Thursday, November 29, 2012


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riding behind Shad, overall winner.

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


Thursday, November 15, 2012

2012 In the Rearview

So I've been meaning to post up all of what happened this year in terms of riding and racing.  I enjoyed not having to do these long drawn out posts about every race this year, but in the end I probably enjoy going back and reading about old races more than anyone else.  Well, definitely more than anyone, cause really, who gives a shit other than me? 

I guess there are still a the few random ones like yourself who still read this stuff, and people like Anonymous from the last post.  I am now, according to said person, a showboater who DNF.  Their words not mine. Regardless, I feel it necessary to dive deep into the bows of my year to either debunk or maybe just maybe validate this point of view that has been bestowed upon me.  So thanks, Anonymous, as you have helped spark the little flame in the deep borroughs of my soul to give me the courage to get off my ass and write this little post about my life as a bike racer in the year of our great lord 2012. 

Enough of that shit, let's get to business.

The year started off bat ass crazy with quitting one job, moving out of Warrensburg, bouncing around for 2 months, then settling into my new home in downtown KC.  In between that there was a month of being sick, some sick night Pirate racing, random riding, and going to Cali for a week to attend SBCU.  Oh, and trashing a S-Works while there and breaking my first road wreck cherry!  That was noooo fun.

Bonebender was the first race of the year.  It went decently.  I raced the 3 hour solo and took 4th in some rough conditions that would normally debilitate me.  I handled it ok, but could tell form was nowhere were it needed to be.

Training got back on track, and things went well leading up to the next race.  It was the first big race of the year, Wilson Lake.  First big XC race, and it was loaded with some fun dudes to race with.  Ended up 3rd overall behind Cam and Shad and felt much stronger on the bike overall.

Krug Park was up next, and I was shooting for a repeat of 2011 with the overall win.  Krug always suits my style.  Which is climb, go fast, then climb again.  I managed to have a good day and do the repeat against some fairly strong dudes.

After that it was getting ready for the first big ProXCT of the year out at Colorado Springs.  Ute Valley was an awesome venue for my first real pro race.  It was a course that suited me fairly well, but unfortunately a cold leading up to the race didn't allow me to go as deep into the red as I'd had liked.  I was able to race fairly hard but didn't have that last punch to get up the climbs like I needed.  Either way I didn't finish last, and managed an ok finish at 41st.

It was off to the south about a month later for the Eureka Fat tire festival.  I was looking forward to this race.  I've heard nothing but good things, well, other than the horrible course layout and markings.  That would come into play somewhat during the day, but a nasty wreck was more to blame with me not having such a decent result.  It wasn't even that bad of a wreck. I was in the lead train of 5 after we had just got to the trails at the lake after leaving downtown Eureka.  We came around a loose corner and it had been awhile since I've ridden the loosey goosey pebbles of the southern trails.  It's like ball bearings sometimes.  Anyways, I go down fairly hard but nothing crazy.  I get up and do the quick bike and body check.  Bike: Good. Me: Not so much.  My pinky was in the shape of a Z.  I'm not even sure how that shit was possible.  Anyways, I ended up walking out to the road thinking my day was done but a few hundred yards later I got a wild idea to pull on my pinky to see what would happen. Wouldn't you know it popped right back into place.  WICKED! I hopped back on and made my way through the sea of expert racers to finish top 4th in my age, and I think 6th overall. Rasta Rider and I then completed the weekend by ripping up all the local Bentonville trails, which if you haven't had a chance to ride you owe it to yourself to go check it out.  Three days of awesome Arkansas riding was a blast, and the dislocated pinky didn't even seem to bother me that much.

Colivata Cup followed this race.  I was really looking forward to railing some WyCo.  Minus one racer freaking out like a child during the race, it went well.  Travis again showed some crazy good form and pulled away from me about halfway through the race and I could never re-attach.  He was on a mission that day, and it showed. He ended up 1st, with me in 2nd.  I felt pretty good about the day, but started noticing some back issues that were what I thought taken care of. 

