Saturday, December 11, 2010

2010 Year in Review and "Bling-Bling!"

I can't believe 2010 is almost over. And what a year it has been. looking back I very satisfied with my results, plan, and progress as I have advanced through the Expert mountain bike racing and Masters 35+ Cyclocross ranks.

I improved my mountain bike racing performance by nailing my goal of reaching the podium at least 3 times in the USAC XC series. In fact between the gear class and single speed class in the MMBA CPS, and USAC I reached the podium 5 times. The year before I only reached it once. And to top the mountain bike season off, I turned out my best Iceman ever by taking 3rd place in All men 35!

As for Cyclocross. This was my main focus. And it would be my first year stepping up into the Masters 35+ ranks. I have to say I was very pleased as I quickly adapted to the faster pace, of the Masters class, and started to become a legitimate podium threat week after week. I finished with 5 podium spots. Topping 4th place 2 times as my highest finishes. I missed my goal of finishing 5th overall by 3 points. And if I did not have a mechanical which ended up as a DNF at the State Championships, I feel I would have accomplished this goal.

So this is one of my toughest and best racing years to date. And I did it with a Powertap, and 6 hours a week following the Chris Carmichael "Time Crunched Training Plan". I stuck to my plan and it worked.

Looking forward to 2011. I am hoping for more improvement. I will probably stick with a similar plan but with some alterations to address some weaknesses. I am also getting really hungry for "W"! I could start to taste it again at the end of the CX season, so it is just adding fuel to the fire. As the season approaches, I am sure this will push me even harder during my training and racing to try and make it happen. So hang on tight. Were going for another ride!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Not what I had in mind

The Season came to an end today for cyclocross. The MI State CX State Championship held at Springfield Oaks was the place it would all happen. I was feeling good, and the legs were still strong for one more chance. But I guess it was not meant to be. On the pre-ride, right before the start, my rear shifter would not click down into my harder gears? I checked and checked this stuff time and time again leading up to the race, and never had an issue. It would catch some of the time but not every time. So lining up I started to get this mechanical issue in my head. I told my buddy Lee to go to the pits and make sure my bike was ready because I was not sure what was going on. I had a good strong start, sitting around 5th into the crazy section of the course, but once we hit the pavement, I tried to shift down and nothing. I instantly went back to about last place. I was finally about to get a few gears to go. I made it to the pit and had a super clean and fast bike change, but I also had a set of Grifos on the pit bike instead of the Rhinos I was using for more traction on my race bike. I was pissed and mentally out of it. I made it up to a few guys, but then started making stupid mistakes. After I blew through the course tape a 2nd time because I missed my turn, I decided it was not meant to be. I took my first ever CX DNF.

But boy did I have an awesome year for Cyclocross... My first year as a Masters racer, I stepped up onto the podium 5 out of 9 times! I learned a lot about racing, training, and myself. To think in 2006 I finished the series overall in the C-class with 9 points total, to racing in one of the faster cyclocross classes in the state, and to be a podium threat on top of it makes me proud of what I have done this year and over the past few years.

Now it is time for a little rest. And focus on the plan for next year. Stay tuned for a 2010 recap in the coming days.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

11/21/2010 Tailwind Bloomer Park LAST LAP MASTERS 35+

All cylinders were firing today. Know one can say I didn't try that's for sure. And I could taste it. Not only the "Win" that dangled in front of me for 3 1/2 laps, but the puke in my throat for my effort. The 2nd to last race was held at Bloomer Park. Bloomer has been good to me for the past 3 years, and today's course was looking to be favorable also. So here is how it all went down.

I was not sure how the body was going to react today. Basically I'm finished with my training, so I was either going to start going backwards or stay somewhere near the front. Well luckily it was the 2nd. And near the front was exactly what I did. Being so close to the State Championship, the players start to shuffle and come out of the wood work. Today was not different, and I was actually a little worried about it. Simon Baily decided to drop down from a full season of Elites to race with us. A very strong and talented Joe Brzuhanski from Bell's Brewery MTB Racing team showed up, and Jarod Makowsli made the jump from dominating the B field to play with the masters. Then there were the usual suspects. Right from the whistle, the pace was insane! I was sitting in around 6th place for the first 2 laps. The 2 leaders broke off and it was a group of 4 that contained Joe, Scott Goocher, Dan Bannink, and myself. Dan kept on picking the guys off in our group one at a time. So I followed. Around the 3rd lap. He got a flat. I got around and was sitting on Joe's wheel. I stayed there and tried to recover as much as possible. Then I attacked on the beginning of the next lap. I was putting time into the group I was just with, and much to my surprise I was catching the leaders! And I was still feeling good. I rode on their wheels (Simon and Rodger Bowser) for the next lap. And then I decided If I really want a chance to win, I got to attack and see who pops. And Attack I did. I dug real deep and would get a gap, but could not hold it. I was in the red zone for the rest of the race, but I was still feeling really good. I held the lead for 3 laps. Then near the end of the 2nd to last lap, the group of 3 behind me containing Simon, Rodger, and Joe passed me but I was still able to hang on. We stayed this way going into the last lap. And then again I tried to roll the dice and attacked hard in the beginning straight. I got a gap again, but just could not hold it through the twisty parts of the course. I was sitting on their wheels again in 4th. We came through the velodrome hill one last time, and Rodger went down nearly taking me out. I had about a 4 inch section of course to work with (see above video) and some how got around. I thought this was going to be a really good chance for us to drop him going into the Sprint. But some how he got back on his bike and stuck right to my wheel. We were still really tight and the pace was getting quicker with just a few more mins left to the race. I was now in 3rd going into the last set of barriers. We all went through about the same time. Rodger was on my bike side so I did not have a lot of room to put my bike down. The I stepped on Joe's heel. This broke my rhythm a little and caused me to be the last on back on my bike which put me back in 4th. Up the final hill and onto the pavement. I was out of the lead 3's slip stream. They started to attack which left me no chance to catch back on in the last few meters. I missed the sprint for 1st place by 3 seconds and took a hard fought 4th place. By far this is the best race I had all season if not one of the best cross races I ever had...

Great job to all 6 of my Team Sandbag team mates for coming out racing, drinking and cheering me on! You guys helped make this a special day for me.

And thanks to everyone else for cheering me on. It was loud and crazy! I could hearing people screaming for me around every turn! Awesome!!!!!!

Great Job to --
Jim Goerlich for his first CX win!
Mark Parmelee for another Elite win!
Brian Wachlarz for another B win!
Mark Caffyn for not giving up after dropping his chain and still snagging a podium!
JB Hancock top 10 in Elites again!
Andy Fedwa for snagging a top 3 in the B's!
Jarod Makowski for jumping out of B's and into Masters and having a great result!

There were a lot of other great rides today, so sorry if I missed any one. These are the ones that stuck in my head.

Next Stop: Michign State Cyclocross Championship at Springfield Oaks!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just a Day at the Beach! "Stony Creek CX"!

Just one week after my best Iceman finish ever, I am back on the podium again! This time it was for the Stony Creek CX race. What is usually not my best race course for cross, did not disappoint. The course was much the same as previous years. Long straight on the pavement. A few bumpy twist and turns. The feeling of being on a power zapping false flat the entire time. 2 sets of barriers. And the 200 plus yards of sand along the beach front.

