Friday, July 29, 2011


Seems like the main topic of the bloggesphere lately has been the heat. It's been a whole bunch of whining going on I tell ya. I've always been one to accept the fact that there are things you can change, and things you can't change. The weather falls into the unchangable. So deal... Just think, if you train in this weather, you'll be light years ahead of everyone else this fall. Not only does training in the heat and humidity play well for when things cool off, but you also get the added benefit that most don't even ride in this weather. So while they waste precious dry trail time, you're putting money in the bank.

This is money in the bank. Three times this week my legs have looked like this. Two 35 mile gravel rides, and a nice 28 mile ride through the woods last night. Add in some good core workouts a few times this week, and a nice 45 minute minute early morning road ride and I've already got in the same hours I normally put in for a whole week. And it's not even the weekend!

Some things on the web front. KNC has stolen my idea. Not really, but I figured it was only a matter of time till someone came up with a way to incorporate the Shimano Di2 electronic shifting into a mountain bike. They did... and it's expensive.

Marzocchi has come out with a new Corsa 29er fork. It looks pretty sweet, but I still think I'm going with the Sid. Never have liked the look of those nickle plated sanctions that Marzocchi has, and red just isn't my favorite color.

BikeRadar did a pretty good article on the best bike upgrades that yeild the biggest gains for your mountain bike. Not expensive upgrades, but the best, cheapest upgrades. Basically the bar, stem, and tires. I'd agree, those three components can change the way your bike acts and handles greatly, and new, lighter tires can give you that extra 1mph you looking for. Above that, bar no expense cap, wheels are it. But you're looking at dropping 500-1000 bucks for a good wheelset that you can actually notice.

And the douche of the week goes to Floyd Landis! Check this video out. Yup, the beer drinking, rubber burning, exhuast fume inhaling crowd of Nascar will be pleased to find out this ex-doper will be joining the ranks of the Nascar drivers. WHOOO WEE! What a joke...

I'm headed down to CoMo tonight to get a little riding done at Rockbridge. I looked at the race loop they have posted for next weekends Show Me State Games, and it looks to be the same loop they always do. Which brings up the question, why do they include the praire loop? Makes no sense... Not only is it extremely boring, but it's wide open, and always hot as hell.

Then it's a Saturday in Jeff, with some froggin! Oh ya buddy, bringing out my hillbilly roots. It's been years, but I jonsin for some frog legs in the skillet.

Then off to the Lake for hopefully some water fun, and some Honey Run action!

One of the few weekends that doesn't include racing.

I'm going to enjoy it!

So should you...


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Early Morning Flyer

It's 6AM, wind blowing by, body and machine slicing through the air like a knife through butter. The Sun is rising to my back, and the road is quiet. The hum of rubber and road are the only sounds I hear, along with the almost silent laboring of my breath. Sweat pours even though the tempature is quite nice. The humidity hangs in the air, causing even my machine to sweat with moisture. I push a bit harder... I go a bit faster... I feel free, because at 6am, flying just seems to come natural.

I really should get out early more often. Then again I'm not a morning person. I find it hard enough to drag myself out of bed, much less throw a leg over a bike and ride in the wee hours of the morning. However, last night my body shut down. It does that sometimes. I got home at 5 and was asleep by 5:30. I only woke a few times, and before I knew it, it was 5:30 in the morning and I almost jumped out of bed I was so awake.

Almost a month of traveling the nation, racing every weekend, and tons of riding in this heat finally cumulated to one of those 12 hour sleep nights.

On the racing news front, Topeka was a whole lot of fun on Sunday. The course was the same as last year, and the tempature was actually very bareable. I took it hard from the beginning, only dragging JPB with me up the grassy hill leading to the singletrack. I stood and sprinted out of every corner on the first lap, which is a whole lot of sprinting. The trail out at the GMansion is loaded with sharp 180 degree turns, and fast and flowy sections.

After the first lap I put it on cruise control and tried to keep a consistant pace. I was able to do so, and in the end I took the overall Expert win. JP Brockett took second, and just like that Ethos took down another 1,2. It was also good to see our St.Joe brothers as they all did very well also, taking home medals galore.

Tonight I'm going to do a little 35 mile gravel grinder, followed by the same ride backwards tommorow morning, and then the SPIN Pizza ride tommorow night.

Gotta get ready for the BT Epic and a couple double header weekends.

That's right Schottler, I got your number son. Ha ha... Well, at least I hope I'll be able to hang your wheel for at least part of that beast.

Here's to 50 miles in the Ozarks at a blistering pace.

Ethos will be there, will you?


