Monday, July 23, 2012

HOLD YOUR LINE!!!!!!

Ok, I gotta talk about this....and it happened during the Holland 100 on Saturday. Dan S. and I were riding side by side and chatting about the weather, cramps, mileage, ect.  A group was approaching us and as we hit a small curve they started to pass. No worries....plenty of room. At least two people were past me before I hear a guy say....no....yell:

 "ON YOUR LEFT.....HOLD YOUR LINE"

The response from both Dan and I was "are you serious?" I didn't really want to tell this guy that I had been ON MY LINE for the past 45 miles. So....I start looking at the guy that screamed at me and I notice a few things about his bicycle.....

1) he had platform pedals with toe clips

2) He had a carrier with a bag on the back of it....

3) he was on a touring bike

4) he (along with his group) was slowing down


This prompted me to want to scream at the top of my lungs HOLD YOUR LINE DUMBASS...but I didn't. They sped back up and created a gap. Thankfully I was not carrying my collapsible antenna....or that dude would have been in a pile! Like the guy in the picture below.....

We saw a guy that looked like this.....

I didn't take him out....I held my line. But I really started to wonder what I was doing to prompt that order of attention from him. I have asked repeatedly to the people if I am "that guy" because I really don't want to be him. I want to ride in a group safely and not cause crashes like the one below. We did roll up onto a group that was stopped.....and a guy was laying on the ground. They were asking if he could feel his legs. We kept going.....to stay out of the way and not clog up the road any longer.

We saw something similar....but we were rolling towards it....

I imagine the crash looked like this......as there were bikes and people scattered everywhere.

I imagine it looked like this.....(without all the spectators)

I just don't know what to think.....did I swerve? was I riding wild? do I look like a dumbass? I think the answer to all three of these is NO. It bothered me more because the guy was on platform pedals....sure...he might have been stronger....and maybe he was riding to California....so that is why he had a suitcase on his bike.......but I still don't appreciate the jab. If you are wearing a full kit with matching gloves and helmet when you pass me going 25 mph...then yeah....throw out a jab and tell this guy to hold his line. I might respect it....but then again I might just rub your wheel to see if you are talking the talk or walking the walk......because I listen to the people I ride with. I trust the people I ride with. They tell me how to climb....how to sprint....how to pace.....how to corner......how to hold my line. I appreciate the heads up from that guy....but next time.....just say 'on your left'.....besides.....I know what I am doing....I have a chain tattoo on my leg.......but that is just an insignificant detail....I mean....I am sure there are people that have chain and gear tattoos on their bodies that don't know how to handle a bike....or a motorcycle.....or a scooter.......dumbass.....

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Holland 100 (2012)

I woke up at 4:30 to take Zack to work. This day was different because I HAD to stay up so I could get ready to head to the Holland 100. I sat down to eat a bowl of cereal and as I finished there was a knock on the door. It was Dan S., Dan T. and Summer. I was not even close to being ready....but I knew where eveything was and just got moving faster. We left the house at 6:02 and we got to the Herman Miller building around 6:30. That gave us plenty of time to get registered and round everyone up by 7 am.


As we left the parking lot we had Dave, Dan S., Dan T., Eric, and then Ted came out of nowhere to join up with us. We started pretty fast to get in front of the people that were just cruising. There were a lot of people and our pace line was zipping past them. Around 12 miles in Ted peeled off to the left side of the road and Eric turned around. Dan S. and I stopped at the next intersection and I called Eric to see what happened. Ted's pedal had come out and twisted, but they got it back together and decided to keep going. We pressed onward and everyone regrouped at the Pancake Breakfast about 30 miles in. Dan S. and I took off fairly quickly and were on our way just cruising.

The weather was perfect. Sun shining and a few clouds. It never really got hot until towards the end. A group passed us and Dan said "wanna" and I nodded so we picked up the pace and dropped into a group so we could ride faster with less effort. We stayed with them for a while but they were flying up the hills...and I as I am getting faster....still not that fast...so we dropped back and settled back into our pace. The next rest area was approaching when we saw the huge group stopped in the road. It had grown to more people than the one that we were riding with...but it was clear there was a crash. We didn't know anybody in the group but there was a guy down and they were asking if he could feel his legs. Bad crash....glad we were not involved....and hopeful that the guy (and anyone involved) is okay. We pressed on and got the aid station. Dave rolled in right as we stopped. Eric and Ted were a few minutes later. We refueled and started off again.

