Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Broken down but hopefully a breakthrough...

Thanks to the kind folks at GORC for buffing up the trails at the WOOD. The uppers are in the best condition I have seen them since 2001! Super buff dirt track, no mud whatsoever! I rode both the possible race loops and definitely think the original one is way more fun, but either way, it's going to hurt!

After putting it down for three and a half weeks I think I finally had the "breakthrough workout" today and the legs aren't happy... Now it's time to get some rest and hopefully I'm not too flat at Castlewood (peoples for Pirtles by less than 8 minutes!!!), but I should have good legs for the WORS race on May 18...

I'm tired, time to go eat a big piece of meat.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"It's a great day for hockey"

Before there was bike racing, there was hockey. From third grade to college it was hockey schools, select teams, Hockey Night in Boston, captains practices and street hockey in the basement... My brother and I lived hockey and were fortunate to have a mom and dad who would drive us to all ends of New England, buy us the latest and greatest equipment and send us to hockey school after hockey school to give us the best shot at being competitive. Though we were both totally different styles of players, we both had great success and went on to captain our high school teams.

One night in 1990 my brother and I were at The International Hockey Academy Skating school at the Boston University rink. The Montreal Canadiens were in town for the playoffs and Boston had just beat them the night before. As far as rivalries go, the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry is EPIC! They were having their afternoon skate when my brother, father and I showed up so we watched them skate and headed down to the bench as they were coming off the ice. My brother and I were young and asking the players for autographs and sticks and stuff as my dad looked down from the stands. When Bobby Smith came through my brother, who was about 4 feet tall compared to a 6'4" Smith, tugged on his sleeve and asked him for his stick... Smith just kinda brushed his hand off and kept going. My dad, who is about 5'8 jokingly said "Hey Bobby, why don't you give the kid your stick, it didn't help you last night." Smith stopped and I swear to god I thought he was going to climb in the stands and attack my dad. Luckily for Bobby, he didn't :) I come from a long line of ninjas.

Tune in tonight to see if Colorado can turn it around at home. Being down 0-2 against Detroit doesn't look to good for the Av's, however, Crosby is looking sharp. There Logan, I said it in public.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

5,000 Calorie Day

Spent my day off grocery shopping in the morning and then doing a 65 mile loop up into around SIUE. I usually ride hills on Wed but the legs were still kind of feeling the effort on Sunday so I opted for the flat spin. Not too bad a ride, can't say I was used to the heat, feeling the sting in my eyes or the salt on my face... Ran into the King Furbs and rode from IL back to the Lou with him. I have to say it was nice to have someone to talk to for a change and time passed fast. He was trying to "even out" his nasty sunburn from Hermann with a 5 hour ride.

When I got home I began to eat... Hammer Recoverite, chocolate Endurox mixed with chocolate soy milk, baked potato, 12 oz NY Strip Steak, 2 PBR's, 1 Heineken, a monster spinach salad with cranberries and 3 servings of So Delicious soy ice cream. I don't think Furbs understood why I kept talking about food or why I was so excited to go get my meal on. Now it's time to sleep.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

White Lightning Race, Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky

Wes Bierman, Drew Black and myself headed down to LBL to race the White Lightning XC race on Sunday. The boys from St Louis "We come into your town, we'll help you party down!" had a pretty good showing. Hell, I'll even include too tall Fuhrman in the "St Louis" grouping. Drew got a little bit different taste of bike racing then he did on the trip to Tsali as Wes and I talked about the good old days (3 years ago) of racing each other, our master training plans and the countless number of supplements we take while looking for that edge to crack into the hot XC scene we have here. I'd like to think that it rubbed off on him a little, his focus was a little less foggy on race day and stepping onto the podium for the first time felt good for him. Nice job Brah!

