Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The future is foggy....

I am not sure what the future holds. It could be foggy....much like the picture below. I know the bridge has a beginning and an ending. I know there is safety on both sides of the bridge. What I don't know is what the picture shows......the connection between the beginning and the end. Right now I am at the beginning. Taking that first step towards the other side........

Mackinaw in the Fog

You see....there is this little problem with my right knee. I injured it running....or jumping on the trampoline....or for whatever reason. All I know is that the picture below shows the inside of a knee. I don't think it is the ACL or MCL. It hurts right where the patellar tendon connects to my tibia. Ouch. 


Too skinny to be cyclists legs




So...that leaves some work for the people with knives. I want to get this thing fixed and get back to a healthy state. All I know for sure is that I will not gain any weight if I need surgery. I will continue to lose weight and progress towards being healthy. So....the guy with the knife might be the answer....or not....but I do have to sit down with him for a few minutes to try to get to the bottom of this.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Burner

I managed to get out of bed this morning and head to Fort Custer for a Turkey Burner ride. I had full intentions of riding a full red loop and a full green loop. I managed to ride the red and the first part of the green. Legs were feeling like I was pulling a few bags of concrete behind me. For me.....10 miles was enough. I rode. I managed to get there on time and ride. I got to see a lot of my friends and then I came home. Not much else to say right now other than I am tired. Glad I rode and happy to burn some calories with my friends. Off season is in full effect. Don't know if I will ride outside anymore or not this year.....I would like to....but endurance is on the menu for at least the next month.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful....

I am thankful I woke up this morning.
I am thankful the sun came up this morning.
I am thankful my Dad made it home safely from Alaska.
I am thankful my Father-n-law was able to spend Thanksgiving with us.
I am thankful for my children.
I am thankful for my wife.
I am thankful I have a job.
I am thankful for friends.
I am thankful for mountain bikes.
I am thankful for kick-ass trails to ride.
I am thankful for a lot of things....and I am thankful year round....not just today. Being thankful is not a once a year deal....it should be an every day deal. Take a second every day to realize...no matter how bad things are going that they could always be worse. I have had friends, recently I might add, tell me that very thing. "things could always be worse". At that exact moment I really didn't think they could....but I am positive that they could be.....probably will be....and will eventually get better.

If you ride....slow down and appreciate the scenery. Ride the trail backwards. Ride in the dark. If you don't ride....look in the mirror every morning and understand that you have the opportunity to be thankful. I hear people complain about their job....but at least they have a job. I hear people complain about how dirty their house is.....but at least they have a house. I hear people complain about pain.....only to forget that pain tells us we are alive.

Then I hear people apologize for everything that they do. Stand up "sorry". Sit down..."sorry". Breathe "sorry". Just being sorry for everything that they do....or that is needed to be done for them. Frankly....we are thankful he is still here. Thankful for every day he wakes up. Thankful for every "nickle" that is traded between him and my daughters.

Thankful........how about you?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weight....yeah...again

I am tracking my weight again. I know I know. I need to really get the work done this time. I have some good accountability partners that are going to kick my ass if I falter again. I have a lot of incentive this time, because my lovely wife is trying to earn an incentive trip to a tropical location.....and I would feel uncomfortable on the beach being the size I am. So.....the next round of the fight starts with the scale. Here is how it starts:

Current weight: 263

Weigh-ins on every Monday.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'm givin her all she's got capin.....


Ever get that feeling that you just don't have any power on the bike. I got that feeling last weekend at Yankee Springs when I was trying to climb tiny little hills. I kept thinking......
 
and just kept plugging away. 3 months is a long time to be off the bike...and as far as singletrack...well....non-existant for nearly 4 months. The little rollers just feel like pure sand. Or maybe it is because I feel like this guy....
....

....I suppose I better get to work. My yankee ride with Brian, Dan, and Jay was not terrible...but it was slow. I lacked power in every climb...small or large....there might be a theme here. I love going down the hills...and I still felt fast at Yankee on the downhills...but the uphills were awful. All of the hills out there are long and just were taking the life out of me. But at least I wasnt riding this bike like Dan was....
These bikes weigh 30 something pounds but go like hell thru the sand and snow!
Needless to say.....I don't climb like this guy shown below.....but I was on the verge of loving climbing before my knee injury....not like my Uncle Cadel....but still.....


So it moves on to the ride today at Fort Custer. I was riding very well at Custer this year....managed a 5th. Today was a different story. Thank G-d bicycles have "granny gears" because I had to use them a few times.
The new re-routs were a lot of fun, but I did take a beating because I didn't have any power in my legs to hold myself up. I went from jamming up hills to using the smallest gears on the bike.....oh how fast the cookie crumbles.....

