Tuesday, March 31, 2009

MWFTS # 2- Rim Wrecker @ Council Bluffs

I race mountain bikes. I train all winter and get fired up to race in the spring. For me, mud is as much a part of mountain biking as dry, fast conditions and if a promoter is going to have a race, I'm going to be there.

I opted to save the $50 I would have blown on booze going to dance party USA Saturday night with the possibility of having to buy a new chain and limited myself to 3 beers. Racing my bike is so much more rewarding to me these days then getting wasted and spending the next three days feeling guilty and wishing I hadn't. I was in bed dreaming of rooster tails by 11 pm and Casey and I woke up to find a nice blanket of snow on the ground. As we loaded up the Maybs in the Ele I assured her that "down there" they had only got 1" of precip and it wasn't going to be that bad. I was wrong.

We drove through the beautiful winter wonderland and pulled in to see a fairly hopping scene of peeps, everyone in great spirits and in some way psyched about the awesomeness of the scenery. Everyone that was there is tops in my books. I wasn't the least bit surprised to see almost the whole Segall crew, some DRJ A-Teamers, 29'er Crew, some Mashers and even Scotty D who drove all the way from Springfield. My buddy Dave brought plenty of free PBR and Adrienne and Russ showed up to witness the epic event.

After talk of tires, a healthy dose of chamois cream and the PRO smell of some med embrocation I was ready to go. The new course was sure to be quite a bit harder, especially considering that the first descent was going to be super sketch. I had some Maxxis Medusas on that were hooking up like C-Money in a gay bar and was going for the hole shot. CP had already told me his SS was only good for 18 mph and when Gibbs told us we had a mile of flat pavement before the single track I knew what I had to do.

I was off. I was riding clean and quickly established a big lead. I would guess I had almost a minute but then I started to catch glimpses of someone closing in. I was going real well, riding clean and after all that rest last week my motivation was really strong. I was able to push and wasn't looking about my heart rate of thinking about holding back as I had to in the endurance race the weekend before, in retrospect, maybe I should have a little bit as they were almost the same length.

Chris caught me by surprise about 2/3 the way through the first lap and I willed myself to stay with him and we chatted about how our bikes were working. He kept asking me if mine was shifting ok, which it was. Other then some yo-yoing as he stomped me on the climbs, we were riding well and came through together after the first lap.

I jumped him a little at the start of the second lap and knew I had to hit the hilly section of the course with a good lead to hold him off and got down on some Rooster Booster. I think CP must have sensed this though, and somehow caught me at the beach and laid some hurt on me on the gravel. He dangled me at about 15 seconds for awhile and then was gone from sight.

Heading up to the base of the big climb in the middle of the course I came up on D-Wayne who told me Chris wasn't far and let me pass. As I started up the climb I saw CP walking his bike about 20 seconds ahead and tried to ride up as far as I could before I started to run. It was like some kind of slow motion bad dream for both of us. He would look back and try to run a couple steps only to have his legs seize up or slip and i was doing the same. It was the race. I was trying to stumble up this hill but at about 2:00 of a 2:26 minute race the legs gave out. I crested the hill and he was out of sight.

Once again I was forced into my head and the thoughts were good. Anything can happen and every pedal stroke I could churn in the 42 would bring me closer to him. I was struggling but amazed that my motivation was so strong this early in the season. I even convinced myself that if I could see him when we hit the pavement I would be able to wax him with gears but he knew that too and put it down well before then. He opened up close to a two minute gap in the last 4 miles of the course.
"Jah, he had zose wittle wheels and I just crushed heem like a girly man"

That was that. I was pretty stoked though, can't complain about the way I'm riding right now and it's coming to me pretty easy, maybe easier then it ever has. The motivation is there even though I don't have any big goals for this season. I'm feeling fast and I haven't even tuned any of the speed in my training yet. I'm optimistic about another great year.

Post race was rad as usual. Eddie handed me the PBR 2x4 before I was even off my bike and when I set it down he popped out of nowhere with a Coffee Stout. Everyone was in good spirits and laughing about using trees to slow down or wishing they had brought their underwater bicycle. Unfortunately, I didn't have many of my teammates to share it with as there must have been a skirt and pumps sale at Macys, however, with all the solid folks around me Casey and Mabel were pretty happy on the ride home.

2009 pictured above, 2008 below.

Monday, March 23, 2009

MWFTS # 1- Mesa Cycles Lost Valley Luau, Marathon Class

First off, what a sick race! Andy and Matt really put on a top notch event and it looks like some good things are to come with stiff competition all around.