After taking a couple days off after Tsali I had pretty hard week of training and tried to cool the jets just before the weekend but was still feeling a little overcooked. I was really looking forward to racing Wes again as it has become lots of fun to put each other in the pain cave repeatedly. Furhman showed up too, as well as Yogurt Shooter (Travis Thrower) in the 19-29 class. There were two pros that started with the 5 or so 19-29 riders two minutes in front of us. Travis must of had a cup of loudmouth porridge for breakfast because he was running his mouth quite a bit, I know it was directed at me but I'm so deaf I just smiled and nodded. We had about 6 in our group including two guys with Tennessee State Championship Jerseys which was kind of weird since we were racing in Kentucky and I later found out that they were sport class jerseys from last year... at least they looked good! I can only imagine the ridiculing I would get if I lined up next to Josh and Nate next year with my Cat III CX jersey on... maybe I will so I can write about it because it sure as hell would be worth it!

This year they decided to do a downhill start into a 90* left hander onto the single track. 44x11. Away I go. There was about a half mile of flat trail before we crossed the road and hit the good stuff; a series of 4 big climbs that are no joke. I jumped Wes and Dan and couldn't believe that I had opened up a decent gap as I looked back on the first climb. Wes was right on Dans wheel and I was really surprised that he wasn't coming around him. Every time I'd turn a corner I would bury it for 30 seconds out of the saddle... out of sight, out of mind. When we hit the first technical descent I opened things up even more and crossed the road out of sight. I was riding really well and even though my legs were locked up a bit I knew I would come out of it. By the time I finished the hilly section and crossed the road over into the faster part of the course I knew I was doing well. I had a 40+ second gap 5 miles into the race and knew that the next section of the course was to my advantage. I passed a couple 19-29 riders and was feeling good. I came up on another 19-29 guy who let me pass and hit a root at the top of a short steep climb and went down... I was going slow but my weight fell on my bike which was on top of my other leg. It hurt.

I was feeling good as I came through after the first lap but started to bog down a little and not ride as smooth. I focused on not pushing it too much into the red for the next couple climbs and started to come out of it. The rest of that lap was good as the trail dried up a little and it didn't take as much gas out of the corners. Last year the trail was bone dry and you could just rail a lot of the turns that weave in and out of the coves, but the recent rain had made the course much more demanding.

By the start of the 3rd lap I knew I had a big lead as I had passed all the 19-29 riders but Travis. I was riding well, the legs were good and I was focused. I knew that I had some gas in the tank so I downed a Cheerpack and went to work. All I had to do was ride efficiently on the climbs and not make any mistakes on the second part of the course... It was a long way to the finish though so I tried not to think about winning yet.

I felt great through the hills and knew I only had one more demanding 1 mile long soft double track climb which was a real "speed zapper." Once I got through that it was smooth sailing as I eased it into the big ring and started to flow. At that time I saw a couple CycleWerx jerseys up ahead and was really exited to give Yogurt a little of his own medicine, unfortunately it wasn't him, but around the next corner it was. He saw me right away and made a push. I could hear him saying more mean things to me but I didn't care. I didn't really chase because his goose was already cooked and I wanted to hurt him when I passed, which I did. In the last 5 miles or so I put about 6 minutes on him which turned out to be pretty important since Dan had passed Wes at about the same time behind me and started to put it down. Had I not caught Travis I probably would have kept coasting into the finish and we might have had a little sprint practice.

I have to admit that standing there on the podium it was pretty cool to look to my left and right and see that St Louis had a good showing once again. While it's somewhat demoralizing to take my licks when I square off against our local semi pros, I know that it's making me faster and I like being fast so that's good.
So is another weekend of paying for my racing!

Epic with chintz XT training wheels :)

Just kidding. They rock and ride great even though between the UST tires, XT cassette and wheels they add 2 pounds (25.5)to my bike over the Stans ZTR Race set up (23.5)! Sure does look hot though, doesn't it!

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Since I am generally out of touch will all current events and don't watch a lot of t.v., sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. "There Will Be Blood" was nothing like what I expected it to be and brought the heat... what's the heat you ask? See it and find out. Daniel Day Lewis is rad and this film is RAD too.

