Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Not good

Let me just put this out there.....I highly dislike this time of year. Not because of the season...but because of all of the food. It starts with the numerous Thanksgiving dinners and continues all the way thru Christmas until New Years day. The day that many people traditionally "start over" or "set a new years resolution" or whatever else. Blah.

At any rate.....this month has sucked (as far as riding goes). My last ride was November 29th. Yes....24 days....no ride. Here is why....

We went on a cruise on December 6th. We left on the evening of the 4th. I planned on riding the few days before we left, on the trainer, but we were so wrapped up in getting ready to go that I kept running out of time. Then...we drove to Florida and I ate like a hog for a week on the cruise...then drove home. Well.....after being home I just couldn't find the motivation to ride. I was just tired from driving home. Then....it was tonight and I got thinking about it.....3 weeks off the bike. ugh. And I planned on it tonight....but then had to pick up the littles so Chelle could wrap presents. 

So.....clearly I am heavy. What muscle I had is turning back into fat and my body is just starting to hurt. And....it will be a few more days before I will have time to ride. I accept that it is that time of year....but I have a lot of work to do when the Holiday ends. We have a party tomorrow evening and then another Christmas day and our final party on Saturday. Then New Years Eve...and as the story goes....time to reset.....and get on track.

On a related topic.....the actual size of 5 pounds of fat. The first picture below shows how large 5 pounds of fat actually is when compared to a dollar bill. Gross right....

So....that is what 5 pounds looks like....and the picture below is a representation of what 5 pounds weighs. Think about a 5 pound bag of sugar or flour. Pretty heavy....and when you think about the density of fat vs. sugar.....gross.

So...take about 10 of these bags of sugar and that is what I need to lose. Imagine.....a 180 pound guy with 10 of these bags strapped to his body.....from his waist to his chin. That is where my weight is. And slowly but surely i will take each of these bags off my body and throw them away. just like every year. So.....it starts.....yet again....

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 2....20 weeks to go until Yankee

Very good week. It was Thanksgiving on Thursday and my 16th wedding anniversary on Friday. Dang, time flies. Well....lets get to it...

Monday is a rest day on my regimen. I am glad because we are crazy busy on Monday. So, I did Tuesday, Wednesday and I did the Friday session on Thursday Morning. I was confident that I would burn enough calories to eat a piece of pumpkin pie...but more on that later. These workouts went well.....legs are getting that tension in them and the actual sessions are harder than I imagined they would be. Feels like they are working!

Thursday before we headed off to family festivities we figure out the furnace wasn't working. After some investigation I found the drive belt laying on the floor....motor spinning.....not blowing any heat into the house.....on Thanksgiving. Awesome. So, Friday morning I got up early....Home Depot opened at 5am for Black Friday. I left the house at 6:20 only to find out that they don't carry belts because of the vast variety. Try and HVAC place they said.....so I commenced my search. Found one....that closed on Wednesday and didn't reopen until today. I was then looking for a hardware store to check before 8am when all the HVAC places opened...I passed a car parts place. BINGO. 12 bucks later I was on my way home. Installed the belt....started to get dressed for the WMMBA Turkey Burner.

I have missed the past 3 years of Turkey Burners. Kiddos were little and a mix of weather and excuses kept me from going. This year I really wanted to go and a few buddies were heading up to Yankee at 10 for the ride so I joined in. There was a ton of people there....I estimated over 70. Reports were that there were over 40 fatbikes. Awesome. After a few announcements we broke into groups and headed down the trail. Today, we were riding the fatbike trail. A trail that the good people of the WMMBA developed so that people can still ride at Yankee....and not damage the regular trail. Nice. The ride was a lot of fun. New trail is always fun...but so many people made it more fun. I did upload a video here. There was a bit of snow on the ground and temps were in the 20's. Awesome day on the trail.

Saturday, it was mid 50's. I pulled the road bike off the trainer and headed out for a decent road ride....other than the wind. Ugh. I mustered a 16mph average on the Defy with the CX tires on it. Good to ride outside 2 days in a row.

Like I said....good week.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

2015 Training starts

I am going to take a different approach this winter. I usually do alright....I drop some weight....I ride outside when I can....and ride the trainer when I can't. I eat better. Yada yada.

I start the spring strong...and by middle of summer I am starting to lose fitness....and by fall I have gained all my weight back and I start back at square one......winter training. So.....it started again....last night.

I am 264 pounds again. Literally...starting where I was at this time last year. But instead of training to RACE next year....I am training to lose weight. Putting all race training aside....and focusing on riding the fat off of my body.

I am not racing Clyde next year so I have a lot of work to do. I have seen a glimmer of how fast I can be when I am 240.....and this year I fully intend to find out how fast I will be at sub 200.

I will either get crushed in Sport Men 35-39 or I will compete. All I know is that I am going to do my best to get this weight off. It started last night. And will continue until I am done.

I started some new supplements that will help me with this trip. I know they will work because after 3 weeks my brain is functioning better. Even though I haven't lost any weight yet I am feeling way better than I have all summer.

Just over 22 weeks until Yankee. 15 week training program. Go.

And....if I can figure it out....I will own a fatbike before too long...and then my adventures OUTSIDE will continue.

Monday, November 3, 2014

You are the weakest link.....goodbye

I haven't been riding much. These were my last few rides:

Kal-Haven 74 miles
Barry Roubaix 33 miles
Yankee Springs 11 miles

Not terrible...but that was stretched out over 5 weeks. I have been eating like garbage and have gained some weight back. I slowed down. Back in June I was getting faster....feeling awesome. But with that confidence I got the feeling that I could eat more and it wouldn't hurt me. I was wrong.

I loaded up my Trance this past Saturday and headed to Fort Custer. Dave W., Chris C., Jay B. and Jimmy K. were all at the trailhead and we headed out. I figured I had a fighting chance because Dave and Chris were on fatbikes......but it was short lived. We took a route that I had never ridden before. We broke out onto a road and I got dumped on the first climb. The second climb was worse. Good bye friends. They were waiting for me at the intersection mad we started back to the park. The downhill was awesome....fast. Gravity loves me....and downhills are fun.