I opted to do the marathon race to get the extra miles, not to mention that most of my training rides have been 3-4 hr mtb rides and I haven't even touched my top end training yet. I knew I was a little bit cooked going into this one, and after a long day of standing on my feet moving everything off the sales floor at Mesa for the remodel, my legs weren't exactly snappy during my openers Saturday after work. Nevertheless, I had tricked myself into being over confident about my current fitness level, something I always seem to do before the first race of the year, and was really excited to get it on.

We had a big class of 30 marathon riders but I had my eyes on D-Wayne, Stothman, Zach, Brown and Big Mitch. The start was as expected and I played my cards perfectly to find myself on the tail end of a small lead group with Jay pulling, D-Wayne next in me relaxing in 3rd. D-Wayne jumped right when I was thinking of going for the clear line down the sketch section so I caught a lift on his wheel and came around his smiling face. My rear ZTR Race wheel was flexing so much it felt like the skewer was loose which was a stark contrast to the stiff Roval wheels I have been training on and was throwing me off a bit.

The two of us hit the steep pitch and 3/4 the way up I was redlined. D-wayne was standing up dancing on the big meat and my legs were so jammed up with acid there was nothing I could do but watch him open up a gap. The gap grew fast. Somehow I was able to recover a little as I pushed uphill at close to 20mph when I was met by Brad Brown with Mitch Johnson giving a hell of a chase and eventually closing it down and joining us. This was as fast as any expert start. We hit the singletrack and I was able to open it up a little bit and settle into a decent pace. I came through after the first lap two minutes down from D-Wayne and wasn't expecting him to slow down.

Mitch caught up to me again on the new section and just as we were popping out onto the old trail my tire blew off the rim with some noise. Mitch came by me, followed shortly after by Brown. I was able to assess the damage and get going but lost about three minutes and had my work cut out for me. Then the funk set it. I was having a hard time staying focused and wanting to quit. I was watching my heart rate drop and not feeling like I could push. I wanted to quit.

Going into the 4th lap I caught up with Brown and passed him before hitting the pits and hearing that Mitch was only 40 seconds ahead, which was great news. I started climbing and saw Mitch struggling up the double track a ways and went to work. I latched onto his wheel and was able to recover a bit when I noticed Brown was clawing his way up to us. Man, there were some monster efforts by these two riders. I thanked Mitch for the tow and put in a decisive move to get away and stay away.

The next couple laps were smooth sailing, other then the bunches of traffic, and I realized that I was going to be coming in awfully close to the sub 3 hour mark and given the facts that it was raining, my legs were shot, I was sitting comfortably in 3rd and nowhere near first I let up and coasted in at a safe 3:01. I was ready for a PBR with Casey and the Maybs.

I was pleased with my effort and think that after a little rest I should be even better at Council, especially since it's a much more technical course and a little less pure fitness, which I ain't got yet. I was especially pleased that the promoters chose a 100% payout and 2/30 earned me a buck-twenty, boys gotta eat!

Friday, March 20, 2009


It's time, I guess. I'm trying to dig myself out of a little hole I dug with a handful of 4+ hour mtb rides and 3 hour tempo rides on the CX bike and hope I have a little sumptin for Sunday. I figure I should for the Rim Wrecker.

I did a fair amount of riding on the Katy Wednesday and due to my mad skills with the phone camera I think I am the first one to add some climbs to it.

Lost Valley is very fast right now, hold on!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Getting faster? I think.

More riding and good training in the past couple weeks. Had a great dirt bike ride at Lost Valley on Sunday and even after a hard workout on Friday the legs were going good.

I started out by riding from LV down to Matson and doing a loop there. GORC has done an amazing job at keeping that place dialed. The ground was a little soft down in the valley, not muddy just soft, so I headed back down the Katy to meet up with Zach. We rode a lap before we met up with Ace and Gary Pirtle who were riding free ride bikes. After a little World Cup riding with those jokers there 1.5 hour limit was up and Zach and I headed out to do another loop.

At the end of the next lap my ride time was at 3:30 and I wanted to see if I had anything left in the tank. We hadn't been riding easy for the first three and a half hours so I sucked down some gel and set out at close to race pace. I had been feeling really fast on the new steed and a 30:28 counter clockwise lap reaffirmed that. It might be my fastest non-race lap there ever. My avg heart rate was right at 174 and I averaged 14.9 mph! I was surprised to say the least. I'll keep doing what I'm doing though, I don't want to be fast for another couple months.

