Monday, December 7, 2009

I feel the feeling I forgot

My 2009 CX season is in the books and I am very pleased to have ended an otherwise rocky season on a high note. I only had a few clean races to shine, thanks to 3 straight races with substantial issues, but the few times I didn't have to claw my way out of some hole, I had strong races and proved to myself that I could hang with the big boys, especially when it counts.

Aside from my 2007 Cat III State Championship win, I have never won a CX race. I finished 3rd overall in the A race that year, but due to the lack of competition I don't really consider the 3's jersey a W. Granted, I started CX in the A's and have managed to score a handful of hard earned second place finishes, even nip at Josh's heels a couple times this fall at Creve Coeuer, but after my third season without the W, my motivation to WIN is even stronger. For some off reason I can't break my will to race some mtb races in Aug (when I should be taking a break before starting to work on my CX base) when I have the good feeling of summer legs. The thought of getting a good jump on CX training spirals further into the tailspin when the endurance man of days of old in me can't say no to racing the Burnin and I'm skipping skills practices in late September to squeeze in 4 hr mtb rides. This past season I added the key component of getting sick enough to not be able to get out of bed for a week and the two weeks it took me to feel normal again after that. I'm done with it. After seeing Josh and Shots wheels dangling in front of me for 50 of the 60 minutes yesterday I know I can do it, I just have to make some sacrifices.

So, after a botched summer rest period, endurance race training in September, followed by sickness in mid October, I reevaluated my goals and devoted my season to training for the "Little Big Show." My confidence was pretty good after my initial success at the Creve Couer double header, but for the next three races after that I found myself chasing from the back with bad legs, tired from the increased training load. I stuck to my guns and continued to drop the hammer all week long and dealt with the consequences on the weekends. My plan was to drop one of my hard workouts the week before Bellefontaine in preparation for States, but after a really hard race at Mount Pleasant the weekend before, I rushed back into business as usual and instead of skipping the said workout, I forced it and went well into the red. At Bellefontaine I had another mishap, watched the lead group ride away and could not muster the strength to latch back on which resulted in another less than satisfying placing for me. Last week, before the little big show, I was worked and instead of blasting some key workouts I found myself resting, trying to breath just a little life back into my legs for the weekend. I knew I might not be as sharp, but over rested is better than over trained so I aired on the side of caution.


On to the race P, 1, 2 Race


I was expecting a bigger turnout with more KC guys, Nate and some usual suspects from the Lou; none of whom materialized. Since I was counting on a bigger list of top five caliber racers, my goal was to try to squeeze into the top five. As we lined up I sized up the small field and set my goal to top three, no easy feat when 4 of the 9 starters had won races (myself not included) and 6 of the riders were the top 6 in the Bubba Cup points race.




Jay took off like a rocket with me in tow and things started to spread out, right quick. Shot caught us at some point and kept on going. I can't really recall the details but Shot was off the front and the Grranimal and I were in pursuit with a strong chase group 30 seconds back. Grrman gaped me at some point and I knew it was his wheel or failure come the pavement so I pushed to latch on. He didn't like this too much so he lit the whole matchbook on fire when he hit the pavement and kicked like there were 200 to go, I maintained my spot on his wheel and he didn't like that too much either.



The next lap was more of the same but somewhere along the way I passed Grrman and watched in horror as the JJ express closed in. By the time I hit the pavement it was clear the firepower of Josh, Dr Mark and Jay were too much to mess with so I latched on the back, got towed across the tarmac and went to work.



It gets a little foggy here as I was pushing myself to new limits previously hindered by tired legs and bad confidence, but somehow Josh and I started riding away from the group, little by little and closing in on Shot. I was amazed to find myself dangling anywhere from a bike length to 10 seconds back for the majority of the race. My gap on Dr Mark was growing steadily as the encouragement form all my friends was so intense I found myself sprinting out of all turns, killing myself to maintain contact with the dream (crushers). I think it was with one lap to go that I was within striking distance of Shottler who was (just behind Josh) as we neared the crucial pavement section. It was a now or never situation but there wasn't anything left for me to give as I sprinted after them on the pavement, only to watch them slide away as the gap opened.

I would guess that I finished about 30 seconds back from Josh and had a pretty good gap over Dr Mark, over a minute. I'm really pleased with the way I raced, even if I know I'm capable of more once I get the timing down. Two years ago I was struggling to stay on the same lap as Josh, last year I found myself chasing pretty far off the pace in the bigger races or slightly better if he was being generous and this year I feel as though I was competing with him in a race he was trying to win.




"And I stared straight into the future
Tell me what do you see?
That this time is gonna be different "

As I sit here pretty beat up and tired after the first Sunday this season I decided to party it up a little bit and while I did miss the post race camaraderie at the pub, recovering and getting back to business is much more rewarding to me than struggling to get through Mondays and being less than good on Tuesdays. Having said that, it's party season for me now and there's so much to celebrate. Mesa made multiple podium appearances yesterday and it is pretty awesome to see that in just three years our CX team has really taken some shape. Matt James had what I consider to be his best result ever with a hard earned 2cd place in the 3's race to a flying Dan Miller. Christopher Connolly won the SS race, Matt Fickinger won the 4's race, Kevin Bonney won the Jr race, Rico George won his masters race (and made it look easy) and our new team member, Chris Roettiger, came in 2cd in the women's open (no more plugs for you until you get my picture on the team website!!!). SOLID RACING!



Thanks to everyone for all the cold PBR handups and rule breaking tea and crumpet parties I was able to have behind Buddys back! Really though, thanks to everyone out there yelling and ringing them bells every race. It makes the pain cave a much brighter place!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The noose is hanging, at least you won't die wondering

For the last three races in a row I have felt like Tom Brady with a deficit, late in the fourth quarter, looking deep for Randy Moss. I don't like racing like a would be hero and definitely am not strong enough to be one in our blossoming CX scene. Mistakes equal failure. Aside from the three big guns at the front, there has been a fairly constant shuffle in the top five that makes for some fast and furious racing.

I was feeling pretty good on Saturday after leaving out one workout last week to get some rest in leading up to the little big show. I, like everyone else there, had probably enjoyed a little too much holiday cheer over the course of the week, but nevertheless, I was feeling confident and liked the course. The Grranimal and I joked at his drunken cycling escapades earlier in the week, but not so funny was his concerns for his noggin and sore shoulder. Pre-race he took a little dive over the bars and clearly was a little shaken up.

The race got underway and knew I had the good feeling. I was sitting in the wings of the lead group with relative ease and being patient to let things pan out. Since it was a straightforward track, the group was about 8 deep and the gaps didn't open up too fast on the chasers, but with some boggy slow sections, greasy corners and ride ups, hanging on meant riding smooth. I slid out around a corner and slipped to the back of the pack but stayed on and kept my focus.

There were three sections of the course that were fast enough and had enough wind to make being in the group crucial, for me anyways. Going into the second lap people started to get a little bit froggy and the attacks started up. I found myself covering some early attacks and then on the front as we were racing for corners. I slipped back in the group and was happy to let Dr. Mark resume the pace making as I was really marking Nate and Shot. Unfortunately, on the technical backside of the course I slipped on the root and went from front to back of the group and latched back onto Grranimals, wheel coming down the pavement at the 180 by the lake. I saw his foot come un-clipped and then his bike went sideways as I plowed over him and thought I heard the crack of carbon. I was upright but he was clearly dazed and not getting up so I grabbed his bike and offered some kind words of encouragement. Precious seconds, which felt like an eternity, ticked by before he came to and told me not to wait.

Riding in defensive mode again I chased the lead group and watched the gap grow when my wheel would hit the wind. The openess of the course allowed me to keep pretty good track of the gaps which stayed fairly consistent to the chase group, but Shot and Nate were Audi 5000, G. Following a couple laps of rage inspired riding I started to fade and Nagy was creeping up from behind. I caught up to Dan Miller and had him and Nageltronic keeping me in check for the next few laps until I saw the 5 to go card and kicked in the turbo. Wish I could ride like that all race, but somehow my head won't let me.

With two to go I came up on Martin who was going backwards after a really strong start and started to close on Yielding who also had a great start but just got passed by Jay. Jay had been maintaining his gap on me most of the race but it was starting to shrink and I was thinking about points and placing.