We hit the blue and worked our way back to the trailhead. Once we regrouped we headed out for another red loop. It wasn't long before they were gone again. Once again we regrouped and boom....they were gone. Goodbye. This is when I started thinking about that damn game show "the weakest link" and that awful host that tell the contestants goodbye when it was this time to go.

My issue is this.....I wasn't the weakest link for a time. I could keep the faster riders in sight and while I was getting gapped....I wasn't getting dropped. I felt more like a part of the chain...a stronger link. But here I am again....the weak link....struggling on every climb and feeling awful in the process. The good news is....I can do something about it. I can drop the weight. I can ride more. I can close that gap down. I can be a stronger link.

I was in a bad place mentally for quite a while. It sucks. Those commercials that claim depression hurts are right. You just don't want to do anything. You are sore and don't have any energy...which makes it worse yet. Thankfully I have people in my life that help me get out of those ruts. Help dust me off when I pull myself out of the rut. For the record.....I am feeling really good right now.

Rode a slow lap with Dan s. at Yankee last weekend. Got pounded at Custer this past Saturday...but still went and rode another tough lap at Yankee Sunday afternoon. Today.....I hurt. But the hurt I feel was my choice.....my doing. One pedal stroke closer to where I want to be....

Monday, September 15, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

I attacked the climb...standing and mashing on the pedals until I reached the top....and I pedaled hard to keep the 29er wheels rolling. One mile down....good. I hit the 2-track section and hammered knowing that I had the strength to push. I was doing pretty good....just kept pushing. Eventually the trail hit a paved section and I was spinning as hard as I could. A guy was on the corner leading off of the pavement, who later I found out does a ton of the trail work, and he was yelling "good job way to push...1.5 miles to go"....and I went hard again. Then I hit the last section and it goes to grass again. The grass made me feel so slow....but I kept going hard to the finish. Ended up 9th out of the 13 in my class....19 minutes behind the winner. That...um....yeah.....6 minutes per lap....dang. I have a lot of work to do. ha.

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

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

BIKE REVIEW: 2013 Giant Trance X 29er Level 0

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

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

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

RaceFace 32T ring. Blue. Bling.

Ok....this is the bike I have wanted for a long time. I was finally able to pick it up and haven't looked back since. I was loaned this bike for the Yankee TT but it had the Easton Haven carbon wheels on it....so it was a bit lighter...but I fell in love with the bike at that moment. 

So...fast forward to when I bought it. I picked it up June 27th, the day before the Sweat Shaker race. If you know me....you know that I took 3rd in that race. Again....it solidified the idea that I really wanted this bike.

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

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

Pretty good for a 5" Travel mountain bike.

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

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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Maybury TT 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fort Custer with my son

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

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

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

But watch the video below....it wasnt all good....

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

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

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Upper Macatawa....something different

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

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

But...I might have been wrong.

I was wrong.....

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

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

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

Well done to the volunteers and trail builders. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Scentsy 5k (Rock Your Socks)

Pre run....it was sunny...
Chelle and I headed to St. Louis, Missouri for the Scentsy Family Reunion. A week full of fun and activities. One of these activites is a "Fun Run" or walk because Scentsy believes in Wellness. I trained a bit for this run and I was confident I could hit my goal of sub 34 minutes.

Jim and I getting ready
We met some friends at the start and I was hanging out with Jim while we were waiting. They bussed us from the Edward Jones Dome to the park we were running in. That was nice....didn't have to worry about parking or getting the car out of the garage, ect.

Lining up at the start
We were lining up and getting ready to go. Warmed up...sun shining.....HOT on the blacktop. Jim was rocking to Hair Nation.....and I forgot my headphones.....awesome. lol. We lined up near the front because we were running and didn't want to get caught in traffic.

Go GO Go.
It didn't take long to realize that there were walkers up front. Some people just can't follow directions...but I was like Forrest Gump...I WAS RUNNING. Because I was running the crowd thinned out pretty quick. The best part....the first mile was downhill. I was feeling pretty good and I just found my cadence and just plodded along. It was warm but I was alright...even with the black shirt on.

Almost done
One issue....what goes down....must go back up. The course was an out and back...meaning that the middle mile was flat...and the last mile was uphill. I grabbed a cup of water and started to push a bit to get up the hill. Heavy guy...uphill.....not fun. I chugged along....and finished in the time shown below.
Finally done (note, the time is not my 5k time...)
The time is misleading though.....the course was a bit longer than 5k and I didn't start at the 0:00. My 5k time was 34:24. First mile was just over 10 minutes, 2nd was 11 minutes and the last mile was 12 minutes. I will take it. Averaged just over 11 minutes for my fastest 5k ever. I did run last year with this same group and my time was 43 minutes and change. So....basically I was 9 minutes faster in a year. That....is awesome. Been a crazy summer so far.....but enjoying it wholeheartedly!!!!

So SCENTSY???? Some of you know what it is....others may not. Well, Scentsy is my wife's home based business. She sells warmers, wax, body lotions, air fresheners and some other items. I mentioned it before, but that is why we were in St. Louis. Scentsy is an amazing company and if you are interested....or intrigued at least....click on the link and check it out. Click HERE for her fragrance items. And HERE for the CHOCOLATE.....

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sweat Shaker 2014, first time for everything

What started as a car load ended with a loner and his bike driving north from Allegan County at 5:40am on Saturday Morning. It's okay though....I enjoy 2.5 hours of alone time.....and I pretty much was. Once I got to US-131 I set the cruise and never touched a pedal again until the S-curve in Grand rapids. NICE! All I was doing was thinking about my strategy on a course I have never ridden before. Don't start fast....Don't repeat the State Games race. Just find the guys in your class and hold on to the lead pack. Simple.

I got there early enough that I kitted up and rode the first part of the trail, just to get an idea. If I had to describe it in one word....bumpy. Niel S. came out of nowhere and we talked for a bit and eventually turned out onto the road and headed back to the starting area. I didn't have any teammates there, but I did see quite a few friends. That always makes me relax when I can talk bikes and just see people I know.