Shortly after the rest area Dan T. broke a spoke and we had to slow down....his wheel was wobbling like crazy if we were over 15 mph. About 5 miles from the next aid station I got a flat. I borrowed a tube from Dan S. and the SAG vehicle was right there so I used their floor pump. Eric and Ted passed us right there too. Off we went again and made the aid station. As we got there Dan got his wheel fixed. Dan S. had to keep moving so he was WAY ahead. Poor guy gets cramps like crazy....so finishing was all that was on his mind.....and I don't blame him. Off we go again...about 30 miles left.

I started to run out of gas.....slowing down and just wanting to be done. Thankfully we reached the last aid station as Dan T. and I caught Eric and Ted. Summer was there too. We refueled and left as a group of 5. It didn't take long before I got shot out the back.....a long climb got me and my legs were refusing to pedal hard.....I pushed what I could and kept the group in sight about 1/2 mile ahead. A group of 4 came past me and I jumped on their wheel. We closed the gap pretty quick and I just stayed with them....until a hill....then they created a gap and that train was over. Summer was with me though....and Eric and Ted were right there. Dan T. was ready to be done...so he disappeared off the front.


We had about 6 miles to go and I just put my head down and dug in. I went as hard as I could for the rest of the ride with everyone right with me. I was way ready to be done....but I have no clue where my legs came from....just that they were back and I was going to use them. We ended up with 104.48 miles. Actual ride time was 6:20. Not a bad day on the bike. Thanks to the people that came out to ride and for the volunteers at the aid stations. (wow, I kinda rambled a bit.....but alot happens in a 100 mile ride)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I remember....

Many years ago I was following you down the trail. You were on your black and red Trek 2500. You had some god awful blue and waterproof Nike shoes on your damn Wellgo pedals. We were cruising...as fast as we could back then. It was small downhill section and the trail was super wide...but we would take any trail riding we could get. This ride though changed you. You might not remember why, but I see it in my memory like it happened yesterday. We were going probably around 16 mph down this section of trail. Just ahead I saw a small tree was down and laying over the trail. Thinking you were 10 feet tall and bulletproof you decided to bunny hop this particular tree. Little did you know that the tree was at least a foot off the ground....and your vertical boost was not nearly enough. You caught yourself......with your face....going 16 miles an hour. You were promptly knocked unconscious. Kudos for trying to make it.....your front wheel cleared but your back wheel hooked the tree and spun you so fast that you had no chance to get your hands up. The 4' skid mark was rather impressive too. Anyway, after stopping I realized you were not moving. I got you untangled from your Trek and tossed it to the side to survey the damages. Your left eye was bleeding and I figured maybe you had a neck injury. You would not respond to my call of your name or a subtle shake. Surveying the damage I decided I had to get you stationary so I unclipped your helmet. You shot straight up to a sitting position with a perplexed look on your face....blood dripping down onto your jersey. I asked you if you remembered what happened. You took a look at the tree and said "guess I didn't make it huh?" I told you that your were bleeding and we started the short one mile trip to home. Don't worry, your bike was fine. You impressed me because after about 6 steps you threw your leg over the bike and said "lets just get home". Within the next 1/4 mile the haziness started to appear. You started to ask me for details about the preceding events and if it looked cool or not. By the time we were 1/4 mile from home you had to ask me again because you had no idea what happened...but I can still see your smile. Impressed with yourself for the apparent war wound and story that you had acquired. Explaining what happened to your wife and sister was very interesting too....because your concussion fog made it so you forgot once again what happened. We got in the car with your wife and we headed to the ER. 7 stitches in your eyebrow, a huge black eye, and one concussion later you looked like you were in a huge fight. You were okay, and the healing began.

We never really rode much after that. I could tell that your once aggressive nature on the bike had turned tentative. Eventually the riding stopped all together. For both of us. No more arguments over which bike brand was better.....Trek versus Schwinn....which if you look around anywhere I think we can tell who was right. No more weekend rides at Custer or Yankee. No day trips across the state up north to ride Vasa. No more Iceman races. A lot changed that day.

I want to thank you though. You got me into this crazy sport that I love so much. You are on my mind every time I get on the bike. I wonder what you are doing now. Wonder if you ever went for another ride. There has got to be sweet singletrack where you are now. I will never forget that you got me started riding. I will never forget the fun we had out there in the woods. But you know it was always more than that....and that is what I miss the most. We all miss you brother. It has been 2 years today since we had to say good bye. 2 difficult years of wondering how different things could have been. I know I have a guardian angel since you passed.....and I hope that you sit on my shoulder as I am blasting through the woods or riding around the countryside. You were smiling on me last night as the guy went down in front of me and I was able to ride over his bike without a scratch to me or my bike.