With one to go I was closing in on Jeff and maybe 15 seconds back from Jay. I caught Jeff at the barriers and Jay was just ahead, but he had some fight left in him and wasn't about to let me close that down. I rolled across the line in 5th again.

So after a flat at St Vincent, a mechanical at Mt Pleasant and a common courtesy at Bellefontaine I feel like I haven't had a clean race in awhile. In all three races I was clearly stronger than my placings. One of my biggest problems is pushing myself the same way I would if I were clinging to someones wheel at the front of the race. Watching Nate and Josh race their bikes leaves much to be desired on a personal level. I need to be more patient, smoother and save the juice for when you need it. How often do you see those guys attacking before the selection is made? I said it last year, but with each year of racing CX I am driven by the challenge of not succeeding the way I have off road. I have learned quite a bit in my last three seasons of racing CX and know what I need to do it 2010.

Next weekend is going to be some hard racing!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Backwards down the number line.

The ten days leading up to yesterday was a big block of racing, training in the rain and holding my breath. When I arrived at the Mount un-Pleasant yesterday I knew it wasn't going to be a good day and was less than excited about the course as there was nowhere to hide.

Twenty-eight of us lined up in the A race and Martin took off like a yellow shoed rocket with me on his wheel. I was getting Kentucky waterfalled in the face the whole time but at least he uses Herbal Essences Lavender, my personal favorite. I find it amusing that every up and coming CX racer in St Louis is rocking a mullet of some sort as they are so 2007. I guess it's a right of passage of some sort, but I thought it died with Lars Boom's soul. My plan was to get a good start, fall back in the top five, ride as conservatively as possible, mark some wheels and not try any funny stuff off the front. My plan B went into effect immediately as I dropped my chain on the first 180 and watched every rider in the field pass as I struggled to get it unjammed and back on. By the time I got situated Dan and Money Shot were halfway across the straight before the crazy ass ride/run up. I was looking at maybe a minute or more on the leaders and plan B had just turned into the Josh Johnson Special Ops plan.

The rest of the race pretty much sucked as I had no motivation, no legs and I thought Buddy had said we were going to be doing about 8 laps, but 3 laps in I saw the 8 lap card and really wanted to quit. Slowly I started to pick people off until I heard someone yell that I had worked my way into the top ten. The noise and people at this race were insane. Instead of just having a couple small groups of spectators on key points of the course there were people handing out the duckets, blowing horns and screaming everywhere I needed them. Truly an awesome feeling that no doubt was aided by the crack high of Mad Dog 20/20 style wine. B racers should upgrade to experience that alone; the spectators not the Mad Dog. Pro as fuck. I picked up three dollars along the way and dropped all three of them. I'll stick to pedaling.

With about 4 to go I had passed Martin and Fletcher and set my sights on Jay. I think I caught him with 3 to go and we yo yo-ed a little bit for the that lap. Someone told me I was in 4th, but I was shutting down mentally. With 2 to go I hit a big spike coming off one of the downhills and Jay put a couple seconds on me. That was the nail in the coffin for me. I didn't have any fight left and rode the bell lap out for 5th place.

After the race I was talking to some Jim (TrailMonster) and he asked me what I thought about the race. I didn't have to think about it before I responded that it was the worst race I have ever done. He said thanks with a evil smile. I hope he and everyone else responsible for that race understands that we are no longer friends. Sorry, but I hate you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Some sweet Segal love!

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Turning screws early- the feeling was good.

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Scottler with a 30 second gap, maybe 1/2 way into race? Josh over a minute back. Insane effort on his part.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wish I could Run Like an Antelope.

Well, that went well for a short while and then really bad for a short while and then kinda enjoyable for a short while. Racing for me is always fun/enjoyable but since I was out of contention I just kinda rode around, got a nice beer hand up, missed another beer hand up and got a good workout.

I had a better than expected start and the legs were cooperating a little more than I thought they would after week of rest, long car rides and beer drinking. I tried to wake up my stiff legs by riding hard for 3 hrs on Friday and then doing a hard interval workout on Saturday. At work on Sat they felt like cement blocks and really tight so I rode some more after work to loosen them up which kinda helped but I was worried I over did it.

I had a good start and was mixing it up at the front for the first half of the race. Schottler had a good lead and I caught and passed Grranimal who was having a malfunction, but seemed to be riding really well/smooth otherwise. I didn't have much snap but things were getting better as I raced more. I watched Josh working his way up at a rapid rate which was pretty incredible.

I was sitting in second when I hit the first mud section and heard my wheel bottom out when I realized it was flat. I ran. It hurt. I went from 2cd to 20th pretty quick and wasn't real happy about it but kept pushing on.

I worked my way back up a bit and caught some people. I think I was riding around just outside of the top ten with about 4 to go when I decided that chasing my teammates down wasn't that much fun but 16 oz PBR's were, so I sat up and went into damage control. I definitely didn't have the legs to work my way back into a money/points spot given the week I had and how much the running wrecked my legs.

Miraculously Josh managed to crush Schottlers dreams with an amazing effort that ended his 45 minute lead at the most dream crushing time; on the last lap, and went on for another W.

I'm not so partial to the super fancy tires I have and think I'll switch back to some Griffos or Fangos for the remainder of the season. It's not about the flat I had but the way they handle. They don't seem to have much bite and really float, ironic given the fact that I love that in a MTB tire but you don't have to carve 180's all day on a MTB. Other than that I'm really pleased at how competitive I have been with relatively little work. I'm really optimistic that after this week of balls kitty training and then another decent week after that I should be as good as I' going to get for the little big show. Time will tell.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Machine: 2010 S-Works Tricross





16 lbs. Those are Zipp 303 CX wheels and Dugast Typhoon CDM's (Coupe Du Mondes).

Thanks JQ!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Whiteboy wants to dance!



I haven't slept in two days but am pretty fired up! First off, I want to thank anyone reading this that is out there ringing a bell and calling my name, throwing beer at me or telling me to "go faster you fucking pussy!" To steal a little something from Chariots of Fire, "it puts wind on my heels!"

So Sat night recovery didn't go so hot as road rash and being all jacked up kept me up most of the night. By Sunday morning I was tired but the legs felt good. I overhauled my bike and hoped the course would still be a chocolate mousse mixed with peanut butter and grass mess. Instead I showed up to find a dry pretty fast track with some demanding, very bumpy straights, as well as a bunch of really rutted 180's and a little mud.

I didn't think it was a great course for me but I remained optimistic and took off. I stayed in the top 10 for the first lap and then charged up the left of the muddy section and jumped out in front. I still want to race CX races like I do on the MTB but when people don't get out of sight they chase that much harder. I established a decent gap for a few laps and then started to bog down ad cut my losses and jumped back into a strong lead group with Nate, Josh, Shot, Stothman, and Grman. I was sitting on 4th wheel when Josh and Shot made a little move and couldn't respond until the gap was too big.

Nate, Grman and I rode around for awhile with Josh and shot dangling but Nate was obviously not working with Josh off the front and I had hit a mid race funk. I was repeatedly getting gaped off and struggling to maintain contact. We passed Shot who was walking his bike after the backside barriers which raised the pace just a bit. I think it was on the next lap that Grman had a mishap on the barriers so I sat up and let him tag back on but as soon as he did Nate attacked and I had to respond as Nate and Josh together is game over. Nate was making really good pace and when I would pull the chase of Grman and Jay would close so I tried to bargain with Nate to do the work and promised I wouldn't pull any funny business. Jay ended up working himself back up to us, through us and then out in front of us only to snap his derailleur off. After a really rough season with three good starts that were crushed by race ending mechanicals, I knew that feeling and would have rather gone head to head but Nate and I pushed on.

With about 4 to go I guess I managed to crawl out of the funk and offered to take a pull coming through the start finish and was powering down the back straight when I realized Nate was gone. People started giving me splits of 30 second to Josh who was getting closer and closer. With 2 to go I had him inside 20 seconds and coming through on the last lap people were yelling 12 seconds. I opened it up and go really close on the 180 off the pavement onto the grass after the backside barriers which is apparently when he decided to demoralize me.

