Monday, August 26, 2013

Cannonsburg miles

Saturday I spend a good part of the day helping paint at the dance studio my girls will be dancing at this fall. Same teacher, just a new location! Nice. When I got home I decided to go ride.

Izzy had that look on her face so I asked her if she wanted to go ride. We rode about 5 miles around a little loop and I dropped her back off at home. Then I headed out for another 22 miles. I was looking for some hills this ride because hills are my weakness. I headed out north of town and attacked the first long climb. Legs were feeling okay so I pressed on. The ride was going ok until a guy nearly brushed me with his mirror. I was on a wide open flat road and he didn't bother to move over. Then he of course flipped me off like it was my fault. People crack me up. On the other hand, I did want to run over my first cyclist today....but he was wearing a Calgary Flames jersey....that was the reason...not anything else. Sorry, Red Wings for life. I managed to average over 17 mph for the ride, a full 1.3 mph faster that I have ever averaged out on that loop.

I have been pushing harder on each ride, knowing that I will only get faster if I push harder. I have been steadily averaging faster on every ride I do. It feels good to go that fast, but I still have a long way to go. I do alright for a guy that is 60 pounds overweight. You heard me....I averaged 18.1, 18.8, 18.4, and 17.1 (in the hills). At 255 pounds that is alright. Singletrack...well...hehehe....that is another story. All of these speeds are on the road. Still, I was only averaging 16.5-17 on flat ground a few weeks ago.

Sunday, Jeff and I headed to Cannonsburg Ski area. He had never ridden there and we wanted to ride the State Game area too. The one thing....and I mean ONE thing I dislike about Cannonsburg Ski Area is how the trail starts. It has to be a mile climb right out the gate. Not a easy gradual climb, a tough climb. Might not be tough for some, but my weight kills me in the hills and I am a notoriously slow starter, meaning my legs were screaming for mercy on the first climb. Great. Plus, add the 27 I rode hard the night before and I was asking for punishment. This course is a blast. Lots of ups and downs with hills, roots, and rocks. I like that the laps are short, gives me time to recover. Jeff and I did a full lap and then opted to take an alternative route on the second lap. We too a left and took the shorter climb into the trail, cutting out the long climb and the first half of the lap.

We jumped on the connector and took Egypt Valley road down to 4 mile and made the left down to Cannonsburg State Game Area. As history says, I haven't ridden there in 2 years. This was the very first trail Jeff ever rode...and he rode hard enough that he puked before the end of the first lap. That didn't happen today, he handed my ass to me and I never saw him after the creek crossing. I forgot how much fun this trail was. It makes for a good day to drive up there and ride a few different trails. I had to take it easy and just cruise because my legs were shot. I did what I could and made it back to the trailhead where Jeff was waiting. I rolled through the parking lot and started the jaunt back to the connector.

It was still a good ride but I was beat. With 27 on Saturday and 21 on Sunday I had a good weekend of riding. I just need to keep chipping away at my weight and keep the wheels turning!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

3rd Annual Remember Big Timmy Ride/swim

For some history...clicky here

This year we had to have this day a little later due to scheduling. No worries though, we still had it. There was a touch of drama this year before the day actually got here but I am not going to go into that here. If you want to know send me a e-mail. ha.

So, this year Jeff, Zack and I loaded up and head to Fort Custer in the morning. We arrived at 8am and Dan S. was just riding in to the trailhead. We headed out and rode the Red. Pretty uneventful, just a nice ride in the woods. We made a pass back into the trailhead and Bill K. joined us. Then we headed out and rode the Green loop. Again, fairly uneventful even with a few small crashes. Dan headed to work and we headed back to the trailhead.

Zack was done riding but it was still early and I wanted to ride more so we headed out for a modified loop. We hit the green and turned off into the Amusement park on the Red. A guy dropped in with us on a SS and again this route was uneventful. Just felt good to be riding. The weather was perfect and the trails were good.