Listening to For the Birds right now... Local KC band that I stumbled onto after meeting the cello player Saturday night, who also was the cello player for a show Jeremy Collins had,The Wolf and the Medallion. The show really brought home the last few years of my life, and what is my life's journey. Here's to kicking the Wolf's ass, and never letting go of what drives you in life.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cool Friday

Man it's nice outside. Like as in perfect riding weather. You really can't ask for any better than the stretch we've had. 100+ degrees and heat indexes far above that. This is the weather that'll make a real man, or woman, out of you. If you can ride well in this stuff, you can ride well in any weather. I did notice the humidity hasn't been as horrible, but make no mistake, 40% and above humidity in this weather is still stuffy.

So bake my friends, like little potatoes in an oven. Embrace the heat, take it for what it is, an excellent training device. Drink lots, both water and beer, and make sure to get yourself a good nights sleep. Wouldn't want to be flat for the racing this weekend!

The Sunflower Games MTB race is Sunday. And it's at 9am, which means it'll only be 90 instead of 100. That's a big difference yo! The course, (Governors Mansion)is a good one. From what I remember it was very fast and flowy, with a long section of flat peagravel. Man I hope they have that there this year. I'd love to hit it with gears.

Did you all see the vid of the "A" line at the Missoula Montana ProXtc race? Aaron posted it, and it's no doubt the most insane A line I've ever seen. Maybe because I haven't raced but a handful of national events, but it's a straight up 4 foot drop off. Looks smooth, but damn, I can only imagine the carnage when a group of 50+ racers come up on it. If you're not sure of what an A line is, it's basically the fastest choice of two routes at a particular part of a given race course. The B line is easier but slower. At Nationals, the difference between hitting the rock waterfall, (A line), and the B line was like 30 seconds. Pretty big difference, but you run the risk of killing yourself. Or at least flatting out.

The Tour is hot right now. I'm pretty excited to get home and see what happens today. Yesterday was a great race, until my DVR decided to stop recording with a mile to go. Oh well, I figure I didn't miss much. I don't read about what happens, I wait to watch it when I get home. I can usually skip over the slow stuff, and get right to the goods. It's almost like Nascar racing, only much much more cool.

I'm going to go ride in the heat today. And I'm going to enjoy it. At least I can tell myself that.

Have fun this weekend, and remember, don't let the heat get ya down.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Listen to these Jerkwads

So smart they are... Not only can you not understand a damn word they're saying, but they even have that "smart" accent.

Really though, it's pretty interesting stuff in regards to wheel testing in windtunnels. All in the name of trying to eek out that extra 1mph.

Thank god for modern science, or else we might all still be rolling around on wooden rims.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kill the Hardtail?

It seems everytime I ride this bike, that thought comes to mind. Is it even worth having a seperate hardtail mountain bike? I mean coming off the Epic to this bike is like going from floating on a cloud being tossed out of a flying car. Even on a smooth trail this thing likes to deliver the pain stick to the body.

I think a suspension fork would really change this bike. The still standing, fairly legit, reason for riding a hardtail over a dually is that its more effecient. You stand, deliver the wood, and they propel with percise precision. While going rigid allows you even less energy loss, the pounding that comes with it often overrides that energy savings. I find I actually tire sooner than I do with the slightly less effecient dually.

So I guess my plan will include buying a new Sid 29er fork, putting it on the Epic, and then put the Reba on the Stumpy. I think its going to turn out to be a great move for both bikes.

But for now, I'll be rocking my squish. The hardtail will do nicely this winter.

Let the war of opinions start, because I know there's still plenty of hardtail die hards out there.

Race in Topeka this weekend!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

USA Nationals

It's was kind of a big deal...

It was staged at the base of a fairly legit mountain, and it was done up big. Not a most dominating, intemidating type of mountain, but one that you knew was going to test your might regardless. Coming from the flat fields of corns and beans meant that I wasn't supposed to do well. Already knowing you have elements going against you will sometimes play hell with your mind, or it will cause you to have no worries, no expectations at all.

I knew I had things going against me, and I had some doubts, but I choose not to let it bother me, and that ended up being much better in the end.

Trav and I flew from KC to Salt Lake, to then Boise, Idaho on Thursday. JP Brockett and KRocket picked us up, and we made the short 2 hour drive to Sun Valley. I have to give a big thank you to them for not only doing that, but then also driving us back to Boise last night so we could fly out this morning.

After arrival Thursday afternoon, we built up bikes and headed down to the venue. We ended up doing a complete lap Thursday, which wasn't on my list of crap I wanted to do Thursday. I was still trying to find my legs after Wednesday nights Spin! Pizza Ride, and the flight that morning. That and I like to take it easy two days before a race, and then open the day before.