Crossing th line in 2cd for the second day in a row with what I consider to be about 85% of what I got as far as fitness goes, makes me pretty damn happy. I have some serious desire to train now and think that I might be able to hit a fitness peak that I left sitting in the tank at the end of last CX season. I'm going to miss racing next weekend as we are heading to Asheville to ride dirt bikes for a week, which should be some more good stimulus and then we'll be coming down the home stretch as people ramp up for States and Nationals.

"Ohhh, what a beautiful buzz, what a beautiful buzz!"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Glimpse of hope.

Lined up against all the heavy hitters of the St Louis CX scene last night with some new found confidence that I was afraid exceded my current level of fitness. Not sure how the call-ups were ordered but I found myself near the back and fighting working through traffic. Although I haven't done any big CX races I understand that some elbowing, door closing and aggressive riding is required to move up in a big field. I have never felt like that was needed when your lining up with your local crew on any given Sunday but last night I was elbowed, pushed, ridden into stakes and even had the door closed on me when I told someone I was coming on their side. I guess we can do it like that from now on and am pretty sure that the guys that were doing it to me are going to end up off course. I miss playing contact sports anyway.

Ok, enough of my rant that's really directed at a select few. So I end up working myself up to the front with Grrmanimal, Josh, Nate, Mar Mar, Jay, Yielding and a couple others. I was pretty surprised to find myself up there staying in contact and slowly started fading off Mar Mars wheel and then catching back on.

Maybe 3 laps in I caught up to Martin and Yielding who weren't far behind the lead three and gapped them. At that point Grrman dropped his chain or something and left the lead two with me chasing. I buried it and caught them going in through the finishing stretch and knew it was going to be tough to hang when Nate told Josh they had company and Josh attacked. I knew there was no way I was going to handle much of that action but remember telling myself pre-race to go down swinging so I came around Nate and chased Josh down with Nate in tow. Not too long after that I lost my front wheel in the mud, ran it, and jumped back on only to find I had dropped my chain. I was riding for third from then on.

With something like 12 laps to go out in no mans land between the lead two and a strong chase group I started to worry but was able to hammer through the straights and ride the technical muddy sections pretty clean. Maybe 3/4 through the race I spotted Nate running his bike not even half way through the lap which opened up a window of opportunity and created some goals for me; hold off Nate as well as the chase group.

At one point my gap on the chase group grew quite a bit but then it shrunk when I slid across the pavement and almost into the lake at full speed. I recovered and it normalized once again with Nate tearing his way back through the field which would have presented a real threat had the race been any longer. In the end I was able to hold them off with help from the top notch Specialized support crew and Cris Ludwig who had a nice new bike ready to go when I really needed it. Can't feel more pro than that. I rolled across the line in second with a big smile.

I have to send out a big thanks to Jeff Winkler for some advice last week when I really needed a kick in the ass. I don't know Jeff personally, but he was quickly able to assess the weaknesses in my training and get me back on track. Thanks Jeff!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Whoa, CX is harder than I remembered!

Well first CX race of the season is in the books and I'm pleased with the way I raced. I didn't have a clean race by any means and had to dig deep to generate some power that I clearly don't have after my little base training month of September, followed by a week of very little riding before the burning and then a week of no riding and the flu the week after. Last week I did a couple decent workouts and realized it's going to be a few weeks before any snap comes back, but I can wait.

I had a good jump at the start as I wanted to be in the front three so I could ride the run-up but dropped my chain and dropped 10 spots. My plan was to get out in front through the run up and then drop back and see if I could sit in the front group and it feel apart right quick. From there I started to burn a couple matches to move up and was surprised that I was able to pretty easily until the aforementioned matches started to burn out.

I settled into a the third chase group which ended up being myself, Dan Miller and Jeff Yielding. Surprisingly, the gap to the 2cd group wasn't getting bigger and we started to put some serious time into the group behind us. The climbing was really taking it's toll on me but I was recovering ok and motivated to get a good workout out of the race.

I made some mistakes and ended up getting gaped off those two but was pleased that I was able to jump back on. With two to go I got hung up on the run-ride up and got gaped off by about 10 seconds. I thought I was going to ride it in alone but I pushed myself to catch them and commit ed to attacking before the decent as I was able to ride it pretty well and was going into the barriers with more speed than them and coming out faster. Dan and I gaped Jeff and then I attacked Dan just before the last pitch of the climb as he urged me to go get 5th place.

I came through the barriers and had just about closed the gap on the final money spot when he started to kick a little bit. He surprised me and the gap opened to quick for me to close, so I came across the line seeing spots in 6th.

Unfortunately the reality is that 6th is more like 10th as the heavy hitters are out of town but I think I should be able to bounce back after another couple weeks of hard training followed up by the Asheville MTB stage race (aka the Mesa shop trip). Looks like I might have some fitness for the last 4 races. Not exactly what I had planned but sometimes real life gets in the way of bicycle racing.

I need some race wheels. I sound spoiled but racing CX on clinchers is a joke.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Who pulled the plug?


Well, well, well. Another great Burnin at the Bluff race has come and gone and for the second time I didn't find myself on the top step of the podium. This race has been incredibly good or bad, with no grey area in between.

I started off as the front runner and was in the woods first after RP refused the whole shot I offered and like always, I knew opening up a little lead with the adrenaline running on high and the wolves chasing was a good thing. Soon RP, Gibbs, and Best came around me and later on a Ghisallo rider and Wes. I managed to pick Wes and the Ghisallo rider off at the Enough boat launch and soon caught up with Gibbs. I was keeping my hr in check and only reving it up to well south of my red line on the climbs. Everything was going well and I was coaching myself to push it on the flats and spin up the climbs without every feeling the burn which cumulatively can destroy.

I knew Dr Mark was a solid rider with a lot more road miles in his legs than me and good in the slop. I was pleased when he was out of sight at both the dam and the beach crossing and knew I had a little buffer but still flew through the start finish right on schedule to squeeze out 6 laps. Last year I finished at 6:09 and was focused on trimming that +/- 2 mins a lap over 5 laps by riding more consistently and not coming out of the gates like a rocket. My first lap was 1:10 and right on time. I stopped only to grab the white bottle of drink mix off the top of the cooler, but no need for the black bottle of water as I still had enough left and kicked off down the trail.

Lap 2 was great. My hr dropped into a nice endurance pace and was topping out at 172 on the climbs. My legs were a little bit tight from so much rest and the cold water but slowly they started to open up as I stretched some of the safer sections. I was really focused and even let my mind wander to think about belt buckles and beer which I quickly corrected by reminding myself that I wasn't even half way done. I came through the pits and grabbed the black bottle of water off the top of the cooler and made the mistake of grabbing anoter bottle of water from inside. Really my only mistake of the day turned out to be a big, but I didn't realize it until the first bridge crossing and thought I could get compensate by eating gels. I was wrong.

Sometimes when I get up in the morning and ride on an empty stomach I feel great for awhile and then it starts to gnaw at your gut until you stoke the fire with some coal. Lap 3 was good and I continued to ride the trail without making mistakes and was staying focused. I had the music ready but didn't want to treat myself to it until I really needed it and told myself that lap 4 would be the soonest I could have it. I ate an Accel gel 15 minutes in and had to keep reminding myself to drink the water and wishing I had some tasty mix. Dr. Mark was still nowhere in site and I had reports ranging from "he's way back there" to "2-3 minutes" from passing riders. I really had to pee which was weird for me as I can't remember ever having to in a race of this distance and usually only had to in 12 hr races once or so. After the runnoff i peed and stretched for a minute and came just before I made the right away from the lake on the other side of the beach I spotted Dr Mark coming across the concrete, maybe 2 minutes gap.

The climb to the start finish is a real motivation buster and when I popped out of the woods at 1:14 I was feeling it a little bit, not so much in my legs but more in a whole body type of way. I stopped and grabbed a couple bottles, a couple swigs of Red Bull and Russ and Gohl gave me a 2-3 minute buffer on Dr Mark. I told them I wasn't feeling too hot.

Back on the trail I took a couple big swigs of drink mix and coached myself a little. I was in the lead and on record setting pace. I was really hoping to have some better time splits going into lap 5 so I could tell if I would be chased if I got out for the record setting lap 6 which I was on schedule to do. I was doing fine until I crossed the Ozark Trail foot bridge.

