Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick update. As you can see, I am making a few changes to the blog. I have updated some of the information for the 2011 season. Please come back frequently to keep up with all of the changes as they happen. At this time I have been checking out the up coming race schedule, and have been selecting events that I would like to participate in this year.

As for the training, it is going pretty well. Since it has been VERY cold out, and I am still trying to completely get use to it, I have been splitting up my workouts. I start out the day with 20 miles on the trainer, then go outside for the final 25-30 miles. This has worked well so far, and after the holiday season I will move outside even more. On a bright note, on Sunday about 30 people met out at camp Alexander for a nice warm trail ride. For some reason that day the temperatures jumped up to around 50 degrees. I was a great time playing around in the warm sun. I just hope that we get a few more of these in the near future.

On a final note, I would like to wish everybody Merry Christmas. Have a Blessed time, and remember the less fortunate. Take the time to be a blessing to someone. Be safe, and I will see you all on the other side!

Peace Out!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yea, I am still here

Well, I am still here! I have no excuses for the lack of posts except that I have been extremely lazy. Not a whole lot has happened since the last post. The last couple of mountain bike races that I was wanting to do, didn't happen due to a few unfortunate circumstances. As a result I started to rack up miles on the cross bike.

Since I began to get bored with the training already, I decided to get myself into a couple of gravel road races. The first was the Freedom Fest Bike Race for veterans day. It was a low key race but it was a lot of fun! Team High Gear was well represented. When the race began, Matt Brown and I got into an early break. It was really windy that day, and we working well together all morning. As an end result we decided to come across the finish line together of the tie for first. It was an honor to work with Matt that day, and to learn a few tricks of the trade from the master himself.Two weeks later a bunch of us went down to Tawanda to do another gravel road race. It was the final race of the Big Ring series. It was once again a very windy day. On the way down I was talking to Matt Brown, and discussing a few possible strategies for the day. At this race, it was a course that included five laps. The beginning of the lap was the hilliest section, and included the heavy head winds. The second and forth sections were a cross wind, and the third section was the tail wind.

On the first leg of the first lap people were really jumpy and jocking for position. I was trying to stay safe up at the front. When we made the first turn into a cross wind, I decided to take the front and apply a little pressure to thin out the group a bit, and to wear some of the energy off of some of the others. In this section we were not able to get an advantage riding in the group due to wind direction. By the time we got to the next turn I looked back to see that the only person with me was Jed Sampsel. With the wind at our backs I decided to try to keep the pace high still to see what happens. By the time we got to the final section I looked back again and there was a definite gap!

At that time I decided to try to turn it into a individual time trial and see if I could hold them all off, and if I could not, I knew that Matt Brown and Tim Mohn were back there in good shape, resting, and they could be ready to take over from there. As the race progressed the gap continued to grow, and I was lucky enough to go solo off of the front. When I crossed the finish line I felt like I got in some good work that day, and the Garmin showed that the average on that day was 19.8mph. When it was all said and done Emporia went 1-2-3, with Matt Brown taking second and Tim Mohn taking third.
The people down in the Witchita area are REALLY nice, and they put on a great race. All of us from Emporia had a great time, and felt like they all went out of there way to take care of us. The hospitality was greatly apperciated. We are looking forward to going down there again next year to participate again. If you are into gravel, keep your eyes open for this series, you will not be disappointed.

Well that catches you all up for now. I want to thank Matt down at High Gear, and all of the sponsors for such an awesome opportunity this past year! I am now preparing for the new season. I am really excited for 2011. Their are some awesome things that are in the making for the up coming year, and as things evolve I will keep you all posted.
The new race bike has arrived, and has been fitted and adjusted, and all I have to say is, WOW I am really looking forward to riding this thing next summer! It is an AWESOME machine that High Gear has hooked me up with this coming season. It is a Trek, Gary Fisher Collection, HiFi Pro, and it is loaded! If you are looking for a good bike, go down to High Gear and have Matt hook you up with a HiFi. They are the best bike that I have ever ridden. you will not be disappointed.

I will leave you with a few little nuggets of information. Yes, I will be joining the 2011 High Gear Cyclery, Inc. / Trek Midwest Regional Team this coming year. This year we will also be working in conjunction with World Bicycle Relief, Living Water, and Numana to raise awareness for these great non-profit organizations. More than a billion people in the world live on less than a dollar a day and I would not call it living….more like suffering. Some 26,500 children die everyday because of the lack of basic needs. World Bicycle Relief, Living Water, and Numana are working in many third world countries trying to provide a better life for those in need. We are going to be representing them in hopes of raising awareness.

Well, that is all that I am going to give you for now. If you want more information, and to keep up with the winter training tune back in. I promiss that I will update regularly! Until then.

Peace Out!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Back in the saddle!

Well, it has been a while since I have updated this thing. The last month or so has been slow, but things are now beginning to pick up. I spent the month of July riding and training in the heat. I have been experimenting on ways to keep cool on those days that reach triple digits. I now have a few secret weapons in the arsenal that have been tested and work pretty well. The will be unveiled in good time.

This past weekend was a race at Perry lake. One of my favorite trails in Kansas. Four days before the race, I went up their to preride the course, and to just enjoy spending some time on some quality single track. It was a blast! I got there about 11:30am, and met Lelan There! He was just pulling in from New York. We had a hot, but great time riding a few laps and catching up.

On Sunday the two of us rode up there together to meet up with a bunch of other emporians. We saw, Tom Hayden, Jed Sampsel, Ann Maree Garett, Randy Smith, Garret Seacat and teammates Dusti Saposi and Aarone Elwell. It was great to hang out with everybody for the day.As for the Race, it went pretty well. I was able to hang with the fast group for most of the first lap, but the pace was a little high for me to hold for the entire race, so I backed it off a little and hoped that someone would blow up. but no suck luck. These traditional cross country races are pretty much a suffer fest.