That first lap was eye opening. It was a very up and down course. You go up, and then you come down. The climb could be segmented into three seperate sections. The first was the more loose, more steep pitches. It was tough, and a couple of good roots really threw a wrench into the rythm. I hiked a bike a few sections, and then hit the second section. This was less steep, and more open and smooth. Although it sounds sweet, it was still at a good pitch, and you were still redlined from the section prior. Then you popped out into the open, did a hike a bike switchback, and ended up at section three. This last section was a fire road that snaked it's way to the very tip top of the mountain. It was long, steep at times, and very tedious.

But my oh my, when you reached the top, it was all grins and wa-hoos from there!

A fast fireroad decent drops you into the singletrack, were you switchbacked your way down the moutain, over whoop-de-doos, blind bench cut corners, and overall loose, dusty, heaven. Down at the bottom, it was sprint through the start/finish, up the road, over the big fly over, and through this rock section before climbing back up the mountain.

It was a great ride, and I sure as hell didn't do it Friday. I was a bit sore waking up Friday morning, and besides watching KRocket get 4th in her group, and doing a couple of prologue loops, I took it easy.

The prologue lap started our race on Sunday. It was a short lap that included a very steep, not long but long enough climb to get you deep into the pain cave. It was here that I was first slapped in the face with the pain fist of US Nats 2011.

4AM on Saturday morning rolled by awefully quick.

Three hours later and I was sitting second line at the start of what would become a very fun but tough race.

It wasn't that fast of a start at the beginning of our 7:30AM start. But damn, it sure did get hard once we hit that very first climb. I sure didn't have it. I couldn't push any harder, and right off the start I was sitting 10th or so of 17 riders in my group.

We quickly re-grouped after the rock garden, but it soon broke loose again once we started the climb proper. It was a rough go of it for a bit. A lot of hike a biking, heavy breathing, and "Come Ons"! I knew that was going to happen. I knew I should have been in the very front. I knew, I knew, I knew.

But alas, sometimes what you know, and what you can truely do aren't neccassarily the same things. I should have had a better start, but I didn't, and from there on I resolved to start the pick off process.

The climb opend up after section one, and it was there that the real riding hit, and I could start picking off guys. This was also where the leaders of the next few classes started working their way up. Once one would catch me, I'd slide over, and catch his wheel. I did a pretty good job holding wheels, and made my way to the top of the mountain feeling fairly well.

Once the downhill hit, I was ready for the fun break ahead. Problem was I was sitting 5th wheel or so in a group of riders and the dust was so bad you couldn't see anything in front of you. Now that's not usually a great idea when you're flying down the side of a mountain at 18+mph. One bad mistake and you could find yourself in trouble fairly quickly.

I kept the group within site, but still got caught by a couple of riders on the way down. One would be the eventual 4th place finisher from my race. It was amazing how well some of these guys decended compared to me. I made note of that area of riding that I obviously could do better in. We just don't get the luxury of those long downhills around here, and it seems like anytime you get one riding, you want to enjoy it rather than fly down as fast as possible. Make no mistake though, it was a true race to the bottom.

Things were much more open and interesting on the second lap. I had the rider in my group in sites, with a older group rider between he and I. I kept on their wheels, and managed my way through the first part of the climb for the second time. I still had to hike a bike a bit of it, but I never stopped advancing, and before I knew it, I was on the wheel of my age group rider.

I passed him on the more open smooth section, and laid down the wood to get a good gap that I hoped would stick through the downhill and through the finish. The gap worked, but holding it didn't. I dug deep and kept the heart rate pegged at what I at the moment percieved to be the highest I could sustain.

You see, I haven't used a heart rate monitor in over a year or so. I just figure I need to go as hard as I can no matter what. Well that usually works, and if I blow up here in Missouri, I can quickly recover. Not up there. You blow up and it takes much longer to recover. At this point of the climb, we were at around 7000 feet of elevation. There isn't a much oxygen up there, so you find this happy median of going as fast as you can, without crossing the line that blows you up in spectacular fashion resulting in a epic fail.

I held that line at what I thought was the best possible. I climbed well. Really well for not ever getting to climb sustained climbs like that. Towards the top, I saw another rider in my group, and decided to push it even harder to try to overtake him before the crest. About the time that I did that, he caught wind and laid down his own attack, holding me off.

Shit was the first word that came to mind. At this point, I had no idea what postition I was in, but I knew that I just let one slip by, and that could have been the difference between a podium and not.

So the decent began, and it wasn't long and I noticed some riders behind me. Turns out the first two were from an older group. The third however was from my group, the rider who I passed on a climb. I asked what group he was in, and he replied that he was in my group. I then kindly told him he was going to have to work for it then.

Work he did, as he pulled a very slick pass on one of the last switchbacks. He took the tougher inside line, as I muscled my big wheeled bike around the slightly easier outside line. It was a smooth move, very smart indeed. I quickly jumped his wheel until he brought me to the other rider in our group who was in front of us. He quickly passed the rider, and then I followed with a pass on the second to last switchback just like I was passed just earlier. I was pretty impressed with myself. It was the move of the day, and the move that would allow me to bust my way down to the bottom in 5th place for the day.

