Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Update Puke

So much stuff has happened and I haven't had a bit of time to post it here.  Well, that's a lie.  I've had time but no motivation.  Everyone teased me enough to finally make me join the droned out world of Facebook so you can usually find some random updates over there.

Lets see... Last post was after Survive the Burn down in Warsaw.  From there it was a couple week layover before Wilson Lake KS.  The Fat Tire Festival always ends up being one of my favorite race weekends of the year.  Something about that crazy trail out in the middle of Kansas, and of course being able to race some good friends at a usually high and hard pace does it. Cam and Shad showed up again, along with a little man named Kyle who's under BMC's wing and rides with the boys out in Colorado Springs. 

That race and weekend ended well.  In the end I couldn't quite keep Cams wheel, but managed to take the second spot overall.  Doug and his crew pulled everything off as usual with the kinda skills and organization that only comes with being veterans.

After that it was another short break, and then back at it up at Manhatten, KS for the Big Poppi Dirty Little Secret race.  It served as the Kansas state champs this year, and rumor had it they had a complete singletrack loop last year, skipping the first years grassy sections.  It ended up being true, and even better was it cured perfectly following 2 inches of rain the night before.  That race was truely as good as it gets conditions wise.  I managed to pull together a good ride, and battled 3 laps of the course in hot and humid conditions to take the overall win.  It was good training and a damn good course to ride a bike on.  Aaron has to win best swag and after party for a XC race though.  He always comes through with some awesome food, free Tallgrass beer, and enough swag to stock a bike store. 

St. Joe's Roubidux Roundup was after that, or however the hell you spell or say it.  We've hit this race up for the last 4 or 5 years, I'm not sure exactly.  It may have been the race that I took my first overall Cat 1 victory, not sure exactly on that either but it sounds true.  Either way it's a fun race, and a hard one.  You pretty much have to be feeling good on the climbs that day to do well.  It's a pretty relentless track, but it serves those who can corner and climb the best.  Luckily for me I've happened to work on those skills plenty the last few years, and for the third year in a row took the overall win.  I was happy to be under 1:40 for the three laps which was the goal going in.

Which brings us to last weekend, Bump and Grind Pro XCT down in Birmingham, AL.  I'm tired of typing so here's the fast rundown.  We start, I squeeze into 9th, and I stay there for 45 minutes where approximately half way up the 4 mile climb I got dropped.  Hung in as best as I could, suffered, blew up, came back together, finished 14th overall out of 25.  It would have been great to get that top 10, but I was happy regardless.  It was a damn hard race, and I only managed to lose the leading group by 10 minutes flat on what was a 2 hour race for me.  I've never held the lead group like that before so that was cool.  That course kinda lends itself that way with the first 30 minutes or so on crazy fast, flowy, benchcut that you could only ride so fast.  We rode it pretty fast though...

Looks to be a Warsaw kinda weekend, then maybe a flight out to the Springs to race a gem of a trail called Palmer Park.  Plenty of opportunities locally coming up too which is nice.

Puke over, I'll try to keep it more legit in the future.  I also have no pictures, well I do but I don't feel like messing with them.  Technology still needs to be easier.

Let's ride bikes this weekend.  I heard it may be good.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Survived the Burn

So last weekend ended up not going exactly as planned.  Originally we were to blast up north to hit up the Nebraska season opener at Swanson.  I raced there a couple years ago and had a blast.  Unfortunately there was just enough rain chance, and no rain or shine we go no matter what policy.  I don't blame Ryan for that last part whatsoever, but the 6 hour round trip drive was a bit much to swallow had it actually been cancelled.  So therefore we opted to go support Mac and hit up his Feel the Burn endurance race down in Warsaw.

I never mind going to support Mac.  That dude is the best promoter in the area, but yet always seems to draw the lowest numbers.  That really should change, his races are always spot on.  This race didn't excite me much though, being the whole 52 mile part.  I haven't ridden that long since the BT Epic back in October.  I've been working on the fast part lately, not so much the long part.  It was going to be interesting.