From here I believe it was off to Iowa to race the Seven Oaks Ski race.  Travis joined me, then proceeded to kick my ass during the race.  The race was fun, but hard.  Short laps, and lots of them with good climbing and fast flow.  Trav ended up 2nd overall to Iowa's top pro Kevin McConnell, with me in 3rd behind them.  It was fun racing, and we took home some pretty serious cash for our efforts. The back really reared it's ugly head this day, and I knew I had to get on my back workouts again if there was any chance of keeping it at bay.

Next up, Subaru Cup.  It was fun, I sucked.  That's about it.  Well, it wasn't so much fun racing, but the weekend was awesome.  We got to ride some awesome trails.  Levi's Throw was one of them.  It was some fun fun fun singletrack.  Not sure what happened to me that day on the race course.  Body shut down majorly.  It's happened before, and it's never fun.  Just one of those days where you don't have it, and this was a place you did not want to not have it.  The course is a fun, but extremely hard at race pace.  The start of this pro race was way rougher with horrible dust and of course that damn climb into the singletrack.  It was all downhill after lap 2.  A few more laps and I had to pull the plug.  I was bordering what felt like death and at that point I still wasn't in last but was close enough to it it didn't matter if I finished.  DNF  Yes, mark one point on the true side of a showboating DNF'r.  But damn, I looked good showboating that Bontrager drop.  It's called Entertainment.  If you can't entertain them with your wicked power and speed, you do it with you style and skill.  That's what people watch the pro's for.  It was probably the coolest moment in my racing career each time coming into that drop and having the hundred or so people on that hillside go bonkers.

Still with me?  I know, crazy right?  I actually DID race a decent amount this year. 

Back to Arkansas after my disappointing trip up north. Slaughter Pen Jam was the venue.  A nasty little bugger from my calendar last year.  I managed to almost get mangled to death by this course in 2011, but finished 1st in my age group, but 2nd overall in spite of plenty of spills. This year didn't bode any better. The race started well, and I slotted into 2nd behind the eventual 1st place overall finisher.  I was feeling solid, and my back was feeling back to normal.  Coming into one of the new whoop-d-do sections I was having fun and pumping up some serious speed when I came down the backside of a pump and exploded my rear seat stay.  I guess my suspension bottomed out or some other weird shit.  DNF, but not really my fault this time!  Mayyyyybbe a bit more pressure in my shock, but I ran it at the same pressure I normally do. 

So regroup and figure out the game plan on getting a new bike.

Long story short in a couple weeks I had a brand new 2013 S-Works Epic 29 frame sitting in my hands with the new Sid with the brain included.  Thank. You. Specialized.  That's why I ride their stuff.  I ended up having a seperate warranty issue with my old Epic.  It was a legit claim and they legitimately took awesome care of me.

I raced a little race down in Warsaw as the new stealth Epic's inaugural race. It went well, even though no one showed up.  I raced hard and managed a very good overall speed and felt good about my condition.  It's always good to have a good check up on how well you can hurt.

Binder followed that race with some 6 hour duo style racing with my teamate Jason Knight.  This dude is one to watch.  He's going to be crushing the XC scene with us next year.  He rode down with me at Slaughter Pen and hit the podium at his first decent sized XC event in Cat 1.  Anyways, the Tall Oaks Challenge was a stellar as ever and we managed to take 1st.  I got to race with Drew Edsall quite a bit during this race which was also fun.  He's going to be a good addition to this scene next year. 

Then there was the Berryman prep.

Then the BT Epic.  You know about all of that.

And so ended my 2012 season. 

12 races by my count, and I don't think I forgot any.  Far from the 20+ I did last year, but enough to keep the legs progressing, my racing skillz tuned, and the mind in check on what needs to happen for 2013.

So there it is.  Showboater or not, I still feel pretty good about my 2012 season.  Plenty of podiums, good results at the big localish races, but a not so stellar ProXCT season.  That'll be worked on heavily for next year.  Just a few tweaks and it'll all be good. 