In the end I finished fourth, and was content with that. Their was quite a strong field that day, and the first three finishers were just plain fasted than I was. In the end Doug Long (National Champion just a couple of years ago) won. Man is he fast for our age!

Well check back soon. The second half of the season is just getting started, and I am working on getting a little fasted. Plus, their are some really good endurance races still to come. Until next time.

Peace Out!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Got Nothin Here?

Well, I don't have a lot for you. The past month has been extremely quiet. I was going to do a race on fathers day up at Perry lake, but it had to be rescheduled due to rain. It will be made up on August 1.

My big July race, and the race of the season, I was unable to get into. I was really looking forward to getting into the Firecracker 50 again this year, on the 4th of July, in Breckenridge. The problem was, they opened registration early this year, and when I went to go check on it, it had already been filled, and there were about 150 people on the waiting list. BUMMER! On the 4th, Shelley and I were sitting around Emporia wishing that we were their.

July is a slow month for racing. I have just been putting in miles, and working on a heat management plan. I have been experimenting with a few things that will be discussed later. Action will pick up in a couple of weeks, and I am really looking forward to it. Things on the agenda: Perry Lake on August 1, and of course, the next endurance event will be "Rapture In Misery"! You got to love that one. It is permanently o my calendar.

On one last note, since the firecracker 50 didn't happen, I have been looking to pick up on another pretty big endurance race some where. When it has been decided, it will be announced here first! Keep an eye out, the racing action will begin for the fall in just a couple of weeks, and the updates will become more regular. Until next time, try to stay cool, and get out and ride your bike!

Peace Out!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bitter sweet.

Well, this past weekend was a roller coaster of emotions for me. It was Dirty Kanza 200 (DK)weekend. This is probably on of the toughest one day events around, and one that I use to motivate me to train all winter for. Due to the magnitude of the event you need to put in thousands of long miles on the bike training. On those cold, dead of winter mornings, the thought of the dirty kanza can get me out the door.
The DK has become one of the premiere ultra endurance events in the country, and one that I have a love/hate relationship with. It will test not only a persons physical, but also their mental abilities. A rider will go through a gamete of emotions throughout the course of the LONG day. After last years death march I almost did not enter. The first time I did the event, it was perfect conditions to do an undertaking of this sort. Because I did so sell the first year (10th after getting lost and putting in an extra 17 miles), I went into last year not giving the event the respect that it deserved. Boy was that a mistake. I was so brutally beaten, that when it was over I swore that I was not going to do the event again. I began racing bikes some where around 1992-1993, and last years DK was the FIRST race I was unable to finish. I have always taken great pride in finishing what I had started.

Well, when winter set in, the talk of the DK began to swirl again. All fall, the fact of not finishing was really bothering me. The seed was planted. I think that the final thing that pushed me over to the dark side again was the fact that they added in a masters division for the first time! The theme of this summer has been the fact that I am turning 50, and this puts me into a new category of racing, and I am now the youngest kid out there again. That was it "I AM IN". Being the competitive person that I am, I really wanted to be the first person to win the masters division. Besides, I would not have to really compete against all of those young speedsters, right?
Jumping forward to this past weekend. I was psyched when race day came. I had put in TONS of hard miles, I was rested and strong, and I had a new, revised plan for the day. I was in the best condition I had ever been in for this race. I had a great hydration and feeding plan that would take me through the day, and even the support for the checkpoints were planed to perfection. I had this feeling deep inside that this was going to be the year! Lining up at the start line at 6:00am in front of the Granada was something. About 170 of the top ultra endurance racers from around the country were here. They had come literally from all for corners of the country to throw it down.
(Me and Garret before the race)
The plan. If their is a break right away....let them go, and ride at a controlled pace so that you don't burn all of the candles early. Well, as usual, after the police escort to the first gravel, as soon as we hit the gravel....the hammer fell. It took all the will power that I had to not run with them, but thought better of it. What was helpful was that team High Gear was well represented. The wind was already pretty strong out of the south, and we had 30-40 miles into the headwind to start the day. It was GREAT to ride with most of the team to start the race, and it was extremely helpful. When the dust settled a little, the lead group was up the road pretty good, but still in sight. The next group was almost the same distance behind us......and team high gear intact some where in the middle.

As we approached the first big climb we saw quite a few riders already fixing flats. At mile ten we were going up the first hill, entering the flint hills. By the time we got to the first minimal maintenance road we were already passing some of the riders that had fallen off of the wheel of the lead group. We were working well together until Chris Wiggins flatted at about mile 15, and he was gone for the day. The plan was the he was going to work with us until the first check point. Next up, we turned east for the long climb that ended in the first open grazing area for the day. Before we reached the top passing between the two towers we had passed quite a few other riders who had already blown up, and were fading back.

Once we topped the hill, the next 5-8 miles to the east were a blast. Nothing like high speeds through the open grazing range to get the Adrenalin going. About a couple of miles into this section we saw Troy Krouse. It looked like he was fixing a flat, but later heard the "REAL" story.
Once we left over the last cattle guard of this open grazing section, Matt Brown took the front! For the next 15-20 miles Matt did the "Monster Pull"! He berried himself, and literally pulled the team south to the next open grazing range, across the verdigris, up the long climb to the southern most tower where we made the turn to go west, and then north to the first check point. From that point he dropped off. He was only going to go to the first check point and drop. He needed to get back to the shop for the day, and was looking for some high intensity for the morning. Boy, did he get it. A huge thanks goes out to Matt for the extremely hard work that he put in.
(Coming into the first check point)
Now the lead High Gear group was down to three (Garret, Tim and me), and flying with the tail wind into the first check point. We arrived just a couple of minutes before 9:30. As we were pulling into the town, I was looking for the Jeep, with Shelley. She was the support crew for the day. As I reached the park I say her, and a HUGE surprise (the first of the weekend), my mother was with her. She had come from Colorado to surprise me! I could not believe it.

