Friday, December 24, 2010

The Affair Part 2

You might want to read PART 1 first to understand what this is truly about.....


Part 2 should have happened a long time ago. Part 1 took place many months ago in May. My affinity for the number 250 has long dwindled, and I was totally into 239. The problem was....239 just was not as interested as I hoped. We flirted a few times. I would approach the number with plans on asking it out within a week, but then some other numbers would call and we would hang out. Stress was surely a factor in my decision on what number to hang out with. When I get stressed I find it easier to hang out with the comfortable numbers.....sometimes even the 245's and 247's. We had good times....so why not right?

Today though.....I got a visit. When I woke up 239 had left me a present. Christmas present maybe, but FINALLY....I was being approached by 239. Just look at the number.....its curves....240 is kinda blocky and round....but 239.....man......

Eh hem. Anyway, I am thinking that 239 and I will hang out for a while. I might even get to hang out with 239's friends.....235, 232, and 229. I have heard that a lot of people are friends with 229....but I am looking for relationships. Short meaningFULL relationships. Maybe if 229 sees this I might have a chance. For now, I will enjoy my time with 239 and part ways with 240.

Note to 240: I have enjoyed our time together, but please understand that I need to move on. Maybe you can hang out with 250 and say bad things about me like 260 and 270 have. I will have moments of weakness, but I will do my best not to call you. I have moved on to better numbers.....better for me......maybe you will find someone else to be happy (or miserable) with. Please don't call......I would hate to have to explain this to you again.....


Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Decisions.....decisions.....

Every year we are faced with many decisions. Next season I will be faced with a decision as to what category to race in. This year I raced Beginner Clydesdale. I did nine races this year. This is how I fared:

Yankee Springs 8th
Fort Custer XC 6th
Bloomer XC 6th
State Games of Michigan XC 6th
Boyne Marathon 6th
Maybury XC 9th
Fort Custer TT 4th
Iceman 46th

I did finish 5th overall in the MMBA Championship point series....but I never had a top 5 and the class was generally fairly small. I did what I had to do to get an overall award...but I am torn. I don't really want to move to Sport and get my ass handed to me week after week....but I don't really want to race Beginner Clyde again. So here are my choices

1. Race Beginner Clyde again and stomp some ass.
2. Get my weight down around 200 lbs and race Beginner Men.
3. Move to Sport Clyde if I don't get all the weight off.


My decision will be easier to make as the season approaches. I just don't feel like I am ready to make the jump to Sport......but I don't want to be in the same class again this year either....especially after taking an overall award......but....I never took a top 5 in the series....and the cycle continues.

What do you think?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Post Thanksgiving....

Since I have started to buckle down again (and actually be serious this time) with my calorie intake....I knew Thanksgiving day was going to be difficult. There is always so much food and lots of desserts to choose from. With my official weigh-in day being Friday, Thanksgiving will always fall on a bad day. This year I am more focused. I got up and ate a bagel for breakfast. I didn't eat anything for lunch because we were having Thanksgiving dinner around 2pm. I picked up my plate and started to worry about what I was getting. I got the following:

Mashed potatoes and gravy
Turkey
Cheesy Veggies
Plain veggies to mix with the cheesy veggies
Deviled eggs.....4 halves (not all at once)
3 tiny biscuits
Taco salad

Dessert....1 piece pumpkin pie with whip cream


Writing it out it looks like more than what I thought. I did do my best to add up the calories last night....and then I got on the bike for an hour. I am confident that I balanced out my calories for the day. I even guessed pushed the calories higher if I wasn't sure on how much I ate.

Overall, I had one plate of food. I did have a small scoop of taco salad later in the evening as my dinner...lol. Lots of water.

So....I weighed in today. How did I do? Well. I lost another 3 pounds this week. I am once again knocking on the door of 239. If I keep it up, next week will be the Affair Part 2. It has been a long time coming......

(for the affair part 1 CLICK HERE) Dang....this was way back in May. I didn't really have a great year for weight loss this year.....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My apologies.....

I figured out today that I have had many comments on my blog. To those of you who have posted regularly....I apologize. I must be dumb or something....because I didnt realize that I was even being posted......just thought everyone was reading and not leaving comments.

Again....I can be kinda dumb.....so....keep posting....and I will respond this time....I promise....it only took me a year to figure it out.

Monday, November 15, 2010

November.....new plan

Ok...this season of racing is over. How did I do? Well....not bad if I say so myself. I took 5th overall in the MMBA CPS and I hit the podium once with a 4th place finish in the Fort Custer Time Trial. I managed to race Iceman and did okay...considering the cramps. But....I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about next season. The 2011 season is quickly approaching with the first race being Barry Roubaix....followed quickly by Yankee Springs TT and Fort Custer XC in the following weeks.


So...I need to make a decision right now. This year I did lose nearly 30 pounds. Not bad, but as it is right now I am only 25 down from last January. Stress, work, yada yada. Excuses.

The plan....Intervals on the bike....core training and Tae-bo off the bike. The focus is building core strength and dropping weight. This means counting calories and working hard to keep focused. Mixing up workouts and eating better are my main goals. I know the weight will come off....just need to get to work.

The calorie counting thing went well today. I have 600 or so left....but I will not use them. I just need to keep plugging away. 30 more pounds this year and I will be like lightning on the bike.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Iceman 2010

Saying a quick prayer to the Iceman before leaving (note....no snow)


The weather report changed dramatically in the days leading up to the 2010 Iceman Cometh. 10 days out the weather was calling for mid 40's and sunny. By three days before the forecast called for snow. Two days before....it was snowing. Being who I am....I planned for the weather to be cold....and crappy. It was very cold....22 at the start....but it was sunny...so that made up for it being cold...sorta.


Its going to be how cold in the morning???




Yes....it was an Iceman this year....
As you can see from the picture above....there was some snow. I stayed warm though....my toes were the only things that got cold....but not too bad. The race started good. I really liked how Iceman created the waves so that all of the riders were riding basically the same speed. I was just cruising for the first few miles....and then the fun began. I was hanging with the larger part of the group. Just keeping them in sight. I would close the gap on the single track areas, and then they would pull away again. I stayed with the main part of the group for the first 10 miles or so and then everyone was in their rhythms and own paces. There was not nearly as much climbing as I had planned on (or remembered from previous races)....or maybe all of the training rides I did really helped.



Coming up to Williamsburg Road
When I passed Williamsburg Road I was feeling pretty good. I got two new bottles and headed back out for the rest of the race. I think I had about 10 miles to go at this point. Feeling good...right on the pace that I wanted. Problems set in shortly after. I started to cramp with about 8 miles to go. I stopped and stretched for a minute and started drinking a lot more. Feeling okay....I pressed on. The problem came with about 4 miles to go. There is a long climb and I had to get off and walk. Both of my legs (quads) started pulling and I was in trouble. I stopped at the top of the hill and stretched for what seemed like an eternity. It was probably 5 minutes or so....but a lot of people passed....and I was soooooo close to the end.
Glad to be done...
I did finish. The picture above pretty much shows how I was feeling. I missed my goal time, but I still had fun even with the cramping. This race has a way of being fun even while bringing the pain. I placed right in the middle of my class. I had an experience I have never had before....and never wish to have again (cramps). Below is a time card of my finish.
One more thing.....I met Gary Fisher. Interesting guy. He was here for his 60th birthday. I kicked his ass in time......Yes....I beat Gary Fisher in a mountain bike race. Just cool to say that I even raced with him.....hahahaha.
Mr. Gary Fisher


























Monday, November 1, 2010

Where did the focus go?

