Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Looking Forward To 2013

The stats are in!  For 2012 I rode:

Distance:  3,690.11 mi (481.98 more than 2011)
Time:  351:18:48 h:m:s (only 7:18:28 hours more than 2011)
Elevation Gain:  343,260 ft  (83,766 more than 2011)

I did spend quite a bit more time on the road in 2012, but still some good signs of improvement!

Currently I'm on my third day out of a three week rest period, and all I want to do is ride!  Seriously, how do people go every day not doing anything active?  I'm going crazy already and I'm not even half way through!  In the meantime, this is a good time to go over my goals for 2013.

Goal #1:  Weight!
Once again, the elephant in the room is power-to-weight ratio, because I was the elephant last year.  After losing a sufficient amount of weight for my first race (which I won), I gained back much of  the weight I had lost, started losing races, and wasn't able to get back on track.  After counting every calorie and refusing to eat anything remotely bad for weeks, I would have mental break downs where I was binging and then had worse mental break downs after gaining a lot of weight (I gained 10 lbs in two days... I'm aware it was mostly water weight, but still, that's crazy).  And that's what we call an eating disorder.  I told myself winning wasn't worth not eating... which is true, but I think I can do both for 2013.  Next year I'm approaching weight loss differently.  No more counting calories.  I know what I need to eat and more importantly what not to eat to lose weight.  I would get upset every time my wife made something because I had to add all of into the calorie counter, and I HAD to know every calorie.  This stressed both of us out... definitely not healthy.  Also, I'm going to indulge once a week, but within moderation.  Having a little bit of bad is much better than not having anything bad for weeks and then eating everything in sight. Limiting my beer intake!  This by far was the biggest factor for me not keeping the weight off last year.  And lastly, starting the weight loss early so I lose it in a slow, healthy way; which I am currently doing successfully.  The hard part is when summer hits and there is less training to keep the weight off between races, and you seem to find reasons to drink and eat.  I can only 'weight' and see how it goes.

Goal #2: Go Pro!

All I have to do to compete in the Pro class is cut off 30 minutes from my best race, and do it constantly!  Simple, right!?  Okay, maybe first step should be to spend 2013 getting on the podium in the class I'm in, and then maybe go Pro 2014, but you gotta dream big to go big.

Goal #3:  More races... without killing myself.

So far I have 14 endurance races planned for 2013.  I only did 7 in 2012, so quite a jump.  That should help keep the weight off too!

Pretty lofty goals for 2013, but I'm not getting any younger.  Training starts in January, and I'm ready to hit it hard!  Can't wait for the first race in April!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Turkey Day And Fun In The Sun

Well, my CX season of suckiness has continued since my last blog.  I raced in Boulder at Valmont Bike Park on November 17th.  During the race, my chain fell off and somehow got a loop in it.  I found myself trying to figure out how to undo the loop mid-race, and in doing so  I bent a link which made the chain skip on some gears. The time it took to undo the chain and the skipped gears  cost me enough time to put me out of any decent finishing position.  Turkey day, I raced the Turkey Cross.  I was doing great, and then on the 3rd of 4 laps my tire flatted.  I didn't bring an extra bike because I was short on time since I needed to hop on a plane to visit the family for the weekend.  That tacked on another DNF.  I came back early on Sunday that same weekend to race the first of two Green Mountain Sports CX races, and didn't even make it to the race because when I was loading the car to go to the race, I hit my head hard on my truck door.  Blood starting pouring down my face and I was feeling a little dizzy so I figured attempting to race would have been a bad idea.  

One more race to go this season on Sunday.  The venue changed to my favorite place where I'm most favored to do well, but honestly I just don't care anymore.  Even though my CX season has been a disaster of mechanical and poor performances, I still accomplished my end goal to keep fit in the off season and to have fun doing it.  After all, the blog says "Endurance Mountain Biker".  Never claimed to be any good at CX, but I sure do love trying to be.  

In my traveling news, after my poor turkey weekend results, I needed another weekend vacation.  We flew down to Cabo San Lucas for some fun in the sun.  Snorkeling and playing frisbee on the beach while sipping a piƱa colada is considered cross training, right? 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend Trips And Sore Legs

Since I'm technically in my off season, I've been trying to get out of town every other weekend with the wife. During these away trips, I always try to get in some cardio.  In October we went to Durango, CO for some awesome microbrews and great food in this fun mountain town.  I strongly recommend Steamworks Brewing Company for some amazing beer and food.  During that trip, I woke up early and was able to spin for an hour on an exercise bike, and then run for 30 minutes on a beautiful trail along the river.  This last weekend we found ourselves in Boston to enjoy some seafood, and you guessed it, more microbrew!  FYI, Shipyard Pumpkinhead with a glass that has sugar and cinnamon on the rim is amazing!  I delayed my workout until Sunday, and slept in late so I decided it was best to rent a bike for the wife and run along side her on the bike path that goes around the bay.  Although the views were great and we both enjoy ourselves, I know I was going to pay for running an hour.  Today I looked like an old man hobbling around the office.  The things I do for CX.  We are going to try to do another weekend trip in early December, and then going to spend a couple of days in Vegas over new years.  I know, the life of a flight attendant's husband is a rough one, but I tough it out somehow.  