For what ever reason (probably the sand and 20 mph winds) I always have to dig reallllllll deep at this race. So knowing that, I knew it was going to be a tough day. I just had to make sure i grit my teeth, and take a mental vacation from the pain for 45 mins. When the whistle blew, I got a good start and quickly was sitting 4 or 5th wheel in the first part of the course. The pace at the start of the race was incredible! I could not believe how fast everyone was going. I soon found myself slip off the lead group and sitting around 8th place. On lap 2 I started to settle down and increased my effort. Early on the 2nd lap, Matt Baroli and Ron Stack started to slip off the lead group. I began to attack knowing I needed to put as much distance between them and me, and keep anyone else from sneaking up. Through some of the twist I could see the main pack breathing down my back. I dug a little deeper and kept pushing. Half way through the course, I was sitting in 3rd place all alone with a good gap. And I was slowly realing in 2nd place. But the pace was still incredibly high. Every time I went through the sand I was dying a small death! And was loosing a little more time. Then David Johnson and Scott Fabinjanski caught back on to me. I made an attack one more time at the barriers, and onto the pavement and gained a small gap again. It didn't last long. David caught me again and then passed me with 2 laps to go. I tired to hold on for as long as I could but that was it. So now I was left with the task of keeping myself away from Scott. I rode as hard as I could on the last lap. Stayed clean through all the turns and pushed until I felt like I could puke. When It was over I finished with a well deserved 4th. I will take that all day long.

So 2 races left. I am feeling very strong. I hope the fitness holds on for just a few more weeks...

Congrats to Jay Moncel for his 2nd place finish in Elites today! You looked awesome!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


For the 1st time in my 5 years of racing this event, I finally got to race in a "real" ICEMAN. And it was a classic one. With lake effect snow hitting Kalkaska and Traverse City for more than 24 hours before the race, the conditions were shaping up to be an epic 28 mile point to point mountain bike race. At start time, the temps were hovering around 18 degrees! the course had snow. A couple of inches in some spots. There was icy 2 track. Sand. Mud, and more sand. there were some new single track sections at the end, and overall the course was somewhere around a 1/2 mile to a mile longer than last year.

It was next to impossible to try and warm up before the start because it was so damn cold. I tried my best and took my spot in wave 2. I was absolutely honored to be racing in this group of fast guys. And I was hoping to use it to my advantage to do something special if I was feeling good. And Oh boy, was I feeling good. As the race started, I settled in near the back looking for as many wheels as I could to hang on to. I was calm and relaxed, and soon found a good strong pace I could maintain. through the 1st 8 or so miles. I just kept turning the pedals over as fast as I could. I knew from previous years, that the flater 2 track would be my biggest strength and I could make up almost all my time on it. Things were going well, Missed a few crashes and just kept driving. By the time I got to Williamsburg road I was rocking and feeling really strong. I turned the screws a little more, and was able to find a few riders to share the pace. Shortly after Williamsburg, the 2 track was a sheet of ice! I tired to ride as smooth and fast over it as possible, but decided to scrub my speed and not take any chances. A lot of the single track was slick too. Especially the ice covered roots. My bike squirmed underneath me for most of the ride, but was able to keep the rubber side down. As I got closer to the finish, the big hills began. I was not sure what the legs would do this far into the race, but they were full speed ahead! I mashed up all the climbs until I got to Anita's Hill. When I shifted down, my chain dropped. I jumped off the bike and ran up. And actually was as fast as the guys next to me. I did the cyclocross jump back onto the saddle and off again. I big ringing almost the rest of the course. As I got within 4 miles, I could not believe how much gas I had left in the tank. I decided to cash in and push myself as hard as I could to try the nail every second out of the clock. On the last climb I buried my head and pushed the cranks until it felt like my knee caps were going to pop out. I shifted back up in the big ring and sprinted all the way to the finish. I came across in 1:56. This ended up being a really good time considering the course conditions. It was also quick enough for me to earn my highest Iceman finish to date

3rd place! Men 35

I was very excited to say the least. All my eye bleeding intervals on the trainer this year has really paid off!

What a great day. I got to hang out with a lot of friends and the TSB tent was in full party mode thanks to Curt and his family, and Jason and Jackie. You guys are the best! The team had several racers all finishing up a very very tough day of racing on a very very tough Iceman course. I got a lot of respect for every one of you.

There were a lot of great finishes and personal best time out there yesterday. Actually almost too many for me to list here. But I will give a shout out to one of my favorites. And that is Adam Naish for taking the win in Men 34! Great job Adam. I know you have worked very hard for several years to earn this win. And you are an inspiration to me because of it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Veterans Park CX Day 1 and 2!

So it all comes down to this. At least for the weekend. This is what I was calling my A race weekend for Cyclocross. My fitness was ready. I was excited to race the double weekend at my favorite CX venue which is Veterans Park in Ann Arbor. It was time to get it on! It was podium quest time!

The usual podium sniffers were all there on day one, so I knew it was going to be a tough day and I had my work cut out for me. I had a really good warm up. The course was dry and fast, with the usual mountain bike style punchy climbs twisting around the trees, and the signature long winding run up. Oh yeah! Here we are at the Vet! I got a good start and settled into 3rd through the first section of course. I was feeling great. Almost like we were just rolling around the park on the first lap. Then the accelerations started. First with Rodger Bowser Went off the front like a rocket and took an easy win. But then it was Dan Bannink, Ron Stack, Scott Fabijanski and myself left to sort out the rest of the podium. We all stayed tight for most of the race. The Ron sat on the the front but started to fade. The rest of us put in a huge acceleration and dropped Ron. I felt like I was in the zone. In the last 2 laps, Scott made the next move and tried to break away to take 2nd place. It was enough to shake me off his wheel but Dan was able to follow. I continued to put out the best effort I could and finished with a solid 4th place. My highest Masters 35+ finish to date!

Day 2 -- I was feeling really good again and was hungry for another podium spot. Again I had a good jump off the line and sat in 3rd. Then Ron came around me, so we were in a train of 4 representing 1st through 4th place through 2 laps. I was feeling even better than I was the day before, and was starting to plan a possible attack when and if the time was right. And then it happened... On the bumpy down hill on lap 2 my chain decided to fall off. I quickly jumped off the the to fix it. Looked up and realized I maybe lost 10 seconds. Got on the bike and the chain fell off again. The panic started to set in as riders kept zinging by me! I was now somewhere around 10th place with a whole lot of racing left. I dug in and thought to myself, "if I got the fitness I have to roll the dice and put in the hardest effort I possibly could to claw my way back and hope for the best." I got mad and dug in! Soon I caught Scott Fab who was struggling. Then it was some guy I never seen before. Then I made my way onto Todd Frerichs Wheel and passed him. Next I caught Scott Goocher and then realized I was within striking distance of 5th place maybe more! When I was on Scott's wheel, he bobbled in a tricky down hill corner and slid down the hill through the tape. I quickly got around him and made a hard push to get away. Then I could see David Johnson sitting just ahead in 4th place. I was on fire. I was slowly gaining on David turn after turn, lap after lap. I finally got onto Davids wheel in the same corner that Scott went down. David did the same thing in front of me, but I could not get around him. I hung onto his wheel until the beginning of the final lap. Then he cashed in everything he had to try to force a gap. I was just about spent and could not hold his wheel. I would start to inch my way closer through the twisty stuff, but he would pull away through the flats. In the final few turns and the last set of barriers, I was still fighting to catch him. Any mistake and I would have a chance for a back to back 4th place. It never happened. He took forth by 9 seconds. But I had a very well deserved 5th place for my effort, and for not giving up.