Crossing the finish line was relieving. An instant weight had been lifted from my back. All the years work finally came to a head, and I had done everything I felt I could. I had a great race, and felt like regardless I did well for myself. I sat back, smiled, and waited for my my teamates JP and Trav to finish.

It wasn't unitl another hour or so until I got to see the final results. 5th place gave me the last spot on the podium. A minute and a half off second, and 6 minutes off our age group winner, and overall winner.

I was pleasantly disapointed. I will always be my biggest critic. But at that moment it was what it was. I had did well, and the beer was calling my name. It was a beautiful day, and with the Pro racing action to follow, nothing could have taken away from the awesome day that it was.

But I could have had that minute and a half. I should have, but you know how that goes in racing.

Should have, could have, would have.

It's all gravy baby, things could have always been worse, and all in all it ended up being a most excellent adventure.

I have give a couple of shout outs to my sponsors and my team for helping me go out and chase my dream on the side of that mountain. I also have to give a big thanks to Travis from BikeSource for helping me get my new rear derailleur put on Wednesday afternoon. They always do me well, and take major care of their racers. Definently glad to have all those people on my side, because without them I wouldn't be able to do what I do.

As for now, party on Wayne... Party on Garth.

Excellent... Excellent!

Ha. Lets ride bikes and have fun.


A couple of sweet bikes in front of a sweet view.

These dudes were dropping in all weekend.

My view for most of the day Saturday.

Our boy Aaron from the cornfields to thr Pro field!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ok I Reckon

I guess 5th isn't horrible. 1:30 off of 2nd, 6 minutes off 1st overall. More to come...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Welcome to Nats

It's a straight up 2 mile climb that'll seperate the men from boys, followed by an amazing 4 mile decent. It's going to be tough boys...


Monday, July 11, 2011

US Cup 9 Recap

The Guantlet

That's what this weekend felt like. Not only in terms of a wam bam thank you mam, down and dirty trip, but also in terms of overcoming yet even more problems to somehow manage a good result. I seem to be problem prone, but I will say I've become much better in dealing with problems since having so many over the years. Now days if a trip comes without problems it's a suprise.

This weekend consisted of heading down solo to Huntsville, AL for the US Cup #9. I had one goal, a top 5 in the Cat 1 class. It would be no easy feat on a good day, and forget it on a bad day. There's some fast cats down there, with some baggin ex-pros who make it even tougher to get a good result.

I stayed in COMO Friday night and had a nice dinner with the Mum and Sis, followed by some sweet bowling in which I hit my normal score (77), and some laser tag after that which ended up being a blast.

Woke up in the early AM, and hit the road about 8:30. The 8 hour drive was seemingly easy and fairly fast, and before I knew it I was setting up camp and getting ready for a pre-ride.

I jumped in with a group of three guys who I recognized from Bump and Grind, and we hit the loop railing what would become a very difficult course. I enjoyed the shit out of it pre-riding, but would find out come race day that some sections were much much harder when you've been pegging all race. Riding easyily along was fun though.

The track was a great mix of wide open drag race singletrack, and then it dumped into very tight and rocky singletrack that was a real challenge. The rocks were slick, but they played to my advantage being I was on the rock slaying Epic. Some sweet downhills, some techy uphills, more drag racing, and then it ended with this long, old run down road climb. That thing seemed to go on forever, and it would be here that I would conquer my demons the following day.

Enter problem...

Towards the end of the lap, I'm hammering along feeling great when I hear a loud pop, and my cranks seize. I look back and at first it looked like I had torn the shit out of my rear derailleur. After a little further inspection I found out that I had only sheered the bolt that holds the hanger. What little luck was to be found in this situation was that that was the best case scenario. I could have easily ripped the derailluer beyond fixing. Luckily I stopped quick enough to save it.

So long story short, I didn't have a spare. Neither did any of the three guys I was riding with who all happend to be on Epics. Neither did the Kenday/Tomac crew who had a full shop trailer. Neither did Home Depot. I looked for an hour trying to find a metric fine thread bolt that would work. It's 9:30pm and I still havent had dinner. I manage to stumble into a pub which happend to have very good fish taco's, sweet potatoe chips, and a local stout brew. I never drink before races. I didn't care at this point...