The good news is that I can still get it all back. I can be faster, lighter.....better. Buckle up.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Watching from the sidelines

Iceman is in 10 days. I went from pure excitement as the season began to not even going. I keep getting the never pings about this race, because I keep getting notions of going, but then they pass and I get back to normal. I would not be going up there to win, but to challenge myself to my time from 2010. A time of 3:07:00 was way off of what I wanted to post last year, but cramping ended that battle with 9 miles to go.

This year was going to be different....then I injured my knee and effectively stopped riding. I also have a bike that is not 100%....so the combination is not good. I planned on coming into Iceman strong by doing Barry Roubaix training rides. Instead, I have a total of three rides since July. I went from a century ride in July to not riding at all in August, September, and barely in October.

I am standing on the sidelines now. Wondering what could have been for this year end event. What-if never got me anywhere....so I won't wonder what would have happened. I will just cheer for my friends and teammates and wish them luck. I won't be going to Traverse City, but I will be there inspirit.

Might be watching from the sidelines right now, but I will be back.....

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What does a mountain biker look like?

Over the past few months I have had more than one person ask me "are you really a cyclist?". At first it didn't really bother me because I am not built like a typical "fit" cyclist. I am about 70 pounds overweight and I look more like a person that sits on the couch and eats ice cream and donuts.

The first person saw my bike on the car and asked if it was mine. Really? Nope...I just drive around with it on the back of my car....here's your sign. The second walked up the same day and started asking me how much I ride. This was a few days after I did the Holland 100, so at that point....my response was "I just rode 104 miles last Saturday". The guy goes "Really?!?!?"......he would have been better served just blurting out "I don't f'king believe you".

So, a few weeks later I got another one. I was talking to a guy about dying my hair blue for Iceman last year and I explained that it was for a mountain bike race and the scrawny bastard looks me up and down and goes "really dude?" with a super unbelievable look.

My wheels started turning and I began to wonder what exactly a mountain biker, or a cyclist, actually look like. I am 6'1" and weigh 250 pounds. I have friends that are 6' and weigh 175 pounds. I have cycling friends that are 240, 160, 120, 260 pounds. I think we all look like cyclists. Maybe it is our helmets. Maybe our bikes. Off bikes we look like everyone else. We look like engineers, doctors, teachers, and managers. I guess maybe the spandex or cycling shoes set us apart from everyone else. I do wonder, what do professional football or baseball players look like in street clothes. I could see a place kicker or punter getting the "you are a professional football player???" question. I do know some people that look like football players, others that look like basketball players.

Moral of the story is....I asked them when they wanted to go ride so I could show them....not one of them took me up on the offer. I will continue to ride and be whatever size I am....continually proving that I can do what rail skinny people cannot. I will just do what I do and keep amazing people. Why.....because I am amazing.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Anyone have an idea?

Well....my bike hangs in the garage without a rear wheel....and I sit here on the computer. I know this blog has been neglected in recent months and I don't really have any excuses other than a full time job, four kids, a wife, and many other empty reasons.

I would like some help thinking of ideas. What should I write about? There are maybe 3 people that actually read this, but I would like some ideas. My riding will be non-existant for the next week until I get to the doctor and have my knee checked out...so I think my first post (on Monday) will be about knee surgery recovery. Not that I am going to need surgery, but still good to see what steps might be needed for recovery right?

So...it is open. Bike review? Product reviews? Injuries? Photo journals?

Anyway.....let me know.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

An open letter....

First off, the blogs have been fairly quiet lately as I am sure everyone is out riding and squeezing every last second of excitement that they can out of summer. Myself, things have been rocky at best but I am plugging away. My last post explained how I applied to Trek and how I was rather excited. Today I got a friendly "not interested" in response to that application. I did ask them to elaborate as to how I was "not qualified" so hopefully they will respond and I will learn what I need to achieve a position with them.

Second, I tweaked my knee on the trampoline the other night. Wasn't feeling too bad today until I helped a co-worker lift a conveyor. Pain shot throughout my knee and I have a bag of frozen veggies on it as I type. After I got the denial from unnamed company the wheels got to turning. Maybe I should just tell everyone that I am looking with an open letter. Not to anyone in particular, but just to anyone willing to read....so here it goes.