Overall I had a great weekend. I was very strong and my training plan worked out perfectly thus far. Now if I can maintain the fitness I currently have for Iceman through the State Championship. This will be the next test. But as for right now, I am feeling 100% better than I did at this time last year. So I am liking my chances. Thanks to everyone who was cheering me on both days. The support is awesome! It is unbelievable how much motivation I get from it. Thanks again, and keep it up! I can use it!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

US Gran Prix of Cyclocross -- Derby City Cup Day 1 and 2!

I got a taste of the 2013 UCI Cyclocross World Championships last weekend! As I raced in the USGP Derby City Cup day 1 and 2. Since Louisville has taken a gamble, and dedicated a park for the sole purpose of cyclocross racing, the world has taken notice and thus the World Championships will be held for the first time in the US at the new Cyclocross park named Eva Bandman Cyclocross park near downtown Lousiville Kentucky! I participated in history, as I was one of the many to race for the very first time at this park. And what better way of kicking the grand opening off with the USGP Derby City Cup! The park is awesome. There is a large flat grass infield section. A very step hill that is semi wooded with lots up bumps and twist and turns for many course options. a new nice paved starting stretch, and a nice wooded area that takes you along the banks of the Ohio River. Oh and lots of sand to play in!

The first day the course was wide open with long straight away sections. but it was very difficult. After the fast start, you were faced with a 6 ft hill straight into the barriers. made for some interesting starts for the races. then it was a steep climb up "Selle Italia" Run-up. Then a quick turn through the sand out the flats, through the wooded section by the river and onto the long deep sand pit. Once out of the sand it was few pedal strokes to the flyover. If that wasn't enough, you then climbed the steep hill in the semi wooded section down the steep other side. Quickly off the bike and running back up to the top! Down the hill, a few more twist for good measure and up the hill one more time! Then you were ready to start the next lap.

I felt great all weekend. There were 20 plus guys all ready to Rock in the Single Speed class both days! We were behind the 150 plus riders in the Cat 2/3 class, and the officials gave us a 20 second gap before the start of our race. The whistle blew and we were off! I had a good start sitting in around 5th for the hole shot. We caught the tail end of the Cat 2/3 group at the barriers and that is when I started to lose ground. Their were some very, very, very fast guys in the single speeders. As I picked my way through the back of the Cat 2/3's. I was riding very well. Very clean through all the on and off transitions, and I was able to power through the sand and acclerate out of the corners. I started pinning back single speeders one by one! It felt as the race went on, I got stronger. Each time I attacked I moved up! The crowd was loud and nuts by the crazy down hill and run up! The yelling and cow bells really made me want to go faster. As painful as this section was, I looked forward to going through it every lap! When the race was over, I figured I was some where near the top 10. When the results were finally posted, they were jacked up! I had to protest. And was finally given 13th. Not sure if I really agree, but We will never really know at this point.

So now on to day 2. Knowing I had one more shot to hit my goal for the weekend of nailing a top 10 in the single speed class. I knew I had a good chance and legs were feeling good! In addition, they made the course longer and added a whole bunch more twist and turns. I felt the changes would be in my favor and they were. I was in 2 place off the the line all the way into the barriers and again, started slipping back once we got into the Cat 2/3 traffic. I could not get around hardly anyone at first, and must have slipped back to around 16-18th place. Once the course opened up a bit, I went to work! I turned it on full tilt and picked guys off one by one. I felt I had an even better race than the day before. And the reaults proved it. I took 9th. And am very happy with that.

In additon to the great racing, I got to see some friends from Rouge Racing Project. What a great group guys. Brain and Doug, thanks for making us feel at home the entire weekend! And great job to the MI crew! We all rock!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tailwind CX Stop #4! Linden Co. Park

The season is still young but in full swing. And today was the 4th race of the Tailwind Cyclocross series. Normally we would have raced at my beloved Lower Huron Metro Park today, but the course was switched to a new venue. And you know what, it pleased me very well. The new course was located in Linden, Mi. At Linden Co. Park just a few minutes from Fenton. The course had everything for a perfect cyclocross race! The beginning started on a long semi paved road that dumped you into a an old growth oak tree area. There was a nice long loose run up with barriers at the bottom in the beginning. Then you got into a very tight and twisty, with lots of roots technical section. A few moderate climbs that kept you honest, and it then went into a paved fast flat bike trail. This transitioned into a 2 track grass area with long sweeping turns and into the final barriers and finally the finish.

Going into the race, I was eager to try and steal another podium if I had the shot. Training has been going very well, and this was my last big block before going into the USGP, Vets Park, and the Iceman. So today was a crap shoot, but I was betting on a good result none the less, and based on the past 3 race results.

There were 14 guys at the line today. The usual suspects, but everyone looked hungry! We all shot out like we were fired out a cannon. I got a good jump on the hill for the starting straight sitting in 3rd position. But the time I got to the top I slipped back to around 6th. Going into the tight twisty stuff, I ended up sitting in about 9th or 10th. Almost the entire group of 14 stuck together for the first 2 laps so I did not feel the need to panic. But I was not feeling 100%. I was sloppy in the twistys and felt like I was gasping for air. The lead group was always just in front of me, but I was a bobble away at every turn of losing them. My race continued like this until the last 3 laps. I finally made contact with the group just ahead of me that contained Rob Selle, Matt Baroli, and Scott Goocher. I could tell that there were signs these guys were fading, but they all were riding strong enough that it was too tough to make an attack to get around them almost anywhere on the course. By the time the last lap rolled around, I decided If I wanted to attack, I would have to do it on the starting climb and try to hold on from there through the twistys and the flats. As soon as we crossed the start line for the last time, I popped up to a few harder gears and attacked from behind! No one reacted, at least not right away. I took as many risks through the technical sections as I could gaining a larger gap. I hit the pavement on the flats and rode as hard as I could until it felt like I was going to puke! Up and over the last turn through the 2 track, I noticed that Rob caught back onto my wheel. The only thing remaining was the barriers and 3 turns with a small hill. We ran through the barriers at full speed side by side. I was the first back on my bike, clipped in, and standing on the pedals. Rob never got around me. Going into the final turn before we hit the pavement to the finish line, we were both going full speed railing the banked turn. I hit the pavement first, popped it up 2 gears and began to mash for the sprint. I took it. But later learned that Rob rolled his rear tubular in the final turn. The sprint was good enough for 6th place. Not a podium, but I was very happy with the result knowing that I was able to pick my opportunity to attack late in a race and have it work out to my advantage.

So as I mentioned above, my fitness is coming around, and my peak weeks are still in front of me. Curt and I are going on another road trip this coming weekend. We will be doing the USGP Derby City Cup for the 2nd year in a row. We both recently decided to excuse ourselves from the million man B race, and jump into the single speed race instead! So I blew the dust off of "Le Bastard", and we will be ready to rock -- worry free!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

UCI3 Cincinnati Cyclocross Festival!

One good thing about the growth of cyclocross is the growth of big time UCI events right here in our own back yard! With in a 6-8 hour drive, we have the USGP in Louisville, Madison, and of course the UCI3 festival in Cincinnati! I have been really wanting to do this event for the past few years, but have been pushing it off. So this year I decided it was time to see what all the hype has been about. Curt and I made the 6 hour drive down on Friday just in time to catch the pro race at Devou Park in Kentucky. It was brutal. More like a mountain bike course without trees than a CX course. So in the back of my mind, I was kind of happy not to race day 1. So after a good night sleep, we were back on the road to Middletown, OH for day 2 at Somerset Park for the Java Johnny CX race. The park was awesome. It had everything, rolling hills, Long flats and paved sections, sand, and tight twisty technical and I mean technical sections! I was called up and was able to grab a good spot in the 2nd row. So knowing I had 80 other racers breathing down my back I had to nail a good start. I did. Down the drag strip and just missing an early crash, I hit the grass around 10th. I held this spot for about 1/2 a lap as smaller faster riders passed me. I kept the gas on the entire time. I handle the bike very well, through all the transitions, and technical sections, but felt like I could never get into that extra gear to attack back. By the time the race was over, I sucked in tons of dust, and even managed to sprint out a position at the line. I ended up 35th out of 80. Actually better than I thought I got, and happy with the result overall. So now it was on to day 2.

