Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Crazy

It's December 27th... I'm wearing shorts.  Crazy

G



Saturday, December 24, 2011

The REAL Whales Tail


Finally! Swope was railed in its full glory for what was a perfect Christmas Eve morning ride. There was only one drop on Marcy's that I didn't hit. Everything else was butta...

G


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Quality Time

It woulda been another great day for gravel riding, but a late night coupled with the first decent Chiefs game in a minute meant I only had a couple hours to ride. I ended up learning the new bike some more instead. Two hours of constant sprints and hucks later and I'm even more in love with this bike. It's amazing what you can do. I rode up a twelve step staircase... Like it was nothing. Any drops in the 3-5 foot range are pillowee. The drop in the pic is a fun one, with a good 2-5 foot range. I've found all kinds of new fun lines around town on this thing.

Now if Swope would just dry...

G

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Trail Condition Check

Rode all over the place today. Checked the trail conditions at Knob. Yup, way wet. Oh well... The rest of the day was sweet, filled with crazy warm temps and never ending gravel. Thought of doing the gravel ride in Lawrence, but its hard to drive that far when you have unlimited gravel out your back door.

No mtb for the next few days I reckon.

G

Friday, December 16, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Screw It... I'm going BIG

After spending three days in the great Colorado Springs on one of these...

I gave in.

I'll have one of these by this weekend...


Oh ya, it's go time baby. I thought the Epic monster trucked. You have no idea. 140mm up front, 135 in the back. I may not be the fastest uphills, but let a rock garden get in the way and I'll show you how to murder it. The bike I rode all weekend only had 130mm overall travel. The Evo should rip rip rip it up all day all day.

Welcome to the big wheel, big travel era... I don't care what they say. These things are way too damn fun to deny. Anyone wanna buy a rigid hartail Stumpy? I've got one for sale...

G

Friday, December 9, 2011

Spot on at 80mph



Sent from my HTC on the Now Network from Sprint!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Snowy 40 Mile Katy Commute

I had no idea it was supposed to snow today when I chose to ride my bike to a friends in Booneville last night from work. It's a little over 40 miles on the Katy Trail. Last nights ride was good, but you could imagine my suprise when I woke up this morning. No worries, I bundled up and hit the road. Getting out of Booneville was fun. Cars and trucks sliding everywhere, and me and my bike just powering right on by them. It's was fun to watch the looks as I sprinted up hills they couldn't even drive up.

The ride went well, a little longer than expected but it was fun none the less. Hard too... The Katy hides itself in almost flat demeanor but is far from it on this section. You're either going up for miles at a slight grade, or down. It's the hilliest section of the Katy, and it works ya.

This got me thinking, what's the craziest/longest commute you've every done? I'm sure I'm not the only crazy one. Of course my co-workers thought 40 miles on the snowy Katy was nothing sort of insane. Oh, what they don't know...

G

Friday, December 2, 2011

The First of December

So Base 1 went well. Nothing crazy but it was a good solid foundation for phase 2. 15 hour/week average, followed by Thanksgiving rest week. Did manage a sweet turkey day ride at Binder on the cross bike.

Today I rode in a pair of knickers and a light long sleeve jersey. Almost like riding in shorts and a tee. Can't beat that for December 1st. A big thanks goes out to my boy JesseGFunk for the helping me get rid of the rigid. He kindly let me borrow one of his Fox forks for the winter. Completly changed the Stumpy... Way better. Thanks dude!

Sent from my HTC on the Now Network from Sprint!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gone Rigid


It's probably best I start by giving you my background in regards to riding a rigid mountain bike before I state my point. This is also just my experience, and you can take it how you will...

My first 29er was a Jamis Exile steel singlespeed. It replaced the first bike I raced on, a Specialized Hardrock. The Hardrock had seen a hard year of riding and racing, and I was intrigued by the big wheel movement. This was in 07 I believe. I bought the Jamis because it was fairly inexpensive, it had big hoops, and it was sweet looking. Little did I know it was a piece of shit. No offense, but Jamis did not have their stuff together when they launched their first 29ers, the Exile and Dakota. The Exile was steel like I mentioned, and the rigid fork wasn't even that bad. The problem was their welds sucked, and I snapped the downtube off the headtube not once, but twice on seperate bikes. That wasn't as bad as the Dakota though. The headtube snapped clean off the top and downtube, which convienently happend as I was coming down from manualing a creek crossing. The result was my face eating my front wheel, and an otherwise nasty crash that left me licking my wounds for almost a month after. Needless to say I was done with Jamis. (*Note- Jamis seems to have their crap together better now days, and I'm sure they're very nice bikes that hopefully didn't inherit their predessors problems.)

After the Dakota accident, I sold my replacement frame they sent me, and purchased a Surly Karate Monkey. That bike was a blast... minus the fork. Anyone who has ridden the old generation Karate Monkey fork will tell you it was rough. I believe they've redesigned the forks as of late, and I've heard they are worlds better. It was a rough ride, but it rode like a dream. I rode and raced it rigid for awhile, before slapping a White Brothers Magic fork on it. I really liked that fork.

I stayed suspended up front for awhile, then purchased a Specialized Stumpjumper in Fall of 08. I raced the Stumpy for the first half of 09, but in early Fall of 09 I blew out the gears and fork, and decided to keep it simple and ride it single speed and rigid. I bought a Origin 8 carbon fork, and from Fall of 09 all through 2010 I rode the hell out of it. This was also my first real year racing Expert, and I did fairly well given my lack of gears and suspension.

In February of this year, I snapped the chainstay on the Stumpy in the first hour of a three day training block down in Arkansas. I was bummed. Luckily this was about the same time my Epic came in, so I wasn't too worried. Specialized came through with a new 2011 Stumpy frame for my replacement, and it too went single speed and rigid. It, however, only got rode twice due to the Epic. I couldn't not ride the piss out of the Epic. It was a drug I couldn't get enough of. So the Stumpy sat unridden all through this year.

So there's my history. My history with rigid came to a head this last weekend. In a flux without the Epic, or a suspension fork, I decided to take out the Stumpy rigid in all it's glory. I rode Binder Lake in Jeff, which to me always seemed like a good course for a singlespeed and even rigid. I rode a hard sprint interval ride Friday night, and a 3 hour ride on Saturday...

What resulted was my final conclusion on riding a rigid mountain bike...

IT SUCKS!

I'm sorry, but in now way was it enjoyable. I understand the persona behind it. It makes you look tough, and hell you almost have to be to ride one. But bottom line is I ride to enjoy the ride, not to get the hell beat out of me and my wrists snapped. Maybe I'm just a pussy... or maybe I'm now spoiled. I'm so used to being glued to the ground. So used to blasting through rock gardens with high speed and big smiles. Used to riding for hours with no back pain or hand numbness. Sure, the hardtail has it's pluses, with it's flickablity, direct power transfer, and bit lighter overall weight. That being said, the Epic is damn near on even playing feild on the stiffness, weight, and power transfer, but it blows the doors off everything else. It makes riding so much more enjoyable, and overall makes me way faster.

So what's the point of this post? I'm not sure... I guess to say I'm done with rigid forever. With the newest technology in full suspension 29ers, I can't see myself ever going back. I'll keep the hardtail for awhile, but I'll likely buy a Camber for my "other" mountain bike. I just enjoy riding so much more when I'm not trying to fight my bike. We live in a place that's never short on rocks and other bone jarring obstacles. I don't need a bike that makes me feel every one of them.

Maybe I'm just getting old... Maybe I'm just getting smarter. Who knows.

Rant over.