Off to get lucky in Kentucky with Wes and Drew tonight... may even have a little mud :)
I look forward to racing with Wes; our races have become battles that always end with a cold beer and good stories. More to come.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

For Logan: Crosby record potential?

... Yes... Joe Sakic is the fourth highest playoff scorer of all time.

Show Dick some respect!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Playoff hockey, eh!

When the Nordiques moved to Colorado in the mid 90's Joe Sakic moved into a house next to a friend of my dads. My brother and I lived and breathed hockey up through college so when Joe Sakic mailed us both signed jerseys we were pretty stoked. I started following Colorado as the went on to win a couple Stanley Cups.

In 2001 the team was so amazing that when they won and Ray Borque retired, everyone knew that season would be tough to follow. I have to admit that I don't watch much regular season hockey, other than channel surfing or a little Frozen Four (BOSTON COLLEGE WINS- ANOTHER TITLE FOR BEANTOWN!!!) it's just on too late and the 80 game season is to long to keep my interest. So, the other night when I turned on the Colorado game to see how they looked and saw Adam Foote and Peter Forsberg back on the team, I lost some sleep and watched them lose in OT. The first time in Stanley Cup history that the first 3 games went into overtime.

Last night the Avs came out flying at home and smoked the Wild. Watching Jose Thedore, the Avs goalie, reminded me of how much Patrick Roy upped his game in the playoffs. Sakic plays like he's still in his twenties and can wheel and deal, one of the best to ever lace them up. Forsberg isn't playing with quite the same intensity, but he got some rest last night when the Avs started to put the points up on the board and some other players started to pick up the slack so hopefully the Wild will have to adjust, give him a little more room, and then we'll see if he still can work some magic.

Series is tied 2-2. Next game Thursday night...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Shimano Custom Shoes, M-300 and R-300

I wish I could explain in words how unbelievable these shoes are. I can't tell you the last time I have bought a pair of shoes, any shoes, and not had to break them in before they felt comfortable. I bought a new pair of shoes this season after trying to different pairs last season with no luck, and my bad luck streak with high end shoes kept going. The Shimano rep gave me a pair of M-300 mountain shoes to try (after I had bought my road shoes) and I was amazed at the results! They fit like a glove after I had them molded to my feet. NO BREAK IN WHATSOEVER!

I was optimistic about this new pair of road shoes I was trying because they looked so damn good! After riding with the shoes loose for a couple weeks and messing with cleat placement on what seemed like every ride, I knew that buying a pair of the Shimano R-300's was inevitable.

I had them custom fitted at the shop by my apprentice Shimano custom fitter who did a great job... After make a couple cleat adjustments on the rollers yesterday I tightened the shoes up and forgot about them. They are so amazing it is too hard for me to describe. My only complaint is that they aren't white and orange...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pirtle says he's going to beat me by 8 minutes...

...the last couple weeks make me think it's not going to be that much. My desire and motivation to train have been great! I took a couple days off and am looking ahead to the WORS race on May 18th... There will be some other great races in between but I'm going to train right through them so I'm not expecting too much... unless they are mudfests and the strong men show up on single speeds.

I've been having some real racing with the crew lately. We all seem to be thriving off each others energy. This weekend is we are headed to a great race down at LBL on the canal loop. It's another long real NORBA format race... I'm guessing that I'll be feeling pretty good since this is my first week back into some real training after tapering for a couple weeks before Tsali...

Zach- this shit cracks me up... the funny thing is I keep telling Jen I need something bigger :)

"Davey rode a hot second lap to pick off 2nd place in the expert class and beat up on some semi-pro riders as well. He also managed to set the new standard for Missouri Euro-Pro-ness by rocking a 2lb. gold necklace during the race. Nice. If we were the Mesa "A-team".....then he's Mr. T."

It's actually a religious pendant my dad gave me. On the back it says "I'm Catholic, get me a priest." Kinda freaks me out when I put it on before a race, but I'm a little superstitious and I think it's lucky.