Harbin Park was the site for the final day of racing. The course was more of a drag strip. Not as bumpy, and long straight aways with nice smooth fast rounding corners. The typical power or roadie course. I usually race better on the 2nd day of double day events, and really felt that the course suited my style of racing well. So I was looking for a better result. Again, I was on the 2nd row and in front of 90-100 racers. I got a great start again, but this time the field was more aggressive, and people were doing some very dumb shit to try and get in front! after almost being taken out more than once in the start, I decided that this really wasn't that important and I needed to make sure I went the work the next day. So I backed off slightly and figured that I would be able to pull back most of the jokers as they popped! This was working, the Scott Fabinjanski passed me. This was who I needed to be racing with, so I jumped on his wheel and held on. This worked well as Scott was picking off racers one by one. I was feeling real comfortable with the pace, and was able to match every move. We were getting faster and faster in the 2nd lap, and as I rounded a paved corner 1/2 way through the course and into the grass, my front tire caught the grass and rolled my tubular off the rim causing me to me thrown over my handle bars onto my head and right shoulder. I shook the cob webs out, and thought what the hell happened and where is my bike!?! I quickly found it picked it up and tried to mount it. It would not move! This is when I noticed my tire wedged between my fork and brake arm. My race was done... I walked over to the Wolverine tent thinking it was time to grab a beer, and was offered a new front wheel to finish my race instead. Thanks guys! I was able to get 2 more laps in before finally being pulled. But it was still fun.

The event was great. I have a few bitches but will keep them to myself. Overall the racing was tough, fun, and great experience for racing back at home. I am sure to be back next year. And i would highly recommend doing these races to anyone!

So back home. Back on the trainer. 1/2 way through my training plan. And healing up nicely. next race is a new one in the Tailwind Series. In Linden Michigan. Should be a fun time, and my fitness should be getting close to peak form! just in time for the USGP in Louisville, Vets Park in Ann Arbor, and the ICEMAN!!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Freaks Come Out at Night! - Munson CX

It is finally starting to happen. My fitness showed signs at Munson that my training plan is working and on track. But more of that in a minute. Lets look into what turned out to be a great night of racing!

For the 2nd year in a row, Robert and his Tailwind gang have used Munson Park as the venue for a night time CX race. And I have to say it is a hit! The attendance both years have increased and folks are truly having a great time. This year was no different. It truly felt like a cyclocross race. It rained almost the entire time. The wind never stopped. And the temps hovered in the mid 40s. The course was about the same as last year. Shorter because of the amount of lighting but still tough none the less. Especially how Robert loves to make full use of the sled hill! There were lots of flat back to back straight aways. Off camber up and down sections on the hill. One set of barriers on the flats and one set of barriers used to create a steep run up on the hill.

Nolan Raced his 3rd race for the series in the Juniors 14 and under and scored another podium with a 3rd place. The best part of his race was watching the 30 plus spectators go nuts screaming and ringing their cow bells as they watched Nolan shoulder his bike like a Pro going over the barriers at the bottom of the hill, and run up the entire length of the hill with his bike on his shoulder! I could not believe what he was doing. And the crowd sounded like we were at a World Cup event. Made me feel very proud and made him feel like a Champ! So thanks to any one who is reading this and was there to see this too.

As for my race. I have been feeling really good, and training has been going well. So going into the race, mentally I knew I would be ready and was banking on a good result and try to nail a top 5 if the chance was given. I lined up at the front to try and get a good position knowing there was a left hand climb 100 yrd into the course. I got a good jump and sat in 3rd position through the first climb and 1/2 way through the course. On the straights, I started to lose contact with the 2 leaders who were riding at a blistering pace. But I was still in a good position with some good sized gaps forming behind me. I told myself to race my race. Dose my efforts and attack with my strengths. Soon in the next few laps. Scott and Dan would catch me. Ride with me for a bit and pass me. I was now sitting in 4th but riding as strong as I was from the start. My biggest issue I had with my race was not being clean through the transitions. The barriers and the hill run up. Granted my technique was smooth and text book overall, but this is where the gaps in front of me were forming. So I know what I need to work on to get better. Going into the last 2 laps. David Johnson (who had an incredible race, and rode out his skin) caught me and passed me on the run up. I could not catch back on to his wheel. Now sitting in 5th I still pushed as hard as I could and realized I had a huge gap over 6th place! I finished my last lap and rolled across the finish line with my first Masters 35+ podium! 5th Place!

Finally getting a podium in Masters is a huge step for me with my confidence for racing at this level. So I hope it is one of many more to come. From here I should only get stronger and faster as my peak fitness should come around Vets Park / Iceman time frame. We will see. There is still a lot of racing in the next few weeks. Curt and I will be driving down to Cincinnati next weekend to race in the UCI3 festival. This will be our first time at the event and we are really looking forward to it. But until then. It is back down in the basement on the trainer!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Doublecross Day 2!

Let first put the crack pipe down...... Exhale..... That's better.

The weather was much better today, and there were a few changes to the course that really increased the flow and made for a much fast race. I was feeling good for the start, and was hoping to make something happen. The whistle blew and I got a good jump. Sitting in 5th for the hole shot, the the pace started getting quicker instantly. My heart rate was under control and I was able to match every surge pedal stroke for pedal stroke. In fact I almost felt like I was just sitting in at times. There was a group of 6 of us in the front now, and we were starting to pull away with a small gap. This lasted for 2 laps and then -- my chain dropped. I tried to flip it, but it did not work. I had to stop. Then everyone in the class appeared to pull away. I started lighting matches to catch the tail end of the group at least. The effort was using a lot of needed energy and I was starting to fade. I lit match after match and slowly started seeing the tail end of the group and then I popped and could not maintain the effort. Not sure where I finished, but it was near the end.

But that was not enough. As part of my short term and long term training plan I jumped into my very first race as an Elite Cyclocross racer! I was real excited but did not expect too much, especially after I just got done racing Masters. the cool thing was the size of the A class for both races each day. They were 20+ deep. this is great news for Michigan Cx, and for Robert and his Tailwind crew. The hole shot was insane! I was somewhere in the middle and then the group just walked away. My legs were hating me at this point, but I was happy that I was able to keep contact with the tail end of the race for the 1st lap. Then from there on, I was racing alone and to see how long I could go before the leaders caught me. This race was painful! My arms hurt, my hands were blistering, and my legs -- well they were all but shot! But I pushed on as hard as I could. And in the final 2 laps, Mike Wissink and Tom Burke finally caught me. So to make a long story short. I didn't do too bad. I finished the race only 1 lap down. When I crossed the line I was more than done and starving! I went straight for the car and sucked down my Recoverite as fast as I could. Then I discovered my daughters box of Tinker Bell Fruit Snacks and crammed 2 bags of those suckers in my mouth! Man what an effort over 2 days. But I really feel this is the way I am going to get stronger and faster. I can smell that Master's podium....Now I want to taste it!