G

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Other Things I Enjoy

I sure do enjoy riding bicycles. That's no suprise. I do, however, enjoy other things in life too. One of those things is hunting. Most wouldn't know it, but I'm a true hick at heart. I grew up on a farm, and my summers as a kid were filled with riding my four wheeler, fishing, hunting, and otherwise enjoying the outdoors.

I never pass up a chance to hunt on opening weekend of deer season. Especially when its with my family. This year is the second year that my pops, brother, and I were able to join forces to hunt our bosses farm in Blairstown, MO. There's some monster deer in these parts, and tonight I took a pretty good one.
It was an extremely exciting hunt. The rut seems to still be in effect, and this boss hog was chasing a doe something serious. I saw him skirt by in the thick woods, and then the doe proceeded to bust me. I threw in a few snort weezes, and about 10 minutes later I had a shot at that dude. It was so fast, and I barely remember even taking the shot. I had a window open that lasted just a few short seconds, but the shot was clean and he dropped in his tracks.

Afterwards is the real work. Skinning and chunking up a deer is always tough, and for some reason there's no place to hang deer here, so that made it even harder. No worries, a dozen Bud Lights, a sharp knife, and a little time is all it took...
Here's a few from my stand. I actually shot him on the back side of my stand in the thick thicket. Pretty sweet land none the less.

Pretty stoked to take down the biggest deer of my hunting career. Now if I can only get my bro to get his first deer tommorow!

G

Friday, November 11, 2011

Into the Dark

There's something satisying about riding into the dark. Or riding out of the dark, either way. Lately, I've had the pleasure of donning the lights, and getting in some good sunset to darkness rides.

Wednesday night I grabbed my recently overhualed Kona Jake, now with fancy gears and a new stealth black paint job, and headed out for some much needed gravel time. It's that time of the year where my percentage of gravel to overall ride time increases dramatically. However, as long as trails are dry, they eat up the majority of the time. Wednesday's night right was my 45 mile loop I do, with roughly 2600 feet of climbing. It's a good mix of flats and hills, and I enjoyed having gears to be able to push a faster pace on all the flat stuff. About an hour into the ride, I had to switch the head gear on, and illuminate the night with my blasting beam of white light. I felt good, the air was crisp, and the pedals were turning nicely after Tuesday's trainer trashing.

Last night I again got to do some day/night riding up at SMP. I arrived to Burnsey's place early to go out and scout the trails to see if they were dry enough. Luckily for us there were, and I was able to hit some rogue trails out to the mountain bike trails, railed all of those, and headed back to Seans. They were gracious enough to let me stuff my face with some tasty turkey soft tacos, and then it was off to the backyard skills park. Neither one of us had very much skillz, so we played around for a thirty minutes or so, and then decided it was just us two for the Thursday night ride. Fast forward 3 hours later and we had completed the night ride in fashion. Tons of trail, lots of deer, and plenty of goofing off on unique trail obstacles.
I saw at least a hundred deer.
Playing on logs. Pic courtesy of Burnsey.

Two nights, two great rides. I'm pretty wore after yesterday so today I'll be hitting a nice easy 45 minute cross bike ride around some parks, and then another 45 minutes of some heavy hitting core and upper body workouts. Then it's off to deer camp. Yes sir, time to restock the freezer with some wild venison. Hopefully that is.

I'll sneak out tommorow for some three hours of gravel, and then hopefully Sunday have some of the boys down to my neck of the woods for a long day in the saddle hitting up all of Knob in it's full glory. I can't wait to scout some trail I've never ridden.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Improvisions

I think the biggest challenge most riders who are wanting vast improvement have, is sticking to a plan. I'm no different. Life is a wonderfull thing, but it often gets in the way. Family, work, weather, and our bodies can sometimes get in the way of doing a specific workout we had planned for a particular day. My biggest advice would be to be flexible but yet steady in your course. Sure, you may not get the 3 hour ride in today that you planned, or the power hour yesterday in my case. The biggest difference between the top end guys, and the others, is that even in the face of those things that get in the way, they still push on and get solid workouts in regardless. To me, getting in 5 rides a week is my goal. How I go about that sometimes changes. But out of those 5 I know I want 3 to be good solid, hard workouts. The other two being long slower fun rides.

Yesterday I hooked the bike up to the trainer and set out for what was to be an hour of power. I haven't done this workout since late last spring, and there's no doubt it's a very challenging workout. I choose a 43x12 gear to push, with my mediocre trainer set on the hardest setting. 15 minutes in and I knew that I wasn't going to be accomplishing my hour. I guess I overestimated the gear choice, and so with that in mind, and knowing I would do no good by dumbing down the hour, I choose to do a 2x20 minute workout.

This is another great workout that helps you work on your sustained power output. For me my goal this off season is to build a very solid hour and a half base. That's my typical race length. If I can come into February with being able to ride hard for an hour and a half, then all I have to do is fine tune and sharpen that hour and a half. I need to be able to sprint over, and over, and over, and over again for an hour and a half to be competitive in my level. For most though, just having a solid hour and half fast pace base is plenty to be competitive on the local level. Ideally, I'd like to race an hour and a half on any given course at 12.5+ mph come February. I'll then need to fine tune that and push it to 13.5+. Yes, that's how fast the big boys run. Hopefully I can be a big boy too...

So back to the 2x20. 15 minutes in I decided to take my workout and break it into two longer sets. At minute 18 I was really feeling it. These are called walls. I wanted to quit and call it good. Problem is that's not what you want to do. NEVER SHORTCHANGE YOURSELF! Rule number 1. Walls are meant to come down. You'll never get faster if you're not willing to break down fitness walls and push past them. So even though those last two minutes hurt, I pushed even harder. I sprinted the last minute and ended up hunched over my bike with little air left in my lungs, and legs that felt like burnt toast. If you don't push through walls in your training, then come race day, you'll suffer by not knowing what to do when the the going gets tough. Pain management is huge in mountain bike racing. We all hit walls during racing, but being able to push through those walls, and continue racing at high speed is what will nab you the finish you're after.

I took 5 mintues to recover, and then began the second set, same gear. It was tough to get going, even thougher to get past the 10 minute mark. Another wall, another push. Minutes 10-15 were easier, and then begins the 5 minute countdown. Same as the first set, I sprinted the last 2 minutes and put everything I had into the pedals. I was offically spent afterwards.

To make a good workout even better I capped it all off with a 400 rep core workout circuit. Basically I did a series of core and back workouts, in sets of 20, until I hit 400 reps. All in all I finished right at 15 minutes. As the weeks progress I'll increase each workouts by 60-100 reps.

So no, I didn't do the workout I had planned. I did however adjust to my body, and in the end accomplished a solid workout that will benefit me on my overall goal. That's what you have to do. Find out what your goal is, have a good solid plan to accomplish that goal, and learn to adjust as neccessary.

Some days you won't have it, other days the weather will get in the way. Bottom line is if you train smart, and train to your weaknesses, you'll be far better off than those that mindlessly train just to train. Riding 3 hours when you feel like crap, and having that 3 hour ride be less than stellar most likely won't help you. Take the day off and train the core or upperbody. Take a easy spin. Then go out and hit it hard and get a good ride in the next day.

I'd rather have 3 rides a week that were solid, then try to get 5 in that were half ass. Don't forget the most important part of training though, rest and recovery. That's were the body mends and rebuilds. Sleep, proper diet, and good living will go a long way.

I'm going to document my training this off season so that you can see exactly what I'm doing, and how it's going. I don't recommend following my plan to a T, as it is my plan that's I've put together to accomplish my goal. Your goal might be different, and your weaknesses different than mine. Either way, it's sort of for my own record keeping, and partly so you can hopefully get something out of it.

