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


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.