In the other classes. Nolan raced in the C's again and put up a faster effort than the day before! Again, he handled all the obstacles and corners like a pro! And the best part is he really enjoyed racing both days, and can't wait for the next race.

And finally. My favorite racer of the weekend. Jim Gorleck for nailing 2nd place in only his 2nd CX race ever. Now that Jim has found my crack pipe, I hope I can get it back. Way to go Jim!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Chapter, Doublecross Weekend CX Kick Off!

Finally! Cross season has started. And it kicks off with Doublecross. 2 days of action packed cross racing at Waterford Hills Race track. I was very excited to get things moving, and it was great to see some old friends. We got to the track early for Nolan to do the C-race. It was pouring down rain. I thought wow, what a way to kick off the season with real cross conditions. Nolan did a great job as he pushed his new Redline CX bike around the course, and handle the climbs and slick corners like a pro! He ended up stepping up on the podium for 3rd place at the end of the day! Way to go son.

As for me, well I really didn't know what to expect. This would be my first race in Masters 35+ so I guess I was a little nervous at the start. And it took awhile to go away. My 1st 2 laps felt horrible. Could not control my heart rate. My bike handling went out the window, and the legs were feeling like cement. As I watch what seemed like the entire class pull away from me, I decided to hang in and put out as much power as possible and hope for folks to pop. It worked, but still not enough. I was smooth through the barriers, and fly-over and even was nailing most of the tight corners with ease. But the straights and flats, I just could not get the "all" the power I was looking for and needed to hang with the top guys. My last 2-3 laps were my best as my legs and lungs decided to catch up with my effort. But by that time it was too late to pull back anyone else. I ended up 9th out of 14. Not bad I guess for my first Masters race.

So now that I blew out the carbon, and opened up the legs and lungs, I am expecting to perform a little better and do everything I can to sneak into that top 5. I know what I have to do, and I know what I need to do to get there. It's just going to take a little more work.

So here we go, bring on Day 2!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

LOHS Short track racing!

Today was suppose to be a rest day, but I could not resist the temptation to do a little MTB short track racing. to test my fitness and dial in the bike. And thanks to Steve Kinley for putting this series on, and at the right time. Located at Lake Orion High school, this was the perfect venue for this style of racing. the course did not favor MTB or Cross bikes, but worked well for both. And the series helps benefit bringing the sport of Mountain Biking to local high schools to form a high school league. Cool stuff! And so far it really seems to be taking off. Way to go Steve!

As for the race, it went well considering I have only been training for 2 weeks. I took 5th out of 10 in the A group. And the 4 that beat me all race elite for the cross series. I felt real good and I was able to race on my new Grifo xs file tread tubulars! So the training will continue and in 9 days the first race will begin!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Counting down the days to CX

It sure does feel like cyclocross. With temps in the low 5os, wind, and thick heavy clouds abound, I think Mother Nature is as anxious as I am for the season to start! Things have been going well with preparation for the kick off with DoubleCross Sept 17th.

Training is in full swing, and I am making rapid gains in power already.
The pork chops are coming in nicely.
I shaved my legs for the first time ever. Plan on embrocating this year.
Been Testing out my 3 sets of tubulars during training and dialing the bikes in.
The weight is still coming off. Slowly, but it is coming off.
Got all the out of state races registered for, and hotel rooms booked.
Got my goals in order, and ready to race!

Here are a look at my goals for cyclocross this year. Much like my mountain bike goals, my cross goals are basic and simple yet will still be a challenge to accomplish. I will be moving up to Master 35+, so I will have my work cut out for me. But with some hard work through training, luck, and determination, I think I can string together another good year.

Here are my cyclocross goals for 2010 --

Finish in the Top 5 in as many races as possible
Finish Top 5 overall in series Masters 35+ (Tailwind Series USAC)
Finish Top 3 in at least 1 Masters 35+ cyclocross race
Finish Top 3 for State Championship race Masters 35-39

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tailwind USAC XC Series Close - Stony Creek XC

Another USAC XC series in the Books, and that can only mean 1 thing. You guessed it! Cyclocross time. As soon as I got home, I washed down the Superfly and put her in the basement until the ICEMAN rolls around. But not so fast. So I had to deal with Stony today. More of the same from the last 3 races. Just can't get the high end going that I need for these races. Granted I am feeling real strong and rested which is good, but it is still hard to line up at a race and not want be 100%! So I survived today. First 2 laps felt kind of sluggish especially on the climbs. Then on the 3rd lap my bike handling skills finally came back and I started to reel back some of the guys that passed me. The forth lap was more of the same. Felt good and strong and then the tops of my quads started to cramp. It was tough on the climbs but the rest of the course I was OK. It came down to a sprint for 7th and 8th. Not sure of the guy's name who was with me, but I was 2nd wheel and ready to pounce. I tired to take the inside on the Right at the last turn, but he cut me off. So Then I attacked on the left, and pulled up along side him, then he squeezed me out the the orange barriers! What the hell! This caused me to miss a few more crucial pedal strokes and lost the sprint by about 4 inches and some .000-something seconds.

HUGE CONGRATS TO SHAWN - What a F-in year! 3rd today and it was good enough to take home 2nd in the series in his first year at the Expert level!

Adam -- WOW! First overall in the series in only his 2nd year at the Expert Level!

Mark Z. -- My team mate. Taking top 3 honors in your first full year of racing is awesome. I am sure it makes you hungry for more! and keep your sites on a 2:15 at Iceman.

Overall I am pleased with my mountain bike results for the year. but now it is time to get focused. At the end of the year I will reflect a little more... but it's go time now.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fort Custer TT

Not much excitement to report about so I will keep it short. All though this is one of my favorite trails and places to race. It was really nothing more than a way for me to have fun, get in a mini vacation with my family, and test myself on the high end stuff and bike handling before my all out CX training begins. Overall I guess I am happy for not doing any formal training since Ruby. I felt strong on my geared bike and in the single speed race. I did not cramp, and I was not sore the next day. My bike handling sucked in my first race of the day on the geared bike. I think it was a combination of not riding much single track this year other than race day, and not riding in sand a lot when I do ride single track. Pulled it Together a little on the single speed. For my efforts, I got 6th in Expert men 30-39. and snuck in a 7th in the Expert/Elite Single speed class. OK, enough of this mountain bike stuff already..... lets get it on for Cylcocross!!!!

Great job to Mark Z. my teammate for a solid 3rd on a course he had never ridden before.

And great job Shawn again for another podium and strong effort. What a season your having!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I'm Glad That's Over...

What a beautiful day for racing! And one of my favorite places to race, Pontiac Lake.... Well it wasn't my best day in the saddle, but I still had fun. 3 laps at Pontiac in August ain't no joke. This place is brutal this time of year. The rocks and roots were really exposed, the down hills were loose and washed out! Wow, what a great course. Overall I finished 9th. Not bad considering I really have not been training other than running and starting to get back some base with some dirt road rides. The high lights of the day were, I didn't cramp. And I was putting up some respectable lap times. Well at least 2 laps. It is really hard going into a race knowing that your best is not really going be your best. But I got to stay focused. These next few races are not important for me. They are just training days to keep my fitness going. My real training plan will pick back up in September. But for today, "I'm glad that's over..."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Is the curse broken?