Open letter:

To whom it may concern,

My name is Sean. I am 35 years old and I love cycling. I started as a mountain biker but have grown fond of road riding due to time constraints and trail availability. I don't ride as much as I would like, but I do my fair share. Four children keep me busy with each of their activities; however, my oldest races mountain bikes with me and my middle daughter keeps asking me to take her to a "real trail". I started riding over 10 years ago, but I had a very long period during which I never rode. I finally got started again about three years ago when the passion started to grow again.

As time has progressed I have always dreamed of working in the cycling industry. I would love to design, but I am also not picky. I recently sent resumes to numerous companies for positions that I am not qualified for, but you never know unless you try, right? Now the denials are starting to arrive and the dream is beginning to fade yet again. It makes me wonder....what do I have to do to get a job in the cycling industry? I ride. I love bikes. My wife tells me that I am intelligent. So I am in limbo again....not knowing what I need to do to find a job in the industry that I love so much.

I can learn. I can travel. I can test. I can do whatever you would like for me to do. It appears the only thing I cannot do is understand what it takes to land a position in the cycling industry. Somewhere in Wisconsin, California, or Colorado would be nice. Somewhere with some hills. Somewhere I could raise my children in a culture that promotes activity. We are a very active family and would need activity to keep us busy. I am really not picky, these are my only requests. I would like to pay my bills and ride my bike. Not too much to ask right?

Anybody out there that can help me out? Point me in the right direction? I need advice as to who I need to talk to. Advice on what I should know. Advice....plain and simple. I just want to be part of the industry that I love so much and will continue to love until my last breath. My dream is to die while bombing down a mountain somewhere....at age 85. Bury me with my bike....I don't care. I just need some advice as to how I can make this happen.

Keep the rubber side down,

Sean



......so.......if you can help me out........please do so.....

Monday, August 8, 2011

A glimmer of hope.....

Anybody that reads this blog or knows me will know at least two things about me: 1: Family always comes first....2: I LOVE BIKES. That leads me to a much needed post on my blog. We haven't exactly had any good news, and I won't spill all that information here.....but I do have a glimmer of hope to tell you about.

I applied to a major bike company....and I am actually qualified for the position!!!!!\

I am super excited about the possibility of actually working for a company that makes the things I love 2nd most....behind my fam! I sent off my resume and the response I got, which everyone who applies gets, was that they will review and let me know in the next few weeks. I am super stoked about even the possibility. It would mean a move to another state, but it would be totally worth it.

On a more recent note.....I rode about 15 miles tonight.....hahaha

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Holland 100....and 4

Up early on Saturday morning to get Zack ready for work. Dropped him off, had a small bowl of cereal and started to get everything ready for my first century ride ever. Here is a timeline effect for you.....

4:45 alarm going off

5:15 Dropped Zack off

5:30 breakfast done....packing commences

6:30 Time to go to the start.

7:00 Arrive at start, getting ready to go

7:20 First pedal stroke with Chris, Terry, and Bruce

Now I need to switch to miles...because time was a blurr.

Pacing behind some people is nice. 100 miles is going to be easy if this keeps up. Never really drafted in a group so this will be interesting...as long as I can hang on. Pace is perfect and I am doing good.

5 miles......take a drink....go to put the bottle back in....jack the handlebars and drop the bottle. Turn around......pick it up.....group gone.

Mile 5-30 went by pretty quick. I was trying to catch the group again but not going super hard. I caught a group that was doing a decent pace and dropped in behind them for about 7-8 miles until the second break area, Pancake breakfast. Found Chris, Bruce and Terry and after getting some food and refilling the bottles headed out again.

I was still doing okay, but the group got split up and I got spit out the back on a climb. Pushed really hard to catch them....when I did.....the road kicked uphill again and I promptly got spit off the back. Next aid station was at 47 miles. Refilled the bottles...and hooked up with the group again. It was awesome for about 10 miles. Just cruising along and enjoying the break. I was feeling pretty good....but I was reaching my "longest ride ever" point.

The next aid station was not for 39 miles. And once the group when up a climb I got dumped again and was riding solo. I found a few other people to ride with and just drafted for a few minutes then moved on. I was in my own pace and didn't want to try to match someone else. I finally see Chelle with Izzy and Zoe about 70 miles in. I was happy to see them and get some encouragement from the family. Stopped at the rest area, chamois cream applied, sandwich thingy, filled bottles, fruit, gel, off we go.

I pretty much rode by myself for the last 20-30 miles after the aid station.

80 miles.....20 to go...keep going.....

90 miles.....10 to go....it is getting warm....keep going......

100 miles.....I am done!!!! Wait....I am still 4 miles from the car. thankfully a couple passed me and I drop in behind them and draft for about 3 miles. Right when I needed it most. The heat was starting to radiate off of the roads and I was totally out of gas.