2012 will be won in the off season. Don't forget the most important time of the year...

G

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dirty Goodness

Last week marked the fist week of base training for me. I know most of you might find that way to early, but my "real" season runs March-July. Anything after that is just for fun. So basically, I have to be in race shape by March 4th for my first Pro race ever, Mellow Johnny's. I'm pretty stoked about that being my first real pro race, especially after the major win there this year as a Cat 1. I know that my success probably won't be equal next year, but alas, it will be a sweet race and a great course to pop my pro cherry.

So last week I hit the bike, core, and upper body pretty hard again. I took pretty much the whole month of October off, minus a few rides, and Burnin and BT. I ended up getting sick the week of BT but thought I had it cleaned out of my system the day before the race. Turns out I didn't, and the following week pretty much followed a similiar sick fashion. Starting my training block last week was a little tough, and the legs weren't feeling the best, but by Saturday I had what I felt like decent legs again.

Friday night was a good time. Cam Chambers was in town for a wedding, and he was looking to do some dirt ripping with the old Ethos crew. We were happy to make plans to ride with him. Friday night we hit up Swope for an hour and a half of dark awesomeness. Swope was in great shape, and we knew that the next day it would be even better. Trav and Cam worked me over pretty well that night, even though our pace wasn't blistering. It was just fast enough in a few spots though that I got the HR up there. It felt good to push it again for the first time since BT.

Friday night we hit up Nara's for some reverse happy hour sake, sushi, and a half naked model who was having free sushi served off of her. Eating sushi off a half naked chic wasn't something I had planned for, but still we enjoyed the free sushi off of the pretty model anyways. We consumed just enough Tank 7 and wonderful sake, that I was positive Saturday's ride would be chill.

Early rising on Saturday had us at Swope by 8:30. The three of us hit up a short lap at Swope, and then hit Blue River Parkway over to Burp where we procedded to rip dirt up for an hour or so. Burp was definently a little more tacky than Swope, and you could tell the traffic was much less by the excess leaves as opposed to Swope's almost clear trail. Either way, we had a pretty awesome time riding Burp, and then proceeded back to Swope.

We met up with the Pirate for what would finish off our morning of riding. We hit one more full lap of Swope, had some pretty sweet wrecks, and Cam and I took our bikes off of the Whales Tail. Cam had more steez than I, as I haven't hucked a bike in what seems like years. I pulled the drop off, but barely. My suspension gave me a kick, and I had to ride it off one foot unclipped, and off the back of my bike.
The Whales Tail

Sunday rolled around and a quick check of my shock sag told me that Saturdays rear shock problem I noticed was due to a lower than normal PSI. I forgot to grab my shock pump, but luckily Walt's Bike Shop in Columbia was open on a Sunday. Walt's is my go to place when I'm in CoMo. Good guys, and they're always willing to help. Help they did, and my suspicions were correct, I was way low on air. After getting the front and rear dialed, it was off to my buddies house and then a short ride to Cosmo Park. I was hoping for about three hours at Rockbridge but the guys at Walts called, and the trails were closed. Oh well...

The commute over was good, just enough time to warm up and open the legs for what is always a fun but hilly Cosmo. I like that trail alot, but it's not a very long one. What it lacks in miles, it makes up for in steep, tough hills. After 4 laps, I was about worked, and decided to hit the road for the 20 minute ride back.

Three trails, one night ride, and good buddies. The trails were by far in the best shape they've been in in months. It was hero dirt almost all around. I've never ridden Cosmo when it was in such amazing shape. Basically it was perfect hookup, and overall amazing riding. The trails were in need of some moisture, and last week they got them. Yesterday and today was probably a bit much rain wise, but I predict another perfect weekend of trail riding. Like perfect as in the best riding of the year. Don't miss it folks.

I'm liking the comments below on what we could do better with our Missouri race scene. Some good points were brought up, but keep em coming. I'll be posting up a similar forum/poll in the next few days on Earthriders and STLBiking. I got all of the numbers compiled for the most part. If you'd like to see them, feel free to email me. My contact info is on my profile page. I'm not sure how to translate them from Word to a blog post without it all being jumbled.

More riding and such this week. Tonight is the power hour! Welcome back my old friend. It's time to visit the pain cave again. I'm loving it...

G

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Crunched Numbers

That's UFD East and West, MWFTS, Oklahoma, and Arkansas' total race numbers for the year. Got the first round knocked out, and some interesting things popped up.

I'll compile the numbers soon. Basically we have way more overall racers, however a lower races per racer average, but also well over twice as many XC races. The objective of this search is to find out ways to increase our total racers per race average, to create a better overall race experience for all. Well that and some other stuff.

I'm not short on ideas... I'm interested in what you all have to comment. What changes would you recommend or like to see?

G

Sent from my HTC on the Now Network from Sprint!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Epic BTness

Well that's it... Like pissing on the last few remaining coals of a fire burned long through the night, my mountain bike race season has ended. The flame is put out for the time being. I really wanted the fire to burn hot coming into the BT, but damn its been a long season. I think last time I looked I raced something like 20+ weekends since the first race back in late February. It was time to polish it off like the last corner of some Sailor Jerrys, and then lite up the night for what would be the true reason of the trip... To party the season ender off right.

My race didn't go well. I learned lots though. Like how to ride like a girl, and how to properly rest while on the side of the trail why your buddies pass by yelling at you to quit being a (insert female reference here.) Oh yes, it was a glorious day of epic humbling status. The BT reminded me again on why out of half a dozen attempts of these endurance races I have failed each. Mind you fail is in the eye of the beholder, but my eyes are very sensitive to failure. I see it when others may not. I've never truely DNFd one of these races, although the results from Saturday will say otherwise, but I also have never completed one and done well results wise. For me its top 5 or nothing. I guess that's a skewed way to look at it, but I felt confident it was possible and I always aim my double barreled shotgun high. My hope for the BT was sub 4 1/2 hours. I finished by my phone at 1:45, 5 and a quarter hours from our 8:30 start.

So the DNF you ask? Well that would be due to me taking the road instead of the gravel to the finish. The distance is no different, I just went off how we finished in 08. When I came through the parking lot there was no one around. I didn't really care, because I had only one thing on my mind, the swimming hole. I was submerged in the ice cold water by 1:50. It was heaven. My body had felt like it had just seen the business end of billy club, and my legs were ready for some ice cold goodness. I didn't care that I wasn't recorded as finishing. I wasn't in the money, I wasn't top 3 in my age group, and 30 place never leaves great memories in my mind.

I was happy to finish, and even pleasently surprised at my time. I had well over 20 minutes of stop time, and possibly that in just the last checkpoint stop. I was posted up in a lawn chair drinking some throwback Mountain Dew, (thanks to Daveys wifie!) and it took a lot of motivation to get up and finish the last leg. That coupled with all my side trail rests meant I wasted a lot of time being idle. Couple those things with my lackluster riding from mile 20-58 and I was happy to know that next year, that 4.5 is mine.

Oh yes, I will be back, and will succeed.

I just don't have the endurance skills yet. Maybe doing some 5 hour rides would help. The BT was my longest ride by well over an hour all year. My nutrition also sucked, and has a lot of room to blossom. I am more than ready to conquer the endurance race beast, and the plans are already underway.