My winter season officially kicked off last night.  2x20's on the trainer.  Once a week for 12 weeks this workout will be included.  It's a oldie but goodie. 

My three month block will end mid-February. Hopefully I can take a trip early Feb to hit some Cali racing to prime the pumps for Mellow Johnny's in March.  The season starts early this year like last, and I definitely don't want to miss the Texas race. 

Done and done.  Thanks to everyone who helped make my 2012 fun and a success, and even to those haters like Anonymous who keep my shit fired up ready to rip some more legs off for the upcoming year. 

I love you bro.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Am...

Sometimes I catch myself in a deep thought of who and what I am.  It's always this awkward, almost out of body experience that always seems to throw me off.  It happened today in the car driving to work.  I'm not sure if this has ever happened to you or not, but I can only assume I'm not the only crazy one out there.

I mean when you really sit down and think about you as a person, as a human being, as a creature that habitates on this Earth, it's a bit weird.  I sometimes look into the mirror and wonder about this person I'm staring back at.  How did I get here, who am I as a person, and where the hell am I going. 

My name is Garet Lee Steinmetz, I know this much.  But sometimes I seem foreign even to myself.  It's a tough feeling to explain but it's pops its head through my conscious cloud from time to time.

So I: rode my cross bike the other night. It got me thinking about who I am as a rider and what I truely enjoy. 

I'm sorry, but cyclecross is not one one of these things. 

As much as I try to find enjoyment in it, and as much as I love pain, I somehow can't get into it.  Every year is different in the ways of my excuses.  This year it boils down to a few different factors.  First is I now work weekends.  Both days.  Bummer, but it is what it is.  For now.  Secondly, I only have so many vacation days.  My mountain bike racing has done a pretty good number to those slim days, so therefore I'm left with just a few left and honestly I can think of a lot better things to do with them than going racing on grass.

I am a mountain biker.

The friends, the adrenaline, the never ending array of different trails, flow, landscape, and personality.  The technical aspect that trumps pure physical power with the need of finesse and actual skill. The ability to flick a machine between your legs like a cigarette into the wind as you whip through corners at what feels like breakneck speed. 

You can skirt some of these feelings on a cross bike, but you can never fully achieve them.

So I will do what I do every fall and winter.  I will ride, alot.  With friends, by myself, here, there, wherever the dirt is good.  I'll gravitate away from road to find gravel when the trails are wet, but when they are dry and I have the time that's where you'll find me.

Because this is who I am.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Welcome Back... My BT Experience

Hello again to all those faithfuls that still find themselves brought back to this random collection of musings about my bike racing life.  I've been a bit quiet this year... Not in terms of racing in general, just in documenting it.  Maybe I'll do a 2012 re-cap at a soon but later date. Bottom line was I really needed a year off of any seriousness.  A year to relax, have fun, party and eat like a fat kid, and otherwise just enjoy riding and racing without the strict lifestyle it can sometimes come with.  Overall I still managed a pretty good year, got to travel lots, hang out with great friends, race awesome races, and even added a few decent results to the resume.

Soooo.... the BT.  I feel like I kinda owe it to some of my fantastic crew to give them the play by play so that all their help doesn't go in vein.  People like Dan and Nan who pit crewed PRO Nascar style, to people like the Manimal who pushed me to dig just a little deeper on a few of those long training rides, to Ethos, and all of the other people that stand behind what I do. Oh and to the crew of cabin dudes who let me post up on the pull out couch over the weekend!  That was a life saver... 

The Leadup

The BT Epic has always been a thorn in my side.  Well, almost any endurance event can fall into that category.  I've been referred to more than once as a 2 and done kinda dude.  Two hours and that's about where I loose interest, and fitness.  Not willing to let this year do the same piliaging of my soul as the past, I decided to put forth some actual effort instead of shooting from the hip and hoping for the best. 