Enter My Hero

Justin Marquand. The equivalent of MacGyver. Several riders told me to see him. I knew him from a few races we raced together this year. He told me he had a ton of those bolts... At home. He was on his frankenbike, a 650B Cannondale carbon Flash. So he left the bolts at home that he would have had if he would have been racing his Epic. But he had a million other bolts, and in less than 5 minutes he had me fixed up. I'm still not sure what he did. I know it involved screwing two different bolts together, to create one bolt that in the end ended up being stock like perfect. Thanks again Justin, without you, I would have drove 16 hours to not even be able to race. Note to self, always have extra bolts. I'm a ex-singlespeeder who hasn't raced gears in years, so it was a common problem I overlooked.

There's something else that Justin saved me with. I thought the race started at 11:30. Not this week he said, we race early, 9:30. Great, I would have woke up and totally missed it all together. I'm a mess sometimes...

The next morning I woke up and headed down to town to grab some breakfast. My phone was dead so I couldn't look up any good breakfast places, so I just resorted to a loaded breakfast burrito and tots from Hardees. I don't recommend them for race day fuel. My warm up was warm. At 8:30 it already seemed to be real feel 100 degrees. The woods were ridiculous. I rode the road climb for the first time, since the day before I had to hike it out.

Enter Problem #2

I've had a slight issue of my chain getting lodged in between my lower derailluer jocky and the cage. Turns out it was getting worse. This isn't a deal breaker, but it makes pedaling a little harder, and you can't back pedal because the chain sucks the derailleur forward. It was stuck after just a short rocky section.

I figured I'd race it anyways... I've already been blessed with the luck of getting one problem fixed, and the bike still shifted and worked, so I hoped for the best and rolled it anyways.

It was a long way to travel not to start.

The Race

There were 10 or so 19-29 experts, and 25+ total experts or so that lined up to start. They started us off in waves, with one minute gaps. I managed to get the holeshot, which was suprising because back at Bump and Grind I could barely hang on at the start. It seemed like no one wanted to take the lead so I decided it was time to see what my legs could do.

I was flying through the first section feeling PRO. I could hear the riders behind me getting shelled off the back, popping like pop corn. I hit the open park area and had to slow down a bit to re-think of where the trail entered. I noticed only one rider had my wheel, Seth Kemp. Some 19 something ex-pro... Ya, ex-pro.

Anyways I find the trail, hammer some more, and then in a moment of G-Wiz glory I do what I do best. Hit the deck. Hard. Like GMapes, head to the earth in a very hard and quick fashion. Sorry G, but you land on your head more than anyone I know.

Seth asked if I was good. I think I said yes. I was seeing stars. Luckily I've wrecked so many times this year that I've become very good about dealing with it, picking up the pieces (which usually means bottles, and glasses) and moving on. Another rider made his way past me, and I slowly began the chase.

I could see them up the trail about 10 seconds after entering the real mans singletrack. It was the rockiest part of the trail, and also the most overgrown. Pretty crazy overgrown actually. It was a constant barrage of getting hit by tree limbs and bushes. It was so overgrown it was hard to see what was around each corner. It was also stupid hot. No air movement, humid, and extremely stuffy. It was night and day the difference between the open singletrack in the beginning of the loop, and the jungle track.

So they pass a pro rider, and I quickly catch his wheel. Somehow I become content in riding his wheel. It was about the time the techy climbs started, and the adrenaline rush had worn off leaving me huffing and puffing in the heat with the hills. I also bobbled on one of the climbs, jamming my left knee firmly into my handlbar,breaking open skin and allowing more adrenaline to flush the system. The saving grace of riding his wheel was he let me draft him up the pavement climb. I actually did pass him, but he caught back up and rode my wheel for a bit of that first hell climb, but saw I was struggling a bit so he took the lead and made sure I stayed with him. He even slowed down once to let me catch back on.

So the beginning of the second lap was uneventful. We caught 2nd place in my age group in the open park, and quickly put in a gap. I kept on his wheel until the middle/end of the lap when I hit a wall. That was about the time Andy Johnston passed me. He was the overall Cat 1 winner, and also an ex-pro. I remember reading on his blog one day that the only reason he races Cat 1 is because it pays better, but preferred the pro races because they were funner. That should have been motivation enough for me to keep his wheel and lay down the wood, but unforunately at this point my wood was getting water logged and I didn't have much to lay down.

It took a lot of self talk motivation to get through that lap. But the motivation quickly picked up when I passed Seth, who had a flat. At this point I was sitting 1st in my age group, and 2nd overall. There's no way in hell I came all the way down here to quit while being in such a good postition.

It was at the moment that I began to face my demons.

These demons have been more prevalent as of late. It seems with the recent change in life, and a few rough races, that I have had doubts and less motivation. It was time to break a few walls down like Berlin and find out just what I was made of. These demons had to meet their maker.

The third lap started out fairly well, and I was still able to power through most of the sections fairly well. Then I hit the jungle. Luckily the first rocky section went fairly smoothly and I stayed very consistant. Then the back half started. It was a section that had no flow if you weren't on it, and I wasn't on it.