So....10 am start. Jordan, Matt and the rest of the fast guys tore off the line like freaking rocket ships. I chatted with Tom S. while we waited for our start....then it was go time. The Sport Clydes lined up with Sport Men 60+ and the Fat bikes....so it was kind of hard to determine who was in my class or on a fat bike. I just knew there were at least 6 of us. The start was pavement and pretty fast....so I marked two guys in my class and jumped on one of their wheels. Another guy rocketed past me but he was on a fat bike so I let him go. As we hit the singletrack I was confident I was in the top 3. It got really congested as the trail closed in around us. After a mile or two and a lot of people passing from the classes behind things started to settle down a bit and I was riding alone. Then about 5 miles in I got passed by a guy in my class. So....either 3rd or 4th at that point. Keep plugging on.

The first lap was rough because I didn't know the course. I came through and started my second lap. I was feeling pretty good and I was still thinking I was top 5 in my class at the worst. I was alone though. Nobody passing...nobody to pass. I did about mow over a rider that was coming the other way down the trail, just out for a ride. I was more surprised than she was...and she was very apologetic...but she didn't slow me down at all. I was flowing pretty good now. Comfortable. Punchy climb...no problem. Tight and twisty...no problem.

With about 5 miles to go I caught the glimpse of a jersey. Hmm....that guy might be in my class. I got another spark....and started to reel him in. This is something new for me.....so it took me a while. I passed him with about 2 miles to go and left him in my dust! Then I started to think....none of the Elites have caught me yet......and then it happened. With about 1/2 mile to go I hear a voice....never heard his bike....but it was Jordan. He shot past and I was thinking...sweet....I will get to finish with him. That thought was short lived as he disappeared as quickly as he rode up behind me. Fast is an understatement.

So I ripped across the finish line and figured I was maybe 2nd or 3rd....but I really didn't know. I asked for the results and the promoter told me I would have to wait and it would be a surprise. lol. Well ok then....let the suspense build a little. Subway got there and I picked a spot at the table with a few other sport clydes and waited for the awards. Down the lists they went until they got my class.

"And in Sport Clyde....our third place finisher is.....Sean Evans"  

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I have never finished higher than 6th place in a Sport race and that was only because there was only 6 of us...and that was the Sunday before at the State Games race. SO.......I got a freaking medal. So stoked because I really didn't have any idea where I finished. I could have been DFL for all I knew....I was just hoping that I was top 5....and I hit the podium! So....naturally......the question was how many people were in my class.....8. HOLY COW....I RACED AND BEAT 5 PEOPLE.

If you follow along at all you know the bike in the above pic is not my Epic. It is indeed the bike I raced at Yankee with the original wheels....and it now belongs to me! FREAKING LOVE IT. I will do a review on it this week....because I think it deserves one.

So here is my awesome bronze medal. They didn't have a podium to stand on...so we collected our medals and sat back down. No worries....didn't want to put that nasty sweaty thing back on. HA.

Below is a pic of the official results.

So.....A huge shout out to Dan from Custer Cyclery for setting up the Trance for me on a moments notice. I actually picked it up from his house around 9 pm on Friday night. A huge thanks to my loan officer too.....or I would not have been on the trance. lol. It was a fun day for sure!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

State Games of Michigan Recap

I did the first edition of this race a few years ago. I do like riding at Cannonsburg Ski area but racing is a different story. Knowing the course is always helpful, so I did head up the Sunday before the race to get a feel for the terrain again. The bad part was that the race course was different than what I rode....but....I still got an idea of what I was up against.

The worst part of racing at a ski area is that I know there will be climbing. This course starts off right uphill before it throws all different terrain at you. There were 6 sport clydes lined up when the started said "go" and off we went. There was a river running across the course right here so we just plowed through it. Ted (freewheeler on the left) pulled a sweet wheelie to get us started.
Photo credit: Jack H Kunnen
Go...go....go....up the freaking hill we go. I took off like a rocket. 2nd place into the singletrack and the start of the first climb. I felt like I had a bigger lead than the picture below shows, but hey...I will take what I can get. I was in second place to the top of the climb and then the inevitable happened....my body gave the big thumbs down. I have talked all year about starting too fast and how I don't like to do it because I always blow myself up. I had not done it this year at all. I did start fast at both Yankee and Custer but I was able to calm myself back down and find a rhythm. Unfortunately that was no the case on this Sunday.

Photo courtesy of John Oppenhuizen

I thought I was doing okay but I just coudln't get my breathing under control and the other 4 guys in my class passed me. Heart pounding I pressed on and came around my first of three laps. Brian started after me and caught me towards the end of the first lap. Here he is on his fatbike blasting the water crossing heading into his second lap.
Photo courtesy of John Oppenhuizen

 I had a solid first lap all things considered.....I survived....and was going to attempt to reel the group in. The problem was....right after this picture was taken is that damn climb that about killed me the first lap. The second lap was different....the hill was much slower and I was struggling even more. I was ready to mail it in. I slowed down and focused on my breathing. By now nearly everyone had passed me and I was riding alone.
Photo courtesy of John Oppenhuizen
I came around for my last lap and was determined to have a faster lap time. I had managed to gather my thoughts and when the time came for that climb I was ready. I dropped into my small chain ring and just spun the pedals until I reached the top. Having my breathing under control I was able to ride that last lap faster. Plus, I didn't have anyone passing me so I could concentrate on just riding and having fun instead of worrying about holding people up. I finally manged to hit some semblance of a rhythm and turned in a decent last lap. Best part....no beginners caught me. Worst part.....I did have the slowest finishing time for any Sport class rider. HA. DFL. Hey....I finished a race that I was struggling with. I proved that I am not a fast starter. I proved that I can regain composure and ride faster the longer the race went on. I will take the 6th place finish too.....my first top 10 in Sport. Earned.

My team had a great showing too! Lisa took 2nd, Mark 3rd, Brian 4th and Jay with a 12th. Fun day at the ski area....on bikes!!!!

Next up....Sweat Shaker. 20 miles of fun at Mid-Michigan Community College where I have never ridden before. Should be interesting!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Been a while

So...where to start?