We made the decision to head south in the parking lot at 8 in the morning.  Fast forward a few hours and we made it to Warsaw with about 30 minutes till the start.  I had absolutely nothing packed for an endurance race, so had to resort to piecing together a bunch of random nutrition from any source I could find.  In the end it didn't really work to well....

Race goes off and Micah goes to the front and then proceeds to piss off Drew Edsall on the first climb, which in turn had me cracking up, and turned our pace into a crawl up the first hill.  Drew tears off the front, and I keep in mind that I'm likely not anywhere near on his level of endurance at the moment.  So with that being said I regulate myself to the back of Dan Millers wheel, and we make our way past Micah and on down the trail.  Our pace was very laid back and conversational which was good, but I felt I was missing some free speed by holding Dan's wheel so I eventually made my way past.  I then proceeded to get a gap, then loose it to a dropped chain by a bad shift in a weird corner.  I got it fixed but it took awhile and Dan and Micah had made their way back up to me.  I put in the only hard dig of the day and got out of sight and continued to stay steady.

The race was fun, but honestly really boring.  I'm not a fan of no mans land, especially in an endurance
mountain bike race.  Drew had a good gap, and I had a good gap on JP who made his way to 3rd overall.  I made it through the first two laps fine, had a few minor cramps in lap 3 and had some major cramps in lap 4.  In the end I finished 2nd overall, 1st in age group.  Drew finished 22 minutes ahead of me, most of it coming from my horribly slow last lap.  I think I had about 10 minutes on JP with a finishing time of 4:16.  Plenty fast enough to make me happy. 

They ended up racing up north, and I was kinda bummed about not making it.  It would have been fun to race those boys, and the legs were feeling good on the day.  Oh well, maybe next time...

Thanks again to Mac and his crew.  As always you pulled out all the stops and made it worth the trip.  The bunny man, guitar hero, and rocks all made for a crazy and hard day in the saddle and my legs are very much still feeling it. 

I'm probably out on Bonebender this weekend.  I have Sea Otter coming up the next weekend, and with last weekends thrashing of the legs I need some time to get them back into fighting shape.  I honestly shouldn't have probably wrecked them so bad, but when you're in the heat of the moment you do what you've got to do.  It'll all be worth it in a few days when they loosen back up and I can hammer on them again. 

A few more days of high intensity, some rest, and then the flight out West to hammer with the best.  I'm ready...


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

XC Snow Biking

Those who braved the elements last Saturday and Sunday were treated to a little off road fun over at the Lawrence River Trails compliments of Cow Town Cycling.  I didn't make the Duo, but heard it was a good time.  Sunday came with a winter wonderland full of giant baseball snowflakes, and plenty of inches to insure pure fun.  I knew that the early riders would take the brunt of packing in the trail, but once done, it would lead to blissfully packed single track through a canopy of white splattered trees.  I love riding my bike in the snow... It's likely the funnest riding one can have on a bike, given the right conditions and all.

Our race was right.  Well, at least 3 of the 5 laps.  Laps 4 and 5 started to turn a bit slick and more wet than pack.  Either way the trails handled just fine, and the racing action was full of full on moto style corning.  I'm sure a game of foot down would last 20 seconds all out that day.  The start consisted of a drag race down the levee before dropping into the woods for a fast and furious drift wonderscape.

I jokingly said it would be just a fun ride through the snow.  Then I lined up.

That whole lining up thing and seeing everyone getting ready to punch it turns that fun ride agenda upside down into a lets see how fast I can be the carrot.  Then as the carrot I push myself, and I see how fast snow can be ridden.  Turns out this snow was fast, and minus a few corners you could really open it up and if you positioned yourself rightly, you could rip through the corners with just a minor chance of sketchiness.

My go hard early plan worked out and I was able to keep it on cruise for the last few laps just staying conistant knowing I had a fairly good gap.  I would catch a glimpse of Travis or JP every once in awhile, and on the last lap return leg back to the finish I saw them together and they were quick to be heard.  They made their typical racket and parade me on to what was almost a clean race.  That was until I saw Griff and decided to wad it up.  No worries, one little wreck in conditions that were a bit more trying was ok by me.