I can't really say what happened. My legs were there but my head wasn't I hit some loose stuff on a corner, lost my front wheel and went down once. In the next mile I found myself richocheting from one side of the trail to the other and my HR went from a steady 165-ish to 120. I got off my bike and started to walk, not sure why, but I did. A couple minutes later Dr Mark passed and I convinced myself to chase. I was ready for some music so I put on the good stuff, saddled off and reminded myself that there was still a lot of racing left. I crested one of the grunters turned right and crashed down towards the lake on both my knees.

I couldn't think straigt and sat there for a little while before I turned off the Garmin and realized that 10 more miles meant potentially hurting myself and the 2.5 miles meant defeat. I headed back the short way. A 12 hr racer stopped and checked in on me and told me he was suffering badly too and I encouraged him telling him he would catch a second wind and to just keep eating and moving. I tried to heed my own advice and saddled up one more time but after another spill I realized I really was having some problems. I started my walk back to the start finish.

Once again the racing was fierce and we have a new 12 hr solo champion, Mitch Johnson, who also has the second fasted time ever recorded at the event. Solid racing Mitch! The DRJ wrecking crew decided to crush dreams on the last lap, for the second year in a row with CP riding as fast in the dark as he does during the day. Devastating to some, incredible to others. The party was a little bigger than normal this year as PBR has made this event into a top notch affair and much thanks goes out to them and Team Segall for sharing there golden unicorn with us. And last but defintely not least, thanks to John Farinella for putting this whole thing together and somehow making it better each year.

Here's for the record setting heat we had at the 2007 Burnin returning in 2010!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Record Setter?

There has been a lot of talk about the Burnin this year. I haven't been down there but course reports say it's a little dry and loose and could use some rain to make it really fast. Looks like we're going to get it.

In 2007 my goal of the season was to do 10 laps at the Burnin. While my dreams were crushed by a flurry of problems on the first lap that with me sitting on peak endurance racing form, drinking beer after my 6 mile hike on the first lap.

This year there are some heavy hitters showing up with good form and that 10 lap carrot has to be on all their minds, it's on mine. Zach is ready and has gotten dramatically stronger since last season, Deee-Wayne isn't going to do a 24 hr race the night before and then drive 10 hours straight to get there for the nine o-clock start. How he crams 48 hours into one day you ask? Caffeine. And then there's the talk of Jeff Winkler . I don't know Jeff personally but Fletcher was saying he was an ex roadie pro who has clearly found some sick form allowing him to be super fast on whatever bike he gets on.

So as I compile my 6 hr Phish master mix for my race I'm getting that itch again. All the talk about nutrition, long rides and 10 laps has got me a little excited. I'm going to be riding a S-Works Epic in 2010 which is the perfect machine to attempt to achieve the one cycling related goal that is the thorn in my side and go after the 10 laps, if one of the other three rock stars don't do it this year.

I rode my bike a little more this September than I did last year, even did a couple rides close to 5 hrs on the road and mtb, so I'm hoping to have a little more fun in the 6 hour race and hopefully not suffer in the same way I did last year. We'll see.

Here we go, yo.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

ohh snap...

i realized today that yesterdays post was after a mountain bike ride and that season is pretty much over. might still have a shot at one more win, maybe not, but moving forward i should be thinking about cx.

cx is going to start off real tough for me as i have been working on my base and not a whole lot of skills. someone may have been out training on there cx bike and thinking about putting the hurt on someone today. that someone is defintely going to be me for the first few races. then it's off to do some more off road riding with the crew in asheville. THEN it's time to see if i can race some cx!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Happy bike practice today


Hopefully my new A4 1.8 Turbo Quattro Avant is here in time to floss to the Burnin! Goodbye to that box on wheels Element!

Ahh what a great day on the mountain bike. Definitely the first breakthrough workout I have had in quite some time. The second night of Phish from Red Rocks this summer is supercalifragilistic and had me singing through the trees.

Rode from Lost Valley bottoms to Klondike up Hogsback and then into Strip Mine, Dojo and Donkey Kong and then back down Hogsback. From there I skeedattled down to Matson and rode a lap in each direction when the goods starting bumping through the headphones and the legs started to kick up the climbs. A couple bottles from the car at LV and then two counter clockwise laps at the Valley where pushing it hard up the three climbs each lap was easy. I had to force myself to stop abiding by my "leave some in the tank" rule when I know the legs are good but I'm not racing. About 50 miles in 3:30 mintues, thought it was going to be a 4 hr ride...

I realized today that my eye of the tiger is a little bit scary; more like spotting a mountain lion at the last minute before it goes for you jugular then the furry black kitties I love so much. I also realized that when I'm feeling really good on the bike, like today, I don't even realize that I'm in pain, rather I think about wanting to hurt other people. Probably you if your reading this? Don't worry, I'm not planning on punching you in the face on the line, but I want to do everything in my power to make you wish you hadn't raced that day. I doubt DeeeWayne has these thoughts.

Thanks for listening!!! I wish I had more raw meat and eggs in the fridge right now!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Evidence for Chris and heavy legs








Here are some fish pics from Colorado. All taken from the Lake Fork of the Gunnison except for the Cutthroat which I caught on the East River. Can't say I caught any big fish but as the week went on I started to really up my fish per hour and by my last day on the lower Taylor was waxing them pretty good.

Last year I pretty much took September off the bike and reverted back into some base training in October and raced the Burnin 6 hr on fumes from August. Except for a handful of mountain bike rides I didn't ride much this August but have ramped it up considerably since getting back from Colorado. The legs are starting to feel it and this weekend is going to be a shocker! I did put some fat tires on my cx bike and went out to practice a couple remounts yesterday which ended up with me cracking my seat rails and a little gravel rash. I think I'll go ride for 3 hrs today and then hit up the cx practice at Queeny. The legs are going to be working overtime as they are not responding too well to mega miles and running. Ohh well, what doesn't kill you...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Beers and Cowbells





Wow. It's that time again. I basically spent most of August celebrating one thing or another. We drank about 6 bottles of Champagne, to celebrate our engagement, me turning tres-tres and just because it tastes so good. Life is good. I didn't spend all that much time on my bicycle but did managed to ride some sweet trail out in Crested Butte. I also managed to trick quite a few wild trout on the ol' Winston IM6 which was nice. Case quickly learned why my folks both were joking with her about how much I like to fish when we would find a nice spot on the river and she wouldn't see me for 5 hours. I went most of the days without eating a thing while I was on the river as I was so focused.

The last couple weeks I've been focusing on getting in some high volume riding and my kickass S-Works Tricross still has a 53 and 23's on it, if that tells you anything. I ran around the block last night and today I got in a pretty serious LT interval workout, so I got that going for me. Hopefully I can get another 300 or so mile week in and then I'll start doing some skills practice.

Anyhoo. I'll leave on a Todd Wells-like note.

Where's Matt Keeven?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Special-ized Delivery



Buddy is real excited about it.

THANKS QUINN!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ain't goin' out like dat.

Unless I have a really hard time getting a Specialized factory team thermal skin suit for racing cross, the race at Castlewood was my last race in a Mesa kit for a while and I was really hoping to have a good race. For me that means winning. I wanted to win bad and had been feeling sexy all over after a couple weeks of good training up until the point that the bees sabotaged the exclamation point on my little block of training by keeping me from racing at the Show Me State Games. The sexy came back quick though after a hard day at the Wood in place of the race that Sunday, and I was feeling pretty confident.

I knew that CP was flying, Schottler was chomping at the bit for his first W this season and Castlewood has the potential allure to drag any number of arm-shavers off their high horses to come play with us "local" guys. Altough there we're no armshavers present except for the honorary team arm-shaver non arm-shaving member, John Rhines, I did notice one of the fastest "local" guys around, Aaron Elwell, warming up and knew what was about to happen.



I made it happen right off the start and jumped the hole shot only for Scott Ogilvie to be nice enough to come around me and drag me up the first section of the climb on his wheel. We reached the top and I thanked him for the lift and we we're off. I had Elwell on my wheel with CP and Schottler in tow and knew the first climb was about putting on some hurt but pacing enough to save it for the steep pitch at the top. I was calm, collected, the legs were turning themselves over knew what was about to go down. I gambled a little bit at the top thinking that Elwell might not know the trail that well and turned the screws just a little bit a few times in the twisty single track, but quickly realized that he wasn't going anywhere and settled into a comfortable pace.