Um.....had a pretty tremendous crash a few weeks ago. My Epic was still in pieces so Dan loaned me his 616 fatbike for a rip around Fort Custer. Well.....I made it about 2.5 miles before I clipped a stump and got dumped into a pile. In a moment of honesty......I didn't clip the stump.....I full on jacked it with my right pedal and got shit onto the ground like a rocket. Not only did I crash one of Dan's bikes....I took Dan out too. He was on my wheel and when I went crashed he was right there for support.....or maybe I was....because he landed on me. So.....I had a terrible walk of shame out of the woods. Other than partially separating my shoulder the bike was fine. Dan survived with a bruised knee. Thankfully I got my shoulder to feel better in about a day because I used to injure it that way when I played baseball. No harm done.

Finally got the Epic re-assembled last Saturday. Dan and I went for a ride before heading to the shop for the day. I was super rusty on the bike. First....I was tentative because of the crash the week before. Second....I had not ridden that bike in over a month. Third, my last MTB ride (besides the crash) was on a borrowed bike at the Yankee Springs time trail. I was glad to be back on the Epic.....just rusty.

The next day was Father's Day. I got up early and headed to Cannonsburg Ski Area. The State Games race is June 22nd and I wanted to get familiar with the course again. I felt awful when I got there. Just tired and suffering from allergies. The worst part of this trail is the first climb. This ride was no different....I started up the hill and felt like I was going to die by the time I reached the top....OF THE FIRST CLIMB. Thankfully the rest of the trail isn't bad and I was able to get 3 solid laps in before heading home and hanging out with the family.

So.....State Games on Sunday. Sweat Shaker the following Saturday. Super busy as usual. 245.5 pounds. Hanging in there.

Monday, June 2, 2014

First Half Century of the year

I was able to get out last Monday night for a solid ride....er......started as a solid ride. My average speed dropped over a full mile per hour when my brain quit. Totally checked out.....couldn't give up though......and I was able to get home. Yuk. But.....still some mileage.....

So.....this past weekend was my girls' dance recital on Sunday. They had rehearsal on Saturday and Izzy had her last soccer game. I took her to the game and watched her team dominate. She even scored a goal!!!! Chelle had the other girls at the rehearsal. After soccer we were running around helping at the rehearsal and then set up for the remainder of the dance pics. Done....dinner....9pm. Permission to sit.

I set my alarm for 7 am so I could go for a longer road ride Sunday morning. I didn't end up leaving the house until almost 9 because I just didn't want to get out of bed. Fueled up and out the door. Sun was shining and it was about 70 degrees. In my head I was thinking 50 miles. I just kept going and going and going. Eventually the road ran out....which meant I was at Lake Michigan. I turned south and headed toward 109th street. I was feeling pretty good, but I was also riding into a headwind for quite a while. When I turned south the wind was worse. I just soldiered on. I saw a few other cyclists and waved to each of them. Each of them waved back. Great day to be on the bike.

I made the turn back East to head home and it felt like the wind changed. I would guess that I was just running out of gas because I could feel the gusts still....even though it felt like it was constant. ha.

I chugged the whole way home and ended up just over 50 miles for my longest ride of the year. Good start to June.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Let's be honest.....

This is a post that I have been trying to write for a long time. Probably since Easter. I took a stroll away from the wagon.....like a long way from the wagon. I strayed past the wagon a few times over the past few weeks. And then Memorial day showed up.....and....well....

Over Easter weekend I must have eaten my weight in jelly beans......and chocolate....and well...whatever else I could get my hands on. I did ok though. It was like a phase that lasted about a week. I went from 240 back up to 245 and then dipped back to 243. I floated around there for the next few weeks. I was still riding. Still running. Feeling good. 

Then......we went to dinner at Logans and I had some of their rolls. They must have been like crack because I was then eating rolls, cinnamon rolls, sandwiches, pasta, and anything else with gluten or wheat or whatever the hell it is that tears my system up.....including pizza. mmmm. Pizza.

But.....this time I continued eating wheat. Didn't stop. Cereal. Had a drink. Had another beer. Pile it on! Over these weeks I did race my bike. Did alright at Custer....and did the best I could at Yankee. Was feeling alright. Still right around 244 and knowing...KNOWING I was lucky to be that weight considering the garbage I had been pushing into my system. 

Then....Memorial Day weekend came. I had been eating okay....just not the greatest. It started Friday when we had Chinese. Then Saturday I had McDonalds to start. Then ate whatever I could get my hands on at dinner.....including strawberry shortcake with ice cream and whipped cream. It continued into Sunday at the Hotel. Had biscuits and gravy, with a cheese omelet, and sugar filled mango juice. After breakfast I rolled into the truck to go and visit my Grandmother. After a nice visit we headed to Applebees for lunch. Scampi pasta.......are you seeing the gluten/wheat trend. Ugh. Oh, wait....to top it off...we stopped at Dairy Queen on the way home. lol. 

So.....I put garbage in....and I paid for it. I was 248 this morning. Ugh. Monday night after the DQ I did head out for a road ride. Got 35 miles in but the last 12 were awful. My brain checked out.....and it was all I could do to get back to the house without calling for a ride. So....I felt awful. Slept awful. Had a very long day on Tuesday at work and was just tired. Today I drug myself out of bed again. I did load up the Defy to attempt Wednesday night worlds....but felt miserable all day so I decided to just head home. 

My realization is that eating like crap makes me feel like crap. Duh right? But, I was able to cheat for a while, but now the time has come to pay up for all the garbage that I have taken in. It sucks. I am lethargic. I am tired. I feel like crap. I can't focus. I can't sleep. Just blah. This does not bode well for me finding the positive in everything. I guess....i am learning something yet again. 

My weight gain always happens this time of year. I find the excuses and let the weight pile back on. Not this time. I had chicken and veggies for dinner and I am going to bed earlier. Tired of my allergies bothering me (which never did when I was gluten free) and tired of feeling like dirt. So, I am looking at the wagon. Trying to find the way to climb back on.....and continue this journey I started in January.