I don't know....but I am starting to line up the sights again on the last race of the season. The weather report for November 6th looks cold. Highs in the low 40's. It will be cold....but I am still banking on it being fun. The Iceman is going to be closer to 29 miles this year. I start in the 21st wave....about 1600 people will have already started by the time I go. The path should be beaten in. Hopefully I will pass a few people....and I am sure I will be passed by a few people. I am going in with a goal time and a positive attitude. Just finish. I know I won't win....the class formation (or lack of beginner, sport, expert classes) will ensure that my goal of a top 10 will not happen. Oh well, just race against the clock and the few people that I can compete with.

GO BABY GO. My goal time was going to be between 2:15 and 2:30. My official goal is still 2:30...but I will accept anything less than 2:43.....my fastest time in any Iceman. It was a long time ago....and I need to raise the bar just a little bit more.

Nice and easy spinning this week just to keep the legs moving is the plan. Good luck to everyone that is racing. Drive safe. Have fun. Repeat.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

13 days to go.....

Today was warm. I mean....70's warm. I arrived at the Long Lake Outdoor Center completely over dressed. It was already in the 50's and I kept teetering as to whether I should wear my jacket or not. I tossed it into the car and rode around for a minute. No jacket required. There was a larger group today. Dan, Cathy, Pat, Lisa, Dan, Mike and a few that I don't know. Also Jon drove down from the Lansing area to ride with us. We headed off....and the suffering began.

35 miles in the hills of Barry County. Pain. I felt terrible on the bike today. But in typical fashion....I just kept going. Tompkins told me that I needed to stay with him on the next hill. He is on a SS and the hill gets fairly steep. I stayed with him until the half way mark and.....felt like I was going to die. I was spinning like crazy.....and I wanted to keep going....but I just didn't. Not sure....guess I didn't want to pass out....lol.

More towards the end of the ride I really started to doubt myself. I was letting the thoughts creep in and tell me that I should not be out there. I was fighting an interior fight. My mind was trying to get my body to shut down. I fought off the thoughts and finished as strong as I could. It was beautiful day to be out on my bike. Friends all around. Lots of hills.

In 13 days I will be as ready as I can be for the Iceman race. The route we rode today will do nothing but help me get to the end faster!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Moving on....

Sunday.....Barry Roubaix.....34+ miles.....a long time on the bike.

It was in the high 30's again this past Sunday. Small crowd because almost everyone was racing Peak 2 Peak. A grand total of three of us rolled out of the parking lot. I was fairly warm before we started rolling. I had on my starter pants, my shorts, my jersey with arm warmers and a jacket over the top. The jacket was mainly to cut down on wind so I didn't freeze to death. About three or four miles in I told Dan that my bike was feeling really heavy. Heavy like it has two flat tires and was full of lead heavy. My legs were just not getting any blood...at least that is what it felt like. After a two track section we stopped for a second so Brian could adjust his seat height. That 30 seconds was enough for me to gather myself and continue onward.

The next 20 miles were fairly uneventful. The weather warmed up enough that I didn't really need the jacket, but I kept it on out of pure laziness. Plus it was making me sweat more...(hidden weight loss). I ate a bar at one point just for more energy and it did not sit well. With about seven or eight miles to go I started to get a cramping feeling in my stomach. I just drank more and it went away so I pushed on.

In the end, we just missed the three hour mark. I have done three rides on this route and each time I get faster. Small steps towards the greater good. 19 days from now I will be enjoying a 27 mile race from Kalkaska to Traverse City. Hills, sand, tons of people. Nothing like a ride with 4000 of your closest friends.

October mileage report: 181.97 miles. About 3 times what I had last month....and we are just over half way there.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cruising in October

I have more mileage in the past three days than I did the entire month of September. Sunday was a 35 mile training ride on the Barry Roubaix Course. Tuesday evening was 23 miles at Fort Custer. A person might not think that 23 miles at Custer is very hard....but my legs were feeling worn out after my ride on Sunday. So...what does this mean?

TEAR THEM DOWN SOME MORE!

I have weight loss intervals on the schedule for tonight. My legs are feeling tired right now...but I will go at the intervals and see how I feel. If my legs are dead.....I will cool down and call it a night. If I feel okay.....GET SOME! I will do my best to get through the intervals. Apparently some of my friends think they can eat pizza and cookies and I will do an extra interval for them....but we will see how that goes.

24 days to Iceman.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

High 70's.....

Last Sunday at 8:00am it was 37 degrees. This week it is looking like temps will be closer to 50 degrees at 8:00 am. Considering I am training for a race called "Iceman" I would almost prefer that the temps stay cooler. I need to get my lungs and body acclimated to the cooler temps. Don't get me wrong, 50 degrees is great riding weather...and I hate being cold.....but I know how different it can be riding when its 30 versus riding when its 50. The last week has had highs in the 70's all week...not your typical October weather. Get out there and enjoy it!

At any rate.....there I will be.....riding 30+ miles in the hills of Barry County.

Tuesday I headed to Fort Custer for a long ride. I had an issue again with my rear wheel. When I was pedalling there was no noise....but when I was coasting I could hear a clunk......clunk.....clunk. I used the word "tick" and many of my friends were thinking the BUG....and not the noise. I thought I figured out what the noise was....Freehub. I took the axle apart and realized the bolt holding the freehub was loose. I took it completely off and cleaned it...because it was DIRTY. When I put it back together I still heard a noise.....Damn. I looked at the guard that is on the wheel to protect the spokes from the chain......and two of the four clips that hold it in position were missing. I ripped it the rest of the way off.....no noise. At least my wheel is clean...lol.

Going to test it out today just to make sure....because I would hate to get 8 miles in tomorrow and have the noise come back. Going to be a good ride tomorrow.

Get out and enjoy these temps!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Encouragement....

Yesterday I joined a group of friends by Yankee Springs for a training ride. The course is the one used for the Barry Roubaix. It is safe to say that there are a few hills out there. Seems like there is one around every corner....and every corner is uphill. Anyway, I have been invited for many weeks to do this training ride. I was apprehensive to go because I don't like to be the slowest person in the group. Being the slowest person in the group means that you are holding up someone and potentially ruining their training ride. I was reassured that it would not be a problem...and that I would get faster every time I do the ride. So....I went.

It was 37 degrees when I parked the car. Dan T. and April were the first people to arrive. Thankfully, Dan T. had a windbreaker that I borrowed so the wind didn't freeze me to death. Once everyone else arrived we headed out. Dan S. and I were first to go..and the rest of the group followed. We didn't make it very far before everyone passed me. Most passers told me "good job" or "keep going" as they passed. We reached one corner and everyone was there waiting for me. At this point...what I was afraid of most was happening....I was slowing everyone down...and we had about 25 miles to go. Ugh.

We took off again. Pat and Cathy caught up to me and my ride changed dramatically. Dan S. was waiting for me, as he said he would......and the addition of Pat and Cathy was a definite boost. We were climbing a hill and Pat came back to me.....he started offering me tips. Breathe....slow your breathing........keep going. That tip alone was enough to keep me going....because I was mentally ready to quit...and we were only 10 miles in.

Cathy always offers encouragement. She just says the right things....Good job...keep going....you're doing good....ect. A few hills later as she passed she told me these things. They always help!

On a MF'r of a hill Dan S. came rolling back down to me. He told me to drop into granny gear and just keep spinning. I don't like the granny gear....but I am really glad I had it yesterday. I used it on many of the hills because I just didn't have the legs to power of them. As I rolled into the parking lot everyone was standing there. Everyone gave some type of congratulations or encouragement. Overall....30 miles in just under 3 hours. Yikes. Next time will be better right?

I thanked everyone for the encouragement and for waiting for me. It was really appreciated that they would wait for me....know I am slower....and that I struggle with hills. They never complained once....just kept me moving forward.