What I lacked in riding endurance though, I made up for in party endurance. Seriously, what the hell happend to everyone? It was almost a ghost town by 8pm. Luckily I met some great new friends who were more than willing to end the day right. I partied with old and good friends, and got to hang with some new faces and otherwise badass riders like Garth Prosser and Frank Webber. Good times, peace offerings, and free beer complements of the great Kuat boys were had. Duffys crew turned out to be a hoot to hang with, and they almost partied me under the table. The night capped off with me falling in a ditch while heading to Shoffs campfire, and almost losing my car keys in the process.
Thanks to my boy Sean for the pic of me and Peat Awesome keeping it young.

Thanks to the crew that continues to give us the great BT, all the volunteers, the promoters, the supporting businesses, the people who put their sweat and body in maintaining the trail, the weather gods for such a perfect weekend, my mother and father for procreating and allowing me to enjoy this crazy wondeful life I live, my boys, my girls, my team, my sponsors, and my undying ability to never give up on trying to live life to its fullest and the continuation of my journey of pain and joy.

I have a great life... And I'm happy I can share as much of it as I can with so many awesome people.

2012 here we come. It's going to be the best yet....

G

Friday, October 21, 2011

Self Motivation



Sent from my HTC on the Now Network from Sprint!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stoking the Fire



Sent from my HTC on the Now Network from Sprint!

Friday, October 14, 2011

7AM Gravel with Numb Hands



Sent from my HTC on the Now Network from Sprint!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Crazzyness that was... Burnin

I'm not sure what was happening on the crosser scene this weekend, but I can almost certainly guarantee it was nothing even close to the awesomeness that was Burnin. The stories of this race have tempted me for years. I knew the course, Council Bluffs, but I had no idea of the spectical that was to be Burning at the Bluffs VIII.

The story of the 2011 edition started with a little West and East collabo. It was to involve my go to guy Travis Donn, and our buddy and normally duo foe Chris Ploch. Trav asked me about a month ago if I wanted to do a three man team with him and Chris and it took all of two milliseconds for me to answer. Hell ya, there was no way I was passing up that opportunity.

So Friday mid-day we began what would become the Cannonball run down to Council Bluffs lake. We were followed by our new teammate, and eventual destoryer of the 6 hour solo race, Jason Knight. This dude has some serious potential taking not only the Binder 6 hour win for his first mountain bike race, but also the 6 hour Burnin. One thing I don't think he was ready for was following Travis on the winding and long trip down to the race venue. It was roughly 4 hours from my home, and a good 2 of those 4 hours were on some backcountry, fun, twisty roads. Travis drives a Subaru WRX Sti, and he isn't afraid to drive it. Jason on the other hand drives a Honda Pilot, and it sure got it's ass worked on the trip down. I wanted to kiss the ground when we finally arrived at the beach roughly around 6pm.

We donned lights, and took off on a half day, half night lap around the 13 mile course. It was an awesome evening for riding with perfect temps, a perfect trail, and tight backs from 4 hours of being couped up in the car stressing for my life most of the way. All in all it was a great way to shake out the legs.

The night was filled with hanging around the campsite with our gracious host, a bunch of DRJ dirt rippers. We race against these dudes from time to time throughout the year, and they always seem to be a good time to hang around. This weekend was no different. Shottler, Mike Best, and Nate Means, (defending Wicked Fast champs) even came over to hang for a bit. We did our best to joke around with them and hopefully get in their heads a little bit. We all knew we were in for a battle of epic status come 9am the next morning. The nerves were high, and even though we all were laughing and having a holly jolly good time, it was evident that everyone was secretly serious about the following day. The buckles were on the mind...

As I laid down in the tent that night I couldn't help but notice my own nervous engergy. I felt like I had just downed seven Red Bulls, and direct injected pure adrenaline from a pure bred racing horse into my veins. My heartrate was something like 90 even after trying as hard as I might to calm the system. Somewhat worrying, I slipped into the darkness of the back of my eyelids, and had dreams of flooding rains, and crazy racing scenarios. It was truely a wild evening of dreaming, waking up randomly to the loud winds, and the even louder thuds of acorns on cars.

Waking up is always rough for me when camping on the ground. I'm a hotel kind of guy the night before a race. I like taking a shower after a pre-ride, and even better, sleeping on an actual bed. That wasn't in the cards for this weekend, so I made due with it the best I could.

After the long wait to get our timing chips, and calfs marked, it was time to send Chris off for the first lap of the day, and the start of the 12 hour race. The order was Chris, then me, then Travis. Chris was racing Nate, I was to do my best to hold Shot, and Travis had Best.

Chris had a good run, and even better lap, putting in his first sub 1 hour lap. I quickly took off, and within the first few minutes of riding the track realized it was a much tougher trail when you're trying to push it. I was shooting for the fastest lap, so I was pushing limits, and blowing up the heartrate. Luckily I was able to do so even after the worrying about the higher than usual heartrate all the night prior, and even throughout the morning. I did however feel like dogshit on each of the major climbs. I was foaming from the mouth, and feeling like a massive self implosion wasn't far away with each crest of said hills. Luckily I still finished fairly strong and managed to put in a 59:37. Goal one met, the sub 1 hour.

Trav put in a solid first lap at 1:01, and could have easily put in a sub 1 had he pushed just a bit harder. He's a bit smarter than me though, and has experience on these kind of events. He chooses not to blow himself up. I on the other hand blow up first, and try to manage the damage later. Young and dumb they call it.

Chris put in a solid second lap, and I followed up with a 1:01. Trav stayed steady, Chris did the same, and I put in a 1:03 for my third lap. At this time we were up by only 15 minutes, with four laps to go. Team Testes, or whatever those COMO boys called themselves, were proving to be worthy opponents. They weren't giving up, and they were on pace to easily beat their last years time. We however were on pace to do what has never been done in Burning history, 12 laps. A quick calculation showed we could do 1:10's and still hit 12 laps. Knowing this, and also the fact that one bad lap could spell doom in the form of losing 1st place, we all told ourself's to stay steady. That was to be the story of the day.

Chris had the twighlight lap, and still put in a good 1:07. It was my turn to go out on my last lap, the teams second to last. Not only was this my first 12 hour race ever, but this was to be the first time I've ever raced at night. Turns out racing at night is pretty much the shit. Even with tired legs and a worn out body, I was having crazy amounts of fun flossing the trail, and letting the Epic do what it does best.

I feel like this is where I need to put in the Epic plug... I still am amazed at how crazy awesome this bike is. It just takes my riding to a whole nother level, and makes riding and racing so much more enjoyable. Council Bluffs was the perfect mix of trail for the big wheeled dually. Loose fast corners, plenty of little chatter rocks, and fast flats made for a playgound that the Epic and I ate up lap after lap. Most sections could be railed at major high speeds just by pedal kicking twice and staying loose while letting the bike carry high speeds all by itself.

The night lap went well, and minus my horrible spell of bobbles while riding in front of Bob Arnold, I finished fairly well. I still had cramps setting in on the last climb just like every lap before, but I finished strong and came across the line more stoked on life than ever before. It really was a most amazing feeling throwing my bike down for the last time and knowing I had done what I had come to do. My day was done, and with that 1:07 night lap, we had more than enough time for Trav to go our for our 12th lap.

Finishing was a the highest of highs emotional wise for me in a long while. I've been very fortunate to have had a very good season with some great results, but that race was a very up and down race for me and I felt like I raced extremly well for never putting my body through a race like that. The one hour on, two hour off format was new, and between every lap I would feel like death. My stomach was torn up all day, and cramps would rear their dirty head much of the time. But once I bombed down that road, and hit the singletrack all worries faded. The music took over my mood, and the legs did what they do best, push pedals.