Winner Winner.... I'll take it however it comes.

Chris and his crew of family and friends did a fantastic job, and I commend them on pulling it off.  No doubt that just took the cake for best race conditions of the year.  There will be no way to top it.  Although I'd be more than willing for some 65 degree, hero dirt conditions to make comparision.

Results and pic here.

A lackluster report here.  Sorry, but for what looks like and almost legit websit they didn't even bother mentioning the Mens Open race.  Ethos went 1,2,3 though, just so they got that right.

Next up, some good ol' Pirate action.  I can't wait to tie on my wooden leg...

Then Swanson.  Time to play with our other group of racing buddies...


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Welcome Back

My old familiar friend.  I'm a happy camper now that the XC scene is back at it and getting ready to take off like a rocket ship.  It's all finally kicked off last weekend with the first test of the season, Mellow Johnny's Classic down in Dripping Springs, Texas.  To say I was happy to escape this snow laddend hell hole for a few days was an understatement.  I couldn't wait to hit sunny skys, warmer temps, and most of all dry trail.

Well I got to hit dry trail, and hit it I did quickly.  Within 10 minutes of starting the pre-ride on Friday the day before the race, I had hit the ground.  Hard.  It was loosey goosey down there, and it always seems to eat my lunch at first.  I continued to ride like a newb, totally 4 hard wrecks in the first 6 mile lap.  It was pretty ridiculous, and I was pretty beat up.  A few more pounds in the fork, a few less in the tires, and a couple of clicks on the rebound and I finally had it dialed in.  Not after some damage though, but luckily it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

Saturday morning rolls around and I'm getting that familiar jitter.  It's the first race of the season, the first test, and I was doing it against 62 pro riders.  I knew my form was good, just didn't know how good or how it would stack against the other boys, most of who are smart enough to train the winters in warmer climates.  Some even had a full winter of XC racing down south, and even more with a full season of CX in their legs.  Me, I had base and one block of intensity to work off.

Guns goes off, and there's a wreck.  I miss it.  I'm good I thought, perfect start.  Then BAM! The dust was so heavy that seeing was difficult and in the mist of trying to catch the inside fast line I hit it a bit to the left which tossed me into the only washout on the road, and over the bars.  Saddles was popped sideways, so I cranked on it only to have it go too far the other way.  Back and forth, back and forth.  Finally I get it straight, but not before the damage was done.

Dead last.

There's alot that goes through one's mind when you find yourself in that position.  Mainly you wonder how you fucked it up so badly.  Then you freak out, and then you slap yourself in the face and tell yourself to man up and do what you've got to do.  Unfortunately doing what needs to be done isn't a meager task.  It involves passing mass groups of dudes who don't like to get passed.

Lap 1 was good, I made up a ton of ground.  I didn't count but it was 20+ guys I passed or so. Lap 2 I ended up gaining another 7 spots, and found myself racing some fairly legit dudes.  Lap 3 I barely survived and ended up flat, no passing, no being passed.  Lap 4 and 5 were hell.

I started cramping towards the end of lap 2.  Lots of reason's I reckon played into why it happend.  The wrecks from the prior day, slamming my knee into the stem at the start, 70 degree dry weather, the high intensity.  No need for excuses, but it was what it was and it was bad.  I straight legged two climbs, the last one being close to 5 minutes of pure stopped time.  I couldn't stand up, and I couldn't get on my bike.  It took alot to get going again, but they finally unlocked and I limped my way to the finish.

I was officially the second to last to finish on the last lap.  So in one token I finished the full race, in another I did it slowly.  I'm not worried a bit though, I had the speed, now it's just extending it.

I have to give a big thanks to JP and Doug for the company going down, Doug and Dara for housing us while we were down there, Ethos for stepping up and helping me do some serious racing this year, and of course everyone else who continues to give me the encouragement to keep it going strong.  It's happening this year, the year of getting fast and breaking that elusive top 20.  

There's a ton of racing come up... Here just the next two months.

