Monday, September 15, 2014

Addison Oaks Fall Classic (yep...another race recap)

It has been a while since my last post so I wanted to get this recap out before I blocked it out. So here it goes...

Zack and I got up and loaded up the Crosstrek for the long trip across the state. Knowing it was a 3 hour drive we left around 8:30. The drive over was uneventful and we arrived at Addison Oaks around 11:45. Headed to registration and it was time to get ready.

I went out and pedaled around to warm up and I was pretty relaxed. A fellow sport clyde rode up and we were talking about the course and who was racing, ect. I knew it was a faster course...and I was hoping that the entries would be lower as there was only 6 pre-registered. When we lined up to the start...there was 13 of us. Dang....

3, 2, 1...go....and we were off. The start was across a grassy area and then a short paved section right into a climb. I saw the 3 leaders disappear right away. But I was sitting in 7th or 8th at the top of the climb. I had a few guys behind me and was in a decent train for the first two miles or so. The train started to stretch out and there was a smaller group of about 4 of us. The guy in front of me was starting to pull away but then went down in one of the rock gardens. I slipped past him and another guy was on my wheel...but it was a couple of miles later when they both caught me and passed me on a short steeper climb....and I couldn't hold on anymore. I watched them disappear and settled into my pace.

I came into the open field and passed the pavilion where they had the grill smelled really good...but wasn't enough to make me ride faster. ha. I went thru the lap gate....31 minutes and some change. I didn't think that was a terrible first lap. Little did I know that the leaders were already about 5 minutes ahead of me. As I started my second lap I heard a voice behind me say "pull me up this hill Sean"....hahahaha...yeah right. It was my friend Dave F. wanting me to pull him up the hill. Not happening. He had a flat and had jumped back on his bike as I passed the chute for my first lap. Eventually he passed and I was blowing up.....forced to slow down. The second lap was I pretty much rode by myself and just found my rhythm. Just under 35 minutes for the second now....I knew I was way down the ranks.....but I also knew I was feeling better and my third lap would be stronger.

I attacked the climb...standing and mashing on the pedals until I reached the top....and I pedaled hard to keep the 29er wheels rolling. One mile down....good. I hit the 2-track section and hammered knowing that I had the strength to push. I was doing pretty good....just kept pushing. Eventually the trail hit a paved section and I was spinning as hard as I could. A guy was on the corner leading off of the pavement, who later I found out does a ton of the trail work, and he was yelling "good job way to push...1.5 miles to go"....and I went hard again. Then I hit the last section and it goes to grass again. The grass made me feel so slow....but I kept going hard to the finish. Ended up 9th out of the 13 in my class....19 minutes behind the winner. minutes per lap....dang. I have a lot of work to do. ha.

Zack did good....35 minutes on his first lap....and he finished 2nd. Pretty much solidifies his top 3 finish in the series standings....if he finishes his race at Pando. I on the other hand went from 2nd to 4th in the points. I figure if I can win at Pando (funny....) and nobody else shows up that I might be able to land in 3rd.

At any rate...Addison was a fun course. Wish it was closer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

BIKE REVIEW: 2013 Giant Trance X 29er Level 0

It is time. Now that I have some more miles on this is my review.

Dan (Custer Cyclery) sent me this pic when it was ready to rock.

2013 Giant Trance X 29er 0
Frame Large
Fox 32 Float 29 FIT CTD w/15 QR thru-axle, OverDrive 2, 120mm Travel
Fox Fload CTD Boostvalve rear shock
Thomson Elite Seatpost
Fi'zi:k Gobi XM Saddle (manganese rails)
Time ATAC Pedals
Shimano Deore XT 1x10 (w/32 tooth RaceFace front ring)
Shimano Deore XT Shadow Plus (rear derailleur)
Shimano Deore XT brakes (180mm front, 160mm rear)
Chimano HG81 11x36, 10 Speed Cassette
Giant P-TRX 29er 1 Wheel system
Schwable Rocket Rons (tubeless)

RaceFace 32T ring. Blue. Bling.

Ok....this is the bike I have wanted for a long time. I was finally able to pick it up and haven't looked back since. I was loaned this bike for the Yankee TT but it had the Easton Haven carbon wheels on it was a bit lighter...but I fell in love with the bike at that moment. forward to when I bought it. I picked it up June 27th, the day before the Sweat Shaker race. If you know know that I took 3rd in that race. solidified the idea that I really wanted this bike.

Now, 2 months later I have had a chance to race it one more time and put in some solid training rides. Because it is a 29er it will roll over anything. The long travel soaks up the bumps. I have the fork and the shock set on the trail setting. Kind of the middle of the road setting. The bike rides smooth. Period. It is sluggish in the corners....and I struggle to keep speed in and out of the corners. I am still learning how to ride it, but I am getting faster and learning every time I am on it. 

Honestly....I really don't know how to review a bike....other than to give the pros and cons. It is light....for a full suspension bike. The wheels are strong....with their DT swiss hubs....and pretty light. The rocket rons hook up awesome. Once I learn how to push harder into the corners and trust the ride I will be faster yet. I like the ability of the bike to roll over anything that is in the way. What I noticed is that if I can keep the wheels rolling that the bike keeps rolling. I don't accelerate out of corners well....and the 29er really slows down if I allow it to. If I push into the corners and pedal quicker out of the corners then I can keep it moving faster. Again...still learning. I know it is a weakness.