Tan lines courtesy of Fort Custer
I do this ride because Tim was the guy that got me started riding. We rode these trails. We had fun riding, crashing, telling stories, and just being friends. I like to remember the fun times we had and how we used to laugh like crazy. I am reminded of funny crashes when I pass certain areas of the trail. One in particular was soon after he got his new Trek. We were on the Green loop and he bunny hopped a root, but when he landed he was off balance and he shot into a tree...making the tree fall. I swear. The tree fell and we were all making sure he was ok when a few other guys rode up. The first guy says "is the bike ok?" which made all of us laugh. The second guy had a perplexed look on his face and asked "did you take out that tree?". Oh, it was awesome because he did indeed take out the tree and he was fine, as was his bike. Good times.

For the last three years I have done this ride we have had a visitor. I really don't care what you believe but know that I am a believer in God and spirits. I believe that once a person passes that they can and do hang around, or that they come around to let us know that they are here. Three years ago a butterfly/moth just like the one in the picture below landed on me. I shooed it away but it came back and landed on my helmet. Last year, a similiar looking flier landed on Jeff's jersey while we were all at the beach. It flew around and would come back and finally went on its way. Sunday, the one below landed on me, then buzzed Zack and finally landed on Jeff's helmet. Nobody else....just the three of us. You can believe what you want but I truly believe that Tim was with us...sending this butterfly to let us know that he is indeed here. It can't be a coincidence. I ride here all the time and rarely even see butterflies, let alone have them land on us and hang around. Thank you Tim for coming and letting us know you are still here. We miss you.

Third year in a row....thanks for coming Tim.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I will post another blog about the 3rd Annual Remember Big Timmy ride later this week but I wanted to post about the ride last night while it was fresh.

Last week I rode the typical loop around Little John lake and had my fastest average speed which was a massive 18.1 mph. Fast huh..well...for a 250 pound guy....I will take that average all day long. So after talking Jeff he wanted to go out and kill that loop too. I wasn't sure how my legs would respond after riding so much on Sunday but we headed out for what would be our fastest ride of the year.

The loop is pretty easy...only 400 feet of climbing and around 18 miles. Running sub 1 hour is fun because I usually average under 17 mph for a road ride. Jeff started fast, just like I though he would. I knew he would gap me because I don't start fast, takes me a few miles to warm up. About 1.5 miles in he put a gap on me on a small climb. I knew if I could keep him close that I would be alright. About 4 miles in I closed the gap and passed him. We were heading straight into the wind but I found a comfortable pace and just hammered along. He dropped in and we were averaging well over 18 mph.

As we turned south onto the section with a few hills I knew he would gap me again. I just kept him close but still managed to set a PR on that 2 mile stretch by 2 whole seconds. Ha. We turned back east and Jeff says "i have it figured out, you power the flats and I will climb the hills" as he hard pedals and gaps me again. This time I hard pedaled too and dropped onto his wheel. Time to return the favor. My legs were torched and we still had 5 miles to go. He put another gap on me a bit further down the road when a truck pulled out in front of him. The jackwagon in the truck pulled out really slow and Jeff had to unclip. Then the guy continued to drive slow and Jeff was on the shoulder right next to him. No harm done, I started to reel him in again.

Home stretch: about 2.5 miles to go and I was shooting for a fast finishing section. I buried myself on the downhill and Jeff passed me on the next uphill, then I blew past him on the next downhill and he passed me on the next uphill. I went into the drops and sprinted to Thomas street and then had to back off some, but kept the pace hard. Jeff caught me and passed me about .5 miles from home. As we turned onto our street I sprinted past him so I could say that I "won"....but I guess I never told him we were "racing". oops. ha.

Overall, 18 miles in 57 minutes. 18.9 mph average. Kickass.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sore legs...for sure

Well, since last weekend I have been really busy....but what else is new.  So, I will start with last weekend:

Saturday: Headed to Yankee Springs to take Jeff for his first ride. I always think this trail will be worse than what it actually is. The rain in the week leading up to the weekend helped pound down some of the sand that Yankee is so well known for. Jeff and I headed out and we had a good ride. We were discussing focus when Jeff made a slight bobble and wrapped himself around a tree. He went over the handlebars and never touched the ground, just caught himself on a tree. The rest of the ride was good. I made all of the climbs again and had a lot of fun. We only rode the 11 mile loop but our finish time was reassuring when put in relation to my race times from the past few years.