104.08 miles. Done. Glad to be off the bike. Total time was only 6:48:56 for my first ever century. My saddle time was 6:05:37 for a riding average of 17.1 mph on a borrowed road bike. This will surely not be my last because it was a lot of fun. Next time I would like to have a group to ride with that I can hang with on the climbs because I think it will be more fun. I do enjoy suffering alone....but being pulled along at 20 mph is always better ;)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Time flies.....

It has been nearly a year since we lost my brother-n-law. I am planning the "1st annual remember Big Timmy ride" on Monday the 18th to start the celebration of his life. As such, I want you to read the following and just take it in. The story of how I started riding in letter form to Tim.

Dear Tim,

Do you remember that hot summer day at Pioneer Park? The kids were ripping thru the woods and hitting that little dirt jump. We ended up going to Meijer and buying two of the coolest bikes ever.....those red Mongoose bikes with the shock seat posts that never worked. We brought them back and promptly started to destroy them on that little dirt jump.

About a week later you came home with brochures for Trek and started to hunt a "real" bike. I took a different path and headed to Cross Country Cycle where I was introduced to Specialized. Time went on and we kept riding the Mongooses....but not much because they were junk....let's be honest. Eventually we convinced our wives, with the help of a shop mechanic, that there was indeed a difference in the bikes and that we needed to spend some money. You came home with that shiny black and red Trek 4500 and I got a great deal on a Schwinn Moab 3. We went out to Pentwater pathway on our first actual rides. You found that trail in your enormous Michigan trail atlas that you had bought earlier in the year. I fell completely in love with riding after about 3 minutes on my new bike. You did too if I remember correctly.

A month later you handed me a brochure for a little race called "Iceman Cometh". We figured why not and signed up for this race that was held rain, snow, or shine. Fun was not really what we had during that race. We didn't know what the hell we were doing....we were just riding along pounding at the pedals. The discussions however started on the way home about how we would train for next year....

We never raced it again together, but we did to the Fort Custer TT where you took 4th. We were all very proud of you for your efforts....even though you felt like you didn't deserve it. It was later that year that you scared me, and yourself, really bad. You did a super-endo over that log. No damage to your bike, but you had a black eye, stitches, and a concussion to deal with. I could tell your courage left you after that crash.....and you were never really the same on the bike.

Time went on though....and even though you stopped riding you still had an intense interest in how I was riding and the newest products to hit the market. I want to thank you again for sparking the interest that I have now for bikes....and for taking me out of my comfort zone to try a race. I owe you indefinitely.

Just wanted to remind you about how all of this got started in the first place. I also want to let you know that we miss you. Your family, your mom, your daughters, your sister, your nieces and nephews, and myself. We are going to celebrate the life you had....and how you made us all laugh. And I am doing this silly ride for you on Monday. Gonna share some silly stories and a little of our history. Thanks for watching over us.....it is appreciated.

Your brother,
Sean


After reading this I want everyone who reads it to think about the person that got them started riding or gave them excellent advice about bikes. Find them.....and thank them......because you may not get another chance......

Monday, July 11, 2011

Boyne Marathon

Last year this race was awful. The race this year was better....but the course was still brutal. I drove up Friday night and camped in Glen and Ali's yard. Slept like a rock! Woke up before the alarm and took the tent down. Loaded the bike back up and headed up to Boyne.

9:00am: arrival, got butterflies when I saw the ski hill on the way in.

9:15am: get registered and start looking around for everyone I know. Head to the car to change, line at the bathroom too long...as usual.

9:30am: head out to warm up. Warren rode up and we did a quick out and back while discussing his knee issues. It held up for him and I believe he took 3rd.

10:00am Expert riders start....Talking to Dave....trying to figure out how many in my class....

10:10 (or so) Brent calls up the old (not sure on age group) beginners and then the cyldes. We step to the start line and I am guaranteed podium. Only 3 of us. Brian, who is faster than me, Dave, and myself. Dave and I are evenly matched so I knew it was going to be a fun day!

Time goes out the window now. The start was slow. We just formed a line and started down the trail. There was very little separation until the first climb. When Dave and I got to the top we both knew it was going to be a long day.

Second climb......struggle. Third climb.....struggle. Get the picture? Here is where I started to think back to last year. Were the climbs really this hard? Were there really no flats? Begging for a downhill I trudged onward and upward. Eventually reaching the paved cart path. Climbing legs be my friend. My road riding paid off a little here as I was able to spin the cart path to the top. Not fast...but still made it. On my way down the back side of the ski hill I saw Dave on the cart path. At least I think it was him.