On a positive note....I am still down 20 pounds for the year....just gotta keep moving forward.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Yankee Springs Recap

The day started off fairly normal. Got Zack and Izzy up and while they were eating breakfast I loaded up the Crosstrek and was ready to go before they were done eating. Off we went and we got to Yankee just after 10am. Our teammate Mark and his family were camping so we parked at their site and set up shop.  We headed up to register and saw Dan S. talking with Jay and Mark. This is where the day took a strange turn.

Jay was holding my Epic for me. He picked it up and it rattled. The rear shock is worn where it connects to the upper link. Looking at it..Dan says..yeah you are not riding that today. I was like...great..so what do I ride...and he said "ride this" which is a Giant Trance 29er with carbon wheels and a 1x11 setup. This is the bike I want....and he handed it to me for the day.

I headed out on the warmup loop to get antiquated with the new bike. It handled different, but I was fairly comfortable by the time I got done with the 2 miles. So, I had a bike to ride and we were in business.

Headed to the starting corral and got into line. They were sending riders off every 5 seconds. Got to me and GO!!!

Photo courtesy: Dan S. (the best shop owner ever!!)

As usual, I started to fast. This bike just wanted to go fast. Before I started Dan told me "listen, ride the bike..don't worry about breaking anything....just don't hurt yourself". He gave me permission to ride the bike like I stole it. lol. I did. I was riding hard because I wanted to get a top 10 (out of the 20 pre-registered). The bike certainly helped. It is lighter than my Epic (because of the carbon wheels) and it climbed quicker. I am not sure about the setup, but I was very comfortable on it. I felt like I was more forward than I am on the Epic so I was in more of a race position.

I held off the guys that started behind me for about a mile. Then I knew I was going to have traffic issues for the rest of the race, but it wasn't bad. Everyone called out their passes and I even had to call out a few of my own. I was riding really really fast. Just kept pushing myself to get done.....and knowing it was a time trail I was looking for the other sport clydes that started just ahead of me. 

About 5 miles in I caught one. That is when I knew I was riding pretty good. I jumped into a train and held onto a wheel for quite a while until we hit a long climb. A few guys passed and I went back to my own pace. The Trance is a great bike. I was able to climb quicker and descent like a mad man because the bike just loves to roll over stuff. Yes, this is my first real experience on a 29er. I did ride a Niner at the demo last year, but I was just cruising.......I was racing the Trance and the harder I pushed the better the bike responded.

Jay had not caught me yet. I made the turn to the mat climb and as I started to climb I shifted to the left and off the mat, meaning I had to walk. Dangit. I was pushing up the hill when Jay finally caught me along with a few other guys. I jumped back on the bike and started to chase them down. Grabbed onto the last guys wheel and actually kept Jay in sight for part of the new 1.5 mile section of trail they added in. I was closing the gap on him but then hit the last nasty hump and never saw him again. 

I passed the 12 mile marker and knew I had one mile to go. I looked at my computer and I was barely over an hour into the race. I couldn't believe it....I was around 1:03 and I only had one mile to go. So, I did my best to turn myself inside out to finish...and I burned another match to get into the last climb. It is fairly flat, but I was gassed so it felt worse. Out of the woods into the gravel area and then made the left hand turn onto the finishing stretch by the road. BURN IT. I burned my last match and was just flying into the last turn where all the spectators are standing. around the corner and hammered to the finish line. DONE.

1:08:06 was good enough for 10th place out of 17. I will take it. I turned in my fastest lap by about 4 minutes on a course that was 1.5 miles longer. Awesome. Zack had a rough day but still mustered 5th place in his class. It was a great day to race and hang out with friends!!!  I did beat Brian so I lead the series 2/3 as of this moment. We will see how that pans out!!!!!

P.S. I really really want the new bike now.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Yankee what?

Monday was soccer...so I ran 2 miles. This was the day after the Stampede...so 2 was enough.

Tuesday was Dance....and I didn't feel like doing anything else.

Wednesday.....I loaded up the bike and headed to work. At noon....there was thunder....so I wasn't sure if the ride was still going to happen...but it never rained. After work, I took the hour long drive to Yankee Springs and as I exited the highway I was realizing that it had rained....and rained hard. Jay started riding earlier and he got caught it it. We passed each other on Gun Lake road as he was heading home and I was about to ride.

Best part of Yankee.....rain doesn't really hurt it....so sandy that it drains quick. The rain actually helps...and it did help....the super sandy areas were a lot better to ride after that downpour.

So....I got to the trailhead and my new friend Shad was there. Mark wasn't there yet so we went out and rode the 2-mile loop for a nice warm-up. Got back to the lot and Mark got there. Off we went for our full loop. The DNR had done a controlled burn so it was very interesting looking out there. It was literally a brown ribbon of sandy dirt surrounded by blackened trees, stumps, and wasteland. Always cool to ride in those conditions because the trail looks so different with no overgrowth.

Shad is a newer rider so he cut off at the shortcut after the ditch climb. Mark and I kept plugging away. The trail was in good shape with a few trees down from the burn and the storm that rolled through. There is a new section that adds just over a mile. I was hurting from chasing Mark and it felt like that new lap was ALL UPHILL. It wasn't....but you climb and then descend on a 2-track back to where the new loop begins. Pretty cool that they were able to add another mile in and not miss any of the trail.

Pretty uneventful rest of the ride. We got to the parking lot and I decided that I wanted to ride the warm-up loop one more time....full out for 2 miles. I felt pretty good and managed to hold a 12.5 mph average for those 2 miles. My average on the full loop was only 9.6 so I will take that speed even if only for a short distance.

Goal time of 1:15 for the time trial with the longer distance. Racing against myself. Get out and ride.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

2014 Fort Custer Stampede

David W. and I at the start!
 First singletrack race of the year. We headed down to Augusta and the Fort Custer Recreation area. Jay and Mark got there early and got us a good spot for the tent. We rolled in around 10:30 and got our number plates. Izzy was at a sleepover so no racing for her, but Zack was with me and he was ready to rock! I had a goal time of 1:15 in mind and I figured that might put me mid-pack....but that was when there was only 8 signed up in my class. There was 16 of us on the start line and off we went.