One other rider had a bigger impact on me. He asked me before we started "do you realize how fast you are going to be when you lose more weight?"...and all I could do was smile and say that I could only imagine. He was not being rude....he was offering more encouragement. I asked him about it later that night because it stuck with me. He sent me a long message about why he said that to me. With all of the encouragement that I got from all of the people his message hit harder. He told me that guys like me are good for the sport. Guys like me? Middle aged slow fat guys? No.....middle aged overweight guys with a drive to do better. Guys that may be spit out the back of the pack....but keep going. Guys that are willing to ride in nearly freezing temperatures because someone thought it was a good idea. Guys that love to ride for the simple reason that we can ride.

Encouragement......pass it on.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Entry secured....September sucked.....

I sent off my transfer form and electronic check to a friend earlier this week. He was not able to go to Iceman this year and I happily took the entry from him. I do have some work to do before this race. 27 miles in the sandy hills of Traverse City is never an easy task, especially for those of us that have not been riding much. Illness, work, schedules and weather put a huge dent in my September mileage. I do have a good plan of attack for the next 5 weeks, so all I need to do now is follow the plan.

I mentioned earlier that September was terrible. 5 total rides for less and 70 miles....yikes. I rode more in two days a month ago than I did this entire month. What is even sadder....I actually doubled my mileage from September a year ago. Yikes....still...just a bad month.

The plan is to SPIN. I know that one of my larger issues (minus weight) is my lack of spinning ability. There is a long list of things I do wrong....but lets start here. My cadence is generally lower and I power the pedals more than I should. I think I am more comfortable spinning slow and trying to push a harder gear. So....I am trying to balance that out. I will spin a gear down from where I am comfortable...and carry a higher cadence. I have set up the trainer because I can control things a little better in there. Last night I did weight loss intervals that took an hour. I averaged 83 rpm for the hour. Generally I average close to 80 or slightly under. I have a new found motivation to push harder. Pushing myself at the Fort Custer race was what triggered it. I knew I could push hard and once I did it....I took 4th.

Training ride planned for Sunday. 35 miles on the Barry Roubaix course with a group of people that are all faster than me. I will do my best to not slow them down, and I know I will see big returns for my work.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pando....CPS finale

This past Sunday we loaded up the van and headed up to Rockford for the Pando Challenge. This race marked the series finale for the MMBA CPS. Zack had to get more more race....and I was too sick to try. I had a cold...or allergy attack...or whatever it was...but I could barely breathe...and I knew trying to ride would kill me.

Zack had an okay race on the GT. He was flying up the ski hill until his pant leg got caught in the chainring. Ugh...he was 5th coming down the first hill...and he ended up finishing in 7th. He had a rough time after that.....and I was not jealous at all. The Pando course looked brutal.

The finish for Zack gave him 2nd overall in the CPS series. This was the first year ever racing for him and he did great! 2nd place for Beginner Men 11-14.

If my calculations are correct I took 5th place overall in the Beginner Clyde class. I never had a top 5 finish in the series....but I did have 3 6th place finishes.....and my lowest was a 9th. The funny thing was that after my 9th I took 4th at the Fort Custer TT....too bad it didn't count for the series.

Iceman is next.....gotta get to work.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Back in the saddle

Tuesday night I headed to Fort Custer. First, I stopped by Custer Cyclery in Augusta to have Dan tighten up my hub. Always good to have friends that will lend a quick hand. We had a quick discussion about the trail damage the horses caused over the weekend. I also saw some pictures and am just sick over what has transpired out there. Hopefully the trails are separated and the mountain bikers prevail....but only time will tell.

The Ride:

I headed down the red loop because it was said to be in the best condition of the three (red, green, and blue). I was pleased that at least one of the trails was in good condition. I was feeling pretty good......real good actually. I don't know if it was from all of the rest I have had, or just that I was having a good day. By rest I mean my serious lack of riding this month. Only three rides for the ENTIRE month....not good. Anyway, I held a decent average speed and did a quick check on the hub rebuild. Looks good. I saw April and Chris getting ready and headed over to talk to them.

Lap two was a bit more painful. I was chasing the best I could. I sorta hung with the group, but then I took the cutoff around Granny's Garden to I could rest. Then I promptly got spit out the back again...lol. I did catch back up because they were nice enough to wait for me. It is a good test to ride with people that are faster than you. You can push with everything you have and still watch them disappear around a corner or over a hill. I like to push myself because I understand that I will not get to where I want to be unless I push myself more.

On a side note....it might be time to set up the trainer just to get base miles in. I am busting out the Chris Carmichael book "Time Crunched Cyclist" so I can be peaking at Iceman. Time is flying by.....

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Everything happens for a reason

Last week I was riding at Fort Custer and started to realize something was wrong with my rear wheel. It felt...wiggly....if I had to describe it one word. I actually stopped twice and check the tire pressure because that is what it felt like.....like the rear tire was losing air. To my surprise...it was fine. Hmm. So, I kept going.

Back in the parking lot when I was waiting for some other people I started looking at my rear wheel. My rear brake was rubbing a bit....so I reset the wheel in the drops. When I checked to see if the brake was rubbing....I hear a tick. The tick was a broken spoke. Only one....and a slight wobble in the wheel. I took it in and Laura fixed it up for me. When she put the wheel on the truing stand....she looked at me with a strange look. She said....you better look at this. My rear hub is in rough shape. It was loose....and full of sand....so loose that she was not sure she was going to be able to true the wheel. Thankfully a quick tightening (knowing I will tear the wheel apart later) and she was able to get the wheel straight.

I started thinking about this broken spoke....and loose rear hub. The wiggle that I thought was a low tire was probably the tire sloshing around on the loose bearings. I might not have ever checked the hub.....well....I know I never would have checked the hub. So....the broken spoke led to the discovery of another issue.

I guess everything does happen for a reason......

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Not broken....just misread....


Sometimes life can get you down. I have found myself down lately. Just blah in general. Sometimes a person just needs that little jolt to get them out of a rut, or back on track. I made a comment that I though my compass was broken. That it wasn't pointing in the correct direction. A friend enlightened me that the compass is surely not broken, but it was probably misread. This made me think today. If I am misreading the compass....how can I figure out where I am supposed to be going. Maybe that is the answer. Maybe I am not supposed to know where I am going. Maybe I should just trust that the compass is pointing the direction. That the compass will put me right where I am supposed to be. I always struggle with the unknown. I simply want to know what is going to happen and why it is going to happen. So, I should not be surprised that I am misreading my compass. I want to end up one place and my compass is pointing me in another direction. I fight it and then wonder how I ended up where I am. I think that we have people around us that help us read our compasses. These last two days I have had the right people helping me get things straight. Help may come from places that you don't expect it....my suggestion....take it.
Thanks Don. Thanks Mike. Thanks Chelle. You guys were there when I needed you.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Priorities....get them straight....

I need to get my priorities straight. Well....they are...and they seem off at the same time. With fall comes the soccer practices and dance schedules that make everything topsy turvy. The last two weeks have seen me on my bike a total of one time....for 15 miles. Unacceptable to say the least, but family should, and will, always come first.

Addison oaks is this Sunday. My plan, to drive over Saturday afternoon....preride....and camp with the family. Reality.....not happening. Because I am a numbers guy I did a little basic addition and started to realize that this weekend was not happening. Camping, race fees, gas money, and food.....that sum is more than it should be....so we are not going. We still might camp close to home....just to take the kids camping....but it looks like rain....so we will see.

Second note. I got my chubbly little sausages on an Iceman entry. So....in about 8 weeks I am going to be kicking someones ass.....and I don't care if I make an 8 year old girl cry....I will do my best to beat her across the line....and then I will mock her to NO end...stating how superior my cycling skills are compared to hers....until a parent interrupts.......

Eh-hem. Sorry about that. I did get an Iceman entry. I do have 8 weeks to lose about 15 pounds. The plan is to finish with a time from 2:15 to 2:30 or an average speed between 10.8 and 12 mph. Very attainable if you ask me.....so no excuses. The 15 pounds should help me climb the hills and I need to lose the weight anyway right?