I got passed by a 40-49 expert, which then put in me in 3rd overall. I couldn't keep his wheel, and I felt like I was baking in the oven like the Phillsburry Dough Boy. It was hot, I was low on water, and cramps were sitting in. I was fading worse than Lindsey Lohans career.

Then Seth passes.

At this point I have about 3 miles left to go, and I knew that I couldn't give up any more postitions, because even after the finish you have to watch for the guys that started behind you but finish with a better time due to the time splits. I wish I could have stayed on his wheel, but I was in survive mode at this point. I just didn't have it.

I pushed hard, and then pushed harder. I imagine that I spent more time with my eyes closed, teeth clinched then not. I was entering what would turn out to be a deep, dark, extremely difficult pain cave. The last singletrack section consisted of a few decent hills and lots of power flats. I just keep turning pedals, knowing I would pop out on the road soon enough.

And I did... And that's where I met Jesus.

The last time up the road climb was unlike anything I've ever experienced in racing. I was so close to the end, with this cracked, weathered, and worn out road being the only thing standing in my way. I started out fine, but minutes later I felt like stopping and dying on the side of this stupid fucking road. I closed my eyes and thought about every painful interval I've done this year, every power hour, the 14 second lose to 5th place at Bump and Grind. I had less than 10 minutes till the finish on what could have been the missing half of my upgrade, and I was for damn sure not going to let this road get in my way.

So I manned up. I dug so deep that I was either going to finish the climb in glory or break down and have to be hauled off in an ambulance.

I eventually made it to the top, and just like that it was all over.

I collapsed my bike and fell upon a picknick table asking a gentleman for his assistance in filling up my water bottle. I was so drained I couldn't move. 10 waterbottles drank later, and I finally started to come around. I had been severaly dehydrated, and I'm lucky I didn't have to go to the hospital. I knew it, but I pushed on anyways. Two and a half water bottles for a 2 hour and 15 minute race in that heat wasn't near enough. I should have done two bottles an hour. But when you don't have a bottle handuper, you deal with what you have in order to save as much time as possible.

In the end one other 30-39 racer did pass me in the overall, finishing around 30 seconds after me, putting him 30 seconds in front of me with his 1 minute time split.

I finished 2nd in my age group, and 5th overall. Mission accomplished.

I broke down camp, took a quick shower, and drove the 8 hours back to Columbia where I quickly passed out, woke up, and drove the hour to work making it in at 8:30 for our Monday morning meeting.

The guantlet is done. It was success. It was filled with problems, glory, and most of all adventure.

Toss another great memory into the memory bank.

Now I need to get some serious rest and recovery, lick my wounds, and get ready for Nationals Saturday...

Yet another battle looms on the horizon.

Let there be fight left, for I'll need every bit I can muster for this one.


I had every intention of taking lots of photos, but due to the craziness of the situation I only managed to snap one. It truely was a beautiful place.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Weekend Lead In

Well it's half way through Friday, and I'm thinking I'm ready for it to end. Some days I tell ya...

Wanna race this weekend? You have a couple of choices.

First is Castlewood, part of the UFD East Series. We raced State there last year, and it's a pretty cool course. Bring your climbing legs, cause you'll need them. The East series has had even worse luck than us westeners with rain, but it looks like it's for sure going down this weekend.

Up north there's a full weekend of offroad TT, Short Track, and XC racing going down around Omaha, NB. You can find all the dirt for that here.

There's also a race down at SAC River in Springfield, part of the MWFTS. It's been all to long since I've raced down there. My last go at it was a very poor Expert performance that had me DNF'ing. Hopefully I can get down there for teh 6/12 hour race in September.

Me, well I'll be taking a long trek down to Huntsville, AL to race a SERC race, and I'm ready to get to it. Legs are feeling good, and minus some much un-needed stress from work, I'm feeling great. I'm off to Columbia tonight to have dinner and hang with the Mum and Sis, and I'm staying with a friend to make tommorows drive just a bit shorter. Drive all day, pick up my packet, pre-ride the course, pitch a tent, and pass out. Wake up Sunday for some dirt church racing fun.

I saw the bibs earlier this week. They made me think of CChambers. I bet he would rock the shit out of these.

So on to cross since I know so many of you are already quitting racing road or mountain to "train" for cross. Maybe one of these years they won't start cross so damn early... Anyways, here's a link to a sweet set up to run hydro disc brakes on your cross bike. Unfortunetly the Crux I plan on getting isn't disc brake capable, but I'm sure we'll be seeing plenty of disc's on cross bike this season.

Specialized has finally rolled out some of their 2012 lineup on their website. Nothing to special, other than that pretty Venge. I'd take one if they wanted to give me one...