Now the downhill. Wanting to rock it...but unable to. Too tight, technical, tough. I did well....just staying upright. Some people were crashing and we ran down one section because it was so steep and nasty. Onto the flat, I paced a guy back to finish area and headed out for my second lap. Danielle thankfully handed me another bottle and off I went for lap two....comfortably in second. Brian was long gone.

Lap two....well....it sucked. I was out of gas and the climbs just kept coming. Then I heard Jon....COME ON SEAN.....he was on his third lap just ripping along. I pounded my last two gels and just kept going.....thinking that Dave was gaining the whole time.

I got to the last downhill and just let it go. Go....speed. As fast as I could go without crashing. Cleared the steep section and was feeling fairly confident. Got to the last flat section and gave it all I had left. Crossed the finish line for my highest place ever....a hard earned 2nd. Dave had to abandon because he wasn't feeling well. I feel bad about that because we have a nice competition going on!

2nd. Doesn't matter if there were only 3 of us......only 3 of us were brave (or stupid) enough to do this damn race.

Next up.....Holland 100.....what have I gotten myself in to?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

1/2 Century....with some needed support

Can you bring me a powerbar and a bottle of water.....


These were the words I used on the phone when I called home. I will get to that in a minute...but I want to talk about the events leading up to that..

I had a big bowl of frosted mini-wheat's for breakfast. They were the maple style and are very good. I was planning on riding a half century today and I knew I would need a big breakfast. I loaded up two bottles and headed out for the ride. I rode this route one time last year and I knew the roads...so out towards Lake Michigan I went. I was feeling pretty good and I was just at cruising speed. No records need to be set today. I noticed that I was cruising along at 18-19 mph pretty easily....which meant only one thing......tailwind. I started to wonder how terrible it was going to be on the way home...with a head wind.

The first 25 miles were sweet. No problems. I got to the lake and headed south....looking for a place where I would stop at the beach. I couldn't find one. I never considered looking at the map before I left.....but at any rate....the ride started to get hard here. The south turn put me into the wind a little. It felt like forever before I saw the road to turn back home...but there it was. I rode about 5 more miles before I had to call home. I was riding into the wind and I was running out of gas. With 20 miles to go I knew I needed assistance...and I never ride with money. So the call went out....

I kept riding and Chelle met up with me with about 13 miles to go. I stopped and slammed the power bar and took the water from her. She caught me a little while later and gave me more water too....which was much needed!

The last 5 miles were awful. I have not ridden over 35 miles this year and I surely was feeling it. I finished with 50.80 miles. My average speed dipped below 15 mph because of the stops that I did, but my moving average was still 15.7 mph.

Good ride for my birthday and Father's day. Hope everyone I know had a good Lumberjack today.

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there on Sunday!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fort Custer TT Recap

This was today...and is fresh in my mind....so I need to get it out!

My original plan was to attend the TT but not to race. I wanted to, but finances..yada yada. So about Friday I get a message from Jon telling me to get ahold of a teammate that had a free entry. I wanted to race, but I was still hesitant because I haven't been riding much. I took it.

As usual...there was not a lot of people at the Fort. The turnout is rather disappointing actually. I was more hopeful actually that I would be able to do better because of the low turnout. I was right. I lined up at the start and was very relaxed. I had no pressure because I was just racing for fun. I lined up next to another guy for the start of the TT....and I never saw him again. The difference......I was in the lead....by a lot. As I reached the trail towards the red loop Dan T. came up (during his warmup) and rode with me for a few minutes. "Don't do anything stupid" were his last words of encouragement.

I know I started fast...and it took some time for me to find my rhythm. Heart rate was very high but I just kept plugging along. I got passed by quite a few people, but that is expected in a TT. I did have to walk a few of the hills....like the last part of the switchback on the Green......and a few others that I just didn't have the gas for. Amazing what a month off does. Lost what climbing power I did have!

I finished as strong as I could. My goal was 1:30:00...and I finished in 1:34 and some change. Not a bad finish overall. I took DFL in Beginner Clyde.....but it was good enough for 3rd place. I was only 16 seconds off of second.....not bad....not bad at all.

This race did stirr up some memories too. Many years ago my brother-n-law and I raced the Fort Custer TT. If memory serves me correctly this was the last race we ever did together. I remember he took 4th place that year. Out of 5. He shrugged his shoulders and said that he didn't deserve the award. The guy he beat told him good job and that he definitely deserved it.

He deserved it.....