(My mother at the first check point)

Even though I wanted to stay and visit, their was a race to tend to. With a quick refill of the water, Garret, Tim and I were off to leg two. As we were rolling through Cottonwood falls, Garret told us that he was told that we were running in the top 15 riders after the first stop. AWESOME! The next few miles were a long paved climb which was uneventful leading to Elmdale. We crossed highway 50 and started heading to Diamond Springs. We were still rolling well, and I was feeling strong. After about another 5 miles Garret got unhooked and fell off of our wheel.

The rest of the run into check point two at Council Grove, Tim and I worked together and picked off a few more riders who were beginning to fall off pace due to the heat. As we pulled into the park in Council Grove it was straight up noon, and I heard that I was in fifth place at that time! Wow, this is unexpected. I had no plan to run with the leaders that day, but was feeling great. Once again I met up with Shelley and my mom. I took a little more time at this check, but did not want to stay to long.

(Coming into the second check point)
While there, I had two sandwiches made with a bagel with ham on it, some orange slices and three diet Pepsi's. I also switched kits. Nothing like fresh bib's, jersey, socks and chamois butter to refresh yourself for the second half. While I was changing Tim had took off to get a jump on some of the field. I was at check point two for about 30 minutes.

(Changing the kit for the second half)

When rolling out of town I was feeling great. Cruising well, and excited. When I was hitting the next gravel section I realized something. I did not have my gloves! To late to turn back. In front of me a saw Salsa riders together. I was gaining on them, and was excited, because these guys are studs! No sooner than I got by them, I was cruising along, and I heard them yelling at me, but could not tell what they were saying because I had the music turned up pretty loud. After a few seconds I looked back. I saw them going down a different road? I back tracked to the last corner and their was a trailer parked in front of the turning mark! I had missed it because of the trailer, and the Salsa riders saved me! BIG thanks to them for being so cool about it.

I was rolling again. Still feeling good, I was cruising over the pretty large rollers. next I saw the sign, "Little Egypt"! As I was rolling through the sharp climbs and working hard, I was taking note that this was pretty extreme for this point into the race, but was still feeling good. Then is happened! The dreaded flat tire. It was the front, so it was not to bad. As I was in the middle of the change, the Salsa guys came by again. They asked me if I was in need of anything. I told them that I was fine, and they rolled on. Talk about some class guys. They are the type that give their team a great name. Appreciate you guys!

Once I finished, I made the next climb, and their it was. A steep downhill with really large rocks with huge ruts, which one was right down the middle! After picking myself through this section it smoothed out, and it was a quick trip into Alma. Check point three! I rolled into the last check point at straight up 3:00pm. I found my support crew again, and pulled up a seat. Tim had been their for just a couple of minutes and was toweling off to try to cool down. By this time it was starting to get really hot! Dusti and Joel told me that I was in the top ten (not exactly sure where), and leading the masters! I was just where I wanted to be!

I was still feeling good. The legs felt strong, and I had good energy! All day I had been drinking 100oz. and two water bottles of nuun between every check point, and a accel-gel every ten miles. I had also had two bagel sandwiches, a bunch of orange slices and a third of a baggie of cashews. I was in a good spot. I sat their for about 20 minutes. Had more orange slices, part of another sandwich and a couple more cold diet Pepsi's. At that point I refilled the fluids and was ready to take off when I looked up. There was Troy Krouse. He looked awful! He was bleeding from the elbow, his whole upper leg was nothing but a huge road rash, and his jersey was trashed and torn at the shoulder. I thought that he crashed on little Egypt. He looked like he was a goner. I found out later the when I saw him early in the race, he did not have a flat tire, he had just crashed. This guy had rode the last 120 miles in this condition! What a stud!

I took off at about 3:30 and started heading for Eskridge. Once out of town, the hills started up again. First they were short and pretty steep, but once out of the trees they began to get longer and longer. About 4:00 it happened again. A front flat tire. Off the bike I got and changed it up again. At this point I was down to one more spare, and that made me a little nervous. When I got back on the bike, I started back up and rode for a couple of more miles and then the wheels began to fall off of the wagon. At mile 150, out of no where, it hit me. I could not cool down! I was seriously over heating. Back in the mid 90's I was doing another long gravel race, and experienced a heat stroke. Ever since then I have not been able to handle the extreme heat. At mile 150 I felt something bad coming on. I was looking for the closest tree, but their was not one to be found. I rode a little further and found a single tree by the side of the rode in the middle of no where. I pulled up under it and just stood there.

I layed my head on my handlebars, and closed my eyes. My head was spinning, and I could not cool down. After about 15 or so minutes I heard something and looked back. It was Tim! It was so good to see him. We stood under the tree for about 5 minutes saying how it might not have been such a good idea to have left the last check point. Then he left. I watched him turn the corner, and begin to head up this REALLY LONG hill heading south, and their was not a tree to be seen on it. After he got about a quarter the way up it I decided that it would be best to keep moving and try to make it to Eskridge so I could cool down at the store there.