"Keep On With The Force Don't Stop. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough ."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rainy Day Photo Show

Ohhh yeahausss!!

At least they look rad, because they kill my feet.

Some people go to the casinos on the river front, other people fish! 36 lbs. You can't tell how big the belly is from the photo.

Rick Georges GREAT WHITE TARMAC SL custom

Budster- still growing lots more fur.

Smokies- NC-TN state line

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

AMBC SERC #2, Knobscorcher, Tsali Trail, NC

A couple years ago I came up with what I thought was going to be the master training plan for the Joe Martin Stage Race Cat III domination. A week before the race I blew open a sprint at the Cougar Crit (not a normal occurrence) and was feeling pretty confident with the victory. I was so over trained I was only good for one decent finish at Joe Martin before I fell apart. Two weeks ago I won my first race of the season, a week before my first priority race of the year. Here's the story.

Back in February I was confident in my preparation for my first priority race of the season, an AMBC race at the legendary Tsali Trails in North Carolina, but the competitive side of me was really struggling with remaining focused after getting waxed at the first two Missouri NORBA series races. I showed up to the Rim Wrecker feeling fresh and rode away from a strong field of Missouri NORBA series top ten finishers. Unfortunately, both Wes and Chris had decided to show up on SS's, or what they referred to as the "equalizers," and after a season of racing CX my ability to floss in mud was a real advantage for me... I questioned how fast I would have been that day had the course been dry???

I chose the SERC AMBC race at Tsali because I knew it would be about as competitive as I could find. The SERC series is one of the bigger ones in the US, on par with the WORS series in Wisconsin and the DINO Series in Indiana. Since this was one of the first big races of the season I knew that other racers, like myself, would travel a little bit further than normal to get their seasons started. This race was also a qualifier for Nationals in July, my first of three chances, and I was eager to get that out of the way. Above all, the Tsali Trail system is one of the most awesome, epic, best flowing, destination mountain bike trails in the United States! The forecast for the week before the race was for rain. I have to admit that I was a little bit excited by this and knew that if the conditions were really muddy it would be favorable for me. There was only one thing left to do...

MJ, The Itch, Drew Black and myself showed up at Freeman's Cabins, about 2 miles from Tsali on Saturday afternoon and kitted up for a pre ride just as the skies opened up. It was relatively warm and we needed to stretch our legs and get my pre race tune up in so we rode up the hill for two miles and then down hill into Tsali to check out the scene. We didn't want to completely ruin our bikes before the race so we opted to just ride the first gravel road climb up until you drop into the single track. On the way back out, up the hill, I did a couple sprints to open the legs up and was feeling good. I didn't think to much about ending my tune up by coasting down hill in cold rain for two miles, but in retrospect I think that and the travel was a bad combo for the legs. I really should have spun for a while instead of loading the legs up and then letting them get cold so fast.

Back at the cabin we had a great pre race meal and the new Ben & Jerrys singnature Pot Head Willie flavor, "Peach Cobbler," which was quite tasty. I opted for the PRO move and got to bed early while the rest of the crew embarked on an epic viewing journey of classic sagas... They started with all the Star Wars, in order, then all the Rockys and I could have sworn I heard the beginning of Ken Burns 27 part Civil War Masterpiece, one of my favorites, as I faded off to sleep. I have no idea how they did it, but they managed to watch about 30 hours of TV in 12 hours... Or at least that's how it felt to me.

I woke up to cannons at Gettysburg and sunshine. Race day was pretty much business as usual for me, aside from making a last minute decision to put my Maxxis Crossmarks back on instead of my Medusas, after MJ and I walked a bit of the course and were amazed at how dry it was. After some stretching, anxiety management, and little meditating to some Jerry, MJ and I headed down to the race for some warm up. Like yesterday, the warm up was really hard since you were either going up or down. Once again I had an inadequate warm up, loaded the legs up with some sprints and then let them sit without spinning them out enough. Usually this doesn't bother me too much but I think the travel added to my issues.