So....I have two more races. Pando and Iceman. Pando is important because I just want a high finish. Iceman is important because there will be a TON of people there. Gotta do my best!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Robbing Peter....

...to pay Paul. For the record....Peter and Paul (for this example) are mountain bikes. Paul is shown in the picture below...and Peter is Michelle's Rockhopper. I am setting this bike up for our last two races of the season and then he will be ready to roll next year.

Again....our family schedule has taken on its normal crazy form for the fall. Soccer and dance on Monday. Soccer on Tuesday. Youth group on Wednesday. Dance on Thursday. Soccer on Friday. Somewhere in there has to be time to ride....and it will show up eventually. I know I will get some saddle time this weekend...because I have to take Zack out to try the new bike right? Make sure its functioning before race day? Sounds like a plan. And I am hoping we can pre-ride Addison on Saturday before the race.

Anyway....sleep well people. Hopefully we can all wake up rested.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Neglected....

This poor blog. I have not forgotten about you....or both of the people that read you. I have just been busy. I realized that I was over a week behind on even reading my friends blogs....let alone writing one. Looking back....I guess it has only been a week since I last posted....but it seems longer. This week seemed to fly by.

Saturday....it was a little longer. The Misery Loves Company race was Saturday. It was a free to MMBA members race that consisted of 25 miles of nastiness in the Hastings area. I attempted....and failed to finish. I was feeling okay, just kinda plugging away the mileage. I made it to 10 miles before I realized my front tire was low. When I stopped to put some air in it I made it worse...and the rest of the air leaked out. I started walking....yeah. 80 some degrees in the pure sun and I am walking my bike.....how dumb. Martin got to me about 15 or 20 minutes later. He had a floor pump and I was already in the process of stripping the tire off. I was tired of walking. So, we patched the tire and he sent me on my way. 5 miles later....after I started feeling decent again....I hear...psssshhhhh. And I felt the air leave the tire.

D O N E. I was done at that point. I still had to walk a long time before I heard Jeff yelling 'MARCO' from down the trail. Shew....I thought as I yelled "POLO" in the deepest voice I could muster. A DNF. First one ever....so.....I have it out of my system then right?

The entire day was full of friends. I knew about half of the people that were racing. The Fort Custer group ride had a huge showing. I don't have an exact count...but I know there were at least 7 of us there. The conversation afterward was a lot of fun....because...frankly I felt better than they all did....hahaha....I only did half of the race. Still, fun conversations with friends from near and far....and by far...I mean....Dearborn and Lansing....far. My friend Don drove over because he was going to ride with me....but his bike was bent, bruised, and/or broken.

Good day for friends....bad day on the bike...with the flats anyway.

Hopefully I have two more races....and I can crush someone.......because I am riding with some purpose now.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The worst....and the best.....

I ended up doing two races this weekend. Zack, Sarah, and I headed across the state on Saturday for the Maybury TT. I was a little disappointed when we got up and it was raining. I was more encouraged when we hit Battle Creek and the sun came out. My disappointment started again when we arrived in Northville....and the rain started. I think it must have been a cloud following me around.

For starters, Zack did a very good job. He took 4th place in his age group and solidified his standings in the CPS, vaulting himself into second place. The soggy weather didn't seem to affect him too much....so that was good.

My race....well....I had planned on a time of around 50 minutes with a sub goal of about 48 minutes that was encouraged by Jon. With the rain, and a blind course....I just did what I could. I have to say that I loved the course. Maybury is a very fun and well maintained course. The highlight of the ride had to be when I heard "IS THAT SEAN EVANS" from the aid station. There was Don, right where he said he was going to be. He gave me a ton of encouragement all the way around the field and then handed me a cup of water. Nice to see you in person Don, sorry we couldn't stick around for some more laughs! Overall, I took a disappointing 9th place at Maybury. My time was decent though....0:55:23....about 9 minutes off of first. Safe and sound....we headed home! The ninth place was my worst finish of the year.

Sunday, no rain. Race? Fort Custer Time Trial. Why? Because it is my home course.....and I knew what to expect. I saw a lot of my new friends and I was pretty relaxed. I figured the guy I started with would leave me behind......but he blew a corner....haha...and I pulled away from him for a few miles. He caught me eventually and slowly left me behind. I was cruisin. I had to back off a little to get my heart rate down, but then the rest of the race went very well. I followed one of the Flying Rhino riders for a bit and then actually passed her on a climb. Something seemed wrong with that....but I pulled away from her and knew that I only had a few miles to go. HAMMER DOWN...at least for me. I managed to pass another guy right at the end, then struggled to make the last small incline. I was totally out of gas. I crossed the line in 1:25:33. I was happy with the time, and hopeful for a high finish. Guess what, I landed in my highest finish of the year. 4th. 4th out of 7 people. NICE!!!

So, it was the worst and the best. Overall a good weekend. Two races and one medal. I have two more opportunities to get on the podium this year. I have a new found urge to push myself. A lot of people have encouraged me and told me just to do my best. So I try harder, and it has paid off a little.....with more to come in the future.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Double Header weekend?

So...I am thinking of doing two races this weekend. Maybury I am definitely doing on Saturday, and then maybe the Fort Custer TT on Sunday. Two time trials in two days....sure.

In order to prepare for this I rode a little this week. I had a very good ride on Tuesday. The zone ride I would call it. I held a nice pace and felt really good when I was done. Then Thursday came.....

I headed out for a loop on my own before trying to hang with the MMBA group ride. I rode the red loop to the green loop. I held back quite a bit because I knew I was going to have a hard time on the group ride. I am glad I did...because I needed what I had left. The group ride took off down the Green again. I was able to hold on to the back of the group and then they regrouped at the boat launch. I was pushing. We took off up the next hill and I thought I was going to die. I was running out of steam and I knew I still had a lot of distance left....so I just kept going. At one point I told my body to leave my brain alone. I kept the group in sight for the entire ride. Not super impressive...but good for me.

So now....I have a goal in mind for Maybury. I want to be under 0:50:00. I should be able to because I hear the trail is flat....just need to be careful on the loose corners. This race counts.

Second will be the fort custer TT. If I feel up to it I will go hard on this race too. Time SUb 1:15:00 which is very doable.

Here we go! Race report...or reports to come.

Friday, August 13, 2010

When a horse throws you off....

...you get right back on right?

Things have been very up and down for me lately. I didnt work a full week in the month of July. Stress. There was a death in the family. Depression.

But....July is gone and August is here. Work has picked back up and I am guaranteed at least 4 more weeks of work. Nice right. Right.

So....riding. I rode last night. It was good. I did the red loop at Fort Custer and completely focused on riding for the first time in weeks. I could feel my legs starting to remember what its like to hard. I could feel my body reacting to the terrain in a calm and collected way instead of panic and stress. The first loop was just good. Not super fast....but I was holding back because I planned to hang with the group ride (more on this in a sec.). Overall I felt pretty good. Powered up the climbs and cleared the loop with no mishaps...not even close to a crash.

That boosted my confidence. Pat and Kathy showed up and we headed down the Crazy Beaver loop so they could warm up before the group ride. I was hanging right with them, but Pat ended up pulling away for a bit. Still....I was feeling good.

Group ride time. There were quite a few people. I found myself sizing them up like I was at a race. The reason for this is because I got crushed by this group a few weeks ago. I know the acceleration is tremendous and then the average speed is just over my max. Yes...I am slow...so zip it. We took off and I actually caught up because I was left standing in the parking lot like a moron...lol. I caught them and was still feeling good. I was the last rider, but I wasn't too worried...I knew the pace would push me and I didn't want to hold anyone up. FAIL. About 5 of us got spit off the back of the group. Normally...the group will stop at intersections and wait....but that wasn't the case. There was 5 of us standing at an intersection trying to figure out where the hell the group went. Not knowing anyone I was left with...I turned and headed down the Amusement Park section of the Red trail. Knowing that it was only a few miles I put the hammer down. As hard as I could go for about 10 minutes....hahaha. Not super impressive....but I redlined my heart rate for that entire time and just kept pushing. Gotta tear myself down to build myself up stronger right?