I pressed on. Up the big hill, and down. From their it was nothing but a series of climbs, and the heat was really cooking me. At somewhere about mile 156-157 I was in trouble. At the top of the hill their was a couple of trees. I got to them. At that point I dropped the bike at the side of the road, Took off my helmet, gloves, camelback, shoes and socks. I sat their in the middle of the road for at least an hour. I was soooo overheated. I was ready to throw up, I was really dizzy. and disoriented. After an hour, I was passed by a number of riders, and I was not able to cool down at all. I knew that I was in trouble. I needed to get up, and get into Eskridge.

I rolled really slow for a couple of miles, and turned a corner. I say a silver SUV! As I approached, at the back I saw Tim in a chair, and looking bad. I pulled over. IT was Scott O'Mara and his wife! They were trying to cool him down. I guess he was also sitting on the side of the rode under a tree, and he had thrown up three times and could not eat or drink anything. He has said that he thought that I had dropped out. I told him, no, but I was now! I sat down on the back of Scott's car. They gave me a bunch of cold Gatorade and water and began to cool me also with ice water. Just then my cell phone went off, and it was a facebook update. It said that Mike marchand, last years winner, had dropped out at Eskridge. He said that his legs just quit, and that "you can only do what you can"! That was the sign from God that told me that it was time to pull the plug! That was mile 160.

At that time it was time to make "The call". All the training, plans, and expectations were about to end. This is the hardest call a person can make. I first tried to call Shelley. It took me about 5-10 minutes to try to figure out how to open the phonebook of my phone to call her. That is how cooked my brain was. Then I called Jim. It was official. DNF! Scott loaded me into the SUV and took me into Eskridge to wait for Shelley. The town was like a war zone. Carnage everywhere!

Through my years of Dirty Kanza experience I have learned some important life lessons. First, all of the preparation and planing you do is all good and well. It teaches you discipline, and a person is capable to achieve great things in life. You can come into the something more than ready to take on the world, but their are some things that are just out of your control. I have also learned that was I have gotten older, that a person needs to exercise wisdom in making important decision. Don't just blindly forge forward. As a warrior, it is important to be able to clearly decide when it is OK to forge on, and when you need to cut your losses and live to fight another day.

This was a very frustrating thing for me to go through mentally. At the end of the day, my legs felt strong, I had plenty of energy to finish, but the heat did me in. It became a health issue. I have been asked if I would do it again? The answer........heck yea! You cannot keep me from the starting line next year! I have unfinished business to take care of!

Now for the final "UP" for the weekend. The next morning I was feeling physically well, but was upset that I did not finish the race this year. It is something that has only happened to me twice in my racing career. My wife Shelley told my to just relax that day! Go over to the hotel and have a nice visit with my mother. She had traveled all the way from Colorado to see me, and I had spent the entire day before on the bike. I knew that she was right.

She told me to check back with her around 1:00, and maybe we all could have a late lunch and relax. I agreed. Around 1:00 my mother told me that she would like to see the house that our oldest daughter had recently bought, so we left their room. As we approached, we got a call from Shelley telling us that we should come and have lunch.

As we approached our house, I saw that their were a lot of cars. I started looking at them, and started to recognize the cars. We turned the corner, and my back yard was filled with people. Shelley had planned a surprise birthday party for me, for my 50th birthday!

(Surprise number two, the party)
The yard was filled with ALL of my friends from church, and cycling. I was humbled! I came to realize what a Blessed person I was. To have all of these people do this for me, and to pull off two huge surprises in the same weekend without me knowing of either of them. Shelley had even took flyer's down to the bike shop to Matt and Stephanie to help her, and it was a secret down their. To say the least, I am still touched.

Through this all I have come to realize that I am truly a blessed man. I have a job that I love. God has given me this opportunity to go all over the country and do something that I am passionate about....riding my bike, and my life is fill with a lot of people that truly care about me. What else can a old man from Kansas ask for.
Well, this has been an EPIC post, and I will let you go for today. I hope that everyone has the chance to get out these up coming weeks and ride your bikes, and enjoy the beautiful summer. Until next time.

Peace Out!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nothing....but a lot of stuff.

Well, I thought that I was due for a new post even though I have not done a race since the Wilson Lake Fat Tire Festival. Things have not gone like I was expecting. I thought that I was going to pile on tons of miles in preparation of the DK 200. But, as we all know, plans can change quickly. To make a long story short, the first week of May I got a deep muscle bruise in my left quadriceps. It was so bad, that I could hardly walk, and could not pedal my bike. Since we were about a month from the DK, I was quite concerned, thinking that this could possible take me out of the race. This would be a HUGE disaster.

Since the bruise was SO bad, I decided that my best bet was to just get completely off of the bike to heal as quickly as possible. So, I was taken completely off of the bike for almost two weeks! In retrospect, I think that this was a blessing in disguise. As you all know, I tend to over train, and looking back, I was starting to show signs of over training. I was not really enjoying the rides, and I was always tired at work, and was having a hard time staying awake. I think that it was from doing two races that kept me on the bike for 6-7 hours, and then another race that took almost 3 hours, All within a month. On top of this I was putting in some long training rides. A hand full of them that were 6 hours in length. I was just worn out.