March 16 - Spa City (still in question)
March 24 - Gods Country
March 30 - Pirate XC
April 7 - Swanson River
April 15 - Bone Bender
April 21 - Sea Otter
April 28 - MO SS Champs

Guess that means the Stumpy SS will be hanging around a bit longer....

See you out there.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Urbans, Trainers, and Dirt

I must start with one observation to which I feel inclined to address.  It involves a certain activity that some of my peers have been taking part of as of late.  Unlike activities that my friends of the past have gotten me into, I will not cave to this one.  I've been talked into doing it all, from pinching girlies booties in grade school, to huffing paint in middle school, to straight up anarchy burning shit to the ground in high school.  I'm a changed man, and nothing these wankers say or do will change my mind and make me embrace the fat like they so have.  So next time one of you asses tell me how cool you are, or how you just floated over that tree limb, or how you can ride a creek bottom like a rock star but can't climb a hill for shit, save it.  Save it, or I'll punch you in your face.

I can't wait to see the plethora of fat bikes for sale this spring.

On to other news, its 2013.  I know I'm a little late to the party on that one, but it's been 5 weeks since my last confession on this here blog.  I must admit, I haven't touched my bike once.  The Epic that is, I've ridden the shit out of the rest of them.

From urban rides to find hidden and foreign land gravel, to the 2x20's once a week on the trainer, to the frozen dirt tundra.  I even managed two back to back days at Swope on New Years day and the one after for some packed snow goodness.  Wyco has still been the hot spot for Sunday mornings, and I've also rebuilt up the Stumpy HT as a SS.  Fox fork, (yes Jessie, I know I still owe you), Eno cranks, shit brakes, and a pair of Specialized Carbon Control hoops to keep it rolling.  It went on it's maiden voyage last Sunday.  Fun I tell ya.

I think I once nixed hardtails forever, but up north all of our trail systems are ginger so you can pretty much ride them on any bike and still be comfortable.  Carbon rims also help migrate some of the vibrations so they don't reach your ass and up your back quite as much.  Bottom line is the SS will be regulated to Wyco, Smithville, and Stocksdale.  Ya, it sure is rough in this hood.  I mean have you ever had to choose between a Stumpy HT, FSR, or Epic?  It's not easy business I tell ya.  Alas, I understand I'm a lucky lad, but then again my priorities revolve around bikes, and selling them.  I'm not sad by that fact, even if once in a blue moon I envy you family men and women.  One day... One day me and my Sweet Thang will be together, but until then it's off to the races.  Per say...

Training is good... Life is good... Diet is good.  I've been making the life changeover as of late, and it's always tough.  Going from drinking like a sailor, partyboying, and eating like a garbage disposal to a somewhat sober, well dieted athlete is never easy.  But this isn't my first rodeo cowboy, and if you can ride the bull once, you can do it again.  

I did a urban ride the other day, and upon riding home I decided to see how my pain threshold was fairing.  Up the Paseo climb me and my stumpy went, and deep, deep, deep down my pain dove.  When I emerged I was aware that I had likely dunked deeper than I have in a long time, and I came out good.  Sometimes you have to push past what you body thinks is impossible, just so that you can further down the road re-visit that feeling when it matters the most, like at pivotal moment in a race.  I suggest you do the same sometime.  Just when it starts to hurt push harder, then when you think your about to pass out, push harder, and lastly when you think you might have just died and are wandering upward to the gates of heaven, push a little harder.  Then stop.  Literally, you may want to stop because you likely may just pass out.  But you did it, and now you body knows how much harder it can truly go.

It's a true breakdown month.  One of those months were you mix in some decent hours and some decent intensity to make for an overall higher workload in order to give your body that last push it needs to enter the season.  Then comes February.  Oh February how I loath thee. Not only do you make me one year older, but you usually spit shit at me when I'm riding my bike and are rarely nice enough to at least do so in a warmly manner.  But I will push on.  

Good luck to those up in the great white north this weekend.  I wanna see some strips and stars come home. 


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Break Time

First month of  "base" time is down.  I feel real good about how it went too. It's amazing how fast 3 and 4 week blocks of training go.  I'm pretty sure ever since I've been serious about training my life as an athlete has been broken up into the blocks of working out.  It always seemed natural and logical to take a progressive approach to it by breaking your body down differently depending on the time of year, then taking a short break to let it heal back up.  Break it down, build it up, rinse and repeat.