As soon as I finished I proceeded to the PBR tent, which was so graciously hosted by our favorite jerks, Team Segal. They not only brought their A game, but they also brought 4 kegs of the delicous PBR goodness. For those of you that were there to witness the aftermath, you know that I had my fair share of that special drank, and was overall enjoying the shit out of the afterparty. I was on cloud nine, and had a blast hearing all the stories from all the cool ass people who I had the luxury of racing with and against all day long. It truely was an epic day, followed by equally awesome evening.

Nothing but amazing things can be said about this event. Top notch scoring meant that you could find out your lap times after every lap. The sweet gal behind the scoring computer would quickly tell you, and never seemed bothered by having to do so. The chip timing is truely where it's at. Mesa Cycles did an excellent job, along with all the volunteers who helped make it possible for us to race our bikes through the woods all day. There were even results posted throughout the day to see where everyone was at.

In the end Burnin lived up to it's expectations. It fullfilled even my wildest dreams, and when all the smoke settled, team Shake 'N' Bake took the top honors in the Wicked Fast class. The belt buckles where ours!!! Shot's team did a most excellent job in making us work for it, and they were nothing short of a very hard team to beat. Consistancy was something they did very well too, along with Shots fastest day and night lap. In the end I was able to hold him to within 30 seconds a lap, to two minutes, which made me happy.

Some sweet machining was done to create these masterpieces.

I'm sure there's some podium pics out there, along with probably a bunch of other crazy shots of my drunken ass. I couldn't help but let loose and have some fun. The season is winding down, and I'm all about having as much fun with my dirt loving friends as possible before we take the break that's known as winter. Burnin will for a long time be a staple in my racing calendar, and of course the dream team will be back next year to defend our buckles.

Because like they say... Winning once isn't the hard part. It's defending it that takes skill.

Skillz shouldn't be hard to find next year, because the stoke o meter will be at an all time high in anticipation for many months leading up to what will be...

BURNING 2012!!!!

G

Thursday, October 6, 2011

No Handed Trackstand

So there are very few races that you'll find me posing for the camera. Melvern was one of those races. After flatting on lap two and having to hike out, switch wheels, and restart the lap, I started to loose motivation to race. So instead I took a moment to pose for the camera. It almost came out perfect... The only downfall was that it almost looks like I'm holding the tree. Trust me though I wasn't. That's the no handed trackstand son...
Thanks to Adventure Monkey for the shot!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Let the Past Be Past

Our mountain bike racing scene has pretty much been non existant since Summer. It really is a shame. I only hope that the consequences are dealt with with open minds next year. It's been just a few short years since everyone complained about how they wanted more opportunities to race... Fast forward a couple of years and those same people are scarce to find race day. There is to be much change on the horizon in order to make our scene even remotely worth investing in promoting wise. When a promoter busts their ass off to offer us an oppoturnity to unite and race our bikes in the woods, they should be at least fortunate enough to have enough people show to make it worth it. Having less than a hundred racers used to be a joke... Now it's common.

I really hate to be a negative Nancy, but I want to see our scene grow as much as anyone else. Mountain bike racing to me is my passion. It's my escape, my time to dig deeper than I can dig anytime else. You can't truely find out how far you can go, how fast, how hard, until you step up to the line and race a group of equal riders. That's when you truely find out what your made of. It's the stories afterwards. The excitement on a racers face as they describe an epic battle they had fighting for 3rd place. It's the exhuastion on their face when they cross the line, and that faint smile the appears when they cross the line. I love XC racing. It's so much more different than endurance racing. Their both great, but my beloved XC scene has crumbled around me the last few years. I have no one to race against my age... That's a major problem in my book.

There are so many other issues that we must overcome to be anything like the other series around the country. I've been very fortunate to race all over the states this year, and I'm sad to say our scene is by far the worst off attendence wise. There are some series that have more racers in the begginer class than we do our whole race.

I hope to be more involved when I move to KC. I have a head full of ideas and the energy of being young on my side. I don't want to be like everyone else, and move elsewhere to find my fix. Of course I could move to a better race scene area to persue my dreams, but this is my home, and damnit I like it.

On a slightly better note, I'm more than excited to be able to head down to Council Bluffs and participate in Burnin this weekend. If you don't know what I'm talking about then you don't know jack. Burnin has been on my hit list for way too long now. The stories have always been interesting, but I can promise you this year will be as crazy as ever. I'm going to party and race like a rockstar. I'm also pretty lucky to have a pretty bad ass 3 man team. It's going to be a throwdown...

If your riding cross more than once a week right now then I'm extremely sorry. It's another wonderful Fall and trails won't stay so perfect forever....

G

Friday, September 30, 2011

Mid Week Adventure

Adventures are always welcome in the Riding Dirty world. There's no discrimination on when those can occur either. If there's an oppotunity to go on one, then you'll likely find me tagging along. This week, it was in the form of a good buddy of mine who happened to be in town for one day and one day only. That day happened to be Wednesday, so when he asked about going on an adventure, I gladly said yes. Of course this would require taking off a half of a day, but work can always wait.

Dishman is one of those real free spirit kind of guys. He's never really held down a steady job, mainly because he's never held down a steady state of being. Meaning he's constantly on the move, going from one state to the next, and like me, is always in search of an adventure. He's been living in DC for awhile, but was stopping on the way through to Portland, OR where he's catching the first Cross Crusade race of the year this weekend. Then it was off to Hawaii to volunteer for the Hawaii Ironman, and then a long bike tour on the island for a few months. Must be nice...

Anyways, he wanted to get lost on some gravel, because apparently out in DC, there is none. So lost we got. We hit new gravel, random dirt farm roads, a little road here and there, and even some corn fields cross style. I think we left around 3, and eventually found ourselfs at the winery around 6. Some Red Stripes were consumed, so live music was listened to, and then a half drunken ride back to the Burg was had.

All in all it was a pretty sweet day in the Fall sun taking in the nice weather while we have it. Later that night Dish showed me the ways of the Slackline. I didn't do so well. I could stay on for 5-6 seconds, but nothing more than that. It was fun though, and when I woke up yesterday I was way more sore than I expected. I guess trying to balance on an inch wide line works all kinds of muscles in the body.

Still up in the air about where to go this weekend. It's going to be a long weekend training wise, with the end ride hopefully being the River Front MTB race down in Melvern, KS. Of course I'll be far from fresh but it should be fun. Going for a 3 hour hammer session on the Katy tonight, 3-4 hours of something tommorow, and then either River Front on Sunday, or the marathon class at Warsaw. Depends on who I can get to join in.

Here's some random shots from Wednesday...

G





Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Just When You Think You Have it Bad

Took this pic from a wolf book I somehow found myself flipping through the other day.

It should be one of those motivational posters.  It would read...

Fucked

When there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Be the wolf... Not the mouse.

G

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chigger Digger Race Report

I dig the Chigger Digger. It's always one of my favorite races of the year. I'm not sure if it's because it's my backyard trail, the fact that I can wake up an hour and a half before I have to race, or if it's the awesome trail that makes it so great. Either way, this years Chigger Digger will go down in the books as another great time. Seems that everyone else had a very similiar experience too, which is always a plus.

I got to the race about 10:45. A little later than I had planned, because part of me was still on the fence on whether to race Marathon in prep for the BT, or just race Expert and do some extra lap. My decision was made while filling out the forms at registration. There were something like 8 marathoners versus the probably, maybe, if I got lucky one other Expert that might have showed. Race Marathon it was.