We lined up a half an hour beforehand to get a spot on the front line(the 30-34 and 35-39 classes were racing together and there were about 40 of us), crossed the chain up in the BIG RING, ate some espresso love, locked out my fork and checked my look in the mirror. Looking around I noticed that most of these guys were much more tan than I was, never a good sign to be at an early race with tan guys. I was pale but ready and this was it.

I was the first off the line and held the front until someone came around me just before the single track which was fine by me, he was going good and we opened up a little gap. After a nice descent and a little bottoms riding we started the first of the two (not that I knew at the time) major climbs. That's when things started to go wrong. My legs just locked up. I can't really explain it as it's never happened. It wasn't cramping, it was just a really heavy, stale feeling. I couldn't turn them over. I managed to suffer up the first climb until a steep technical section at the top before I started giving up places... not good. I counted 15 riders. I started to think bad thoughts.

After a gnarly, rutted descent I had two more riders coming up behind me when we hit the muddy bottom section before the next huge climb. They dropped me as soon as we hit the climb but I was surprised when I didn't see anyone else too close. I started to remind myself that it was a long race (34 miles), there were still quite a few riders behind me, and I was going to stick with it to the finish. That lasted until I had to get off and walk up the technical section at the top of the next climb, my legs were still locked up.

I knew that letting a group of riders get away like that meant that I wasn't going to win, and that bummed me out. If I don't think I can win after flatting, crashing or cramping it's easy for me to give up. But slowly about half way through the first lap the legs started to come around and I really started flying. I caught and dropped a handful of riders right after one of the big backside descents and then a couple more on the next climb. I realized that I had moved up into the top 5 or so within a couple minutes and couldn't believe it when I came up on 2 19-29 riders and another rider who I had marked in the front group... I got past them and the other Sobe/Cannondale 30+ guy started to chase... I had opened up a decent gap by the time I came through the feed zone after lap one and saw a Trek Factory Rider (Colin Izzard) up the road a bit...
Lap two was some real racing. The Trek rider was keeping a steady gap on me, and seemed to be yo-yoing me a bit. The Sobe/Cannondale guy behind me wasn't able to hang with me on the descents and I seemed to be opening up more of a gap on him on the climbs so I wasn't too worried. I knew that I could close the gap on the Trek rider, but didn't want to go too deep, so I opted to gradually pull him in. I caught up to him through the muddy bottoms before the base of the second big climb. As we started to climb we picked off a couple more 19-29 riders which was just more assurance that we were still going fast... he made a mistake on one of the short technical sections and I went around him and opened up a gap, but still wasn't going deep. Once we hit the top I pushed it into the big ring and went to work on him.

After a series of short climbs with long descents I had opened a gap on him and was really riding well and really optimistic when I came up on 3 more riders, two 19-29's and one 35+, all of whom I dropped pretty quick. People were suffering and my legs were still had some snap left int them. As I came through the feed zone before the last 5 mile section that led to the finish the Trek rider was out of sight. I grabbed a water and sucked down a Enervit Cheer Pack (liquid sugar crack fix) and was told that I wasn't far behind the leaders.

I came up on a rider and asked him if he was an expert, he condescendingly told me he was a PRO... Ohhh ok buddy, well now let me show you who knows PRO... I know it's not so PRO to get your ass dropped by an expert... and with a flap of my mullet in the breeze, I dropped him. Another climb, another couple 19-29 riders... and then another and some more. At this point I started to see a couple people walking the course and cheering so I knew I was close to the finish and started to really feel good. Coming from behind a huge field to podium in a big race isn't the way I want to do it in the future, but it still felt really good!

I came across the line about 3 minutes behind the winner, Marshall Hance from Asheville, and had put 2 minutes onto the Trek rider. A second place finish at a big race, this early in the season, is extremely satisfying to me and gives me great confidence that I am on the right track!

The icing on the cake for me was when Colin (the Trek rider with the T.O.C-esque handlebar mustache) turned to me on the podium and said " Dude, that's a really sweet Euro Mullet!!!"