After two weeks off, I was feeling REALLY good! My energy was back, and I was so happy to be back on the bike. The question now was.....what about your fitness? I was concerned that I had lost enough to jeopardize my chances at the DK. I started off slow the first couple of rides. It felt like I did not have any power, and could only go for 2-3 hours. Had three of these and took a day off for family obligations. Then I came back last week, and things had seemed to turn around. For the next five days, I would have longer and stronger rides. The excitement was now returning. The remaining question was, can I go long?
After a really good week of training, I was in need of a true test to see where I really was in recovery and endurance. So, this brought me to two weeks before the DK. I had five great days in a row, so, I decided to take another day off and then see if I could still go long. I took last Saturday off for our youngest grand daughters birthday, and then I went out Sunday for a solo gravel century. I was a bit nervous, it was REALLY windy and the plan was to do the first leg of last years DK, refill the water in Cottonwood Falls, and then do the last leg of the previous years DK. This would give me a little over 100 miles. All in all it went great. Since I was solo, I promised the wife that I would take it easy. I rode within myself, and finished the day just short of the seven hour mark. When I got off of the bike I felt great! I was still feeling strong. That afternoon/evening we went around town to all of the High School Graduation party's, and I was fine. Enough so, that the next morning I got up and went for a pretty hard 50 before work. At the end I was still feeling good.

SO, the DK is still a go! Looks like the time off of the bike was a blessing in disguise. I am feeling strong, and have really good energy. Just got the cross bike back. I sent it into the shop for a day to get worked over for the race. Replaced the cassette, rings, chain and put new rubber on! It is officially a go! And since the hot topic seems to be tire selection, I am running a Bontrager XR1 29X1.9 up front, and a Bontrager XDX 29X1.75 in the back. Since I have been spoiled with full suspension, I am wanting to soften up the ride for the 200 miles. Well, check back some time after June 5, for a race report. If you are in the area, come on out to witness an awesome race. The level of competition this year is extremely high. Until next week!

Peace Out!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fat Tire Festival

Well, the Wilson Lake Fat Tire Festival is in the books. This past Sunday, almost the entire Team High Gear showed up at Wilson lake for the fun. It was our last opportunity to see Cameron for a while, since the next day he was going to start his new job in Colorado Springs. Team High Gear was by far the larges represented team with Aaron, Matt, Stephanie, Garret, Bobby, Randy, Dustin, Dusti and myself present. It was an awesome site.

Below is a link to a really cool video that one of the riders shot with his helmet cam in the race! Check it out.

As usual, the course was awesome. It is by far, the best trail system within a days drive from home, and for this reason along it is worthy of the trip. Also, because of the fact that the Chamber's family was putting on the race, you knew that it would be a quality event, and would be stacked with many of the best riders from the region.
This was my first traditional cross country race of the year. I like to concentrate mostly on the endurance races, because I like the pace much better. As I get older, the slightly slower pace of the endurance races are much more comfortable. The traditional races are at such HIGH intensity, it is difficult for me to get it up that high for any period of time, and besides that, it inflicts a great amount of pain on the human body.

To make a long story short, even though it was the usual trip to the pain cave, it was a blast for the day! The weather, perfect. The course, challenging, fun and perfect. How did the team do? As expected, Aaron won the overall, and the rest of the team finished high in their respective divisions. As for me, even though I lost contact with the fast group I finished 2nd in my division.This weekend is mothers day, so I will not be racing in St. Joe, but hanging out with the family! The month of May looks a bit thin as far as racing goes, so it is looking like the Dirty Kanza might be next on the schedule. Nothing like a 200 miler! It looks like I need to be putting a LOT of miles in on the cross bike in the next few weeks. I think that is going to be the bike of choice for this particular event. Well, that is it for now. Keep checking back for the newest 411!

Peace Out!

Monday, April 26, 2010

What's New?

Well, I finally got around to updating. Riding has been going well. I have split the time between the cross bike and the mountain bike. I spend half of my time going pretty long on the cross bike for Dirty Kanza training, and tossing in a couple of trail rides to keep some level of skill. Last weekend was race number two on the year. A bunch of us went up to Smithville lake, north of Kansas City for the Bone Bender. It was a 6 hour mountain bike race. The course was in excellent shape, and it was a lot of fun. I was quite surprised by the number of riders that showed up for this event. It is only the second year for this race, and it was reported that there was around 300 riders! The event started with the traditional Lamond's start. I got my usual terrible start for this type of race which made for a very congested first lap. After the first lap I settled down into a nice pace for the day, and felt Strong until the finish. I noticed that their was a noticeable improvement in my fitness from the first race, and was quite happy with the people that I was surrounded with at the finish of the day. After a long afternoon on the bike, I put down two NOS before the trip home, and boy, they put some fuel into the tank and the ride home was a breeze. If things continue the way that they are, I should end up being a pretty good season. Up next on that schedule is the Wilson Lake Fat Tire Festival this weekend. It is always a great event that is held on some of the most awesome trails within a day's drive from home. Their is also a high level of competition, due to the face that the Chambers family puts on this event.
I am still trying to get some quality miles in for the Dirty Kanza coming up on June 5. The event has grown to the point that their is a elite field that show up to toe the line. I am really excited to see what I can let loose that day, now that I will be competing in the Masters 50+ division. Stay tuned to see how things progress!

Peace Out!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

No News

Well, their is not much going on this past week. Since Arkansas, I have just been getting in some regular miles. It took about a week to totally recover, but since then things have been good.

I am starting to get excited. This coming weekend a lot of us Team High Gear members are going to Smithville Missouri to the Bone Bender 3/6. Looking at the weather, it looks like it will be dry with the temperatures in the mid 60's. Quite nice for this time of the year!

Should be able to get some good mileage in the legs for the Dirty Kanza that is coming up June 5! Oh yea, the new kits came in this past week and they are REALLY sweet!!! Shawn down at IM Designs always does a super cool job. Check back next week for the results of the bone bender, and pictures of the new kits! Till then, get out and enjoy the awesome weather!