I like to be a front runner so crossing Ries Rd I knew I had the sketchy technical descent dialed and could throw down some heat going up the steep on the other side and still recover from it if it didn't work on the descent so I railed the first left hander high and attacked the tech with speed. Second turn over the roots and the air came out of my tire all at once. The rim had folded over and I was thinking there was no was the bead was even going to hold. No more front running. I stood there for a minute, completely devastated as I watched every expert rider pass before I decided to see what I had. I was sure the tire was going to blow off the rim but starting riding the kind of pace I normally reserve for the last lap and taking all kinds of chances.

I came through after the first lap with Christopher Connolly and was 4:30 behind the leaders (don't know how I got the time I did, but definitely isn't right as I came through with Christopher). I started to pick some people off and was riding on the rivet for the whole second lap and pretty pissed off. I really wanted a O.K. Corral showdown between us four big guns but it wasn't meant to be and started to have some fun seeing how quick I could open up gaps as I caught people. I knew I was going OK as the gaps were opening quick.

By the third lap I started to find a little rhythm and stopped grunting and snorting so much. I don't remember much of that lap but clearly remember hearing some of the kick ass Trey licks from Red Rocks in my head, which I haven't heard for a very long time during races, and riding really well and very fast.

While Schottler is going to have his day I knew he was no match for Chris on his home course and Aaron has been riding so well I didn't think I had a shot at him so my goal was to shoot for third. I started to catch riders who are usually 7-10 minutes off the pace towards the end of my third lap and realized that I was never going close anywhere close to that amount on the leaders on one lap. Coming through the start-finish area, I saw Elwell on the side of the trail carrying his cooler and looking pretty banged up. Again, it wasn't the kind of race I was hoping for, but it did motivate me just a little bit more knowing that I was just a couple spots away from the podium.

I turned the corner up the first section of Grotpeter and saw Wes at the water bar. I closed some of the gap really fast but he must have seen me because it opened right back up. I stood up and started to kick, bit my lip and closed my eyes.

(thanks to Ryan H for the sweet photo!)

I made the left hander up the steep and saw Wes right in front of me and he looked like he was struggling, but figured he was going to give it to me as soon as I got close. I came up on him, attacked and never looked back. I didn't see anyone in front of me as I descended Ranger Cut-off or when I was climbing Love and was losing hope when I crossed Ries Rd and Metz told me Scott was just ahead of me. I flossed the tech and kept it in the big ring poised for an attack and sure enough, I saw him about half way up when I was at the base. It was all about catching him off guard on the tough part of the climb and going deep to keep him off my wheel on the descent. Once again, I was able to open the gap fast and it was smooth sailing with a really strong wind in my sails into the finish.



I impressed myself and although I was really bummed that the epic showdown of some strong riders at the pinnacle of their summer fitness didn't manifest itself, it was still a good race and the strongest rider won. Chris has now gone up on me, 3-2, on the season and while my abbreviated mtb season is over, I'm thinking that Greensfelder might be the real end. I might have to find a race somewhere after I get back from a week of off road riding in Crested Butte as I should be pretty sharp.

Phish opened up the second leg of their summer tour with a vengeance for 4 nights at Red Rocks. I get to see them in Chicago next week and can't wait. Check out some of this fire... Life is as good as it gets right now.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Colorado Trail Race

Just about the same time I line up at Castlewood this weekend my buddy, Chris Nuemann, will be setting off on a 500 mile self supported race in Colorado. Pretty freakin intense especially considering the fact that they have been getting some nasty storms out there lately. You can track his progress by the "Spot link" and see what he's about on his blog.

Honestly, I don't even know Chris really well aside for talking to him a long time at last years Burnin, being friends with a lot of his friends and shooting him emails about our common interests like dogs with bad raps, fishing and riding. I feel like I know him more than that would suggest, maybe just from reading his blog or maybe just because I can relate to someone who seems very genuine, either way, I consider him a friend and want to wish him luck. Take care Chris, and I hope you have some good legs.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I am Specialized.

Last week I got a call from my good friend, John Quinn (one of the Chief Rockers over at Specialized) who said that he wanted to go big on the sponsorship for me for CX season as well as my 2010 mountain bike season. Hell Yess. I would also like to thank my good friend, Justin Neely, for putting in a good word for me. I have had some pretty nice hook ups but none that even come close to this one. For me, this is as real deal as it gets. No one has ever given me free bikes and equipment before and this will allow me to go do some bigger races in 2010. I can't wait to go on some team rides with Sousi, Wells and the Dart either... ahem.

The timing is really good too, because I have been looking forward to CX season this year and trying to choose my battles on the mountain bike, but the 4 races I have done haven't exactly been the best follow up to my 7 big wins in 2008. I'm not complaining about my results, just missing the racing. I am looking forward to Castlewood and maybe one or two more races in September, but am really focused on getting ready for CX. Riding for a new team is just the added stimulation I need to motivate me a little more, not that it's usually a problem for me.


I put in a really solid couple weeks of training following the Castlewood race and started to feel really sharp. Last Wednesday I was out putting in some miles on the mountain bike and was linking Klondike and Lost Valley via the Katy trail when a yellow jacket flew into my helmet. I took my helmet off while I was riding along and knocked it out of my helmet, onto my upper quad, where it stung the shit out of me. It didn't bother me too much at the time but by the next morning it was a total mess. My leg had swelled to twice it's normal size and there was a plum colored circle around the bite about the size of a grapefruit. I guess I have become really allergic to bees. For the next couple days it continued to spread and on Saturday I had a bulge down below my knee. I tried to go do some openers for the Show Me State Games but my heart rate wouldn't go up and my quad felt like I was slapping a brick wall with a flank steak on the end of a stick. As I am undefeated in Columbia I thought it might be nice to give one of the locals a chance to win this year so I opted to stay home. Nice job Josh, consider that repayment for your gift to me last season.

Well that's about all. Another week of racing, another Phish show and then Case and I are off to Crested Butte for Vacation. August should be a solid month for training as I don't plan on racing and can transition into CX mode.

Can't wait to hear them bells again.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The wattage cottage needs some work.

I'm at the midway point of my season here and the State Championship race on Saturday has me questioning what direction I should head in. The main goal of my training this season was to have good form for the D.IN.O AMBC race on July 5th. Other then a few bumps in the road I was feeling really good going into.


I woke up to pouring rain Saturday at Lake Sara and as the day progressed I started to ask myself if I really wanted to pass up the good time with Casey and her family that was going down, go do openers in the pouring rain only to have to clean my bike again, wake up at 5 am to drive 3.5 hrs to IN (4.5 with the time change) and all the while wonder if I was going to miss out only to wake up and hear that the race was cancelled. Ironically, the conditions were shaping up to be just about perfect for me, the course was my kind of course and I knew I was faster than last year when I won the Expert overall. I also knew that Andy Messer was faster and wanted to go to battle with him again, as he is a great competitor and we're tied at 1-1, but for some reason this year my desire to train is as strong as it ever has been but I don't feel the need to prove as much to myself. Plus, I'm saving all the fire I can for CX as I do have some things to prove. Even after all that, the decision was quite simple and Casey and I made some drinks, she piloted us out in the boat and she taught me to water ski. After watching her make shredding on one ski look so easy I decided that was what I should do. After 5 attempts and massive amounts of water blasted through my face into my brain she pleasantly recommended (with a little smirk) that I should try two skis and after my second attempt I was flossing.


July 5th was pretty much a perfect day and I didn't regret my decision one bit. After 6 hours or so of fishing I finally managed to trick a 12" bass and the beers tasted so much better after a couple hour ride in the cornfields, on the dock, as the sun finally came out.

I was pretty confident going into the USAC State Championship race the next Saturday but was definitely aware that CP was going to have a serious spark after two weeks of dirt crits, which he did. Looking back at some lap times, I didn't have a bad race, but Chris was just really good at the mega power output on the flats and his 29" wheels and suspension were clearly a better choice for this course.