So the winter season for me this year runs Nov-Dec-Jan.  Three months of nothing too scheduled, but still maintaining a good overall fitness and working on a few key areas like my nagging back.  It's always been an issue for me.  I think riding the Stumpy a bunch lately while taking a ton more hits hasn't helped.  But man it's so fun. 

So one of the three months is over, now to just keep it going when the going gets the roughest.  December and January can be real hard months for cyclists. We have it hit and miss around here.  You might get lucky and it's nice enough that you can skate through the winter blues just fine like last year, or you could be a little more unlucky and catch a shit winter like we've had not just a few years ago.  Those are the worst.  Motivation to get outside and ride only seems to rear it's head so often when the weather is never truly nice.

Lately though that sure hasn't been an issue.  We've been dealing with another mild time so far, and as far as I'm concerned I hope it stays that way.  I used to hope for rough winters back before I started racing more regionally.  In a sadistic way I saw it as a chance to get a leg up on my competitors because I knew I would ride no matter what, but a lot of people wouldn't.  Same goes for the heat of summer.  If you can continue to ride and get strong when our weather turns not so favorable, you have a much better chance of success at the next race gathering.  Now I find myself hoping for mild winters.  It's easier on me, and most Pro athlete's I race against don't slow down a bit in the winter so there's not a big chance that I'm getting a leg up on them regardless of weather.

I did the little race at my old stomping grounds last Sunday.  Knob Noster state park just East of Warrensburg is a pretty cool little trail.  Working in Sedalia, and living in Warrensburg meant that this was the trail I spent most of my time on for what was close to 4 years.  It's not a very technical trail, but it's wicked fast, flowy, fun, and best of all hilly.  I used to ride my SS out there 2-3 times a week pushing big gears up those steep hills.  Last weekend I got to ride laps on both the StumpyFSR and the Epic.  The Epic was way faster. 

Lance and his company of awesome volunteers really made for a fun day on the trails.  We had perfect weather with 70 degree temps, on the second of December.  That's always a good day.  The volunteers posted up at every intersection and were always clapping and cheering on.  It was a really great job on their part putting on their first race.  It was good to see some new faces, and a lot of people had said it was their first time racing.  The course was even better than I could have imagined with the addition of the  Meat and Potatoes climb. Or at least that's what we used to call it.  It's a fun little monster of a climb. 

Monday I got lucky enough to sneak a few laps in at Binder.  That place still is a ton of fun.  I hope we get to race Lakeside some day.   

Tuesday I ended up riding Rockbridge in Columbia with what was probably the best dirt conditions I've got to ride in awhile.  It had rained the night before making the forest dirt grip like glue.  Velcro dirt, hero dirt, whatever you want to call it, it was stellar. 

Now I need rest.  I've pushed it pretty far for the first month, but all system checks are a go.  Time to take a little time away, and then get back at it next week.

And to Shoff, you better not forgot about the 17th and 18th.  The Stumpy has been begging to get down to Bentonville.

A.Keck shot this picture of the cross race a couple weekends ago.  Fat tires vs. Skinnies. 

Looks like the weather won't stay this great for long.  Get out and enjoy it!


Thursday, November 29, 2012


Amazing dirt.  That can pretty much sum up what's been happening lately.  Not always the holy grail hero dirt, but way better than it's been all year. From chilly night rides, to before work dirty action, the trails have been busy working my body, bike, and lately, pedals over.  I believe that for 2013 I'll be making the switch back to SPD's.  I'm just going through way to many Crank Brother pedals as of late.  It's a bit ridiculous, and has more than once left me stranded on a great ride unable to finish what I started.

So I'm going to have to step up on my soap box for a minute.  It involves Shawnee Mission Park, or SMP as some call it.  Apparently they have winter hours and now the park closes at 8pm. This I didn't know, just figured the 10pm curfew was in affect. 