Thank you Big Timmy. We miss you.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

It was sorta hot

For some reason I felt like I needed to ride 70 miles on the 4th of July. Thankfully Dan S. wanted to suffer to so we met at the Kal-Haven trailhead and off we went. I was up entirely way too late watching fireworks and hanging out with friends. Asleep by 1am, up around 5:30 am and yuk.....already 80 degrees when I left my house.

The first part of this trail is always fast....downhill I guess....for 35 miles. We made really good time getting to parking lot in South Haven in just over 2 hours. The ride back is always worse, and it was getting hotter the longer we were out there. We filled the bottles and started the trudge back. I started feeling the lack of sleep and the heat about 45 miles in. I had to slow down, but I just kept going as fast as I could. I had a goal of 5 hours round trip, so I could'nt slow down too much! ha. We stopped in Bloomingdale and filled the water bottles again. We also used the hose to water ourselves down....whew.....the heat was just getting intense. It wasn't too bad in the shade as long as we were moving, but the sunny areas were HOT HOT HOT!



dry and dusty 70 miles

We got back, just under 5 hours elapsed time....70 miles. I was toasted....legs shot. I started the car and the temp read 100 degrees. I loaded the bike, jumped in the cool air and headed home. I was able to relax the rest of the day (thanks to my lovely wife) and I am glad...because my legs were killing me. Clearly I was a bit dehydrated but today I feel much better. I did get to thinking though about my ride.....where I started this year compared to where I am now....and this quip came to mind:

Learn something about yourself....get on a bike and ride until you think you cannot turn the pedals even one more revolution....then keep going. You might be surprised.


Two rides in the past 10 days I have wanted to quit....one of them I was pulled along by teammates and I had to will myself to keep going yesterday. In February I could barely ride 30 miles without wanting to die. I was cutting rides short and finding excuses. Now I am looking for 50+ mile rides. It seems amazing to me how far a person can go in such a short time....and I am not being boastful or anything....I am just amazed more at myself than anything. Last year I had 2 rides over 50 miles....this year I have 4 already...with many more planned.

If I can do this thing called cycling...anybody can.....really. So why not throw your leg over a bike and ride around the block. You never know how long that block will be....it could end up being 70 miles one day.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Consider this....

I picked up riding again thanks to my friend Chris. We were working 3rd shift and I was really bored so I started looking up cycling related topics again. It had been many years since I had ridden. Working far from home and our babies had kept me very busy...so busy that I was neglecting my own health and well being, which as we all know is counterproductive. Chris and I started talking about riding and eventually dusted off our bikes and headed out to ride. It has been a roller coaster since. We have gone all the way to Houghton to race the Keweenaw Chain Drive and I have done a lot of other races. I remember though...the Chain drive....I was registered for the 32 mile race...but switched to the 16 mile race because I was out of shape. A lot has happened since then.

Last month I rode my first century of the year. In a few weeks I have another century ride on the schedule. I went from being afraid of 32 miles to looking forward to riding 100. Twisted right? Well, not as twisted as the thought that I had after the last century I did.....and that thought was a 100 mile mountain bike race. You heard me....100 miles on the dirt....with hills....and other likeminded people. It is on my bucket list to ride 100 miles of singletrack....but I never thought that next year....or even this year....would be an option.

I am going to miss the Boyne marathon which would have been a major test for me....lots of climbing, but only 33 miles or so...still a long time on the bike...but we have other things going on...so not this year. That made me think...what about a 6/12 hour race. There are a few close to me....and there is one in August that might be the first 12 hour race I will do. It is a perfect opportunity. Close to home...and short laps...less than 5 miles. That means I can cruise my own speed and still knock out two laps an hour....at least in the beginning. I am putting it on my schedule.....with the goal of not winning....but simply riding 100 miles in the dirt......and pushing myself to the limit.

Something has changed.....I was afraid of longer rides only last season....50 miles was hard....50 miles is still hard....but I am getting faster...and pushing myself to keep going. Thankfully I have people that push me too, and keep me moving when I want simply stop. This 12 hour race will be different.....because it will be a fight with myself......and I will have to push myself to keep going....even when my body is trying to quit. I will keep riding the longer distances to build my endurance.....and I will ride 100 miles in the dirt this year.