It wasn't all good though......because seeing this particular area of Custer brought back memories of a lost friend. A lost brother. A lost family member. I believe he was looking out for me today. This one was for you Timmy. Thank you again for the many memories and getting me into this crazy sport to begin with. We miss you.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rebuilding Part #1

Since the Fort Custer Stampede things have been very chaotic. I changed jobs in the middle of April and my stress level has gone thru the roof. Not because of the job, but because of all of the little things just adding up. During this rise of stress level my riding was zero. As a matter of fact, I only had 27 miles in the saddle for the entire month of May. Not good. I was down.....and not wanting to do anything.

A good friend of mine was witnessing my struggles and put things into perspective for me. Suck it up. He said it nicer than that, and he took the time to understand why I was being the way I was being, but then he got me back on track. It took me another week or so....but then the rebuilding began.

I got out my bike and rode 14 miles a week before Memorial Day. Then another week break. Dan S. and I rode 14 miles on Memorial Day and I was starting to get the spark back. Finally the following Saturday I got out for 18 miles on the road. Took Sunday off and smashed 34 miles on Monday. Another 34 miles on Thursday. So...in each of my last two rides I have ridden more than I did in May.

Because of the high stress and low riding levels I gained some weight back. I am back on track this week and I plan to stay there.

So why the rebuilding? Well.....after not riding and eating like crap for a month I am tired. I am tired of feeling drug down. Tired of allowing myself to think the way that I was thinking. So I am starting over....again. Rebuilding my confidence, my weight loss totals, my mileage, my demeanor. I was told that the only way to get better at racing is to race more. Finances just are not allowing that right now. But, having friends that have friends that cannot use entries is another story. I will be racing the Fort Custer TT tomorrow. This is the race where I got my first award. last year. Trained up. Lighter.

I will go into the race very rested. Ready to do what I can to. Rebuilding what I worked on last year. Lets go.....

Monday, May 2, 2011

Why do I feel like I should be somewhere......

Yesterday was a beautiful day for racing the Fort Custer Stampede. Sun was shining and temps were perfect for me.....high 60's/low 70's. I decided to go warm up and headed out for a spin up. I had about 15 minutes....plenty of time. When I turned around to head back to the start line I felt a little bouncy. My rear tire was going flat. I stopped to put some air into it...and failed. I was a lot further away from the start than I had planned.....like 1/2 mile. So....I kept trying and finally just jumped back on because I was going to miss my start. I finally gave in and stopped. Ripped the tube out and was getting ready to pump when a car pulled up and asked if I needed anything. FLOOR PUMP! Thankfully he had one and was eager to help. He pumped up the tire and I flew to the start....heart racing. While changing the tube I heard the start horn more than once. I knew I was going to miss my wave.......

When I did get to the start line I was almost 4 minutes late.....Zack's wave (wave 9) was starting and I was in wave 5. 4 minutes.....behind.....right off the bat. SUCK. My racing rival and I had planned on podium before the race started.....and he left without me.....dang.

I stopped thinking....and just went. I started catching people right away. I am not the strongest passer...and I know it burns more energy to pass....but I had to. This was supposed to be my race....my podium......4 minutes......

Heart rate was maxed......what seemed like forever. I knew I had to just keep going because I was so far behind. I know the course well enough to that I had an idea of what my final time would be....and even 4 minutes should not hurt me too bad. About 4 miles in I caught my first co-clyde. He was struggling....and I was in rhythm.... (side note: there were only 6 pre-reg in my class....so I was guessing that I was in top 7-8 at this point...with work to do)

I passed what I thought were two more in my class and I was sure I was top 5 now. I kept pushing on....but then I got hung up with a train. There was nowhere to pass and about 10 people in front of me. I am sure I lost at least a minute here....but I was running low on energy and I wanted to save it for the last mile. Finally....an opening....and I shot thru passing about 4 people....then a few more....then I was alone. Head down.....hard as I could. Hi Chelle! Head back down to the finish. 0:59:11 roughly 10 minutes slower than I wanted to finish. Good enough for 5th place though.

So....I will take it. If I had the same time while starting with the correct group I would have been in 4th. Had I started with the group....I would have been able to keep them in sight and maybe done better.....but I will take my 5th! First top 5 in the CPS. More to come!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Yankee.....bad.