Anyway....I have been talking to a lot of people and they are offering me tips and encouragement. So I continue.....

Maybury TT is a week from tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Oh....as far as the group ride goes.....next week I will try to hang more in the middle and see if I can hang for more than a mile or two....

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Crashing out of July

I headed to Yankee Springs for a loop. Hector came out and we went down the trail. I think we rode together for a few miles....then he, just like everyone else I ride with, disappeared over the hill. I spent the rest of my ride fighting with my bike. I need a serious adjustment because I was having shifting issues. Anyway, I kept fighting. Made most of the hills....just attacked them with a very slow approach. With about two miles to go I carried up the side of a berm and it grabbed my leg. Down. Hard. Fast. Head snapped to the ground. Shoulder sore. Ribs....oh no.....that one hurt a little. Wait....is that blood? SWEET. I have a nice mark on my leg and my back is killing me.....but I didnt break anything. My time was super slow....but I still had a good ride. It was fun to ride a different trail....but one that I still know.


Now for July. Not a good month by any stretch of the imagination. I logged a total of 137 miles. Enough to keep me on pace but not what I wanted. There were two weeks out of the month where I only rode one time. The Boyne race really messed with my mind. I was sick for about two weeks. There was a death in the family. I have been following the downward spiral. I need to get off of it because I have another race in three weeks. I will just do what I can and build my fitness back up some.....then try to be faster.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Back to your normally scheduled stupidity...

This past week will be one that won't be forgotten. But....it is the past and I need to get back into the swing of things.

I did that today with a nice 20 mile road ride. I had all kinds of intentions to ride a half century, which was cut to 47 miles (one for every year Tim was with us), then down to 15 miles (the number of years I have known Tim), and then I just kept going. This is how the trip went

One mile....

Two miles.....just getting away from home

Three miles....nice long climb. Felt like standing and started to understand why Shleck and Lance do it.

Four miles.....man...its windy....

Five miles....the roads are so wet.....I about crashed on a washed down area filled with sand

Six miles....gotta keep going.....

Seven miles....that car was kinda close.....I need to start thinking about turning or going straight...

Eight miles....went straight....just passed the DNR office....wonder if we can ride out there yet...

Nine miles....Megan's friend lives there....meg will be leaving for camp tomorrow....

Ten miles.....since I went straight I will ride to the next paved road and turn around. that road has to be in about 4 miles.....

10.5 miles. The decision was made for me. The road was flooded and it was about a foot and a half deep. Not riding through that....just going to turn around and head back.....20 miles will be enough for today...

18 miles.....damn....this hill is really hard....stand and pedal......sit......just keep going......wow....that hill was super hard.....harder than normal....good thing I am close to home.....

20 miles.....oops...ran that stop sign.....its okay....no cars were coming. Glad that I am home.

20.99........how did that happen? maybe I should have just kept going....


Back on the saddle again. Good to be back....

Monday, July 19, 2010

It ended....for the one that started it all

How many of you know how you started in cycling? Did you never lose the fever that we all once had as children? Did you decide to start riding again when you got older? Do your knees hurt, so you gave cycling a shot? Did a doctor tell you to get in shape and cycling caught your attention? Or...like me...did someone spur the interest in you many years ago?

My story begins some time ago. My best friend, and brother-n-law, stirred the interest for me. We both bought bikes and started riding. There was this crazy race that we decided to do called The Iceman...maybe you have heard of it. Tim started the craze for me with little pressure. He brought home a race flier and a Trek brochure. I started looking through the pages filled with shiny new bikes and the ideas started flowing. When we bought our bikes the debates started.

Who's bike was better?

What manufacturer had superior quality?

Who was faster?

In those first two years we rode ourselves skinny. We did a few races. We ate, drank, and slept bikes. One day we were riding close to home. We just wanted to do a quick little ride. We thought we were cool and he tried to bunny hop a log. Front tire clear. Rear tire...not so much. He endoed, breaking his fall completely with his face. Knocked out and Bleeding. For a second I thought his neck was broken because when he landed his helmet turned on his head...giving the appearance of his head being turned past the breaking point. With a tall build of 6'4" I had my work cut out getting him untangled from his Trek. Clipless pedals are very efficient...even in a crash. I got his bike off to the side and said his name once again. Tim?!?!! No response. I reached down to pop the strap on his helmet and when it popped....he sat straight up. I told him that he crashed and was bleeding so it was time to go. He wiped his eye and looked around. I asked him if he knew where he was. Behind the school.....he said....looking at the branch....then he smiled and said....apparently I didn't make it? Knowing that he probably had a concussion....I wanted to get him home. We walked a few steps....and he threw his leg over his bike and started to pedal. The next mile to our houses was rather interesting.

In that mile he started to forget what happened. When we pulled up out front we were joking around and then our wives saw us. Panic. We, Tim and his then wife Kim and I went to the ER. 7 stitches in his eyebrow and a concussion. He never really rode after that. He told me that he lost his confidence...and that he had no business being in the woods on a bike. Later he sold it....but recently I have been thinking about our riding.

You see....he passed away Sunday morning. My wife's brother. My niece's father. My children's uncle. My friend. The one that started it all.

He taught me so many things over the years. We renovated our entire house, with him showing me what to do. We blew breakers while cutting down walls. I cut his wedding ring off of his finger when a nail grabbed it as the porch was pushed off the house. We laughed. We cried. We got angry. We laughed some more.

So I will finish with this....a short letter to my brother.

Tim,

Thank you for everything that ever did for me. Thank you for teaching me how to finish drywall, and not caving the roof in on us that day. Thank you for believing in me when I felt my worst. Thank you for bringing home that brochure. Thank you for introducing me to bikes. Thank you for riding with me for those first few years. Thank you for fixing our computers all those times and answering any questions we ever asked. Just....thank you for everything. I was thinking about the day we met. You were buried at your kitchen table with various computers and parts. I sat down and tried to offer my help....do you remember? That was almost 14 years ago. I wish that you were still here so we could start working on stories for the next 14 years. Rest in peace brother. Tell our passed loved ones we say hello. Play a song. Build something. Relax. Enjoy.

R.I.P. Tim Counterman. 47. Taken from this Earth for reasons we will never know.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Quick and dirty

Since I apparently "stole" a camera at the Boyne Marathon, I made arrangements with teammates of Glen and Ali to return said stolen property. At the time of arrangements I was not planning on working the rest of the week. I planned on meeting John at Cannonsburg SGA around 5:30 and giving him the camera for safe transport back to that little house up north. Instead....I had to work. So....my one hour drive turned into an automatic two hour drive. It was okay though....gave me an excuse to leave work early.

So....the camera is delivered to the transporter.

Now...the quick and dirty.

Cannongsburg State Game Area. 7.6 miles of nice trail. We rode. It was muddy. I walked around the mud. We rode some more. That was about it. Nice ride with Chris.

I was thinking about riding another lap but it was already getting late. I decided to hammer as hard as I could through the first section and take the road back. I think its just about 3 miles round trip...with a nice paved downhill at the finish! Since I had decided to hammer I did just that. GO. Hard pedal strokes....big ring all the way....just mashing the pedals. Fast for me is not really that fast....just cruising. Today...I was fast. I redlined in about 30 seconds and I kept my heart rate up until I hit the last downhill on the way back. I know I was cruising 20mph on the flats.....and I was carrying 12-13 on the uphills. My body wanted to stop but I willed it to just keep going. That 3 hard miles was well worth the driving time. I need to do that a little more often to start building myself up more.