I had a good start, was going well and leading Chris and Bob as the three of us distanced ourselves from the small field. We came around a blind corner and came up on the guy and son (who I had told while pre-riding to be careful as a race was coming in their direction) and I had nothing to do but hit the brakes or hit them. CP saw it coming but Bob didn't and crashed into Chris. We slowed up and turned around to make sure Bob was up and Chris gave me the go ahead to resume my punishment.

Chris started opening up a gap on the first descent but I was overly confident that I had the juice and would bring him back in. On the second lap he was about 30 seconds ahead of me on the second climb and I thought it was about time to reel him in and start racing so I punched the big ring up the second part of the climb and kept him in sight. Once again, he gaped me on the descent. I came through the tunnel and when I went over the concrete my chain fell off and slipped between the chain pin and crank arm. This has been a persistent problem for me running a 42/29 and a regular 44/32/22 triple mountain derailleur. I can't wait until the Sram XX double front comes out. I lost a considerable amount of time that first time but only a little more the next two times it happened. I would guess I lost about two minutes to mechanical that day, which totally sucked, but wasn't the difference between winning and losing as Chris was the clear champ that day. Oh well, winning the MWFTS State Championship in a mega stacked field was pretty nice, not to hide or downplay the fact that I really wanted the USAC Jersey and Chris clearly earned it.

I have to commend James Nelson for putting on a great race and the incredible work he did (or was able to have done) to get the course ready even if I was really disappointed with the turnout and thought it was a really weak excuse (the turnout and timing, not James effort) for a State Championship race. While the allure of a State Championship Jersey will always motivate me to be there, the turnout for Sundays OMBA Carumba race was much better and it would have been nice to go head to head with the a field like that, but once again, Case and I were just having a little too much fun and driving 7 hours to race with wasted legs wasn't sounding so good.

So, after about 4 weeks of peak intensity workouts and race week hours (without enough racing stimulus) I'm not feeling as motivated as usual and the legs aren't recovering as fast as they should be. Although I want to be competitive at Rock Bridge and Castlewood, I'm not sure what I have left in the tank but am going to try to take it easy for a couple days, see if the legs come around, put in a big weak before Rock Bridge and see if I can jam at Castlewood. August is pretty much a transition month for me and I plan on putting in some big fun time on the mountain bike without too much high intensity. Spanish Lake is a CX course and CX season is still a little ways off so I think I'll be skipping that one. Back to working on the wattage cottage.

Here are some frickin' sweet photos from my friend Chris Bunn.



Friday, July 3, 2009

Puppies


When my dad was a kid he was into breeding and showing dogs. While he was getting his MBA from Babson College (first in his class, what can I say, I'm proud of him) he owned a dog grooming shop to pay his way through school and bred and showed Irish Setters and Sheepdogs. As a kid, we never had dogs but as a my dad nears retirement my mom and him started to breed and own National Caliber field trial English Pointers. His website is pretty cool, you should check it out.



About 5 months ago Casey and I adopted Mabel, a 2 year old Rottweiler. It's my first dog and we are learning a lot. Rottweilers are very smart, loyal, yet very stubborn animals and it's not just a dog you can let have it's way or it will dominate. Mabels been coming around lately and responding very well to the little training we have been doing. Ironically, this mountain bike racer from Ohio breeds Rottweilers that look very similar to Mabel. I think I want a puppy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Good Week

I finally recovered from the nasty heat, speed and course brutality of the St Joe race and got in a solid workout on Saturday morning. Everything was ticking and the motivation was solid.

Saturday night Case and I had a couple friends over for a cookout, but somehow hanging outside in 106* heat isn't much fun and the gallons of fresh squeezed lime Margaritas and top secret Sangria mix didn't go down as well indoors. So, we did it again on Sunday night and did it right. Monday pretty much sucked but it was a rest day and hungover rest days are good recovery. Right?

Tuesday morning I rode some laps of the DRJ race at Castlewood and openend up the legs a little. I felt great and everything seems to be coming together for the next couple weeks of racing.

The coolest thing about yesterday happened when my buddy Rick George came to deliver my custom painted CX frame which is totally balls McGeee! This may just be the whitest bike I have owned and is looking sharp. I'm only about 3/4 the way through building it and had to prep my MTB for this weekend so pictures are going to have to wait. Coming from a gets rid of bikes like half empty bottles on the last lap of a crit, I'm really frickin' excited about this one as it is totally my style. It's the new white heat.

Off to Caseys folks lake house on Lake Sara, IL for fireworks Friday night, a little fishing on Saturday, some family time and then it's off to the AMBC race on Sunday morning. I'm going to steer clear of the sauce on Saturday so hopefully I sober up in time for the race as there is going to be a stacked field.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hiccups

May was the one of the most productive blocks of training I have ever had. The legs I had at Rhett's run were unreal, especially considering that I had taken a full week of rest and barely been riding. Things started to unfold a little bit and now the legs are not so hot and I'm taking some chances with my big workouts and kicking my own ass for botching two weeks of traing because my parents were in town one week and Phish the next.

The heat and effort on Sunday really took it's toll on me and I was feeling like shit out at Lost Valley today. I aborted my LT workout and was about to call it a day. Then I ran into Jen who had just ridden with EP and was telling me how happy he was at his win last weekend. I'm happy for him too but it motivated me to go a little deeper. Needless to say, I pushed my sorry ass up the hill a couple more times, and pushed through a little pain I usually don't feel while doing intervals. Like I said, I'm going to take some chances.

My goal for the D.IN.O AMBC race isn't to win, just to beat my time from last year. I know I'm faster, I'm just not sure if I can stop the downward spiral in time, get in a few quality workouts and get rested up in time. My legs haven't felt great since the Rhetts race due to too much drinking, not enough sleeping and botched workouts so now I have to overthink everything and teter on the edge of overdoing it and tuning up as much as I can in as little time as possible.

One more big workout on Saturday and then I'm really going to lay off the jets and hope I can show up nice and rested. Hope so.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Face Melting Week

Hot damn, what a week. The Phish show at the Fox was exactly what I thought it would be and the boys from VT didn't disappoint me one bit. Casey and I had a total blast and seeing Phish at a venue like the Fox was pretty much a dream come true. Nowadays you can download the live show within an hour after the concert which is great, but when you are talking about a band that plays a different set list every night, improvs their asses off and on top of that, hasn't played in 5 years there is going to be some sloppiness. I get really sick of hearing the critics, who are listening to Phish's greatest shows from their computers all day long, and then critiquing each and every note Trey flubs the morning after. For me, a Phish show is the SHOW not just the music and this was a great one. Musically, definitely not even close to the best I have seen, but the energy in that place was unreal and the boys were clearly having fun. While the show lacked a little continuity, there were some serious moments.

Casey and I had a little too much fun at the show and by Friday were still not feeling totally recovered from it and I was starting to get really stressed about traveling 6 hrs on Sat night to get down to the AMBC race in Little Rock. I felt 100% better when I called the hotel and cancelled the reservation and started to get excited about St Joe and the possibility that when in Pirtle County, there may be Team Armshavers present. I called Cam in KC and offered him a place to stay but he was still washed out after his teams stellar perform ace at Big Bear and the Pirtle boys were recovering from too much fun in the sun of Meheecoh so I figured it was just going to be another "local" race.

We got down to the race nice and early and just sat in the AC and listened to some music and relaxed a bit before the race. Secretly I was really hoping to pull off two wins in a row but really was concerned about how sucky I was feeling all week so my anxiety was way up. I was getting ready to go pre-ride when I saw the White Toothed Wonder boy roll up in the silver Element and turned to Case to tell her how fast this race just got.

I have two goals I'm working on right now. One is to place top five in five AMBC races and upgrade to PRO and the other is to beat Eric Pirtle. I was a little pissed at myself for not going to Arkansas because I wasn't pursuing one of my goals so needless to say I was jazzed to have a shot at another one as I set out to pre-ride.

I rode in for 4 miles and realized one thing was clearly evident; this course was designed for a kid who grew up riding hair scrambles in Missouri and then learned to mountain bike on those same trails. I was trying not to let it get too me too much when I ran into EP riding a full sus bike and telling me how awesome the course was.