So....I was hoping for a good result at the Yankee Springs TT on Sunday. I did a training ride on Wednesday and I was only about 3 minutes slower than last years race time. That gave me a pretty good boost of confidence that was much needed. I was confident at the start. Ready. Set. Go. Uh-oh. About 2 miles in I started to wonder why I was feeling terrible. Those two miles went by pretty good.....too good....because I must have started to fast. Maybe the temps in the low 40's didn't help. The next 9 miles were not good...not good at all. I just kept my wheels turning as fast as I could...which was really slow. When my rivals caught me.....I got really pissed.....but there was nothing I could do but watch them ride away. I finished......11th place. Not a DFL....but close. I was 8 minutes slower than my race time last year....and over 5 minutes slower than my training ride on Wednesday. Maybe it was the cold....maybe it was lack of training....maybe it was a long list of excuses. All I know is that I have lots of work to do before Fort Custer....because that will NOT happen again. I should be a top 5 contender every week......not struggling to avoid being last. I just need to train better...and remember to have fun. That is when I did better....smiling and having fun. This was only one race....not the season.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Awesome, fail, acceptance

I headed to Fort Custer this evening. It was to be the first ride on singletrack for the year. A group of us started down the red loop and the pace was immediately fast....but I was trying to hang on. Probably not a great idea considering my handling skills were rusty...but at any rate I didn't crash. I hung tough until the switchback climb and then felt like I was dying by Granny's Garden.....yes....2 miles into the ride. Brian waited for me...and we headed into Granny's Garden. It was then that I started to hear a rubbing noise. I stopped.....spun the wheel and a spoke broke right off. Damn. So, I looked closer and realized that I had two broken spokes. I was very disappointed because I was ready to ride. The first two miles were sweet. Then I came to the realization that my ride was over. The short ride back to the car was actually pretty good. I got my heart rate back to a reasonable level and then just pedalled. It was a nice short ride. My acceptance came on the way home. I just need to get the wheel fixed.....and go again. No biggie right?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Official Schedule 2011

The racing season has already started...but I never posted a schedule. So here we go.... April 17th Yankee Springs Time Trial (A RACE) May 1st Fort Custer Stampede (A RACE) May 7th Mud Sweat and Beers (C race) June 5th Hanson Hills Challenge (probably not going) June 12th Fort Custer Time Trial (B Race...gotta defend my 4th place last year) June 25th State Games of Michigan (B race) July 9th Boyne Marathon (A Race....redemption needed) July 24th Stoney Creek Time Trial (probably not going) July 31st Mid-State Poker Run (not a race....but on the schedule none the less) August 20th Maybury Time Trial (B Race) September 11th Addison Oaks XC (probably not going) September 25th Pando XC (B Race....might race sport if I have overall award already) October 15th Peak 2 Peak (C Race...Iceman training) November 5th Iceman (B Race) That is it in a nutshell. Zack and I are signed up for Yankee, Custer, and The State Games. I am already signed up for Mud Sweat & Beers, Peak 2 Peak, and Iceman. We will definitely do at least 5 of the MMBA CPS races and shoot for overall awards. With Barry Roubaix already done it and Yankee on the horizon I know I have work to do. Gotta get out and RIDE. See you on the trails!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Barry Roubaix....let the season begin

The 2011 season started with a cold....cold...day. It was about 18 degrees at the start....but it was sunny. I lined up at the start towards the rear of the wave. I know that this is the kind of start where people take off like mad and I didn't want to get caught in the scramble. The start was just as I suspected. By the time I got to the road I was nearly spit out the back of the pack. Knowing that the race was 35 miles I didn't want to blow up in the first flat section. Eventually I managed to hook onto a wheel and keep pace with a smaller group. The turn to Sager Road was where the real fun began. The first hill had people walking. Sager was in good shape because it was frozen and there were good lines to follow. After Sager I tried to find some people to ride with...but everyone was just smoking past me. The later waves were coming full force and I reminded myself to just ride my own pace. Eventually people started to slow down and I caught a few here or there. The split where the 23 mile loop turned opposite the 35 mile loop was where the traffic dropped. I turned onto the 35 mile loop and saw some people ahead of me. Just keep plugging away. I was well above my planned average speed by now...so I was feeling good. Eventually I stopped getting passed...because everyone was settled into their own grooves. There are three hills that just about murder people. Small, medium and large. The sisters as my teammates lovingly call them. At the bottom the third sister a family was blasting "Eye of the Tiger" out of their yard. The family was standing there cheering everyone one. Cool to see the locals be happy that 100's of people were zipping by their driveway. The third sister is just a monster. Seems like it goes on forever....but I just dropped into Granny and spin away. Its fun to pass skinny people on their cross bikes....walking....or stopped on the side of the trail. Numerous on this hill....and more to come. I started to gain on people. One at a time I would close gaps and leave people behind. They were running out of gas and I was just plugging away....keeping my pace even. Chelle and Zack were driving by and ringing the cowbell. It was cool that they could be right there to see what I was actually riding up and down and around. Put a new perspective on things for them. The last roughly seven miles are paved. I passed a lot of people on that last stretch. I was shooting for a time of 2:45:00 and I knew I was going to be close. I had a post here about defining what kind of rider I wanted to be. I remembered that as I was making the last long grinding climb. I was defining who I was as a rider. I was going as hard as I could with what I had left in the tank. I crossed the line in 2:49:56 less than 5 minutes off of my goal time. First race in the books....now you have the perspective of a "slower" rider. ;)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What kind of rider?