Peace Out!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Well, here we go again. The same old song and dance......I am just plain LAZY about updates! Having a lot of fun on the bike lately though. A bunch of us Team High Gear members went to Arkansas for the Ouachita Challenge last weekend. Being the first race of the season, you just don't know what to expect. For the most part the team did well. As for myself, I felt good the entire day, and felt like except for on little error, I rode well on the day, climbing sections that I was not able to climb last year, and actually feeling good when I crossed the finish line, unlike last year when I was totally trashed!
I am a little confused about my performance. When I crossed the line I felt like I did really good. When looking at the numbers the next day, they were OK, but not what I was expecting to see. As for the course, it was 5 miles longer with 400+ more feet of climbing. My average speed was pretty much what it was last year. My average heart rate last year was 163, this year it was 160. The big difference was in the final placing. Last year I placed better, but I was still in the top 50%. I think part of it was the field was extremely stacked with HIGH quality riders. The plan was to keep a closer eye on what zone I was working in for the day so I did not hit the wall again. I was able to do this. Could I have worked harder on some of the climbs? Probably. Could I have been able to place better? Maybe. But that is all water under the bridge. The main thing is that I felt good about myself out their, and rode strongly this year. I am content with what happened, and look forward to returning next year. This is one kick butt race, and am up to giving it a try again.
As for the rest of the team, Aaron Elwell was a BEAST. He crushed it on the day, and just missed out on a sprint finish to finish third on the day! That is awesome considering the riders that were their. Garret and Tim also did extremely well, placing around the top 50 riders on the day! Dusti did well also placing in the top 74, and Dustin and Randy were right their with me putting in a good showing. Especially Dustin. He did the race on a rigid single speed! Don't know how he was able to pull that one off.

Well, their are a couple of more race opportunities that are coming up in the next couple of weeks. Both within a few hours drive from here, and I an looking forward to getting in a little more work in on the local scene! Check back again for the newest 411!

Peace Out!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The OC....and this's and that's

Well, I have returned! You may ask, why has it took so long, is it because you were busy....partially. Was it because I was lazy? For the most part. Since it has been a while since the last post it may seem like I am rambling. Well, that is kind of what will be going on for the most part. Their is a lot of ground to cover in a short period of time.

To begin with, I have been fine tuning everything for the Ouchita Challenge . As for the training, in the last week and a half I have shortened the time on the bike, but increased the intensity. It has been going pretty good. This week I am taking it pretty easy to rest the body a little, and I am in the process of fine tuning the bike, and gear for the big trip to Arkansas. We will be leaving on Friday morning!
As for the bike, I have replaced the chain, cassette, and all three chain rings. I have also just put on some new tires to try out. They are the Bontrager Mud X TLR 29. I chose these tires because they are specifically designed for muddy conditions, the Mud X's dual compound tread is suppose to be fast rolling and provide exceptional grip on wet roots and rocks, which is what this course is all about. They are also tubeless ready, So I will be running them with Stan's. I have a new wheel set ordered that I had hoped to use, but only the front rim has showed up so far, so this will have to wait.
I have also been breaking in my new Bontrager RL Mountain shoe, my awesome new Trek Circuit Helmet, and some new Bontrager Rhythm Comp gloves. So far I really love the new gear! The BIG test will come this weekend.
Also, we are not going to have our new kits in time for this weekend, but news on the street is they will be here when we return from Arkansas! I can hardly wait. Shawn Honae down at IM Design Group has designed some super cool stuff for us this summer. If you know Shawn, he is the "MAN" when it comes to coolness! If you are in need, you need to go give him a visit.

In other news, a local scribe/photographer and fellow cyclist has just launched a new magazine! It is super cool, and you should take some time to check it out. The concept is about finding and pursuing adventure in your life. The main focus of the first issue is on cycling, and their are some awesome articles in their by well known local riders. The magazine is call the "Adventure Monkey". You can download the first issue for free here!
And if this is not enough news for you, I have one more thing......and it is REALLY big! High Gear Bike Shop is almost finished moving! On this past Saturday they closed their doors for the last time in their old shop, and moved all of their stuff to the new shop. it is huge....they have a lot more stuff.....they now have an official place to just hang out to visit....and the doors will be open this week! I am so excited I can hardly stand it. You really need to go down and check this place out. It is really awesome!

Well, My fingers are getting tired so I will let you go. Tune back in next week to see how team High Gear did at the OC! until then.

Peace Out!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Let the fun begin!

Well I am making an attempt to become more regular with the blog updates. This week has been a good one. I only had to ride the trainer once. All other days were spent outside. This makes for a very happy biker. It is still a little on the cool side, but the weather seems to be getting better, and the forecast for the upcoming week is very promising.

This week I began to throw a few mountain bike rides in to begin getting ready for the Ouchita Challenge in four weeks! It is so exciting to see the first race of the year quickly approaching. The rides have been good, and I have been able to pick up the mileage a little.

To top it off, their was a group ride yesterday. It was the largest of the year so far, which makes for a good time. Their was Matt, Garret, Chris, Randy, Jed, Tim, Jim came down from Lennexa, Dusti came from Maple Hill, Then a couple of new guys, Scott and Eric. For most of the day the pace was pretty chill and we all got to visit and catch up, then about mile 30 or so the pace stiffened and we got into a pace that produced a pretty good workout for the remainder of the ride.

This week I plan to put more miles on the mountain bike. Since each bike works you a little differently, I need to start getting use to the HiFi because the race season will be here before we know it.

The review for the week? My weapon of choice for this summer! The Gary Fisher HiFi Deluxe 29er. This is the most awesome bike that I have ridden in over a decade. If you are into the all day trail riding or endurance racing, you need to pick yourself up one of these! Is it the lightest bike? No. But many of the qualities that it does have, more than makes up for it.