It happened last Friday night.  A friend was in town and we all gathered for what should have been a fun evening out on the trails.  We left the lair at 8pm, and dropped into SMP via some rogue trail/bike paths.  Fast forward an hour and we find ourselves bombing down the trail over by the marina.  We see a spot light flash us but don't pay much attention as we are all trying to pay as much attention to not eating dirt as we slice through what was a beautiful night on the trail.

Just shortly after I snap a chain.  Being a dumb dumb, I don't have a quick link and we have to resort to manually fixing it.  Long story short it was a cluster fuck.  Our hands were cold, Mark's tool was crap, and after having to fix it not once, but twice, we finally got it back in place and ready to roll.

That's when a light flashed on from our left and we were told "Stop, Police!"  What the fuck.

Ten seconds earlier and we would have been gone, fleeting into the dark night.  But no, the fact that we had to re-fix my chain meant we now had to walk our bikes out like idiots followed by mister Police man.  Apparently he wasn't very happy because he made the comment that if we tried to get on our bikes and ride away he would TASE us.Yes, we were threatened to be shot with an electric gun by a cop.  I have a feeling our lycra get-up wouldn't have done much to stop that volts either.

To make matters worse he walked us out via the longest route possible.  What should have taken 5 minutes turned into a 30 minute hike a bike over what is already rough rocky trail.  This pretty much shredded my brand new neoprene shoe covers I had literally just bought before heading out for the ride.

So we had to walk out, be questioned where our buddies were, where we came from, blah, blah, blah.  Mind you it was just past 9pm right now.  Not 3am or any crazy time like that.  They had two cop cars out where we were, and we were told by the group that didn't get caught that there was another patrolling another area of the park with spot lights.

We both ended up getting a $45 ticket.  For riding our bikes.  At night.  Sure the park was closed but they had no good answer as to why it should have been.  The cops argument to me was that if we were to get hurt back on the trails that we would be risking the health of the emergency people who had to come get us because it was dark.  He must not have realized it get's dark at 5pm.  The park doesn't close till 8.  That's 3 hours of darkness.  Argument failed.

*  I will say that as much of a dick the guy was at first, both he and the lady that helped him ticket us were actually not bad people.  They were fairly nice, mainly just doing their job.

So why does Shawnee do this?  Obviously they still patrol the park past hours, so why not at least leave it open for us to enjoy?  Why have Summer hours and Winter hours?  If your going to patrol past 10 in the Summer, why not in the Winter?  Because it's dark?  You patrol for obviously 4 hours in the winter anyways, so whats 2 more?

And why the hell would they go through all that trouble and hassle us for a couple $45 tickets?  Do they think that's going to work?  It's not.  If anything it just pisses me off and makes me want to go back and ride it past hours even more to get my moneys worth.  Maybe that's my skewed self, but the whole thing stinks like shit.  Giving us a hard time for doing something productive and healthy.

Sorry for the rant, but I think the whole ordeal was wrong.  I don't know what needs to happen to fix it, but either way it's kinda a joke. 

I was more or less pissed that it ruined our night and I didn't get to spend it riding with our buddy who was in town just for a few days.  They took away a good night riding experience with 5 of my closest friends.  That's just fucked up.

So back to normal riding, the other trails have been stellar.  Been riding trails 4-5 days a week and more or less just enjoying the nice weather, good friends, and great dirt.

I also did a cross race last weekend.  We happened to have on out at our shop, so I figured why not.  I chose to race the Epic though because I've ridden my cross bike behind the shop plenty to know it's not that much fun.  I chose to take comfort over speed, even though the Epic is a pretty fast little devil in itself.  I managed to do decent on it too, coming in 2nd behind Shad Smith.  I just didn't have it in me to keep his wheel, but I did manage to have the coolest cross finish I've ever had with a sprint against teammate Coe with a bike throw at the line to determine 2nd and 3rd.  I think my fat tires helped. 
Yes, I showboated a little bit.  But I didn't DNF! The berm was just too much fun not to have fun on.

Riding behind Shad, overall winner.

That was my official cross season.  One and done.  Now back to some more dirt action, and getting this engine ready for next year!