I feel good right now, but I will be off of the bike until at least Tuesday. We will be heading to Cedar Point for a few days of family fun and just stress forgetting. Gotta blow off some steam every now and then ya know!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Positives and Negatives

Here is a list:

Negatives:
Stress from work
Not riding much
DFL at Boyne Marathon
Not working
Bills
Car needs to be fixed before more it costs me more $$$

Positives:
I will ride today
I will ride tomorrow
I might work tomorrow
I am going to Cedar Point with my wife and big kids on Sunday and Monday.
I am 3rd in the CPS standings...

This last positive is the one I am struggling with. I have not even had a top 5 finish this year. In fact...I have had 4 sixth place finishes in a row. I was hoping that Boyne would be my opportunity to break into the top 5, but the whole class showed up.....all 6 of us. The cool thing is that I am getting to know some of the racers and they are all good guys. I just cannot quite compete with them yet. Just hanging on to 6th....or taking last place in other events. If I get an overall award...I might just stay in Beginner. I shouldn't....but if I can't compete with the beginners....how am I supposed to hang in Sport?

It will still be a different class.....because I don't plan on being a Clyde next racing season. So...I might land firmly in Beginner 30-39 or Beginner 35-39.....and I might end up getting my ass handed to me again....but if I am under 200 pounds I will be able to compete again.

Have a good night everyone....

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sometimes you're the nail

I could sum up my Boyne Marathon race in two words: I finished. There is really nothing more to say....but I feel like I need to speak more on the subject.....so here we go....

I drove up to an area just south of Kalkaska on Friday night. Ali and Glen invited me to tent camp in their yard....and I just couldn't refuse. When I got there Glen started to clean and tune Ali's sweet Quiring rig while I checked out his Niner. When Ali got home we headed out for a quick ride while Glen cooked us dinner. I have to say....the dinner was awesome. After about 12 miles we got back to their house and the smell coming out the door was amazing. You know me...I am all about food. After dinner we went and got some ice cream. Then it was tent set-up and air mattress filling. Ali helped with the then....then Glen and her filled the mattress. I was just kinda sitting there....lol.

In the morning we loaded up into the car and made the jaunt to Boyne Mountain. As we approached I could see the hill....and the doubt started to creep in. I had been feeling ill all week and lost my voice on Tuesday. Add in the idea of not having a job again and my stress level was very high. Thankfully the family was all good....so no worries there! Before the start I was talking to a few of the other racers and trying to look tough. On the inside I was wondering how bad the course actually was. GO....it was time to find out. The first few miles were sweet. Flat. Nice. Then.....someone tilted the earth and it never flattened out. I felt like I was climbing for hours....wait....I was....that's right. My first lap was horrible. The second was worse. With about 5 miles to go I was ready to toss the Epic into the woods or just give it to the people at the aid station. This is where someone passed me. As he passed he looked at me and said "sometimes you are the nail"....and went out of sight.

Perspective. That comment put things into perspective for me. Even though I was being pounded.....I was still accomplishing something. I was moving towards the finish line. I crossed the finish line. Last place. The fourth 6th place in a row. At least I am consistent....

At least one more race for the year......maybe more if I am working. Might be getting an interview with another company this week. Fingers crossed.


Big thanks to Glen and Ali for the weekend of fun.....and torture!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Holiday ride

I took a guy new to the sport out on Monday morning. We met up with an old friend of mine and headed to Cannonsburg SGA. 7.5 miles of sweet trail. When we started my niece's boyfriend, Jeff, took off like a bat outta hell. As this was his first time I just smiled and waited for reality to set in. It took longer than I anticipated....but eventually he slowed down...about 4 or 5 miles in. At about 6.5 miles it really set in when he pulled off the trail and created an interesting waterfall of water, fig newtons, and a cheese danish. Not good. He was a trooper though.....finished the lap and then we rode another one. 15.25 miles with a few crashes for him...and ONE for me. Good times....

The crash was not very much fun. I pride myself in the fact that I don't crash. I can count all of my crashes on one hand that I have had in the last three years. Earlier this year I tanked at Custer when I slid off of a bridge. Reaction was to pull the bike like normal....wet bridge made the tires slide under the pressure....DOWN I went. No injuries.

Monday was different. Speed was higher....was riding someones wheel.....he hit the sand and fished a bit.....I hit the sand with my brakes at full squeeze....couldn't hold the wheel straight. DOWN I went again. This crash hurt. I stayed on the ground for a second because I was wondering if I broke something. I sat up....no blood. I stood up....ouch. Shoulder was jammed in and my ribs on the right side were sore. I could definitely tell I crashed. I felt okay on Tuesday. I managed to pull on my shoulder to make sure it wasn't jammed into the socket. Mobility good. Ribs a bit sore. Today....whoa.....legs hurt...shoulders are sore....lol. To top things off I lost my voice on Tuesday...in totally separate deal.

Today....sore. Drinking water and orange juice. Boosting the Vitamin C. Voice coming and going. Nose draining with the help of Vicks. Setting up the tent to air it out before the weekend. Not working due to no orders......man....I am a mess.....

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The importance of hydration

On Thursday night I barely drank anything. No water, pop, milk, or liquid to speak of. Friday, I drank a grand total of about 40 oz. at work. Normally I drink over 80 oz. while at work alone. This lack of hydration caused me some issues on my ride Friday. I rode two laps at Custer...and neither of them was very impressive.

I felt good on the first lap. Red loop only. Granny's Garden went by and I was impressed with my progress. I didn't clear all of the climbs....but I did clear some that I usually don't. Bonus. The problem was that I felt fast....and I was just slow.

Second lap....same thing. I was riding a slower pace....and I started to feel loopy. I noticed my balance was off a little. I didn't make the switchback on the green loop because I misjudged the roots towards the end of the climb. Then I flew off the trail a few different times....but never actually crashed. Almost.....like an idiot...couldn't get my foot off the pedal....and nearly fell down towards the foot that I had on the ground already.

Anyway....20 miles on the dirt was fun. I could feel that I was dehydrated and I drank a ton of water last night. I was sore and had pains in areas that never hurt. This morning I felt much better and I am still drinking a lot of water. I need to take the Hydrapack to Boyne...because I cannot afford to have cramps or be slow there!

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June in the books

June of 2009 was my best month. I had 238 miles. This June I barely hit 200 miles, but I am still stronger than I was this time last year. The really scary part about the 200 miles this June is that I had 1/4 of those miles in one ride. I rode a 1/2 century in the first week of the month...and scraped the rest of the miles together. The difference for these miles was simple. I found as many hills as I could and pointed my front wheel right towards them.

I am happy with my total for the month...and for the year. Yikes...I am way ahead of last year...so far in fact that I passed my mileage for last year a while ago.

My ride tonight was interesting. I got chased by a doberman. And I mean....chased. I accelerated and thought that I dropped him....but he was still closing in. I could hear his owner yelling for him to come back. He was barking....but he didn't seem mean...but I didn't really want to take my chances. Cruising 20 mph and having a dog close in on you is sorta disheartening.

Boyne is in the near future. 11 Days. I want to be under 240 pounds by then....and I am on my way. July will be a good mileage month!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

State Games of Michigan

This was the first year for this event and over 150 racers were there. I got everyone up early because Zack had a 8am start. We piled into the van and left the house at 6:50am. After what seemed like a short hour we arrived at Cannonsburg Ski Area. The skys were dark....but the threats of thunderstorms dimished quickly. The day ended up being very warm with partly sunny skies. My face actually got burnt....lol.

Zack started at 8am. He lined up with the 14 and under group and took off. The course was set up so that about half way through the riders would pass an open area. I asked him when he went by how he was feeling and he said "okay". This open area is right before a long climb so I told him to be prepared.....and he downshifted and went out of sight. He took 7th out of 8 with a good time of 0:53:42. The course was being changed after the beginners went through. The course added some of the skills area that the promoter must not have thought the beginners could handle. More on that later.....