As for climbing, it does a good job. I use to ride a GT Zaskar LE for a long time. It was a super light hardtail. You may find it hard to believe, but I feel that I can climb better with this bike. Sure the other bike was lighter, but with the 29 inch wheels, and the rear suspension, the rear wheel is glued to the trail. One of the problems with the other bike was the loss of momentum when you try to roll over things, and it was pretty easy to spin out on the steeper climbs. The HiFi is also extremely stable at low speeds, so you never feel like you are out of balance.

Going down hill their is no comparison. the 29er full suspension rules! In many races, I have come flying up behind other riders on a 26 in hard tail, and had to slam on the brakes, because they were getting thrown all over the place. Once you find a good passing place, they are nothing but a memory! You just let loose, and when you look back, they are no where to be seen.
Sure, you can find a lighter bike, but if you are into the long events, the comfort of the large wheels, and 100mm of travel front and rear make the day such a pleasure. Believe me, what you might sacrifice in weight in the climb, you more than make up for when you point your bike down hill, and the fatigue that you are spared from, by not getting beat to death on the trail.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Slow again

Well, It has been a while since the last post, again! No excuses, I have just been a lazy bum. Things have been going well and their is very little to report on. The training is going well, but I am beginning to get a little bored. I have at least been able to get outside quite a bit lately. On Thursday it was so dry that I actually saw a little dust on me after a nice gravel road ride. I was really looking forward to getting out on the trails for a little ride, but then, the next day it rained all day, snowed on Saturday and Sunday, and everything is frozen again today. So much for the trails until at least the weekend. I am so ready for the racing season to begin.

In other news, The new High Gear bike shop is coming along nicely. I got a look at it on Sunday, and it is going to be really cool! I can hardly wait for it to open in 3-4 weeks from now. You will really need to go down and check it out. It is A LOT bigger than their old shop, and they are going to be caring a lot of new stuff. It is a major expansion.
Today's product review: the Bontrager's XDX. I used this tire the entire summer last year. I really love it. This is one of the best all around tires that I have ever used. It is a fast tire that performs well on a variety of terrain, Bontrager's XDX uses small, closely spaced, well supported knobs to deliver superb traction in loose or dry conditions. Siping on the outer knobs improves traction on wet, slick surfaces, and the Tubeless Ready technology lets you enjoy all the advantages of tubeless while saving nearly 100 grams per wheel. Some of my favorite features are the rounded profile, and the 2.1 width. these features allow the tire to glue itself to the ground, and is very easy to handle in tight fast corners.

Well, if the cold is getting to you, and you are in need of riding partners, you might like to try out a few of the spinning tires down at Emporia Fitness. My team mate Garret leads the class, and rumor has it that if you want, he could work your butt over pretty good. Might be something to look into until the thaw! until next week, stay warm, and keep the rubber side down.

Peace Out,

Monday, February 8, 2010

Let the LONG miles begin!!!

Well, I have once again been a little slow with the post. Sorry, but I have been extremely busy finishing up a project on my house. But, I am happy to announce that it is done, and I can focus all of my efforts to training!

Since my last post about a week and a half ago, I have been able to keep up with the training pretty much, despite all of the construction. Even with all of the business I have been able to get in 2-3 hours a day on the bike. The only problem is that I have only been outside a couple of times. Now that I will be having all of this free time I can start getting out pretty much every day. I will be able to finally start getting in some much needed LONG rides! The clock is ticking, and we now have 7 weeks until the Ouchita Challenge! I am really starting to get excited.

Some good news, team kits have been ordered, and are going to be really cool. They should get in about a week before the first race!
The final order of business for the day is the product review. This week I am going to talk about the Trek XO1. It is an cyclocross race bike, but I use it pretty much for training since I don't race cylcocross. The XO1 is an awesome bike. It is pretty much a road bike on steroids. It is great for many reasons. First, when conditions are bad, you can put on some skinny tires and use it as a road bike. The geometry, and drive train (cassette, rings, derailleurs, shifters, etc.) are the same as a road bike, so you can get out and put in some quality miles and not have to worry about mud.
Second, unlike a road bike you can take this bike on gravel roads, and even a little off road riding, as long as it is not to extreme. I love to take this bike out on some REALLY long gravel road grinders! All you have to do is put on some knobbies and you are ready for some action. This bike has some off road brakes, welded instead of lugged, and has better tire clearance so you can use some wider wheels. The beauty of gravel roads is the lack of cars. I can head out into the flint hills into the middle of no where on the gravel and minimal maintenance roads and not see a can for literally hours.

If you are wanting to put in some quality training, and not deal with cars, and not wear out your nice race bike, I would recommend that you go down to High Gear and have Matt hook you up with one of these! They are awesome. I know that for the next 4-5 weeks, I an going to put some serious mileage on mine. Until next week, train hard, and keep warm out there.

Peace out!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

WOW, 2 Weeks

Well, it has been two weeks since the last up date. Sorry, but you know the saying, I have been busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest! Besides work, I have been trying to get some regular training, and doing a project around my house before spring rolls around. I have some renovation that needs to be done before I am released to the racing season. Shelley and I both know that if it doesn't get done before the race season is hear, I will not get done this year.

The past couple of weeks I have been refinishing a ceiling in our living room, painting the living room, and laying wood floors in the living room and entry. I now need to repair the walls in the dining room, and put the new wood floors in there also. The dining room will not take nearly as long. In my estimates, maybe a week.