Sunday: Jeff, Zack and I headed to Custer to meet Dan after he closed the shop. At the trailhead we met up with Briana and headed out. Zack is getting better every time we go out but I was glad to have tired legs from Yankee so he had an easier ride. Towards the end of the Red loop I started to close on Jeff and I hear him say "go away Sean"...which prompted me to go a little harder. I was closing in on him a little at a time and when the trail turned flat I knew it was my chance. Dan moved over as Jeff went blasting around him and I was not far behind. I heard Dan say "go get him" as I was slipping past. We were ripping down the last section of Red with on right hander to the trailhead. I was in position to take him on the outside but he went a little wide and took away my angle. I gave up at that point...but it was a good battle none the less! All in all it was a 14 mile ride and was a lot of fun with friends.

Wednesday: Chelle was taking the girls to see a movie so I headed down town to meet up with my frieInds Ron and Barb who are starting a group ride here in my town. Their son-n-law Brendon was there as well but no other takers so we headed out. Always good to ride with people that I don't normally ride with because I have no idea what to expect. It was a fun ride. Ron and I rode out front while Barb and Brendon stuck together. It felt good to ride another 34 miles on some unfamiliar roads. We then rode around Lake Allegan and then everyone headed home in their respective directions.

Friday: Well, Friday was not a good day at work....very stressful. The family was supposed to head to Indiana and I really need to burn some stress off. I decided I would ride to Indiana and if I ran out of time I would have them come and pick me up. Off I went for what I thought was about 60 miles that in reality was more like 75 (which I didn't make). I headed straight south through Gobles, Paw Paw, Lawton and finally into Marcellus. I stopped to get some fluids and a reeses peanut butter you know. I texted Chelle and told here where I was and that I was doing good. I checked the GPS and realized I had 33 miles to go but it was getting late. It was about 7:30 and I knew I wouldn't make it there by dark. My step-mom was freaking out a bit too so they headed out to get me. Overall I made it 51 miles with a moving speed of 16.5 MPH. I will take that for sure riding solo with a slight headwind the whole way.

Sunday: I had originally planned on riding Saturday morning but my partner bailed and I was not in the mood to ride anyway....way too tired. So I got up Sunday morning and headed to Cannonsburg Ski Area. Haven't ridden there since the State Games race a few years ago so I was pretty excited. Upon arrival the parking lot was pretty empty, just a few cars. I geared up and headed out. Unfortunately, I took the wrong route due to the sinage that pointed to the LEFT when I knew the trail went straight. My legs were super tight and hurting in the first few miles. I stood to stretch and the pain went away, thankfully. Since the lap was already messed up I took the connector to Cannonsburg SGA. When I hit the road I turned around and headed back to the Ski area. I finished up my lap and headed to the car, then back out for my second lap. The second lap was better because I went the right way. This trail is a blast once I get past the first climb. It is fairly short so I like to do multiple laps. I was going to do another but duty called at home so I headed out.

Good week of riding. Basically 120 miles since last Saturday. Legs were sore today but I have been hydrated. Can't wait to see what this week brings!

Thursday, August 1, 2013


I was finally able to make the Tuesday night ride with the Velo City group in Holland. Last year the ride was a lot of fun and I knew it would continue to be this year. There were a lot of new faces but the route was the same. I jumped into the Medium group and off we went. Right away I got pushed to the back of the group. I forgot how fast a group can accelerate on road bikes. I have been riding my Defy with the CX tires on it so the acceleration wasn't as fast. The rubber band effect was killing me because I had to accelerate so hard just to hang on.

A few miles in I got dumped out the back on a small climb. The group was just hammering away and my heart rate was sky high. I did what I could but once the gap formed they were getting smaller and I was maxed out. Thankfully the road tipped downhill enough that I hooked back up after about a mile. I moved up in the group a little bit and was a lot more comfortable with the rubber banding.

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful. What I mean is that I was pretty relaxed and just found a wheel to ride behind. 25 miles in I was feeling good and the group just cruised back to the shop. There was pizza waiting for us when we got there, so I grabbed a slice and talked to a few people.

I figured out that I am not in as good of shape as I was last year, but I am also about 10 pounds heavier. I am not sure if it was just being slower or not used to the group aspect of the ride, but I was confident other than 2 hills. Thankfully the group waited for me before taking off or I would have been all alone.

Good to be back riding in a group that fast! Dang it was quick. ha.