9:30am Meeting new people and old friends. Getting ready to race.
9:45am Climbing the hill on the entrance road to the ski area....warming up.
9:55am Start line...sizing up competition. The funny part of this was that I was talking to the guy that beat me by 12 seconds at Custer....rrrrrrr.

10:00am General Sport Racers Take off.
10:02am....Dave sounds the gun and we are off.
10:02 and 30 seconds..........I am riding alone.

It took all of 30 seconds for my race to end. I knew there were 6 people in my class and that things can happen...and I am never going to quit.....so I kept going. The course was brutal. It started with a nearly mile long climb right out of the gate. By the time I got to the top everyone was out of sight. Smiling to myself....I kept going. The course seemed like it was on a wheel...and I was stuck on the uphill side of it and it was just spinning. I eventually got to the top but I was just feeling slow. The first hill killed me. Heart rate went sky high. F the hills. I managed to settle myself down and caught up with my eventual riding partner for the next 15 miles. She is a rider from the Fort Custer group and we just started talking. She would leave me on the climbs and I would catch her a few minutes later....just in time for her to leave me on the next hill.

The first lap went by in just over 40 minutes. Then....the long climb again. Then about half way through....another long climb. Lap two was quiet. A few singlespeeders had passed me on the first lap and I was expecting to see some of the other racers before finishing this lap. To my surprise I don't think anyone passed me. As a matter of fact, only about 10 people passed me on the third lap. Not bad for a beginner clyde racing in the sport clyde class.

My lap times were fairly consistent:
Lap 1 0:40:25
Lap 2 0:43:40
Lap 2 0:45:53

I figured that my last lap would be much longer than the others because I am not used to racing more than 10 miles. This race came in at 16.6 by my computer. I chalked it up to a good training ride in preparation for the Boyne Marathon on July 10th. I took a 6th place out of 6.....but I was only 11 minutes away from 5th place. Not bad considering the extra lap. Overall, it was a good day with family and friends. Next year I am coming back to try for a higher finish.

I know I still have a lot of work to do...but someone gave me an interesting compliment. Briana, my racing buddy at this race, asked if I normally race sport. When I told her that I am a beginner she was surprised. She said "you definitely have the skill set of a sport rider....you should be racing sport". If I was faster....I would be......but I appreciated the compliment on my skills.

Boyne is in about a week and a half. Hills are on the menu again....so I will fill up on hills for the next week and see what happens!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Stay tuned....

I will have a good post tomorrow about the State Games race......but not tonight....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Nerves?

It is the Wednesday before the FIRST EVER State Games of Michigan Mountain Bike Race. Now...that is a long title. I am not really nervous....but this race is on my mind. Especially because Boyne is looming in the near future as well. I know that I need to do well in this race to boost my confidence for the Boyne race (which is more important because of points). I have ridden the Cannonsburg Ski area numerous times. I know there are only three significant climbs and the race route allows a warm-up before tackling the long climb. Usually the trail starts straight uphill for nearly a mile. Not a good way to start a race for a non climber....haha.

I will do my best and represent my team with a smile on my face.

Yesterday I started a post and ended it in favor of a ride. I headed out for a 27 mile road ride and it was good. I felt really good. There is that one climb where my legs are engaged for nearly 9 minutes. Climbing for 9 minutes is not fun....but I know it makes me a stronger rider. To top off the 9 minute climb there is another long and steep climb right after it. I know that climbing will make be faster in the long run....so I look for the hills.

When Chelle got home she told me to check out channel 3 because Allegan Dam road was washed out. There is a really cool video showing it here: www.wwmt.com/articles/allegan-1378161-road-viewer.html

When I passed this last night I thought it looked washed out on the right side.....but I never imagined it would end up like that. So...I guess I need to find a new route :(

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The month less travelled....

So I have not been riding a lot this month. Way less than June last year...and only 6 rides total for the entire month....Is that right? Yes....rain and schedules have been hampering my riding. I did have a good day...and that is the only reason my mileage is as high as it is. So....I am signing off for tonight and I am going to ride. See you in about 25 miles.

Friday, June 18, 2010

99.95%

This number represents my the number of miles I have ridden when compared to last year. I rode 1200.99 miles last year....and I hit 1200.42 last night. I am riding at a 2 to 1 pace over last year. The super scary thing is that I have only ridden 4 times in June...and we are more than halfway through the month. Not good when you consider I have a race next weekend and my toughest race at Boyne coming in about three weeks. I am hoping for a peak at the Boyne race, so I am starting to build miles this week. I rode 30 last night...and I am hoping for 30 more tonight.

The ride last night was very good. I took my route towards every hill I could find. Aiming for the largest and longest that I know about in this area. I was feeling pretty good when I got to the longest climb on the ride. I literally climb for over 8 minutes on this hill. The plan was to climb it and then ride back down for another go. The road construction pushed that idea aside. The climb was terrible. The road crew had just peeled the top layer of blacktop off....so the road was like riding on cobbles....hey...Paris Roubaix right? I do ride a mountain bike with skinny tires....so I didn't get beat up too bad....but 15 minutes on the shingles had me ready for to get off the bike. Once the road went back together I had another long climb. I held a decent pace and was awarded with a nice rest on the downhill. Knowing that I needed a few extra miles I turned and found a few more hills. Then I took a different road than normal and it was all uphill. So I was thinking to myself....the hills will know my name. They can call me........daddy.........

Overall....30 miles at a 15.5 pace in the hills. I will take it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

That "left behind" feeling

Do you ever get the feeling that you have been left behind? I mentioned this feeling a few weeks ago....and I touched on how I didn't like it. I am still having this feeling...but it isn't involving a group ride. I think I am bringing this feeling onto myself. Here is why....

I am trying to get an overall award in the MMBA CPS this year. I figured that it would be relatively easy....I would just need some middle of the pack finishes and one or two high finishes. I have been close to the high finishes...with two 6th place destinations. Because I am a numbers geek I know where I stand in the CPS standings. I have done three of the four races, and I sit in fourth place. At first glance....not bad. When I look closer at the numbers I realize the gap is big enough that I might not be able to close it down.......hench...falling behind.

I am planning on 3 more races in the series....and I figure I will need a top three finish in two of them. This is a tall goal...but one that I have had since the season started. I have had a terrible week of riding since my half century....as in I have zero miles since. I was going to ride tonight....but things happen. Now the forecast calls for rain until Monday. There is another step behind....

As I fall behind I start to think
they vanished ahead of me in just a blink
I pedal as hard as I possibly can
but I just cannot seem to catch that man
he was there, but now is out of sight
"you will never catch him"....you might be right
the thoughts that are spinning right through my mind....
are he is gone....he left you behind.....

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Milestone

This post is a day late....but I was being slammed by an allergy attack yesterday!!!

Sunday morning I got up with full intentions of riding 50 miles. I have never ridden that far before and I was thinking it was time. This morning offered me temps in the low 60's and rain filled cloudy skies. I filled the water bottles and headed out.....the route.....50 miles.

When I left the house my eyes kept turning skyward. I really didn't want to ride in the rain, but I really wanted to turn the wheels. Thankfully I stayed dry. The first nine miles of my route are simple with a few rollers. I was feeling pretty good climbing the hills but I decided to back off a little so I had some gas left in the tank for the last 15 miles. From mile nine to mile 23 the roads are mainly flat. The wind was coming from at a 45 degree angle but it wasn't blowing very hard. I managed to keep my average speed above 16 all the way to the lakeshore. That is Lake Michigan for those who are wondering!

The turn south was easy! The wind pushed me for about 4 miles until I turned back towards home with over 20 miles to go. At this point I was approaching my longest distance for the year, which was 33 miles. The only thing that kept me going was that I was going towards home. I kept pushing the pedals and the miles ticked away. At 40 miles I started to get excited about what I was doing. I was actually going to ride 50 miles without stopping. As the odometer climbed closer to 50 my mind started to get the better of me. Doubt was creeping in and I thought I was going to have to stop. Then the sun came out.....and the warm glow of our star revived me enough to get home. Final distance was 50.33 miles in just over 3 hours. Longest distance ever.

