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...


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...


When there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Be the wolf... Not the mouse.


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...


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...


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...


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.



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!


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.


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.

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.