I've never got ready for a race so quickly, and I've never started a race with no warm up like that. I changed with the quickness, checked my air in the tires, filled up a flask halfway with hammergel, and filled up my only two bottles with two scoops of EFS in both. That would be my nutrition for the day. Thankfully one of my friends from FreeRide Bike Shop was there to refill my bottles with fresh water. That was a major time saver. No new EFS, just the four total scoops, but fresh water was welcome towards the back half of the race.

Just a short 20 minutes from arriving and Barry shouts go and we're off. I decided to warm up properly by not easing into it, but by instead hammering it right off the line. I wanted to put in a gap and get out of sight. Which almost worked... I'm kinda glad it didn't. Racing is much funner when you have someone on your wheel. A quick look behind me had me seeing only one soul willing to play along with my XC pace to start the 3 hour race. That guy was Cale McAninch. I knew at the start line that he would be one to beat. Super strong rider, which showed as he and I crossed the Start/Finish together after the first lap with a time of 30 minutes.

I let him lead out lap 2, wanting to see how he faired leading. He was hammering the fast sections, but slowed down a bit on the hills. I'm running a 1x10 with a 36 front ring, and 12-36 on the rear. I can only go so slow so on the second big hill, of four per lap, I took back the lead and pushed hard. Halfway through the white section, I hear Cale say some bad words and figured he flatted in the rocks. Turns out that was the case.

I finished lap 2 solo, along with lap 3, 4, 5, and 6. I've never accomplished 6 laps at Knob, let along back to back non-stop. I was very pleased with my form. I had excellent power the whole race on the fast stuff, and managed to play damage control on the major hills on the last few laps. All in all there were 24 good climbs in this race, with plenty of little inclines thrown in between. On lap 4 I started counting down the hills... 12, 11, 10, ect...

My motivation stayed fairly high, although on the last lap my back and shoulders really started to bitch at me. I had decided to incorporate my core/back/upper body workout into my training again on Saturday. I had a slight hiatus from it for a few weeks. It definently didn't help for Sunday, but I managed. I had a little nagging back pain that came and went, but other than that I stayed on the gas and finished my 6 laps, roughly 40 miles in 3 hours and 16 minutes.

Right on target.

Ethos tore it up yesterday. 1st in Marathon, 1st and 3rd in Expert 35+, and 1st in Sport 50+.

I'm feeling really good about the BT now. Yesterday was a huge accomplishment in my books. I've never really been a great endurance racer, and most likely won't anytime soon. But yesterday I proved to myself that I can ride hard again for 3+ hours. I haven't been able to do that for a few years now. Being so XC oriented, I never really train long or race long. I've done Syllamo, Ouchita, BT, and a handfull of other solo 6 hour races, but never did great at them. The BT is perfect in my book. Under 4 and a half hours is right in between XC and Endurance.

Two more BIG weeks of training, and then some taper action. Still a ton of great racing left on dirt. Hopefully I'll get down to do the River Front MTB race this weekend. More on that to come...

G

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Very First Commute

I'm sad to have to admit to the above comment. I really wish I could say I'm a die hard commuter who only rides a bike to and from work, the grocery store, the trails, and the doctors for my weekly EPO boosts. But alas, I work 30 miles from home, I've only ridden to the grocery store a few times, trails always seem to far away, and that last bit about the doctors visits are completly false. I'm way not that cool...

So yesterday I figured I'd ride to Booneville via the Katy, and then force myself to ride back in this morning. Force being the key word. Getting me up early is about as tough as trying to be a roadie who isn't a true dick. It's tough no doubt.

But forced up in the cover of darkness, I slithered out from the covers, fed my face with some oatmeal, peanut butter, and honey, and then headed out the front door.

I got to work pushing pedals at 7 in the morning, with only 40 miles standing between me and my destination (work). I didn't stop to take any sweet pics, or to meditate and think about life's complex mysteries. No... I put my head down and suffered. I had to be at work damnit, and I didn't have time for the small pleasures of the ride.

I made it to my car which was parked at work just a few short hours later. I was a little behind but I still had time to clean up, change, and grab some Wendy's pick me up by 9:30.

I like that. I feel almost like a true cyclist. I can now say I commute. Because once I start, it's hard to get me to stop. And I can see myself deep in the pain cave at 8am on the Katy plenty more times in the future.

Cross practice tonight, then the Pirate ride from SPDIDDYBURNS casa.

Let the legs learn...

G

Monday, September 19, 2011

River Trail 150

10AM on Saturday morning, rain covered windshield on the way back from grabbing breakfast and all hope/optimism for a sweet weekend is beginning to fade. Thankfully they make cell phones so technically awesomely advanced that you can watch the weather from your cellular device, in order to better make a decision that involves weather. Cycling tends to be part of that category. Luckily I've become quite the weather man since I've stopped listening to those fools on TV, and took it upon myself to religously track and watch the rain around these parts myself. I'm usually pretty spot on, and there's only been an instance or two where I've missed out on a great ride by choosing to let the weather dictate me not doing said ride.

So by 1PM, I was packing up the camelback, and hitting the road to make my way to Sedalia, where the River Trail 150 would begin.

I didn't put alot of thought into it. More or less a shoot from the hip kind of ride. Those are the best. Just jump on and go. Dishman and I once talked about jumping a train with only bikes in hand, and see where the train ended. Ride home from there...

This weekend I only knew that I wanted two good days of hard riding on the Katy Trail, and I wanted to end up in Hermann to watch the boys race at 3pm Sunday. I had opportunities to stop/stay in Booneville, Columbia, and Jeff. That's roughly 40, 70, and 90 miles respectively. I hit the trail at 2:30 Saturday afternoon, with just a slight drizzle in the air. It continued to spit little drops for about an hour, but not long after the hour mark I had to stop and take off my rain jacket to keep from internally combusting due to heat.

The trail was in awesome shape. Hero gravel. No dust, hardpacked, and fast. I made it to Booneville in 2 hours flat with two short stops in between. I quickly made my way over the Missouri Bridge, and then huffed it to the McBain exit, which is where the MKT Trail cuts in from Columbia. I decided Columbia would be more fun for then night, so I took the 5 mile trek on the MKT, to where it runs right by a buddies place, and took up shelter.

I was on the trail by 8:45 the next morning, just a short 30 minutes after waking up, once again playing weather man and dodging storms. A quick glance on the phone once I woke up and we were sandwhiched between two rain cells with what looked like about a 3 hour window of staying dry. So heavy legged, I pushed pedals to Jeff in a little under 2 hours. The cell from the West was breaking up, and from there I decided to keep on, rather than stay in Jeff for the day which also sounded pretty good.

The ride to Hermann was nice. Some spots more than others. If you've spent any time on the Katy, you know how beautiful some spots can be, and how boring others are. The Katy is a decieving little bugger. It's like those Sour Patch commercials. First it's sour, then it's sweet. But the Katy is the other way around. At first it's sweet. Then you hit that wall, and it becomes bitterly sour. For me it was about 3 hours in both days. You start realizing you've been pushing a fairly hard gear, non-stop for 60 miles. There's no coasting, no taking it easy. It's flat, but with enough slight changes in grades that you still get some climbing. The section from Sedalia to Booneville is the hilliest.

In all it's beauty, I was still glad to be done and have Hermann in sight. 150 miles of rail trail in under 24 hours, no flats, no mechanicals, and only a few drops of rain. Heck, my bike didn't even hardly get dirty. That's a good ride in my book.

The cross racing was fun. Mainly because my belly was full, and there was free beer. Jeff, you put on one hellava event. Hopefully I can race it one day.

Enough words...

The bike was spot on all weekend, and gears were a nice addition for this trek.

The rock.

Bigger pic of it.

Hermann pumpkins! I miss the Pumpkin Festival. Same weekend as Burning this year...