Hmmm... how else can I waste time today. Oh, how about Kona again. I don't know why but I've always like Kona for some reason. I've never even have had a chance to ride their rides, but they've always interested me.
Like this, the new Kahuna 29er carbon. This on top of their new 29er All Mountain dually, and the 29er AM hardtail. Bikerumor was on top of it as always.

Alright, enough rambling. I'm going to try to finish up, head out somewhat early and ride trails to relieve the mind.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

SPIN! Pizza Ride

So I made it up to my first Spin!Pizza road ride last night with Tdonn. It always ends up being a great ride with good people at a good pace. If by good, you mean fast. I like it fast.

So we met at Trav's place and rode to Spin!Pizza at 4950 Main in KCMO. The ride meets at 6:00, with the Advance group (Us) going off at 6:15, and the more relaxed group going off at 6:30.

There are also rides on Monday at the Spin!Pizza in Overland Park, and Saturdays in Lee's Summit. You can find all the info here. Any place that has cassettes on their hanging lights is approved in my book. Add to that the awesome salads, flowing beer, and even gluten free pizza crust, and you have the makings for a joint you're sure to enjoy.

Anyways, back to the ride. Riding over, I felt really good. The Mavic R-sys wheels were doing what they do best, climbing like champs. Legs felt fresh, and I was ready for some hammer fun time.

The ride over to the stomping grounds with our deep group of Advanced riders was good, and we managed to keep everyone together, even through all the stop lights. That's not easy to do, considering there are a freaking ton of them. Somewhere in the ride over, the constant stop and go started to get to me, and I started feeling a little off.

Luckily we arrived to the gates of Cliff Drive, and even though it's closed, we started on our slightly revised route that turned out to be really fun, with some good climbing mixed in to make it interesting.

We keep together fairly well for the first lap, and then Tdonn called out lap 2. Apparently this was the first week in which two laps was done, because I noticed a few riders were surprised.

So I figured I'd attack and make it even more interesting. I felt really good, but unfortunetly I wasn't really 100% on the turns we took the first time around, so I'd have to stop my attack and look back to make sure the group was behind. I did this 3 or 4 times, and eventually made the right turn, and then got caught by the group as we made our way down to the circle turn.

Keep up, put in a dig on the hill but my core kept blowing up and in the end I managed to lose the lead group of 3. It's always a challenge balancing hard core workout days and hard riding days. I do find that it really challenges the legs though, because your core is already spent, so the sticks are left to do the majority of the work. I was spent, and had a blast getting some good work into the legs.

All in all a great ride with a good group of riders. I'll be back next week, but I'll probably hold the back of the pack down, because Nationals will be just a few short days later and we'll be flying out the next morning.

After that, I foresee alot of Spin!Pizza throwdowns in the future.

Hope you can join us.


Monday, July 4, 2011


Sometimes it takes a face slap, 10am hungover/still drunk wakeup call via 10 and 11 to really get the soul refired up.

My soul is officially on fire.

You may not understand what just happend, unless you're aware of the goodness that lies deep within Landahl.

Rewind to the happenings of the weekend that led to the adventure today.

Saturday was a blast of heat and a few lessons learned that seem to always re-present themselves in the heat of Summer. I picked up the Epic from Bike Source Saturday, after Travis S worked magic on it during the week to get the creaks worked out. As always, Bike Source and their infinite wisdom solved my noisey problems and had the Epic rolling smooth and silent. After the pickup, it was off to Swope to rail the trail for a few hours.

Man, Swope is sweet. Trav caught me in the parking lot after putting in a lap before I arrived. My stoke factor was high riding the bike of my dreams, and I proceeded to shread a lap at break neck speed flossing the rocks like Bruce Lee whips ass. After stopping for a water break, and a short wait for Travis, we were back off at it. Stopping was a bad idea. The heat was so ridiculous that my body instantly rocketed up what seemed like 10 degrees. Note to selves, don't stop in the woods when it's crazy hot. I never could seem to get cool after that. Once the core heats up, it's like hell getting it cooled down again.

Sunday was a short road ride with a buddy who was in town from Colorado. I'm rolling on some Mavic R-Sys wheels from Trav which felt amazing. I had been rolling some extremely heavy Velocity B43 rims laced to Ultegra hubs. The B43's weigh 770g's for the rim only. But they'll make you strong like Arnold. The Mavic's felt like helium and I was enjoying making my manly gears do work.

So that lead to last nights shannagans. We had a little BBQ with some of the OG's of Ethos, along with our new lady friend racers of 0-11, Sara W and Karen B. Things started out harmless and laid back, and I had every intention of only drinking a few drinks and keeping sober for a good ride today. We'll after the few drinks were done, I realized it was only 7:30 and I was feeling frisky.