On the training side, I have been able to get outside some lately. A couple of gravel rides, and the other weekend there was a team training ride. Because of a meeting I was a little late, but met up with them just before Council Grove. It was nice to get out with others. Their was myself along with Matt Brown, Garret Seacat, Chris Wiggins, Jed Samsel, Lyle Reidy, Rand Smith, Bobby Wintle, Dusti Sopoci and Eric Benjamin. It was an awesome day to ride! Pretty warm, and the sun was shining. The following week I got a couple of quality hours a day, and worked on my projects. This past weekend I was unable to get on a bike due to the flooring project, but I got a lot accomplished.

This week has been nice. I have been able to get back out on the bike, and take a little break from the project. This coming weekend....possibly a group ride on Sunday, weather permitting, and start on the last room to get fixed for the year. Then, RACE SEASON CAN COMMENCE!

Review of the week? Since I am at work, and I have the pictures with me, I will review one of my favorite training tools. The Garmin 705. Since I got it a couple of years ago, I have become truly addicted and dependant on it. It this point, I don't know what I would do with out it. This little device can do everything!
Every ride, on the main screen I track speed, time on the bike, heart rate, cadence, distance, total ascent, heading and have a clock. It also tracks the route, and places it on a map so you know exactly where you were, and where you are at! All of the tracking is done by satellite, and you can look at it on Google Earth. You can also punch in where you would like to go, and it will tell you exactly where you need to turn to get there.

One other cool feature that I use on occasion is, I can track the vital statistics on the trainer! It has a handy dandy sensor on the chain stay, and a magnet for the wheel, is on those bad days, you can hook up to the trainer, and still track your speed, time on the bike, heart rate cadence, and distance, because the magnet is on the rear wheel! This thing is SLICK.
Well this thing is getting long, so I am going to let you go for this week. Check back next week to see how the project ends up, how training is going (8 weeks to the first race), and a bike review! I think since it is still winter, I will review the Trek XO next week. Remember, train hard, and keep the rubber side down.

Peace Out!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Welcome to the Mid West!

First off, Matt Brown, down at the highgear bike shop has made the "Official" announcement of this years team! I would like to say that it is a honor to be riding for Highgear this year with so many awesome riders. Matt has assembled an extremely strong team this year. It is truely impressive. I am humbled to think that I will be riding with some of these riders. I have a list of the great sponsors in the right hand column, along with the team roster. Please take some time to look it all over.
Next - Riding! I have finally been released to the outside. The roads have been cleared enough to get some gravel road rides in, and for the next week, the temperatures are suppose to get into the 40's! IN THE 40's!!! The gravel has been a blast, but with the temperatures come massive thawing. Because of this, tomorrow I will be putting road tires on the cross bike. By the weekend off road is going to be a real mess, so I am going to the road while things dry out a bit. The pictures above are from my ride this morning. Since I knew that I needed to update the blog today I stopped to take these pictures so that you could see the fun that was being had! I saw a lot of this today!
In other news, On Sunday I got entered into the Dirty Kanza 200! The entries filled in less that 12 hours this year. It is turning into one of the premier event of the year. I am very excited to participate in it this year. They have added a master's division, and this year I have qualified for this particular division, so, it will be awesome to participate in this division in the first year that It will be offered.

Now for the final business for the day. Last week I mentioned that I was going to offer a product review, so hear is the first installment. I thought that I would start with something seasonal specific. A few weeks ago, My beautiful wife got tire of listening to me complain about cold hands, and how my old gloves were so worn out, so she went down to Highgear bike shop and talked to Matt Brown.
As an end result I got this awesome pair of winter gloves by Trek. I was so excited, that I ripped into them, and forgot to get the name of them so I took a picture. They are by far, the best winter gloves that I have ever used, and are every bit as warm as mittens. They are made with Kevlar, and are wind resistant. I have now used them in temperatures that were in the single digits, with a wind chill below zero, and my fingers have NEVER gotten cold! In fact, using today as an example, when I started my ride, the temperature with the wind chill was 11 degrees. I rode for about an hour, and then stopped to take the above pictures. when I stopped to take the picture my gloves were soaked with sweat. I was a little concerned when they were wet, and I was putting them on, but my fingers never once got cold.
If you get the chance run down to Highgear bike shop, don't walk RUN as quick as you can and get a pair that look like these. If you don't live close to Emporia, go down to your local Trek dealer and pick up a pair, you will not be disappointed! Until next time, get out and train hard, and enjoy the nice weather that is to come this week.

Peace Out!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Welcome to my hood!!!

Well, it's a dry heat! What can I say. Since my last post winter has really set in quickly, and brutally. I have only been able to get outside a couple of times. Not because of the cold, but because all of the snow has made the roads unusable. I have been able to stay consistent, but I have not had anything longer than two hours due to the mind numbing that riding a trainer has on a person.

I have been stuck in the pain cave for over a week, and the rest of this week doesn't look to be any better.

We are expecting more snow today, with a wind chill of possibly 25-30 degrees below zero through the rest of the week. I am praying for a warm up next week so that when I get back to my normal work schedule I can return to the outside and get in some longer rides. The first race of the season is quickly approaching (March 28).

Last year I was able to rack up good mileage, and am hoping that this next year will be as productive. The totals are as follows: 334 total rides with 11325 total miles. This is broken down into 143 rides on the cyclocross bike with 5314 miles. With the mountain bike I had 191 rides with 6011 miles. Not bad for 49 years old.

Since we are beginning a new year, and still a little while until the race season begins, I am going to do a few product reviews of some of my favorite biking stuff. Plus, this time of year is when a lot of racers start to get all of our cool new stuff from our awesome sponsors for the up coming season, and believe me, their is some really cool stuff beginning to come in! I will give you my impressions of these products as I test then out. Until next week, stay warm and keep the rubber side down.
Peace out!