I started hard and hit the first corner in 5th place. By the time we hit the woods I was out of the top 10. I pushed as hard as I could and I was surprised that I was keeping the leaders in sight. We headed into the Crazy Beaver loop and I could still see the top 3....I was sitting in 8th or 9th. Coming out of the Crazy Beaver and into the trenches they were starting to pull away....but I could still see David W. a little bit ahead of me. He was sitting in 2nd or 3rd and I knew there were a few guys between us....so I kept chugging.

Out of the Crazy Beaver and into the first part of the Red loop and the gap was opened....I started losing sight of them....and a few guys had passed me....some in my class and some from the classes behind me. Out of the trenches and into the meadow area.....this is where things got interesting. I knew there was a guy behind me....but he was not trying to pass....he was just sitting on. As we broke out into the field before the camel humps I hear a guy behind us scream "get the f**k out of the way" and then grumbling from a few others....as a train of riders started to surge past. There was three guys from the same team leading the line and they forced the two of us off the trail as they passed. Then going into the camel humps a guy passed me on the right side.....ON TOP OF THE FIRST HUMP......crazy dude for sure. 

Things settled down from there....I could see a few guys in my class on the switchback climb but I was just riding my own race at that point. I was still pushing and I was feeling pretty good. A few people passed here and there but everyone called it out....or asked for an opening. The amusement park backwards was uneventful...as I was riding with another guy and we passed back and forth for a while. Out of the Red and onto the Green loop. Kept riding with the same guy for a bit and then after the creek I saw Ted R. on top of the climb. Frisbee.....

I started riding harder, and I actually picked off a few guys. On the boat launch climb I finally reeled in Ted and passed him at the top. I knew the next section was flat so I went for it...hard.....go baby go. The course was different...as we turned off the trail and onto a 2-track then onto a paved section which dumped us back into the course backwards. I knew the finish was close so I kept going as hard as I could...

Towards the end!

Little did I know that Ted was chasing me down. I didn't think it would matter....because I didn't see him at the start line so I figured he was not racing my class....but he was. As we crossed the road to the finish people started to yell "go, you can get him...go go go" and he passed me right before the line....to beat me by 2 seconds....and knock me out of the top 10. I should have known that he was in my class...I learned something. ha.

It was a fun day for sure. Zack did very well in his race taking home a 4th place and only being about 8 minutes behind the winner. Not bad for only riding his bike on dirt one time this year. 
Zack took 4th!!

So, Yankee is in less than 2 weeks and Brian and I have a friendly bet about who will win. I won at Barry Roubaix and he beat me at the Stampede. So...whoever wins at Yankee will be the champion....of what...I don't know...but it is just fun to go out and ride bikes!!!

Monday, April 14, 2014


This past weekend was awesome weather. It was 70 degrees on Saturday and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to ride. We got word that TK Lawless was dry and clear so we geared up and headed down to the middle of nowhere just north of the Indiana/Michigan border. It was an interesting mix of people as Dwight, Jay, Summer, Mike, Dwight's Nephew, Bill and I headed out.

It didn't take long....and I got shot straight out the back of the pack....again. TK Lawless is super tight and twisty in the beginning and the end...and I don't corner very well because my center of gravity is high, so I was really slow...and out of sight they went. I kept chugging away and was just simply enjoying being on my Epic for the first time in 2014. Eventually I caught up (because they were nice and waited for me) and the trail opens up with some climbs. There is just under 10 miles packed into that tiny little park and it is amazing to see people that might be 300 yards ahead of you....or a few miles ahead of you. The trail twists and turns and comes within an arms reach a few different times. A nice change of pace compared to Yankee Springs and Fort Custer...and a ton of fun. Eventually I got back to the car after my first lap and everyone was there waiting for me. We regrouped and headed out for another lap.

It was supposed to be just an easy lap but I got dumped out the back right away again. I kept them closer, but eventually they were gone again. I was just riding my pace....no reason to try to kill myself to keep up...I know they are all faster than me....but I am faster than I was last year....so I wasn't nearly as far behind. I crested a hill and saw the group waiting for me again. I rolled up to the group and slowly maneuvered through them and kept going. I was in the lead! I was actually in the lead longer than I thought I would be when I heard Dwight coming. He passed me on a hill and Summer was close behind him and they were gone...boom. That's ok, still a handful of people behind me.  TK has a cutoff at the 6 mile mark but I drove down there and was feeling pretty good so I chose to keep going. Managed to not be the last person back to the car!

Felt pretty good riding 20 miles on singletrack. Especially with sore legs from running 2 miles a few days before. Any singletrack is good....it was a long wait this year. Overall I am feeling pretty good. My daughter started soccer practice tonight so I ran....actually ran 3.1 miles on the track around the sports complex. I might pay for it, but I need to boost my weight loss program. Fort Custer Stampede is in 3 weeks and I want to be sub 240 or even sub 235 by then so I can gun for podium. Right now there is nobody signed up in my class so I like my chances!!!

Moving forward!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Facing the wall...

I see it coming in the distance. Those weight numbers that I have only attained once the last 2 years. I was close last Monday....sliding the weight to 240 on the dot. I have only been in the 230's once....it was 238 and then I shot back up to 260 shortly there after. Knowing this wall is facing me it has been on my mind for the last few weeks. 

I am not really sure what it is...I am not scared of it. I want it. But I know this wall is there and I haven't been able to get through it. This time, I will get through it.....or rather....over it. 

I know that you could simply walk around this wall in the pic above.....but what if it isn't that easy. Maybe there is a hole, or a mean dog, or barb wire or whatever. The only way to get through this barrier is to go over the top of it. Not the easiest.....but if it was easy...anyone could do it.

So, I am staring at this wall....and I will make my first attempt to get over it this week. I might make it, I might not. If I do, it is simply another step towards my ultimate goal. If I don't, I dust myself off and try again. My mind state is so much better than it has ever been that a setback is no longer a derailment. My perspective changed. Now it is time to take the next step and get into the 230's......