Half Century.

Wow.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mosquito

For such a little package, these guys have a lot of bite. Because of the rain we have been experiencing, the mosquito factory has been busy. So busy in fact that I was afraid to stop at all on my ride last night. No bug spray let to a shortened ride. I still managed to get 11.75 miles in, but I was slow because of the wet trail. I didn't feel comfortable hitting the corners hard because I didn't want to crash. I still had a decent average and I feel great this morning. Good to get the wheels turning after 5 days....lol.

My goal of running everyday has not happened. I haven't run once actually. I need to get off my duff.....

My goal of 15-20 pounds down by Boyne is on its way. I lost 1.5 this week. I have a lot of work to do....but I need to continue to lose anything....even if it is only 1 pound per week. Those 1 pound weeks add up after a year.....

....now....where are those donuts?

Monday, May 31, 2010

2nd post today.....

I am a little upset with mother nature. Apparently she couldn't decide what to wear so she was late with the thunderstorms and lightning today.....that I still haven't seen. I was going to ride a 1/2 century this morning....but the weather was calling for t-storms starting around 4am and going through the day. I got some much needed sleep, but I really wanted to add that milestone to my books today. Oh well....sooner or later I will get it!

Looking at the schedule I have another race in a month and then a very important race on July 10th. The State Games race is in June and we will be heading there for basically one reason. In 20 years I want to be able to say that I was at the very first one. The Boyne marathon is the July race....and I need to earn a podium spot there.....which means I have work to do!

I really want to lose 15-20 pounds by then to be lighter and faster. I need to continue to ride and I am thinking about running a mile a day. If I start running one mile per day for the first week and then move up to 2 miles the second week I will be up to 3 or 4 miles every time I run. This will help with cardio and the weight loss. I will always be a biker....I love it too much!!!

Here are my goals for the next month and a half

1. Lose at least 15 pounds by July 10th.
2. Run a lot.
3. Compete in the State Games with a smile on my face!
4. Hill repeats???
5. Show everyone what I am made of......
6. Keep smiling!!!
7. Have fun!


In my oldest daughters motto "if you had fun.....you won". Learn it.....live it.

Bloomer XC

The third installment of the MMBA CPS was on Saturday at Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills. As a west sider we had a long drive ahead of us for this race. Zack and I loaded up and picked up my friend Chris for the trip. Chris was taking pictures and corralling Zack after his race was done. When we got to Bloomer Park I was surprised by the amount of people.....or lack of people. I guess he holiday weekend chased off a few people and I have only raced where the turnouts are huge. It was nice to see that only a few people would be racing so I wouldn't get passed as much...lol. We got a parking spot right by the start area so we were not walking a mile to the car when we needed something. It was a sunny mid 80 degree day. My plan....hydrate and ride fast to get done faster! This would be the first time we have ridden here....and the intel we gathered from the locals and finishers was 'relative' to their beliefs.....No offense Jesse....but you weight half of what I weigh......so your perspective is slightly different than mine!!!

I lined up with seven other clydes for the start. We took off and right away I knew the podium was gone. The first four places were out of sight on the first flat. I just smiled and told myself to ride my race and just keep going. There is an interesting sledding hill that we bombed down, then turned around and rode right back up. I stalled on the way back up and walked up the hill...hoping things would get better. Not so much. As a big guy I need a little bit of recovery between climbs to get my heart rate under control. Bloomer offers an uphill/downhill combo in the first few miles that was fun, but pushed my heart to the max. The first lap was decent. My goal time was a realistic 1:30:00 for the race so a first lap of 43:46 put me about 3 minutes behind third. Not too bad!!! The problem is that we had another lap....and I pushed myself to the point where I thought I was going to puke. I had to back off and just enjoy the ride from that point on. I figured I was in last because I had slowed down so much, but the trail was a blast and I was starting to have fun and forget about the race. I finished with a time of 1:33:29 and ZERO crashes or injuries.



That kid with the orange shorts is a terror!!! He has only done three races and he barely rides his bike....yet there he stands on the podium in the 2 slot. His time was 51:39 which was only 8 minutes slower than my first lap!!!! He was super excited about his finish and he barely talked about the course....just that it was fun! WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU ZACK!!!!!


So....we drove 3 hours each way for me to ride for an hour an a half and Zack to ride about an hour.....we might be crazy....but we have fun! I learned a few things at this race. They are as follows:

1. Try to preride the course so you know exactly what you are in for.
2. Bring more fluids in a BIG cooler!
3. Eat correctly so you don't feel like you are going to puke 8 miles in.
4. that kid will pass you if you don't lose more weight!!!

As far as I can tell Zack and I are both in second place in the CPS standings. With his 2nd place finish he jumped ahead of me by 1 point....but I haven't told him that yet.....


On a side note....I had a guy introduce himself after my finish. He asked if I was Sean....that writes this blog!!! I am really sorry that I cannot remember your name!!!! You caught me right after I finished and I was still foggy!!! Anyway, thanks for introducing yourself because it was nice to know that someone actually reads this!!!!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sorry about that.....

I need to apologize for such an odd day for a post. I wanted to let the world know about my ride at Fort Custer on Thursday evening and this is the first chance I have had to spill my thoughts....


Thursday the weather was awesome. I left work and headed right to Fort Custer. I had decided earlier in the day to try the MMBA group ride that heads out every Thursday. I took off on a lap by myself before the group ride. I headed out for my red to blue to red loop. It comes out to just over 12 miles. I head down the blue loop because there are two decent climbs added in and about 3 miles or so of extra dirt. The plan was to ride 30 miles to complete a 'Dirty Thirty' ride. As I rode back into the trailhead after the first loop I started to see people from the MMBA ride. I refilled my bottles and talked to a few of my new friends. After talking to them for a while I got the itch to ride solo for my remaining 18 miles. I don't know why, but I like riding solo right now. I am still progressing and getting faster, and I don't ever let anyone down when I am by myself. One of the guys made a very good point....he said "you won't get any faster unless you ride with faster people". I understand that concept, but I feel bad when people have to wait for me. I am getting faster, but not even fast enough to hang with the slow group. They drop me, then when I catch up after they stop for a rest....they take off again.....leaving me in alone anyway. So, I took off alone for 18 miles to suffer in agony by myself.

The second loop was interesting. I rode 18 miles without touching a foot down. Cleared the switchback on the green. Cleared the nasty rooty climb, and anything else the trail had for me. I was glad to be riding by myself because I got really tired over the last 5 miles. I reached my goal of 30 miles, but I lost a lot of time on the second lap because....well....I am slow and overweight. Overall I managed to keep my pace well above the average I carried last year. I know where I stand and what I need to do.

Wildlife.......and an interesting offer?

I did see some different wildlife on my ride. I saw some deer, a live chipmunk, a dead chipmunk (which appeared to be murdered by an unsuspecting mountain biker), a raccoon, and a duck. The interesting offer made me laugh for about 15 minutes. It was very unassuming, and I know I took it the wrong way....but it made it WAY funnier. Towards the end of my ride I turned to head back to the end of the red loop for distance. This portion of the trail is called 'Crazy Beaver'. The story is that a beaver built a dam in a lake....with no river present....hence...Crazy Beaver. As I was entering this section of trail I noticed a guy and what I assumed to be his wife or girlfriend stopped at the turn off. As I approached the guy smiles and says "Crazy Beaver?" with a slight amount of excitement in his voice. He was also pointing to my right, which was the way I would be turning......and precisely where his female companion was standing. So, my question was this "was he offering me a ride on the trail.....or describing something else?" I can't help smiling right now thinking about it....and wondering just how far in the gutter my mind is......

....maybe this was one of those 'you had to be there' moments.......