One of the bridges. And no, those are not ghosts. Just a couple out enjoying a nice day on the Katy.

The action up front between Shot and Devin. I enjoyed watching them hurt.

My view from the stairs all alone. It just seemed like a good place to heckle a bit.

Might just hit up some more Katy tonight and tommorow morning.

It sure is a nice day for it...

G

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Project

Decided at the last minute today that I wanted to make this weekend interesting. That started with a completly trashed Kona Jake frame. Like covered from headtube to the dropouts in dusty mud.  

After an hour of deep cleaning, and stripping of all parts, it was ready for a flat black rattle can bath.  Paint done it was time to strip the road bike to scavenger the Rival rear derailleur and handlebar/shiffter combo.

Slap those on the new flat black frame, clean up some wheels laying around, and BAM! You have a newly built Jake with the nicest drivetrain its ever seen, and a sweet bar wrapped in 2.5 mm lizard skin grip that I loved so much on the road steed.

Not all is finished yet. Still need  to run new brake cables, and a shifter cable. Hoping that should go easy though.

So in order to make tonights effort worth it, Im going on an adventure. Lots of Katy Trail.

Full report to come Monday. Hopefully my trek ends with some Cross watching in Hermann.

Hopefully...

G



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Carbon Repair

So some of you know that a few weeks ago, on a fairly familiar trail, on a fairly crappy day condition wise, I took the Epic and slung it over some rocks resulting in some pretty good dingage on the rear triangle.

This is what it looked like.

This was what it looked like after I had it fixed, just a short week later. .



I was waiting to mention anything about it until I put some good miles on it. I raced Tall Oaks on the repair, and also down at Arkansas. In between I've hit a ton of trail. Last week alone I got in 7 good mountain bike rides, on a total of 5 different trails. Knob Noster, Binder, Shawnee Mission, Rockbridge, and Landahl. Knob three times cause it's just that damn fun.

Back to the repair. I have the dudes info, just shoot me an e-mail and I'll get it to you. Marko is who fixed it for those wondering. He did JPB's Sworks hardtail, and it's still running smoothly. Not to mention Marko puts his stamp of approval with a life time warranty backing up his work. I like that.

So here's to hoping you don't ever have to fix your fancy carbon bike or any carbon bits. But if you do, it's great to know that you can have it fixed. Cheap too. My repair was a smooth 75 bucks. And with a week turnaround in order to get me ready for Tall Oaks... Well that was just the icing on the cake.

To Danny Boy, get better and stay sane. I have no doubt you'll come back stronger. Been on the injured list a time or two, and I always did.

Last Spin Pizza ride is tommorow night from the Spin on Main. Then it's cross practice Wednesday nights... I guess. Here's to hopefully fun times on grass paths!

G

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Spin then Pirate

Last night was another weekly installment of the duece duece ride. Spin Pizza first, then off to Burnsey's for some dirt/rock loving action on the MTB's. Nothing like killing yourself on the road for an hour, and then putting in another 2 on dirt.

Spin went well. We had a pretty big group out with the nice weather. It's pretty impressive the size of these rides some days. We've had as much as 40+ in our "A" group. There's just as many and often times more in the "B" group. Basically we just go longer and faster than the B group. Usually we stay together fairly well until we get out to the loop. Then I like to go fast. Travis held my wheel last night for the first time in a few weeks. He's looking to be a fast dude on grass this year.

Grass racing starts this week I guess. Just ask this dude.

After Spin, I downed some ever so good spinach, grilled chicken, some raisens, a nana, and a protein shake. Last week I stopped at Wendy's and had a double cheeseburger and coke. I felt much better this week riding dirt. Fast food is not food for the soul...

This week it was Burnsey, the Manimal, Trav, Sarah, and myself. Sarah killed it as usual. We rode a pretty tech route, and there's some spots that give even us boys trouble. In the end we hit tons of dirt, rocked some sweet rocks, and had some comical wrecks to make for an always intersting ride. Luckily no one DNF'd this week.

Afterwards the beer flowed, and the hot tube was shown some love. Cooler nights are here, and the night riding is ever so amazing. Take advantage of it. Keep that dirt in your regimen. It keeps the fun alive. Grass get's boring after awhile.

I'm not racing this weekend. I haven't had a full weekend home in probably 6 months. It's either racing or seeing family. This weekend it's all about relaxing and hitting up some good long rides. Shot's looking strong right now. He's killing it, and if I have any hope of holding his wheel at the BT, then I better start riding long.

The speed's there... Now for the distance.

G

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Slaughter Pen Jamz

If there's one thing I love in this world, it's racing my bicycle. So whenever there's an opportunity to do so, I agree, and do it to it. Slaughter Pen Jam was on my schedule of races I wanted to do anywho, and so when JPB asked if I wanted to go, I hesitated not. I rarely hesitate to go race... Throw in some unknown racers who I haven't raced yet, in a new venue I've never ridden, on a hot September day, and I'm even more game.

I spent Friday night dogsitting the most awesome dog in the world. Stella, Burnsey's boxxer, needed someone to watch over her while her owners were gone, so I happily agreed to help a fellow friend out. By time Sunday came around and I had to eventually head home, I was ready to steal Stella. She was such a fun and easy going dog.
Stella

Saturday I met JPB and down 71 we headed. That was until about a mile down the road when we ran into stopped traffic. Being it was 9am on a Saturday morning, we figured something weird had to be going on for traffic to be at a standstill. Noticing people standing outside their cars, and running around frantically pretty much tipped us off that some crazy shit was going down. Turns out it was a poodle on the loose, running straight down the highway, while it's owner and multiple other people tried chasing it down. Traffic couldn't really go anywhere, cause this little yapper was all over the place, and no one wanted to be the one to run it over. It wasn't that the poodle was too fast for everyone, it was the fact that anytime someone tried to go and grab it, it would pull a Cujo and try to rip their fingers off. Finally pinned under a car, the owner nabbed it just in time for everyone to cheerfully clap, but much more time wasted and they very well coulda angerily beat the shit out of him.

So that was a very interesting way to start the day.

Things would again get interesting when we arrived in Bentonville, and had no idea where to go. We happened to be posted up on our phones in a government parking lot, when this SUV with bikes came whizzing through and we quickly agreed following it would be a good idea. Luckily it was, and I'm certain that the wild goose chase it sent us on would have never been achieved had it been up to me and JP to find the venue. Finally we turned on a dirt road, through a farm gate, over a creek, and BAM! There's the venue, looking packed and full of like minded individuals.

So that's a double dose of interesting.

Interestings should always come in three's in my opinion. With that being said, I was cautiously waiting for what would be interesting bout number three. My luck would have it, it came. It came in the form of a bent rear brake pad spring. You know, that little spring that holds the brake pads together? Ya, it was bent, and making all sorts of loud, annoying, and otherwise unsafe noises, along with dragging on my rotor something serious. This was 20 minutes before race start. I kinda spent too much time in the AC of the Flex and time got away from me.

I've become a pretty decent mechanic over the years of fixing my always common untimely mechanicals, so it only took about 10 minutes for me to finally figure out that I would just have to cut the one arm of the spring off, and make due. Make due it did, and off on my 10 minute pre-ride I went.

They started us off in waves, and it looked like there were 30 or so experts overall. Not a huge turnout, but that's a labor day race for ya. With that being said, it was still twice the turnout we have at our races, and not knowing anyone is always fun. You just never know which one of the jokers could play a wildcard on you. There were 8 or so in my group, and before I knew it the announcer counted 3,2,1. I took off like a rocket wanting to stage second or at worst, third wheel. Well, turns out no one wanted to really challenge me, so I took off blindly at a slightly slower than the speed of light pace down the trail I knew nothing about.