Luckily Sara was laying the Worthington hammer down on some margaritas, and she quickly became my personal bartender for the night. I love tequila. It doesn't love me.

Things went bonkers about the time we left to head up to another resident for some fireworks action via said resident's roof. The fireworks were pretty sweet, and I officially popped my KC 4th of July cherry. I was deep in converstation with a cutie, to which I'm sure was full of rambled slurred unfinished thoughts, but in between that I did happen to catch a glimpse of some bright and pretty booms.

There was a big ass block party going down just a block up the road, so the party quickly shifted that way. We then were treated to a very insane drum line presentation done by one of the local schools. They had everyone going crazy, and there was a little dude who had to be only 8 or 9 absolutely killing it on his drum. Many more beers were passed around and consumed as after the drum line finished we were treated to a second floor balconey concert by a local KC band. I forgot who they were, but they were good.

I stumbled back to Trav's with the group, had more drinks, and then sometime later found myself passed out on the coutch.


It's 9am, July 4th and I just woke up... I never wake up hungover. I didn't today either. It was more than hungover, it was more like still under the influence.

1 hour later and I'm standing at the Argo trailhead looking over Jessie's SS Stumpy he let me borrow for the day, wondering what in the hell I was doing.

I shouldn't be here right now. I should be asleep. Or at least laid up on the sofa with a large chocolate milk watching the tour wishing I didn't feel so horrible.

We rode up the open field trail back to Family trail. Then we got to Gunbarrel. We stopped. Trav had the front of his Epic pointed down the chute. If you know the chute I'm talking about, you know that it's the portal to a land of real mans trails, where the weak get spat out and the strong are lucky to ride dab free.

Welcome to Gunbarrel at 10am hungover with a bike you've never ridden when the rocks are slick as snot.

10 and 11 soon followed.

Somewhere deep in that jungle of trail a little light inside my soul flickered. Then it flickered again, and before I knew it I was smiling ear to ear walking my bike up some ridicously steep slick rock hill. I was having fun. And alot of it.

3 hours later and we emerged victorious in an injury free symphony of destruction which included every inch of trail at Landahl. Every little bit it had to offer we tasted, even 10 and 11 in it's full glory.

It's been way to long since I've stepped away from the training routine, and took a good long ride in the woods hungover and looking for nothing more than an adventure. Usually it's go ride, ride hard, do intervals, ride harder.

Sometimes riding slow enough to actually smell the roses is exactly what the soul needs.

Even if all I could smell was the alcohol seeping from my pores.

But my demons were exorcised, and in the end I'm a better for it.

And then I looked at clouds poolside and snapped this picture. It felt fitting. I photoshoped it like I normally do. Phones can do crazy things.

Go have fun this week. Life's to short not to...


Friday, July 1, 2011


Man, it feels good to clock out... It's 3:30, on Friday and I just finished up my last call for the day. Now nothing but thoughts of sweet trail, my even sweeter Epic, and hanging and eating with good friends cross my mind. With Monday off, it's bound to be a great three day riding block. Today's an off day, with a quick nap, some dinner, and then off to Hazel Hill for some fishing to cap off the day.

Apparently I have teamates who have decided racing road is fun... Not sure why. We're a mountain bike team, but I guess not eveyone thinks like I do. I wanted to race a race in Iowa but no one wanted to go with. Oh well... My two main go to guys are out. One with a broken ankle (Steve) and one with work commitments (Trav). I need to find a few more friends who are always game like these guys.

Next weekend I'll be traveling solo to Huntsville, AL for a SERC race. I don't really blame anyone for not wanting to go on this one. It's a long way for a XC race that wouldn't matter for most. But I'm trying to get that upgrade, and it's a qualifier. Drive down Saturday, race Sunday, and head straight back.

So back to the roadie scene... It's the Tour of Lawrence this weekend. I do hope that at least everyone escapes safe and sound. Apparently there was a really bad wreck last weekend at one of the St. Louis races. I hope Randy pulls it out... I don't know him, but I feel for him and his family.

Anyone catch the newest editions to the 29er movement? One is the Transition Bandit and the other is the Kona Satori. Big trave1 29ers... 130mm full sussy's. I wouldn't mind swinging a leg over one of these and railing Swope. Any where else and you don't really need the extra travel.

Big wheels, big travel.

Also, did you happen to see that the World Marathon Mtb Championships was won on a 29er last weekend? And 2nd was the Epic 29er. Pretty solid results for the big wheels.

Ride Swope tommorow, then more trail Sunday and Monday. I've been really enjoying the shit out of Swope lately. I used to hate it... Rigid out there will do that to you. Then the Epic got a taste of it. Ever since then it's been on like donkey kong.

That's all for now... I'm going to go to sleep.

Hope you all get out to enjoy a ride this weekend, and have a safe 4th!