I was feeling pretty happy about myself so I went out with Casey and the James gang to do some bowling and get our drink on. Since we are only drinking weekends now and going cold turkey during the week we make it count. I wasn't real happy to find out that Irish car bombs only came with half a glass of Guinness but it did the trick.

I have also completely given up caffeine at this point. I'm on the high road. Decaf with no sugar sucks so bad it's easy to quit once you get over the headache stage.

Good story. Happy Irish day.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

More off road riding

Council Bluff wasn't nearly as good yesterday, neither were the legs, or the Mexican food afterwards.

The "thaw" turned the section from the footbridge to the first double track climb into a mixture of soft ground with a couple muddy spots. I rode two laps, including some recon up into the campground and down the final climb for the Burnin,' which I have never gone down before and the a little out and back to get my ride up to 3 hrs. The legs just weren't feeling great and I'm due for a little rest period after 3 weeks averaging 15 hours a week.

I was trying to be polite and "go with the flow" so we went with the Jenkem huffing crew to Dos Primos which was not as bad as I remembered, but not even in the same game as Los Portales. They do serve a cheese dip that they add the leftovers from a good batch of Jenkem to, so I can see why some people like it so much. Mainly, people that like the taste of shit.

Aside from that I can say that the pup is coming way out of her shell and becoming really assertive, friendly and pretty damn funny. Last Saturday when Casey brought her into the shop she sat in the corner and shyed away from anyone that approached her. Today she was large and in charge, running around off the leash, going up to everyone and playing with Johns dog, Trixie. It was pretty awesome.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Some totally awesome things...

Last week some great things happened. On Friday, as you can see, Casey and I adopted a dog. Mabel is a 2 year old Rottweiler with big teeth, a pink collar, and a pretty face. She is a very sweet dog and we are both really stoked. She was abused, we think at a puppy farm, but is coming around really fast. It's kinda weird that we adopted a dog together, as we don't live together, but we live about 1/4 mile away and wouldn't have done it alone. Can't wait to take her to Council Bluff and teach her to "ride" with me.

Thursday night we went to Columbia to see Ryan Adams. I had a couple of his albums but never got that into him. Casey plays him a lot so I was totally down to go see him. After a morning ride, the doggie door install, some errands and some cookies we split a Charleville Hoptimistic (my new favorite beer from St Gen) and got on the road. We didn't get far before we hit some major accident on 70 and sat. A little behind schedule, we rolled into Columbia and checked into our sweet free room at the wrong Marriott and decided we better get our drink on and check into the right one after the show. As fate would have it, the Missouri Theatre was right next to Shakespeares Pizza so we ordered up a onion, mushroom and sausage pizza, a couple big ol' beers and I got a salad. A couple more beers/drinks later we head over to the show only to realize it was a cash only bar and there was no ATM. Suckfest. We pooled our cash and split a $6, 12 oz Bud Light. Man, that hit the spot!

Little did we know that he was so rock star that we could have stayed and waxed another couple beers at the Pizza joint, but it was cool and we both convinced each other that we would be happy we hadn't in the morning. So two things happened next. I saw what may have been the most sober show of my life, and I sat down for the whole show. People don't dance, or stand for him. Weird. I was shaking in my seat the whole time. His vocal range was close to Roy Orbisons and the band just rocked. I don't know if it was the sobriety or the theatre, but the sound quality was amazing. I don't remember being impressed by any band other then Phish like this in a very long time. On the ride to the Hotey we picked up some malt liquor because sobriety is for suckers. I woke up parched and with a headache, but was really looking forward to picking up Mabel that night so it didn't suck too bad.

Last Wed I rode my mountain bike for the first time since the Burnin' 6 hour race. I also rode in a short sleeved jersey and shorts and got a little sun. I also rode three laps at my favorite trail in Missouri. I also was there with Drewballs, Matt "I love things that suck" Grotoff, and Mr Naked himself, Tom Albert. Apparently, Tom was thought he heard us coming down the road and decided to get naked and run around the parking lot only to have a close call with a fisherman. I think he eased his mind by explaining that "we roll like this all the time in St Louis." So, the other awesomeness that was going down was the new bike. It's fast and super rad. No way I'm going to get beat by any go slow gayness.

Post ride we passed the shithole, also known as Dos Primos, in Potosi and educated Grotoff on the finer things in life on the short drive to Los Portales in Hillsboro. The $2 imported happy hour beer specials and delicious food started flowing and we realized that Team Seagal is so fucked up from huffing Jenkem all the time they like the taste of shit, including Dos Primos.

I am going back to Council, Los Portales on the huberis express in the morning and need to get my bike dialed. I chose not to even re-read this post for errors, so deal with it.