If any one has ever read my blog, you know that I like to bitch and moan about Stony Creek. Granted I ride there almost more than any other trail, but the big results seem to elude me. Especially when it comes to the Stony TT. Well not this year. I actually put up some respectable times. And to think, I haven't even done any training since the week before the Ruby race. So in short. I took 5th in Expert 30-39 with a 52:58 min lap. By far my best ever time! The only problem I had was trying to stay ahead of Dave M, Tom P, and Shawn S. You guys all rocked. And then after a little rest, I lined up again with the single speed and cranked out another 55 min lap, just missing another 5th place by 3 seconds! So I was very happen with the day, and now feel like I finally got one up on Stony Creek.

So now it is on to cross. This was my official 1st day of training for cross! Now If I can just lose this 15 lbs...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Stick to Your Plan...

I am a bone head. When putting my training plan and race schedule together for 2010, there was one thing I was for sure on. In fact, it was the very first decision I made for the entire calendar year. The decision was "I will not race the Stony Marathon!" Well, after a week and a half off the bike with a planned recovery period, work stress, and a uncontrollable urge to start training for cyclocross, I deviated from the plan that has been near flawless for me thus far. I decided to jump into the Stony Marathon. I could not help it. I have been running and riding this entire week as I prep the body for some intense CX training, and I felt real good. Then on Thursday, I tore up Ruby and thought -- wow, I am still caring some fitness. I may be able to make it happen at Stony! I should of realized that I only rode 16 miles Thursday.

So to save you some time, here are the cliff notes. I got into the race. Felt sluggish from the whistle. And only made 3 laps out of 5 in the 50 mile race, before my legs started showing signs of cramping. I felt like crap, and decided to throw in the towel to avoid hurting my legs in the process.

It was cool to see fellow TSBers at the race. And congrats to Mark Z. (AKA) for a solid 4th in a tough race. Adam, Brad, and Shawn, you guys killed it also! I just wish I had more hours on the bike to hang with you guys. But then again, I need to stick to my plan....

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chapter 2...

After about 3 weeks from the end of my first training plan being complete, it is now time to move on and begin training for my real season... But lets reflect a little. The past 3-4 weeks have been very stressful for me at work. I wont bore you with the details, but it has affected my riding, my eating habits, an lifestyle in general. In fact since the Ruby race, I did not ride my bike for 10 days straight! Thankfully, most of my stress (for now) came to a halt as of Wednesday of this week. Lucky the first week off was by design to recover from my first block of training. But I was not expecting the extra couple of days.

I was extremely happy with the 1st half of my season! I nailed a few podiums in some of my favorite races. I stuck to my training plan which gave me the desired results I was looking for. I felt completely fresh and still ready to race even after my training block was complete. And I was consistent with lap times in all my races, and put up a few personal best times in several races.

Moving on. With July upon us, I have 2 weeks of vacation planned with my out of state bike trip for 1 of those weeks. My plan is to ride as much as possible for "fun", and I hope I can build upon my base miles as a result. Toward the end of July, I jump back into racing with the Stony Creek TT which will begin the official mark for CX focused training. During all this time I will be picking up some running and running stairs. I am even looking for a local 5k to jump in if the timing is right. As August approaches, I hope to have my CX race scheduled framed out so I can begin my race focused training using the TCTP again! On another note, I have to lean down! No more excuses. This has been the only black mark on my score card for a season and a 1/2. I have a cool calorie counter on my blackberry now. So it has been real helpful to monitor my food intake. If I want to compete in the Masters, I got to lose the sandbags! There is no other way... Weight to power ratio!

With any luck, I hope my results from the 1st half spill over into the 2nd half and let me have another respectable Cyclocross season. I will be jumping into the Masters 35+ class, so I know the competition will be fierce. I have some lofty goals ahead of me.... But until then, let me go ride my bike for "fun", and I will get back with you all later.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Shawn Schaffert!

What happens when your just not sure you can do something at a higher level, but you continue to work hard and stay focused almost blindly, only holding on to faith that it will all workout in your favor when the time is right?

Shawn Schaffert is the answer!

Shawn earned his first Expert podium at Ruby Campground XC race this past weekend, and it was well deserved. I know Shawn has worked very hard to get to this point, and to earn it a place like Ruby is a real treat. The only down side to Shawn stepping up on the box, is now I am sure the medals will keep on flowing, and that will make it harder for me to share with him. Great job Shawn! It's always awesome to see one of the good guys on top!

As for my effort at Ruby. Well Shawn beat me by 12 seconds, but I still came home with some hardware for 4th place. So far that makes me 3 for 3 in podium trips for USAC races this year! Something I honestly can't believe myself. So I hope I can squeeze out a few more.

Ruby was not my A race this year. In fact, it was a week past my training schedule. But it was the home course, and a race all the same. I was still feeling like my legs were strong and ready to go, but I figured game time would tell the truth.

The race started and we all went out hard. Adam off the front like a rocket, then Brad, Todd, Shawn, another guy and myself near the back from a poor start. We all stuck together for a large part of the twisty course. Then I was able to move up a few spots passing guys on the steep climb"Lance". We crossed the creek and then Brad lost his chain. I suddenly found myself in 2nd all alone, and pulling away from the field. This lasted until the beginning until Brad made a huge effort to rejoin me. I was still feeling good and settled into what I thought was a perfect pace. I was not even bothered that Brad had caught up and figured it would be to both of our advantage to work together to stay away. And then it happened. In the middle of the 3rd lap, I started cramping. Damn it. Why now? I was feeling strong, and thought I was hydrating well. I actually had to soft pedal for a few seconds to try and work the cramps out. I told Brad I was cashing in, and he pulled away. Now if I could somehow manage to keep 3rd and not have to DNF. I was able to push hard in the flats but trying to walk through the creek was murder and made my hammys want to cramp with ever step. By the time the 4th lap started I was still alone, but then seen Shawn slowly closing in. I knew at this point there was not much I could do, and I was nothing more than a huge carrot for him. He made contact with me on the "wall". And shortly after, crashed on a small down hill into the snow fence. I tried to attack and pull away again knowing the rest of the course was all flat and to my advantage -- except for one more creek crossing right before the finish. If I could just get to the creek ahead of him, get out and back on my bike I could probably out sprint him. As planned, I was the first to the creek, but he made it there right after me. My cramps would not allow me to run through the water, and Shawn pranced through it like Jesus walking on water. He got out, looked back and jumped on his bike as fast as he could and sprinted off. Once out of the water, I put in the largest effort I could hoping that he would flat, lose a chain, or something. When I got onto the finishing straight, I could see he was not too far ahead. I mashed as hard as I could completely cramping my legs. But I was closing in on him fast. Eventually I just ran out of room and had to settle for 4th. Thanks for making me proud of you Shawn.

As for the rest of the Day. Adam decided to make us look silly by winning with a broken bike. Brad is just on fire! And the TSB had the best turn out of the year! And the team walked away with a lot of medals in almost every class! Way to go folks.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bloomer XC -- Single Speed Style!

Wasn't really sure what to expect today going into Bloomer. Thursday, I was riding like a rock star at Stony Creek, and then crashed and flipped around like a rag doll leaving me banged up, sore, broken helmet, and doubts about racing the Bloomer XC race. But I figured I would give it a try. This race really was nothing more than a power workout on my calendar, since I was planning on jumping into the Elite/Expert Single speed class. This years Bloomer race is part of the MMBA CPS put on by Robert at Tailwind. So if I could get in at least a few good laps and throw in the towel if needed, it still would have been a good day.