EP slipped a pedal and I robbed him of the HOLESHOT! I was feeling fluid and fast and my Adam Craig-esque straight arm technique was powering me through the rough stuff just fine. I knew EP was going to come around me but I wanted to hold him off as long as possible. Me, EP and Schottler quickly opened up a gap on the rest of the group when I started to bog down and EP jumped me. Surprisingly, I was able to stay within 10 seconds of him for quite some time until we hit a couple of the bigger downhills and he was out of sight. I felt cooked and was thinking that there was no way I was going to make it through two hours of this while Schottler sat on my wheel. When we crested the big climb in the middle of the course and hit the flow section I started to feel more in my element again and started to turn the screws a little and hoped to gap Jon. I punched it up a climb and then was drilling it through one of the fast sections when I came up on a marathon rider and lost the gap I had gained. Towards the end of lap one I had more of a gap on him and quickly opened it up when we hit the pavement and later learned that he had flatted.

I grabbed two bottles and set out on lap two 1:06 behind EP and was really motivated to chase. I knew that I was on the defensive and would have to take some chances which was a bad idea as the heat was really getting to me. Not too far into the lap I hit something that wasn't moving, flipped over the bars, Charley horsed my leg and bent my bar end down so much I couldn't use it which really sucked as there was quite a bit of power climbing. I recovered from that slowly and was doing ok until one of the big g-outs which had two different lines. I chose the wrong one and ended up in the woods next to my bike with my chain stuck between the crank chain pin and crank arm. Again, I recovered and started to remind myself that the heat could cause cramps, the brutal course could cause flats and a two hour race is a long one.

Going into lap 3 I was told the gap had opened to three minutes and I was feeling beat up and beat. I pushed on but was really struggling to stay on the trail. I thought I was going backwards, but looking at my lap times am surprised to see that my 2cd and 3rd laps were pretty close. I crashed a couple more times, just dumb stuff like sliding out around turns, and was a little worried that I had stopped sweating but didn't feel too bad and knew that once I crested the big climb I just had to ride it in. I came up on a rider laying on the ground at mile 7.5 and stopped to ask if he needed help and he told me to send someone back for him so I pushed on.

Just under 6.5 minutes behind EP the dream crusher. One weekend two goals crushed. My boy Zach called me up to talk about the race later in the day though and after talking to him and Casey about it I started feeling a little better given some of the circumstances and am still pleased with my result. That was not the place for me to plan on going toe to toe with the guy that taught me to race and apparently Bob Marley was right, "All them drugs gonna make you slow." Ok, so not really, but all them beers and second hand ganj don't help much.

A couple days of recovery and then I plan on squeezing in a couple solid workouts before backing it off and going into what I hope to be my best fitness of the season in Indiana, followed by the USAC MO State Champs and maybe even double up and go race Sac River the next day for some points which shouldn't be too big a deal if I'm rested up from a short hour race week. That's been the plan, hopefully I got the heat when I need to bring it!

Nice job EP, you made us all look silly.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hell Yess!



Maybe the hardest tickets to get for a Phish show, ever. I bought the tickets to the best Phish show has ever played (Big Cypress NYE show 12/30 - 12/31 1999) for face value the day before we drove from Boston to Florida. Listening to them play right now is really great, not the best, or even close to it, but they seem to really be enjoying it and are playing well. I am guessing they are going to bring some serious heat to the Fox next Tuesday. Phish has been such a part of my life, from my first show in 1995 to the "last show ever" at Coventry VT and I have shared so many of the memories with very good friends that I am really excited to share it with Casey next Tuesday. She has no idea what kind of a flailing hippie I am as the last few spontaneous dance parties (The James Gang NYE dance party and just the two of us on Valentines day) have been to pop music, not face melting jam sessions from the boys from VT. One week to go!

Now on to things that suck. On the first lap on Sunday something stung me in the ankle, not a bee sting, some type of ground wasp or something like that. It frickin' hurts like a mo'fo and has some sort of "core" to it where my flesh appears to have rotted. Not cool.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Don't Think Twice, It's Alright

Wow. I can't remember feeling so good about so many things all at once. Yesterday was the icing on the cake. I had so many excuses lined up going into the race I was destined for failure; I hadn't raced enough, Casey and I had partied way to much the week before, I hadn't been sleeping well, my buddy Eddie came in town from CO on Sat and we were up late drinking beer the night before the race, you name it, I had an excuse. What I was ignoring was that every time I have got on my bike in the last six weeks it's been for a reason and the days I wasn't shredding repeats up the back of Lone Wolf or doing 20 min LT intervals over on the flats I was resting and trying to recover as best as possible.

You know it's going to be a fast race lining up next to Cam, Chris and Schottler (who I will now refer to as the mayor of Rhetts after watching him floss the first section with Jedi skills) and being chased by some seriously fast old dudes like Matthews, Froese, TK and even Mr. CX, Josh Johnson. I was telling Casey the whole ride there that I was a little worried about disappointing myself and was just hoping to round out the top five.

The only problem I have been having since switching to Eggbeater 2Ti's compared to the heavyweight Times ATACs has been clipping in from a start. I slipped a bit when they said go and lost a step but still managed to get in behind Schottler who took the hole shot. I almost went around him on the grassy turn but didn't want to start things off by hitting the deck and settled in on his wheel which proved to be a good move for two reasons; I let him show me some sick lines and it turned out that as a front runner he burnt himself out a little too fast. Cam wasn't far behind me at the top of the first climb and we had a decent gap on everyone else.

By the second climb off of the gravel Schottler, Cam and I were all together and Schottler started to bog down so Cam jumped him and gapped me a little before I had room to pass. I was crushing the climbs while seated in the 42 and thought it was only going to be a matter of time before the legs said no and Cam was out of sight, but somehow I worked my way back up to his wheel and was noticing he was standing up on the climbs looking for power and I was able to sit on his wheel as we went through the start finish and jump him for the start of lap 2.

Then things started to tick. I was really feeling good on the climbs and riding really efficiently on everything else. The S-Works hardtail was cutting through the turns and accelerating out of them like a F1 car. Things were good. Occasionally I would see a glimpse of Cam and Chris coming up behind me but figured that by the second lap I had 30 seconds or more and wasn't slowing down. I clearedmy first two laps in somewhere around 43 minutes and on the longer course in wet conditions, knew I was going good. I grabbed another bottle, downed a gel and continued to crush it.

My third lap felt like it was my fastest but it's tough to say. I don't know when I have ever been able to push such a big gear up the climbs and while seated. I started to hit some traffic on the 3rd lap which really sucked. I was trying to be polite by saying "race leader coming through, I'd appreciate it if you would let me pass" but was finding that many of the riders, who were way out of contention in their classes, would just keep going until they made a mistake forcing me off my bike to get around them. It would be great if promoters would remind lap riders to yield to race leaders.

My fourth lap was more of the same. My legs were still feeling really fresh on the climbs and I was riding well. At one point I hit a tree with my bar end so hard it twisted my bars a little and when I went to get in the shower last night found a big red mark on my shoulder while I was flexing in the mirror, but aside from that I rode a pretty much flawless race. I started to look at my watch and realize it was coming down to the wire and one side of me wanted to squeeze 5 laps out again, the other was praying I could throw my hand up and have a beer. No such luck. I rolled through at 1:28:59 and they told me to keep racing. I hate this format and not having any idea how far behind Cam and Chris were, found myself looking over my shoulder a lot. On most courses this format basically lends itself to an hour and a half of racing and the rest is uncertainty. I'm not a fan at all.

My last lap I found that I had to shift down to the 29 on the 2cd climb and the legs were getting a little heavy but I still had some kick. It really sucks to have no idea if you are being chased or just out there on a parade lap, but I tried to stay focused on finishing strong as most every other Cat I race I will do will be 1:45 plus.

I came across the line and threw my arms up and damn it felt good! Being the only racer to squeeze out 5 laps two years in a row is very satisfying to me. Always a solid time hanging out with so many friends after the race and Seagal had the PBRs flowing graciously as per the usual. So good.

