forward than I am on the Epic so I was in more of a race position.

I held off the guys that started behind me for about a mile. Then I knew I was going to have traffic issues for the rest of the race, but it wasn't bad. Everyone called out their passes and I even had to call out a few of my own. I was riding really really fast. Just kept pushing myself to get done.....and knowing it was a time trail I was looking for the other sport clydes that started just ahead of me. 

About 5 miles in I caught one. That is when I knew I was riding pretty good. I jumped into a train and held onto a wheel for quite a while until we hit a long climb. A few guys passed and I went back to my own pace. The Trance is a great bike. I was able to climb quicker and descent like a mad man because the bike just loves to roll over stuff. Yes, this is my first real experience on a 29er. I did ride a Niner at the demo last year, but I was just cruising.......I was racing the Trance and the harder I pushed the better the bike responded.

Jay had not caught me yet. I made the turn to the mat climb and as I started to climb I shifted to the left and off the mat, meaning I had to walk. Dangit. I was pushing up the hill when Jay finally caught me along with a few other guys. I jumped back on the bike and started to chase them down. Grabbed onto the last guys wheel and actually kept Jay in sight for part of the new 1.5 mile section of trail they added in. I was closing the gap on him but then hit the last nasty hump and never saw him again. 

I passed the 12 mile marker and knew I had one mile to go. I looked at my computer and I was barely over an hour into the race. I couldn't believe it....I was around 1:03 and I only had one mile to go. So, I did my best to turn myself inside out to finish...and I burned another match to get into the last climb. It is fairly flat, but I was gassed so it felt worse. Out of the woods into the gravel area and then made the left hand turn onto the finishing stretch by the road. BURN IT. I burned my last match and was just flying into the last turn where all the spectators are standing. around the corner and hammered to the finish line. DONE.

1:08:06 was good enough for 10th place out of 17. I will take it. I turned in my fastest lap by about 4 minutes on a course that was 1.5 miles longer. Awesome. Zack had a rough day but still mustered 5th place in his class. It was a great day to race and hang out with friends!!!  I did beat Brian so I lead the series 2/3 as of this moment. We will see how that pans out!!!!!

P.S. I really really want the new bike now.