I felt real relaxed at the start, but sore all over. Other than that, the only thing on my mind was how I was going to push my 34x17 gearing on my 29er up the steep short climbs. The whistle blew, and we were off. Quickly 3 riders broke away, and I was left struggling up the sled hill gasping for air. I got a real crappy warm up in and was paying for it. I got through the first section on single track, recovered and made my way onto the double track. I then took a wrong turn and met the lead group again. So back down the hill to hop on the right path. This easily lost me 30 or more seconds. But I pushed. My left hip and right quad were sore as hell on every climb. But I pushed on. By the time I made it the falter part of the course, I was starting to feel better. And then near the end of my 2nd lap I realized that I caught 3rd place! He was still riding strong, so I sat on his wheel. In the beginning of the 3rd lap, he dropped me on the sled hill as I opted to run it vs. ride. He got a small gap, but I was able to shut it down in the technical parts of the single track. By the time we made it to the big switch backs, I was stuck on his wheel. This time when we made it to the flats on the bottom, I launched my attack. He could not match it. From here on out, the gap continued to grow to 2;00 mins until the end of the race. I came across the line in 3rd place, and not too far behind the leaders. I was very happy with the result, and how well I was feeling at the end.

The Time Crunched Training Program has paid off very well for me so far! And with Ruby just around the corner, I hope I will still have one good race left before a nice break, and the start of cyclocross training.

Now time to rest up, and heal my boo-boos...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tour de Brighton -- MTB Stage race weekend!

My first important mountain bike race this year was the Brighton Stage race. This is race number 2 in the Tailwind USAC XC series and is one of the race that I love. Unlike the typical XC race on Sunday only. The Stage race has a mix of several different elements that make for 2 enjoyable days of racing, and a few styles of racing that suit my skills very well. The first day is a 6 mile time trial on the Torn Shirt Trail, and later in the day there is a 20 min short track race. Nothing like testing the CX legs out early in the season! Then on Sunday it's the crown jewel of the event, the 32 mile XC race on the Murray Lake loop. The racer with the lowest accumulated time over all 3 events is crowned the overall stage winner and earns double points in the series. But you can just race the XC race for single points and separate podium spots. This years event was treated with cool, dry, sunny weather both days. Trails that were in great shape. And deep fields of racers for all 3 events. Going into the race, my goals were to beat personal times on Torn Shirt, and the XC race. Take a top 5 in the XC. And if I had a shot, walk home with a top 3 in the overall stage race weekend. Here is how it went.

It all starts with torn shirt. I pegged my heart rate right from the start! it took a little bit of time to get it under control, and settle down the bike handling. About 3 miles in I was finally relaxed and making progress. I finished 5th, and put up a personal best time of 32:22. So I was very happy and was looking forward to the short track race to try and gain back some time over the field.

The short track was moved this year to smaller plot of land, but worked out to be perfect! The was a small steep hill that was used 3 times and a small section of pavement. I lined up in the front row, and put the gas on for 22 minutes! This helped avoid 2 crashes and keep me near the front. All 7 of my laps were consistent being within a few seconds. I ended up in 4th and was sitting in 4th overall going into Sunday.

With the XC race looming, I felt confident that I was going to have a good day, but the thought of racing 32 miles full tilt, didn't leave me with to many thoughts of finishing in the top 3, especially with time to make up on the overall leaders. So I went into with the goal of a personal best time and to scrape up a 4th or 5th place if I could. We went out hard... Adam Naish, Andy Brown, Jason Bowne, Brad lako, and myself all bunched up and pushed as hard as we could. Soon after, Adam, Andy, and Jason were off the front and gone. This left Brad, myself and soon to be Tom Payn to fight it out the rest of the race. Brad lost his chain 3 times and had catch back up with us each time. By the 3rd time he was not messing around and road tight past us. So it was Tom and I working together for the last 2 and 1/2 laps. By the beginning of the 4th and final lap. We saw and caught Andy! He said he popped and could not keep the pace anymore. So now It looking like a sure top 5. I felt strong for the entire race. And felt I could keep the same pace in the last lap as I could the 1st. The only down fall for me was I was starting to fade on the climbs. This allowed Tom to get away from me and eventually finish in 2nd place (Stupid 15 lbs!) But I kept pushing to make sure I would walk away with a prize! Then about half through the last lap. I suddenly came up on Jason Bowne! He bonked also. Now I realized that I had a good shot at top 3 overall!!! I time trialed my butt as hard as I could go and try to put as much time into Jason as possible. I crossed the finish line and waited for Jason. I knew it would be close, but not sure how close. When I results were posted it was not enough. I missed 3rd overall for the weekend by only 7 seconds!!! But I still snagged a 4th place in the XC race. My personal best position in an Expert level race. And I beat my personal best time at Murray Lake with a 2:21:29. In fact my laps were all very consistent, 35/34/35/35! I still had a great weekend!

Congrats to JB Hancock, Adam Naish,Tom Payn, Brad Lako, and Shawn Schaffert. You all had awesome results over the weekend! Keep it up. You all inspire me!!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pontiac lake TT! It's On!

My official race season began today with the Tailwind USAC Michigan State Championship XC MTB Series with the Pontiac Lake Time Trail. This race is one of my top 3 with the Pontiac Lake XC race being in that mix also. So for me, I wanted to do very well especially with the Brighton Stage race right around the corner. Today would be a big test. Would my fitness be on track? Could I crack the top 5 in one of my favorite races? Well Mother Nature let us all know that it was still spring. And that it would not be an early season mountain bike race if there wasn't a bit of mud to go around. But she decided to play nice and give us a few hour break and get in some racing. The course drained well, and was still technical and fast. The rain did not keep a lot of folks at home as I expected. The parking lot was full. And almost ever class was huge. This is great news for the State's economy, Tailwind, and the sport of mountain bike racing in Michigan. Hopefully we can start growing the sport again....

As for the racing, I was feeling good. My training has been right on schedule and the first few "tester" races I did early on were pointing to a good day for me at Pontiac. So I lined up and was off. The entire time I was going as hard as I could, but still felt comfortable on all the climbs. The course was still wet and muddy in the corners, but my big 29er Crossmax wheels with Karma rubber hooked up well and gave me the confidence to take some risk and push harder. After my first lap, I was curious as to how I would feel for the rest of the race, but my legs were right on. I kept up a high pace for as long as I could, and did not hold back. About 4 miles from the finish, my seat post decide to reposition my seat for me. So I was force to sit on the point of my saddle for the rest of the race. This was very uncomfortable, but I did not panic. And then shortly after that, a large vine hanging across the trail decided to clothesline me and almost took me off my bike. Again, I gathered my composure and pushed on. The trail was in great shape by now and I was almost done. I big ringed it all the way to the end until my legs filled with lactic acid. I was done. My laps were 43 and 45 mins. Wow! Those were some on my best lap times ever, I thought to myself. This was also good enough for me to hold on to 5th place out of 17 racers. I hit one of my goals!

But my day was not over. As the course improved, I was getting geeked to do some single speed racing. I was not sure how well I would do since I just spent myself in the first race. So I lined up and was off. And within a few mins, the switch went off in my head and I was racing again! I could not believe how well I was feeling. So again, I pushed as hard as I could and felt strong all the way to the end. When I crossed the line I was surprised to see that I knocked out a 44 min lap! This time I did not step onto the podium, but I did get a respectable 7th out of 10.

So my fitness appears to be on. And with a podium finish my confidence is high too. So my next focus is the Brighton Stage race. Next to the Iceman, this will probably be my big mountain bike race of the year... We will see.

Congrats to Brad and Shawn. You guys put in a fine effort today and will be hard to beat as the season goes on.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yankee Doodle Dandee!