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Lowell that wasn't

Well, I had intended on racing this past Saturday for race #2 up in Lowell. I was actually talking to my teammate Mark about what time I would be picking him up....and then something came....uh....up. And by that I mean my entire system decided to purge. No racing for me the next day. It was the craziest thing too. I was fine and eating dinner when I got that "I just ate 4 plates of food" feeling in my stomach even though I wasn't even half way through my plate of chicken and veggies. Apparently it wanted out. And the last time I got sick was 4am on Saturday....about 2 hours before I was planning on leaving. Knowing that I needed to stay in bed and be within close proximity of a bathroom I slept all day Saturday. Blech. Oh well, out 1 entry fee but saved the gas.

Because I step on the scale everyday I can tell you that I lost 7 pounds in 24 hours. Most of it was clearly water weight, as I ended up 240 on the dot on Monday for a loss of 4 pounds for the week. I will take it even if it was not a viable solution to my weight issue.

So....now that it is April 8th and I still haven't been on my mountain bike this year I am getting ansty. Some of my team has plans to ride TK Lawless this weekend and I plan on being there. The trails are dry and NIMBA had a clean up day out there so we are ready to rock. I will get a solid idea of how my training is going based on some lap times down there.

Gonna keep moving forward! The Custer Stampede is only a month away.....and then the true season begins.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First Quarter Update

Tempus Fugit

Time flies.....or correctly...time flees.

I looked at the calendar yesterday and thought....April....already? There is still freaking snow on the ground and we only had 2 days in the 50's in March. Dang. Time does fly.

My race season started off pretty well with Barry Roubaix. This weekend is The Lowell 50 and then there was a pretty significant schedule change. The Yankee Springs TT was moved to May 18th due to FOOT of snow still on the trails. The WMMBA made the tough, although correct, choice to move the race. As trail advocates there is now way the group would allow a race with over 700 people to happen and risk major trail destruction.
Taken March 27th by Mark K.

Taken March 27th by Mark K.
(this is the bridge a few miles in)

So, that means I have Lowell this weekend and then The Fort Custer Stampede in May. This means that I have a few more weeks to train before my true mountain bike race season begins. Awesome. And, I can drop more weight in the next 5 weeks before Yankee, meaning I will be climbing hills faster. Just gotta keep plugging away!

And...AND! I decided to look at where my numbers are compared to last year. I have 245 more miles in the first 3 months of 2014 than I had in 2103.....and I am 14 pounds lighter than I was at this point last year. I will take it....but I still have work to do!

If you are at Lowell on Saturday I will see you there. Shooting for 2.5 hours over the 34 miles...for an average speed of 13.6 (which is faster than what I raced Barry Roubaix....hoping for better conditions). I would love to be at 2:15 finish time....but that is 15.1 mph......hey...shoot for the stars...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Barry Roubaix 2014.

The 2014 edition of the Barry Roubaix was my first race of the year. On my way to Hastings I drove one of the gravel roads on the course to check conditions. On that one gravel road the conditions were good. But, the rain that fell the night before had different ideas. 

Starting in Wave 1 was a new experience for me. I have never done that. I was chatting with a former rival (and former clyde) when we were staged up. Then we rolled up to the start line and waited the last two minutes for the start. 3, 2, 1...GO. I knew the start would be fast. All pavement. 150 people. The leaders went off like a rocket. I settled into my groove and just plugged away. We made the turn onto Yeckley Road and I could still see the leaders. I was impressed with myself for that....keeping them insight for nearly 2.5 miles. By the 3rd Sister the group was strung out and the leaders were gone.

I did start too fast....as usual. So I had to back off a bit but then I settled in. Starting in the first wave I had plenty of people to ride with. I knew Jay, Mark, Ken, Brian, and Lisa were chasing so I kept plugging away. Conditions were interesting to say the least. The roads were still wet and I could definitely feel extra drag. Some of the areas were awful. Deep mud and mud puddles which made it like riding in peanut butter. A few miles in a group of guys were passing and the first guy went down, taking two others down with him in some deep mud. I made it safely through and just kept plodding away.

Finally making to the pavement on Gun Lake road I really found my rhythm. I started to pick off a few people and I was able to hang with a smaller group and recover. I was comfortable. I knew I was going to miss my goal time by the 11 mile mark, but I was still having a lot of fun. Lots of people all suffering the same. Well...some were suffering more than others when they were hurling on the side of the road...but you get the idea.

So, I took 57th place in my age group. Missed my goal by 19 minutes. Finished the race with a smile on my face. The new run into the finish was awesome. 3 miles of pavement but another long climb. I was ready to be done so I crushed it. I passed a lot of people and then let it rip over the top. It felt good to crush the last roller and then be going full tilt into the finish line. Awesome time! Even with conditions I was able to shave over 5 minutes off of my fastest time ever (2012) at this race.

Our whole team finished and was glad to be done! Here are our team members that were here:
Back Row: Left (me!)
Andrew G.
Ryan (hiding in the back middle)
Jay B.

Front Row: Brian B. (left)
Lisa P.
Ken S.
Mark K. (right)

It was a good time on a tough course. The Lowell 50 is next on the schedule on April 5th and then Yankee Springs is the following weekend. Season off to a good start! I weighed in at 242.25 this morning which puts me at 24.75 pounds down for the year. I am shooting for 239 next Monday. Just gonna keep plugging away!

Riding bikes is awesome.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Twas the night before Barry....

Twas the night before Barry....
and all through the house....
nobody is here except for me.

that didnt rhyme.
i don't care.

I am almost ready for my first race of 2014. I will be loading up first thing in the morning and heading to Hastings for the Barry Roubaix. 36 miles of gravel, pavement, and 3000 like minded people. 

My house really is empty. Just me and the 2 cats. Wife is taking pics, son is at a movie, one daughter at her friends house, one at my in-laws, and one babysitting. Quiet. So, I have just been plotting my attack for tomorrow. Starting in wave 1 will be interesting. I need to make sure that I don't start too fast and blow myself up. I know for sure I can ride hard for 25-28 miles. 36 miles won't be much different....just a bit further. 