No, this year I would train.  Back to back to sometimes back days of 3-5 hour days.  The typical ride was from mi casa in Downtown KC to Burp, up to Swope, and then home.  It was a good mix of road/trail and left you with smiles for days when completed.  It's always an awesome day when you can link up both of those trails.  Typical mileage was 45-60 depending on how whippy I was feeling that day.

I did that for ummm, something like 6 weeks.  And on the 7th week I rested...

The Day - BT Epic 2012

It started out cold but I knew that it wouldn't take long to warm up.  My clothing choice down to my snowboard pipe gloves was spot on.  Although I will say my man hair legs didn't look quit as nice as those silly boys with their girly shaved legs and embro.  Not sure that's should be allowed in a mountain bike race, but whatever, I guess our sport has to have its pretty legs too... 

The first gravel road section came and almost went without any issues.  The pace was ridiculously slow compared to prior years it seemed.  So much so that after the second incline I decided to take to the front to do some pace setting.  I knew I needed the heart rate to spike a bit before hitting the trail and before I knew it I had the opening of the single track in sight.  Beings that I was in front and it was $100 to the first one in the woods, I decided to go for it. I stand up, sprint hard to the inside of the road and not a second to early Steve cuts me off to the inside... Like as in cuts the living day lights outta me. Luckily my Epic has auto correct and was able to fix the sliding and skipping sidewards motion that my bike and I went through trying to make it into the single track without crashing.  Steve is a roadie so this move may have not been so sketch to him, but to me it seemed a little wrong.  It's ok though, now I know how he plays for next year. 

So into the woods I go 2nd.  Not a bad spot to be in, but it didn't last long.  Drew Edsall came blowing by on the first downhill, trying to work his way into the lead but there was ol' Tilly again to make sure that didn't happen.  Not sure why Tilford cut back into Drew when he was trying to get by, but it didn't really matter because Drew made quick work of passing just down the way. 

Dwayne Goscinski pasted me on the bottom flat section before the first big climb, where Tilford decided to get off his bike and walk causing us two to do the same.  It ended up being the only hill I had to walk all day.  That's a pretty remarkable statement considering past years where I was debilitated to walking almost ALL of the later hills.

Fast forward a few minutes and all four of us are back together, Drew leading, then Tilford, then Dwayne, and Me.  The flow was on high, and these boys were making quick work of everything... but the hills.  Maybe my climbing has gotten way better, but it seemed to me the hills were the easiest parts of riding together.  On the flats and downhills everyone was drilling it, but when it pitched up the pace came to a crawl.  I wasn't minding it at all though, because it was fitting in perfectly with my plan. Ride in the lead group, climb with a high and easy cadence.  That simple.

You know it's a good day when you can have a conversation with the guy in front of you and you don't feel like your about to loose your breakfast.  Dwayne is always a blast to ride/race with and this was no exception.  I spent a good amount of time behind his wheel during the first half of the race and he was having just as much fun as he normally does.  What a dude... Freaking animal.

So fast forward to the 2nd checkpoint, the Berryman Campground.  I had a flawless pit, and didn't even have to stop.  Luckily Dwayne kept us on track and we barely made it back into the single track without missing the turn.  Bomb down the hill, cross the road and creek, and then the SAND!  Last year this exact spot began what was the end of my race.  I believe it took what seemed like forever to get through the sand and to the next giant hill last year.  This year the sand was cake, and the climb wasn't bad.  Drew had busted loose at this point with Tilford, Dwayne, and I hot on his heels.

Insert mechanical....

I came around a corner only to feel that dreaded loose wobbly feeling in the rear end.  My tire had lost some major PSI.  I quietly stopped and began my damage control.  First Co2 was a dud, awesome.  Second worked... Good.  Next I had to find my multitool to clean out the bottom 4 gears of my cassette that had become filled to the max with leaves leaving me no bottom gears that worked.  I knew I needed that fixed or I was going to be hosed come the long gravel/road section from checkpoint 3-4. 