Pretty good for a 5" Travel mountain bike.

But....I have a lot more confidence on the bike. I am learning every time I am on it how to push it harder. I am not a top notch rider....I would say I am an average rider. weaknesses might be highlighted a bit more by the bigger wheels...but once I get them rolling look out! I can fly on the flats with the 1x10 drivetrain. Next year maybe I will be strong enough to move to a 34 tooth ring on the front...but for now the 32 tooth is good enough. I am a terrible climber and I can clear nearly anything that I have run into with the setup I have. 

So....that is it I guess. I love the bike....and need to get better. that is all. Until next time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Maybury TT 2014

The last time I race here was many years ago. 5 or 6....and I can't even remember how it went. I remembered the parking lot....and we didn't park in the same on this year. Funny. lol.

So...we loaded up all the family and off we went. We picked up Lisa at Custer Cyclery and started the rest of our trip. Not bad...just about 2.5 hours in the car. It was quiet and a lot of them were sleeping. We found a place to park and headed to registration. We got there about 9:15 knowing that the Sport classes were heading out at 10:30. After we registered and got our start times we set up our chairs and relaxed. I wasn't due to start until 11:39. So...we were on time! 

I ran into a lot of people that I know. Di. Ho-daddy. Andy S. Jimmy C. ....a lot. Anyway...nice to see these facebook friends in person instead of over the interwebs.

So...the race. It started down the side of a road. I was chugging....and almost blew a corner about 400 yards down the trail. It was marked...but no arrows...just ribbons. Ugh. I made it...thankfully and was feeling pretty good in the first sections. What I struggle with is the tight and twisty sections. I did manage to reel in the guy that started ahead of me and settled into my race. Then I heard someone coming behind me. I was pushing a little bit more until he caught me and passed. As he rode away I heard him say "you had good lines man....keep going" and he disappeared. lol. NOT GOOD ENOUGH. lol. After that I settled into my race again and was feeling pretty good still. 

I had some intel on the course and I knew that there was a nasty climb less than a mile from the end. Once I hit that hill I hammered with all I had left for the remainder of the race. I crossed the line in 0:52:38. I missed my goal time by over 7 minutes. Ironically...I took a 7th place....out of 10. If I had hit my goal I would have been 3rd.....but hey....I will take what I can get.

Zack and Lisa with their 3rd Place hardware!!!

Zack and Lisa both got 3rd in their classes. Proud of both of them! But...BUT....that kid on the left in the picture above was less than 2 minutes off my RACE TIME. He really closed the gap when I gave him the Epic to ride. We will see what happens at Addison.....punk.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fort Custer with my son

I have hardly seen Zack this summer. Just a busy summer with camp, work, more camp, more work and everything else we had going on. Anyway.....we got the opportunity to get away for the day...and off we went.

Since I got a new bike a while ago I decided to give him the Epic. It is a major upgrade from his Giant XTC....on a lot of levels. We are racing Maybury on Saturday so I wanted him to get acquainted with the bike before trying to race on it.

Off we went on the Red trail at Custer with Mike B. along for the ride. Zack really didn't like the bike at first. It is sized different than his Giant.....and I put the seat where it should he couldn't turn like he was used to when standing because the seat was in his way. But....he was a lot freaking quicker on this bike. He was pulling away on the climbs....because I weight 2x what he does. lol. Once he gets the handling skills he is gonna be fast as hell.

But watch the video wasnt all good....

As you can see he was cruising right along.....before the sand attacked him. 

Still...he got back on and rode fearless for another 10 miles or so. It will be fun to see how he progresses once he gets used to the bike. He did say "I like it"...and "thank you very much" on the way home. So that is good.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Upper Macatawa....something different

Hello readers.......yes....I am alive. 
Needless to say it has been a stupid crazy busy summer....but ONWARD!!!

I finally remembered that there is a trail pretty much on my way home. SO....I decided to go check it out. Why drive an hour to Yankee Springs and then 35 more minutes home when I can drive 15 minutes....and then 30 minutes home??? Seems dumb main reason is that the trail is 3 miles is the main reason to make the drive to a difficult 11 or 13 miles of trail.

But...I might have been wrong.

I was wrong.....

This trail is a lot of fun. I don't think there is any flat ground on the entire trail. The whole thing is twisty off camber and clay based fun. I actually worked on the trail in the early goings....and I knew it was going to be fun....but I didn't imagine it would be as rough on me as it actually turned out. The first time I rode it I was pleasantly surprised. It feels a lot longer than 3ish miles. Because of all the off camber and short punchy climbs you are on the entire time. No rest.....either uphill or downhill....all off camber. 

I rode 4 laps that first day...and I felt like I had more of a workout than I would have at Yankee. My upper body was sore...and my legs felt tired. The next time I rode was the opposite direction. Felt like more climbing and with only two laps I was sore again. 

Tonight I rode 4 more laps. I was hoping to do more...but my lower back started to hurt. Interesting for the short distance.....but I try to single speed it and I stand when I climb. All I know is that I feel pretty good about this little trail...and I cannot wait to see what happens when more land is given and more trails are cut in.

Well done to the volunteers and trail builders. 

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!