Saturday as I was watching my riding companions crest the hill ahead of me and disappear I started thinking "Who do I want to be as a rider....what kind of rider do I want to be?" I was having one of those moments where I was feeling good about the ride until that hill. It just would not end....and my body was fighting my mind. My mind was losing the battle....the body was just trying to quit....and my mind was allowing the behavior.

Right here.....I made a decision to figure out what kind of rider I would be. I truly believe that I have the necessary skill set and endurance to race at the Sport level. What I lack is mental toughness and speed. The good news? Both of these can be acquired.

Towards the end of last year I really started to see what it was like to buckle down for an entire race. At Maybury I was feeling good....and my ego got flattened when a fellow Clyde stomped me on a climb. I wished him good luck and pressed on. I finished strong on a greasy course that I didn't know....and kept pushing as hard as I could. The next day, I pointed my Epic down the green trail at Fort Custer and let it rip....for 15 miles....never let up....go go go. After that race....I stood in 4th place. I decided at that point that I would try to continue this trend....of mental toughness.

I hear the voice telling me "you can't" long before my legs ever get tired. I refuse to be that kind of rider. I am going to have the inner voice that says "is that all you got" when my legs get tired...and my next response will be "shut up legs" and I will continue. This happened on Saturday a little. Watching the riders disappear pissed me off, but I kept slugging on. When I got to the top of the hill I changed into the big ring and hammered down the next hill....barely pedalling up the next hill....and rolled down the next. That is the kind of rider I want to be.....the one that never gives up and keeps pressing on.....all the time asking my body for more than I should.....and smiling about it......

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Getting on track....

Get on track. From the picture above you can see that there are a lot of choices. Left takes a path, right takes a path....and each of those paths offer more choices. In the end, it is us to me to make a decision and hope that the right switch gets thrown....and I stay on track.
...but what if the choice is like the picture above. No clear choice. The tracks are defined by what they are....solid and unforgiving. If two trains end up on the same track heading different directions.....nothing good happens. People can get hurt or more time can be lost trying to figure out a solution. So...we pick a path and hope for the best.
When you see this picture what do you think of? A single set of rails headed thru the woods. An Amtrack train would never be seen on this type of track. Only a slower train would grace this set of tracks with a slow and determined trip. Life is not a sprint, its a marathon....or a stage race. We choose a track....and set forth on our journey. There are times when the tracks need to be repaired....or a bridge seems unsafe. We press forward.....one small step at a time.....on a single track.
See....life is always about mountain biking......




Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Discipline



I was thinking about this word on my way home from work today. I hear my friends talking about how much they are working out, or how little they are eating....and I just kinda shrug my shoulders with a feeling of laziness. I think it comes down to simple discipline.....or LACK of discipline. I like food. I like to ride, but would rather sit and watch television. I know that I have a race coming in about 10 weeks and I really want to be ready for it, but I just don't like winter. I want to curl up in a ball and just be lazy.
My master is so mad that he doesn't even have anything to say about it. Always what cannot be done.


So....here is a the lighter side of the force.
I need to get disciplined....and fast. I don't have very much time until the 2011 race season starts. Maybe if I use the force.....


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Operation: SHOCK and AWE

I realize it has been a while....but I have a good excuse....but it is an excuse...and I will not give it to you....so....just read on.

My plan is to shock some people this spring. I am not in hiding, but I am also not going out of my way to visit with teammates and fellow riders. I am just hiding out in my house, working towards getting fit. In the spring....I want people to say "Holy shit....you lost a ton of weight" or "wow, you look good dude". That kind of thing. So....I will be on the bike......on the exercise ball....and on my feet.....attempting to kick my ass. Have you ever seen a person kick their own ass? It is pretty amazing.

I have had a bad few weeks. Not really doing a whole lot of anything. Just kinda floating along. I am finding some focus and I am planning on keeping the focus. The 2011 race season is quickly approaching...even though the snow is flying.

I will beat my ass today....to kick yours tomorrow~~Sufferfest

Time to get to work.