So that's where the race was lost for me.  Had that not happened then I'm pretty confident I could have stayed with the leader (Tilford) just fine until the racing heated up later down the road.  Up to that point I was completely withing my realm of comfort, and was saving everything I had for the last section of single track and gravel.  To me, that's where the real race was going to begin, but sometimes plans don't work out like you expect them to.  Instead I was left to chase, and no mans land is never a place you wanna be out in the middle of nowhere, smack dab in the middle of the hardest section of the race.  But I pushed on, and knew that if I could stay steady that there was at least a chance I could maybe catch back up to one of the other guys.

Luckily that came sooner than later in the form of Dwayne up the way.  He was also have some mechanical issues with his cleats but pushed on to finish a stellar 5th on the day.  I was able to break free on the four wheelin' double track full of the giant bike swallowing mud holes.  On the gravel I pushed hard, and then dropped down the big road decent only to see Drew a couple hundred yards up the pavement.

Stoke is on high.

I caught Drew on the climb up to the campground, and also the last checkpoint.  I asked how he was doing, and his reply was pretty unenthusiastic.  Coulda' been the mile long climb we were deep into, or the 35+ miles of hard riding we had just finished but either way that slight hint of discomfort was all I needed to hear to get my mind wrapped around the fact that I had the chance to take 2nd place.

Into the pits and again my whole crew was on it.  I had to used a floor pump to air up the rear tire that was back down to 10psi.  During this Dan fed me a banana, Nan found me a spare Co2 (thanks Jamie!), and threw in a new full bottle into my cage.  Within just a minute or so I was aired back up, and back on the way into the last single track section. 

Drew's pit was almost as fast but he ended up hitting the single track right on my wheel. There was a short section of fairly technical riding, then a fast downhill, after which I looked back to see I had dropped Drew. 

Power time...

I was a bit surprised at the amount of energy and power I still was able to maintain on the last 13 mile single track section.  I definitely had a few moments where the body was getting beat down, but the overall flow of the trail, awesome weather, and the thought of Tilford being just around the next bend kept me going fairly strong.  Unfortunately I didn't ever catch that moment of him being right around the corner, and after what seemed like an eternity of thinking I was lost from mile 46-49, I popped out in the grass field and up the double track climb to the gravel road home.

The gravel was just ok, I didn't feel great and there were a few little popper climbs that had me down to a crawl. Otherwise I was able to maintain my 20+mph pace to make quick work of the last remaining miles.  Down into the campground, around the corner and finish!

4 hours and 35 minutes from the start and I was done.  I felt good, but in the back of my mind I knew I had been yanked out of the chance for  the win.  Not by anyone other than the mechanical gods, and we all know how that goes.  You can have a great race, but mechanicals are always part of the equation and sometimes you come out ahead and other times not so much.  Regardless I was able to pull it all back together and still make my way from 4th to 2nd overall for what was my best endurance finish ever.

So that was it... All the prep, all the time, all the pain crescendoed into the one short morning that is BT. 

The afterparty was what is always is which is awesome.  The people, the beer, the food, the fire.  The awards were good, and we even got some sweet trophy's this year.  All in all it was well worth the trip down.

Moving On

Those that are close to me know my plan moving forward.  It involves getting pretty serious.  It's time to make everything I've worked for the last 6 years worth it.  I'm there, just some deep dedication, a strong focus, and the right living and I can finally accomplish what I've been working towards for so long.  I want to be full time, not part time, not sometimes, but full time.  I want to travel and race all over the world.  I want to race the best, even if that means coming in mid-pack.  I want to ride this train out as long as the good Lord will allow me to, and in the end if it doesn't work out, well you can be damn sure I won't sit around wishing I would have tried harder.  Nope, it's all in now folks.  You're about to see a G that you've never seen before.  Fast is a word of the past, Flying is the new word of the day.

So welcome to the Journey 2.0.  It's going to be an even wilder ride, full of what will always be a few downs, but hopefully more ups, high times, and good riding. I promise to keep this thing up to date so you can follow my ride.

As for now, it's that 808 time.  Long rides, fun times, and getting the engine ready for next year. 

Then it's go time...