In 2006 I did my first mountain bike race. I was over 230 lbs, I crashed 3 times, and suffered a slow leaking flat tire with no tools. I finished something like 11th with a time of 1:20 or so in a 12 mile TT. That was it, I was hooked. And the place it all happened was Yankee Springs. A lot has happened over the 4 years since I raced at Yankee springs. My kids have grown. I lost 50 lbs. I have moved from a beginner Clydesdale to an Expert racer. Heck, I have even been through a few new bikes! So with the beginning of the new bike season upon me, I wanted to go back and race Yankee...

I have not been to Yankee since my very first race, so I was excited. It almost felt like riding single track for the first time. Not only was I jonesing for some dirt, I was looking for a real good result. Training has been going extremely well, and I have been feeling strong, fit, and ready to compete! So The Yankee TT was the perfect place for me to test the legs on a short technical course, go up against a deep and strong filed, get in some awesome training time, and test out the new Dillinger Single Speed under race conditions.

So in my typical fashion, I got a quick warm up in and strolled over to the start line to see what was happening. I still had 10 mins before the start of my race, but then noticed that hey I should be the next one on the line! They moved up the start times!?!? I threw my bike over the tape and lined up. I clipped one foot in my pedal and the guy said in 15 seconds! OMG! GO... I was shot out of a cannon, and I never looked back. Instantly in the trail I was picking off people left and right. And then I noticed that about 8-9 of these people were in the single speed class???? How can this be when I was in the 3rd wave, which meant I was the 5th rider off in the Elite/Expert Single Speed Class. After that, I ran into a lot of traffic. Especially on the climbs at the worst possible times. On your Left, on your Right. It seemed like I was calling this out all the time. Oh well, enough of my bitching, but I was not the only one.... Back to racing!!

So I railed the Dillinger as hard as I could, and it respond well. My legs felt like jack hammers on the climbs and I was able to power through all the flats with ease. When I thought I may have been slacking, I was able to call down to the engine room for full speed ahead! I came across the line in 51:23. This was good enough to hold 6th place out of 20 in the Elite/Expert Single Speed class. Not bad for the first real mountain bike race of the year.

I was very happy with how the day went, other than the way the start waves were handled. But I know my training is on track. My bike handling was crisp. And I had a lot of fun!

Congrats to Tom Payn for his 4th place in the Expert 30-39! Your off to a great year...

The start of my real season starts next week with the opener of the USAC XC series at Pontiac Lake. This is one of my favorite races and venues to race at. It is also another TT which is right up my alley. So It is not a peak week for me, but I am looking for another good result. And if I'm lucky, I would love to see a top 5...

Friday, April 2, 2010


I kicked the bike racing season off early this year with the soon to be classic, Barry-Roubaix. Let's just say this race is awesome. The fast dirt roads, the almost unrideable sand, and the quad and lung burning climbs make this one incredible race! In addition, this is a great race to test your early season fitness and see how competition is looking for the year. I went into the race with realistic expectations, but was looking to find some good form and have a good result. In the end I was happy, but it was not without issues. So without writing my life story, here is the cliff notes version on my race.

With the 1-2 mile neutral roll out. I was able to get the legs loose. Then it was on! I stayed near the front group and the climbs started right away. Legs felt good and I was able to gain several most positions. By about mile 8, we had a fast strong group putting out a good pace. I was killing it on the flats. Every time I had a chance to dance in my big ring, I took full advantage. And then it all started to fall apart...

It all started with my chain falling off to the outside of my big ring. I tried to flip it up with my crank arm, but with no luck. I had to stop and fix it. As I stopped, the group I was with rode out of sight! I got back on and started sprinting to try and catch up. Shortly after, my chain fell off again but I was not going to stop. So I tried to reach down and pick it up with my hand. As I was riding down a hill and trying to grab my chain, some how my hand touched my front wheel and it got sucked into the top of my fork and on top of my tire! OUCH! I was moving about 15-20 mph down the hill with my hand stuck in my fork and there was nothing I could do. The rear of my bike kept bucking up. I tried to pump my brakes to slow down. I finally got it out at the bottom, but the damage was done. I had 2 huge holes in my glove with what looked like 3rd degree burns to my fingers from sitting on top of the tire. I stopped to make sure I did not break my hand and figure out how I actually kept my bike up avoiding a more serious accident. From hear on I fought through the pain and finished the race strong even without being able to use my big ring for the rest of the race. I finished 18th out of 49 with a time of 1:58. Not bad considering all that happened.

The highlight of the weekend was letting Loose my my buds from Rouge Racing Project out of Louisville KY! These are the former TSB boys. And we had a great time sipping beers and talking shit. We figured this race will be an annually meac for both teams to meet up in the spring to let loose. And then we will do it again in the fall at the USGP in KY! So look out for this to really start to get out of control....

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Leprechaun Loop 5K! Kick off to training!

For the 2nd year in a row, I have kicked off my early spring training/racing season by switch gears and jumping into the runners world. I figured It would be some good cross training early in the season and so far seems to be working out well. So in the past few months I have been ramping up for the Leprechaun Loop 5k in Port Huron Sponsored by the YMCA. My goals were to have fun, not hurt myself and try to break my time of 21:56 from last year.

I started out slower than last year and wanted settle into a good pace. It worked but there were 20-30 mph head winds for most of the race. Luckily the rain stayed away, but the wind made it a difficult race for everyone. As I came through the home stretch I could start to see the clock and about 25 yrds out. From there I seen 21:52, 21:53, 21:54.... I was out of it for my goal. But I did come in at 22:16. Only 20 seconds off my best of last year. Not bad considering the horrible head winds, my lack of training to be a runner, and this being my 2nd 5k ever. Overall this put me 30th out of some couple hundred people, and it was enough to nail another 2nd place in my age group! I'll take it... Especially for not being a runner.

So my sights are now set on mountain bile racing, and I will be kicking it off this season with Barry-Roubaix! I can't wait. 35 miles of paved to sandy to gravel roads with 2200 ft of climbing. I have a rest week scheduled ahead of me. And then I turn on my training with the Time Crunched Training Program. I have been feeling real good, and am hoping for some better results than last year... But time will tell.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"Dillinger Escape Plan!"

Pow! Here it is. My winter project (one of many this year) is finally done! And I have to say, it is damn sexy! I wanted to upgrade my single speed to a 29er since I got my Superfly last year. And it took some time to figure out what I wanted, but finally decided on a Soul Cycles Dillinger XC 29er. Dollar for dollar you can't beat this frame. In fact I picked it up direct off of during a promo for $309! After blinging the hell out of this thing, I weighed it at my LBS using the fish scale and it came in at 20.9 lbs!!!! That is almost a pound lighter than my Superfly! So here is the detail of all the bling on it. I hope you enjoy...

Mavic crossmax 29

Kenda Karmas 1.90 with Stan's sealant

XTR Crankset with Surly 34t ring

Surly 16t and 17t cogs held on with Surly spacer kit

Carbon Cycles Exotic Carbon Rigid 29er fork (465mm Axle to crown)

Cane Creek S3 plus 5 head set (used this head set to raise to axle to crown to 470mm)

Selle Italia SLR saddle

Thomson elite seat post

Sram 8 speed 890 chain

Time Atac XS pedals

Race Face Next carbon flat bar

FSA OS 99 stem

Sette VX carbon bar ends

Avid Juicy Ultimate disc brakes

ODI lock on Ruffin grips

Dillinger Pics Part 2