2 miles....the tree sisters.....early in the race....attack them
right turn onto the home stretch....one more climb and then a left, 2 rights, and a left....done.

See you tomorrow.....

Monday, March 17, 2014

Last Barry Roubaix training ride

With the help of my friend Tony I got my hitch installed on the Crosstrek. I was down and out on Saturday. Had a fever and sore throat. Didn't do a darn thing. There was a training ride Sunday morning so I figured I would give it a shot and loaded up.

I had to take the Kuat rack from a 4 bike down to a 2 bike so it is easier to carry. lol. Honestly, the 4 spot rack is just overkill for my little car. The changeover was simple (4 bolts) and I had it on the ride and ready to rock. Thankfully I got to sleep in some because the ride wasn't until 11am.

Upon arrival I saw Jay and Dan T. along with Dwight, Charles and a few other WSI riders. Dan S. pulled in and we were ready to rock. Dan S. brought a tank to a Formula 1 race. What I mean is...he had a Borealis Yampa with Studs. Yes...a fat bike with studs....6 PSI...and the roads were like concrete. The majority of the group was on CX bikes and a few were on their mountain bikes. It was evident that the ride was going to be good for a fat bike. He opted for the 24 mile route. Wise choice.

The group made the turn onto the 36 mile loop and there was a river crossing....yes...a river crossing in the middle of the road. It was only about 5' wide and 6-8" deep. The Barry is a CX race....so no biggie right? lol. I was on the Defy again with the CX tires and the roads were in awesome shape. Only one road we hit had ice and it was a short section. There were also some areas where it was getting soft and you could tell that the mud was there a few days before. Thankfully it was frozen because temps were in the low 20's when we were out there.

The group opted to cut the ride short because of the lower temps. We took M-43 and cut out the finish/start of the route. The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. Nailed the long climb on Gun Lake Road and ripped it back to the car. My average speed was .6 mph higher than my fastest race time. And my average heart rate was 9 beats per minute lower.....so I am doing alright.

Rick just posted the start waves for Saturday. I get to lead the pack out of Hastings. Wow....that will be an experience. Having around 3000 people behind me trying to beat me to the finish line. Hey...I will always have someone to ride with.....See ya Saturday.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Barry-Roubaix (training and course update)

Brian, Mark and I headed out to test out the roads this past Saturday. It didn't take long before we figured out that the gravel roads were not going to be rideable. The first one we hit was pure ice. There was about a 6" strip on each edge that was walkable...but riding it was out of the question.

Mark and I (Photo Courtesy: Brian B.)
So...instead of risking injury or worse, we hit the pavement. We rode out until the odometer read 10 miles and we turned back towards the car. We managed about 21 miles and took advantage of the warmish temperatures. But.....we talked about warm weather...and melting.

Mark lives by the Barry Roubaix course so he rode Monday night. The picture below is what the roads looked like. Nasty...but alas....no ice.

Photo courtesy of Mark K.

But....the banner is up in Hastings.....
Photo courtesy of Mark K.

I did get out and ride this past Sunday. Too nice outside to skip a ride. I found a bunch of hills. My first 21 miles were pretty good. I was feeling good and holding my speed. The problem was, I rode 21 the day before and I turned straight into a headwind for the trip home. 7 miles....and it pulled my average speed down a full MPH. At any rate, I got a solid 30 miles in to cap of the weekend. Stepped on the scale Monday and I was 245. Down 22 pounds for the year. Got a new ride. Can use my wife's awesome Kuat rack and look like a real cyclist. lol. 

Because of the crazy week last week we ate out a few days and I had a lot of bread. My allergies flared up and I was miserable all last week. Sunday I cut wheat again and I am already feeling better. Pretty amazing that after many years of dealing with terrible allergies that they might have all been caused by a gluten sensitivity. 

10 days from today we will be racing! My season will begin!

Monday, March 3, 2014

1st Barry Boubaix Ride of the year.

 Finally got a road report that said the roads were ride-able with a mix of sand and snow with some minimal ice. Jay B., Mark K. and I decided it was time to get outdoors and ride this damn course. We had decent weather too, it was mid 20's and cloudy. We met at the Long Lake Outdoor Center and we headed out. 

I decided to ride my Defy with the CX tires on it. Probably not the best decision because of the conditions...but I want to try to ride this during the race so I needed to see if it was even possible. About 1/4 mile in I started to have my doubts. The first turn we made...I ended up in a pile because of some icy ruts. Uh-oh went through my mind...because we hit our first gravel road I hit the ground shortly thereafter. Thankfully, that was the only time I hit the dirt. 

We plodded onward. I was surprised that I was able to make the climbs on the road bike. Last year I had trouble climbing then even with the granny gears on my Epic.....and having the Defy I was forced to just spin what I had...and I took advice from a teammate (Dave W.) and I just put my nose on the bar and spun as hard as I could. The hills are always tough. This year, I look at them differently. I wasn't seeing the hills as long and nasty, but as tolerable. I guess not suffering as much is helpful.

We rode a modified loop. Taking the normal course to M-43 and then just staying on M-43 until we picked the course back up. About 26 miles of hills, ice, dirt, and snow. And friends. Always fun to ride and be NOT LAZY with friends. We just plugged away for a few hours and got back to the car. For once, I wasn't the last person back to the parking lot. I won't call out who it was....just felt good that it wasn't me for a change!

Got the bike cleaned up and rode the trainer last night. Unfortunately my ride got cut short by a flat tire....yes...on the trainer....it happens. HA. I must have pinched the tube when I put my trainer tire back on last night. I was at nearly an hour and I noticed my pedaling was way easier. Then the tire started to slip. Very odd feeling. What sucks...is that I was feeling really good and wanted to keep going. Still, a solid hour of recovery after a Barry Roubaix ride was probably for the best.

Barry Roubaix in less than 3 weeks. Lowell 50 in less than 5 weeks. Just glad I might be able to ride the Defy as long as conditions are suitable. I don't have the mud clearance that a cross bike would offer. I have just enough clearance for the CX tires. HA! 

So, just going to keep plugging away. Feeling good. Staying positive. Enjoying life.