That's always fun... Racing a trail you know nothing of. It's even funner when you're the one leading. It's like opening up a present, over and over and over again. Every corner is new, every straight stretch, every rock and root. It was a blast just railing this ever so sweet trail, at a nice fast pace but not too fast. With 3 - 9 mile laps, I made sure not to go out hot. Not to forget to mention hot, it was upwards of 95 degrees when we started. So the first lap I took it easy, kept the HR down low, and just enjoyed railing this trail that I was soon finding out everything about.

The trail was broken into three sections. Each had it's own unique flow, with the third being my favorite. The last mile or two of the trail coming into the start finish was this blazing fast pumptrackish trail. I was in my biggest gear and hammering each time. It was actually easier to go fast, and you would get some sweet air lofting off all the little bumps and short ups. The rest of the trail was mainly benchcut, fast, and very flowy stuff. Some decent climbing, but nothing crazy long or hard.

Lap two and I'm still in the lead. I haven't wrecked yet. I was feeling good. Then WAM! I hit the deck... Hard. Not even sure what happened. I think I was taking a drink and daydreaming of what new color cordination I should do on the Jake this winter. I quickly gathered myself and figured out that I should probably start paying attention. This was a kind of trail that you could wander off a bit on, but as soon as you did you usually hit the deck. I'd do it again later in the lap, but I don't think that one hurt as bad. *Note - The benchcut was my ultimate enemy. I would get caught up in the high side of the benchcut, usually at a very high speed and around a corner, and it was all down to the ground after that. I need to put racing on benchcut better on my list of shit to work on.

Lap 3 was pretty rough. I was getting tired, hot, and all I could think about was stopping and going for a swim in the crystal clear creek waters we passed over multiple times each lap. I wanted to be done, but I still had 9 miles standing in my way. This is where the good wrecks started to pile up. All four of them. Well, at least two were REALLY good, with the other two just being minorly good. I'm still alone at this point, but each time I pick myself up out of the dirt, or have to re-adjust my handlebars, I think that someone is bound to catch me.

In the end no one did... Although the verdict for the overall is still under question. I was pretty spent after it was all said and done, and didn't really keep time of how long it was till 2nd came through. It ended up being a 40-49 year old, who I think started 6 minutes behind me. So it's possible he took 1st overall, and I took 2nd. They didn't pay out overall and I didn't get to see the times so who knows. I was happy regardless. I had a decent race, minus all the wrecking, and I had a great time flossing the trails for at least 20 of the 27 miles. Not to mention I got a decent wad of cash for winning my age group. Why we think XC races need to be so long though I'll never know. I'd rather race 18-21 miles anyday.
The aftermath.

So that's it... Another race down. Arkansas was a state I haven't raced yet this year, and I'm glad we made the trip. It was a fairly short drive, and they did a great job with the course and overall race experience. I'm sure we'll be down again next year. Who knows, maybe even more than once...

Yesterday was my Mum's birthday.
This is her now.

This is what she looked like as a kid.

She's the greatest mum ever. I may be a little biased on that one. She'll always be young in my book, and I'll always be her little boy. Happy 50th momma!

Maybe Sac this weekend? Or maybe a weekend off. Or who knows, maybe even some Lizard action. Or did I just see some Masher action?

So many choices.

G

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tall Oaks 2011

Ethos 1... Possibly the lamest name ever. I'm going to have to make sure Trav doesn't get that luxury of team naming next year. But regardless, Ethos 1, which consisted of Travis Donn and myself, took it to the dirt yesterday for the annual Tall Oaks Challenge in Jeff City at a little gem of a trail called Binder Lake.

I cut my teeth riding these trails. Back when I had the Wal-Mart Mongoose, I used to go out from time to time and break things pretty much every ride. Then I got the GT Outpost, and continued to ride very rarely throughout the last few years of school. It wasn't till I graduated, that I decided to take up riding a little more seriously, and bought a Specialized Hardrock from Red Wheel. It was there that my addiction truely started. I rocked Binder daily for that first year. It was a year full of weezing and overall being a out of shape wannabe biker.

This was the 4th year that I've done Tall Oaks. I'm pretty sure I've done it every year since it started. This year was about like every year, with the same trail being used, the same format, but better competition and more racers overall.

There were 31 duo teams that took to the dusty trails. The trail was in major need of some rain, and I'm sure every racer who took to the trail yesterday is hacking up dirt flavored lung bunnies today. On one end you had to watch your speed around corners, but on the other end it was so dusty it always looked like there was a racer just up ahead so you seemingly always had it pinned trying to catch that next racer. I know more than one racer that took it to the earth hard on some of the loose corners. But you know who didn't? THIS GUY! I know right, holy shit, the king of wrecking didn't wreck all day long. That's a record I believe.

Big thanks to Nicole Stacey for taking pics. Find them here.

Fast recap...

Travis comes in with Chris Ploch after lap 1, who was racing with ancient but still fast as hell Bob Arnold. At this moment I realized we had already lost the bet of the day. Bob and Chris bet us a six pack a piece that we couldn't beat them by the difference in our combined age in minutes. Basically Bob and Chris's age together was like 90 something, and Travis and mine was like 50 or some shit. Ok, maybe Bob isn't that old, but it still ended up being a difference of 24 minutes (years) or something. We only took the bet because Chris was trying to play the "I'm hungover" card. Which I'm pretty sure turned out to be crap, as he continued to smash 32 minute laps. Anywho, we lost the bet, but back to the first lap handoff. Bob fumbles in his oldness during the handoff and I get out in front of him. I pin it, and put in the fastest lap of the day at 31:07. I felt like shit the first lap. My legs felt awesome, but my lungs were on fire. I have a few ideas why, mainly sleeping in a dungeon the night before. I was shooting for a sub 30 minute lap, but it eluded me again.

We have about a 3 minute lead on now 2nd place, Devin Clark and Rock Wamsley. There are close to 6 teams all within minutes of each other. These teams included pairs like Jeff Yeilding and Mark Gullet, JP Brocket and the Manimal, Andy Gibbs and Andrew Moorman, and Bryce Hylton and Corey Case.

Long story short, Travis continued to put down fast laps, and I did the same. My second lap was 32:02 and I felt like I was working 20% less than lap 1. Looking back I should have pinned it that lap and I probably could have hit that sub 30, but I still had 4 laps and I wasn't looking to loose it for us. So I rode fast but comfortably. Lap 3 for me was 32:35, lap 4 was 33:05, and my last lap was 34:49. I was feeling rough on the last lap, but overall I felt pretty great all day. My legs did what they were supposed to do, and that was crush the pedals for a total of 5 - 7 mile laps. A rough calculation shows I averaged about 12.8 mph overall. That's about what I need for the BT, and I'm figuring it's a fairly comparable course. Now I just have to string all of those laps together back to back, plus add about 3 more.

In the end they didn't recognize the fastest lap. That's a first. Apparently they didn't have time according to Nick. Travis also said he had 50 bucks more in his envelope than mine. Guess I caught that short end of the stick. No worries... Still gotta give a shout out to Nick and Jessica, all their fine volunteers, and Team Red Wheel for hosting this always sweet ass event.

Results here...

All in all, it was great riding against some fast dudes with lots of friends to hang with in between laps. Free PBR from the coolest dudes in black, and a frog leg fry immediately following at Pops. Strike it as a mark in the good day column.

Headed down South this weekend for the Slaughter Pen Jam. I'm ready to jam.

G