My stomach was a little jacked up due my low tolerance of race dayfoods and Maybs was with us so Casey and I decided to head straight home and feast on some ribs Eddie had got us from his hometown, 17th Street BBQ in O'Fallon IL that were sick! We sat outside and ate and started putting away some serious cocktails which was the perfect way to end a perfect day. By 10pm we we're good and crunk again and bumping some Marvin Gaye. What a beautiful night.

Next weekend my folks are coming to visit and then next Tues is it... Phish at the FOX. They have been playing with some face melting fire and should be good and tuned up to rip it at the sickest venue they have played at in over 15 years. All aboard, fasten your hemp belts, the trains leaving for space monkey mountain.

"Crazy like a rocket when you're coming through my radio"

Friday, June 5, 2009

Nerves

I'm all fired up to race. The "rain or shine" event listing for this weekend is all good. By this time last year I had raced 9 times, won a couple races and was getting ready to feel what it was like to be really fast, for me. This season has been a little bit different. My priorities have shifted a little this year and while I am really motivated, I'm not traveling a whole lot as I am trying to race less and train more. We'll see how that goes when I'm redlined in the first minute on Sunday.

I've been taking a "real" rest week and have only been riding about an hour or so a day real easy. Had I not spent two nights this week getting all crunk and shit with Casey, I would probably be feeling all frisky but after a Cardinals game last night and some malt liquor Casey got us, I'm a little hung over. The legs are good though and for the first time in awhile I noticed they weren't heavy when I walk up stairs. I'm going to drill it for 10 mins or so tomorrow to open things up a little bit and hopefully won't be too flat on Sunday.

Rhett's has always been good to me. I won my first State Championship (sport) there in 2003, won a marathon race there in 2007 and won the expert race there last year. I guess I have won every time I have raced there but think that might come to an end this weekend as there should be a healthy lineup of fast dudes who have some serious racing miles in their legs toeing the line.

I've been seeing Aaron Elwells name popping up with some pretty damn respectable results this season with the big boys and found that he has a blog. You should check it out. This dude is fast and if him and Cam show up this weekend it's going to be super fast for sure.

Two weekends after Rhetts I think I am going to skip St Joe and head down to Arkansas for the AMBC race and hope I'm ready for the D.IN.O AMBC race on July 4th weekend. I just don't want to be slower than last year.

Time for some action.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Need for Speed

About 6 weeks ago I realized that things weren't coming together the way I wanted them to be and I wasn't recovering well so I set myself up with a 10 week training plan leading up to some big races in July. Last season I had "The Master Plan" which took me all the way from Dec up until Nationals and learned quite a bit more about how to make myself faster and the timing of my peak form.

This winter/ early spring I was finding that the rides weren't easy or hard enough, the rest wasn't at the appropriate times and I kept convincing myself that my base was big enough from previous years so that I could cheat a little to get fast sooner. I started to find that my legs felt like bricks all the time and I couldn't predict when I would feel fast or good.

I looked forward to May as there was no racing on the horizon and I could just put it down and train balls kitty, which I did. After four weeks of two hard workouts a week and one breakthrough workout a week I started to feel some snap when doing my intervals and my legs were recovering from the efforts much better. I watched the average speeds of my endurance rides go up dramatically and I was highly motivated for the next workout. Aside from coming up a little short on hrs the week of memorial day due to the atrocious conditions, I didn't miss any workouts and am sitting here feeling pretty good about taking a rest week and going into some racing next weekend.

The only variable I'm concerned about is the lack of spring racing and hope that after a couple races in June I am ready to go in July. Since I didn't race or need to recover from racing I was able to train more consistently and much harder, but it's not the same as racing and I'm the couple race like efforts I was putting in on the mtb are close enough to the sick intensity of racing. We can only see at this point.

As much as I wanted to fuel my ego and didn't like that thought of downgrading from semi-pro to Cat 1, I opted to do so to give myself my next goal; upgrading to PRO by gaining the points rather than taking the free pass USA Cycling offered me. It's not really a big deal either way, but as my friend Dan Grausam explained it to me " How many people can say they lined up next to the best in the country, even if they do get smoked?" So, my goal for next season is to gain the points needed for my upgrade and line up next to the best, maybe at Nationals. If not, I'll might be toeing the line at Nationals next year looking for the Cat 1 jersey.

"I hope you brought your wood screws"

Monday, May 18, 2009

Back on Track

It's weird to not be racing a couple times a month. The whole Castlewood Race fiasco pissed me off quite a bit for a variety of reasons, none that I blame my friend Bob Arnold for, but it's water under the bridge at this point.

After a sporadic 5 weeks of training in April and early May I set myself up with a 8 week training plan leading up to the DINO AMBC race in July and hopefully some good legs a little before and after that. I'm not used to training to race so hopefully I can get fit enough without racing much and spark things with a couple races in June? We'll see. All I know is that when I have a plan I am far more motivated and recovery comes much faster. I'm actually enjoying not having to be concerned with letting up a little on the training to race, or taking the added recovery time to deal with the stesses of racing.

If all goes well hopefully we'll get some good miles in next weekend down at Council for the James/Breslin gang annual Memorial Day blowout. Casey and I have been dialing in our game of flippy cups so we should be ready to dominate. If the trails are as bad as they sound, hopefully the final climb up into the campgound is open so I can torture myself with some hungover hill repeats. Sounds like we might bring road bikes though.

My blog is boring when I am not racing. I have some sweet pics of Maybel and bath time, but I'll save some face and show you the PBR sponsored Rottie...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Heavy Legs

Went out and rode the S-Works rocket ship at Castlewood Sunday morning. So nice to be out there and see so many folks and be on the MTB for the first time since the Rim Wrecker. Casey and Maybs came along and did some hiking and playing in the creek while I was riding. Kinda bums me out when people don't yield the right of way though (to the person climbing). I passed a couple groups going both up and down and was forced to have to stop for them. Other then that it was a great morning.

I'm about a month behind my training compared to where I was last year at this time but not really sweating it. I've been getting in some solid training but a little too much boozing and some major added stress at work has left me spending more time than I would like to trying to recover. If I can get some rest this week I think I'll be running at about 80% for the Wood race. Even though I don't have any major goals as I am finishing up a big block of LT training and hill training I think I should be able to start to add some sick ass intensity soon and am looking at some races in June and July to be going full tilt boogie; maybe the DINO AMBC race as I am familiar with the course and should be nice and dialed by then.

Saw Ray Lamontagne last week who was really good. I guess just about anything is good with a quart of vodka in you, but really, he's got some talent. We're going to Flight of the Conchords with the James Gang this week, have the grand opening of the Big Red S concept store this weekend, the race on Sunday, the Killers show next Monday and I'm going to my first Cards game next Wed. It will be a miracle if I can maintain some sobriety though the race, but if I do it will be great to let loose next week. Deadly Nedly isn't coming to the grand opening, which is a real bummer for me as I thought having him show up to Castlewood on Sunday would be the epitome of radical.

I made some pizza dough this morning, so I got that going for me. Two days in the fridge and it should be tasty!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What's going on?

Training has been at a little bit of a standstill a little more than usual. Seems like the rain and tired legs have been making it easy to get a good rest in before I start doing some serious training. I managed to squeeze in a really good ride in Jeff Co last week that reminded be of the old days of 12 hour training. It was nice to ride a few hills too. Other then that I've been getting a hour in the park here or there and doing lots of walking with the Maybel dog.

Casey and I booked our vacation in the end of August in Crested Butte. I found these cabins up on a secluded creek outside of town and we both are really stoked. We booked it for 7 nights and are pretty stoked to do some riding, fly fishing, quite a bit of day drinking and kickin' it in the woods. We're going over my birthday and hopefully my boys Eddie and Nick come down from Breckenridge and Boulder to party it up.

My buddy and teammate, Jerry Fondren, yanked two of my wisdom teeth out of my face yesterday. I have severe anxiety related to any type of medical procedures and I was freaking out. He is a master though and today I'm feeling less pain than before he took them out... of course, the Vicodin might be helping. Having an excuse to eat chocolate milkshakes all day is pretty nice too. I tried the reduced fat/ soy milk ones last night but think I'm going to head back for the real McCoy for tonight.

That's pretty much it. If I had the sweet photos of us washing the dog in the tub or dressing her in my PBR hoodie I'd post them to spice things up a little, but I don't so deal with the boredom.