In other news, the CX bike is back in business thanks to the compact crankset I use for road riding the majority of the year.  I swapped out the 50 for a 46 tooth, and the middle is the same with 36.  I was planning on getting a 39-53 for road riding anyway so it all worked out.  Plus, it was good to get the green machine up and running for a spare bike in case I run into anymore mechanical issues at the races this year.  I really want to take CX to the next level. I'm definitely going to cut next years' endurance season a little shorter so I can switch gears to CX sooner.  I may even upgrade the frame to carbon next year too... maybe.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Green Machine Lives Again

This last Sunday I really pinned the start of the CX race!... that's because I was pinning down a line of plastic for the starting lanes of the race that was going on that day. After that, my duties for the next three hours were to make sure the course was in good shape after and during each race. Felt good to get out there and volunteer. Cycling has given so much to me, so it's only right to give back every once and awhile. After course marshalling for half the day, and the fact that the venue is were I train weekly, I knew every turn of the course. My race was later in the day and I felt pretty prepared. I was quick off the line and was fifth to the singletrack. The leader wasn't too far off the front, and I knew that I was faster in the corners than everyone in front of me. Considering the course was pretty much all corners with little straight aways, this course catered to me. Things were looking up for me to grab a top finish... and then I heard a snap. Suddenly my pedal was hanging at an angle. Like a car with a blown cylinder, I was giving it gas but not going anywhere. Game over. Didn't even get through the first lap. I had stripped out the threads of my left crank arm were the pedal screws in and it was just hanging by a few threads. Second DNF of the CX season due to mechanical. I was really hoping this was going to be my redemption race after my poor performance during my previous race. I had a solid two weeks of training, and had cut some weight. Guess I'll have to wait another two weeks to try to redeem myself.  At least the race was free, and I'm glad I volunteered regardless.  Well, with the CX bike out of commission I have no choice but to bring the Green Machine back to life!  This was my first bike; a 1999 Trek 6500zx.  Through the years I have replaced just about every part on this bike.  The only thing that remains is the frame and the headset.  Before I bought my CX bike, I transformed this 26" mountain bike into a cyclocross monster!  I took it out for a spin tonight at the CX course.  I was quite surprised how well it ripped!  I should of had this beast in the pit area during the race.  I might not of been able to get a podium, but I could of at least finished.  Lesson learned.  In the meantime, I'll keep training hard.  Another podium spot is in my reach, just need to keep pushing.  Next race!

The Green Machine is back!

I guess I don't know my own strength...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Back On The Horse... If It Can Hold Me

For all the those Simpsons viewers out there: do you remember the episode when Homer is trying to gain weight to get out of work, and when he hops on the scale he isn't heavy enough until Bart points out that his roll of fat stuck on the towel rack revealing that he hasn't only met the weight, but exceeded it by a good number? That's kind of how I felt when I hopped on the scale and it was way over what I had estimated it would be. I know, I know, I said I wasn't going to care about my weight until January, but come on, you can't just shake being a racer for three months. By the time I found out I had become a massive sea cow it was too late.  I had a disappointing Wednesday night CX race with a 9th out of 39 followed by an even worse Saturday race getting second to last place. Just back in September, right before the Crested Butte race, I started dead last and ended up 3rd during the Wednesday night race, and now I'm struggling to even finish!? I've accepted that I suck at CX, but this is just pathetic! I guess I took the off-season theme and ran with it a little too far. I have two weeks until my next CX race. Time to get back on the horse and lose some pounds. Hopefully I can get back into form so I won't completely embarrass myself this CX season.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fall = Off Season

After an awesome vacation in Ireland followed by a trip to Moab to bike with friends from the Midwest, I'm moving a little slower these days.  I eat what I want to, and I drink what I want to drink.  My race weight for the fall is whatever I happen to be at race day, and hopefully I'll still fit into my team kit.  After nine months of dieting, training hard, and racing, it's time to dial the ambition level down for a little while.  Sure, I'm still going to 'train' for the cyclocross season, but when I feel like just riding rather than hitting my intervals I'm going to do so.  Soon enough, January will come around and it will be back to business.  Undoubtedly, I'll hop on the scale, cry a little bit while shaking my roll of fat, and focus on a getting down to race weight... a race weight a little more sustainable then last year's bout of near anorexia.  All I have to do is cut my race time by a half hour and I'll be at pro level.  Easy, right?  I guess we'll find out.  For now, it's time to drink some good beers, enjoy cross season even if I am going to suck, and take it a little more easy for a couple of months.  Oh, and I'm going to take as many weekend getaways as I can except when I'm racing.  I love fall.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Last Endurance Race Report of 2012!: Leadville 100 Qualifier Race, Alpine Odyssey

This race was an awesome race to end the season.  The race was held in Crested Butte, and was the last race in 2012 for a series of Leadville 100 qualifier races.   It was beautiful in Crested Butte because all of the aspen leaves were turning colors.  The aspen trees weren’t  the only shade of yellow to be seen in the race though. Not long before the race, everyone learned that Lance Armstrong was going to be racing as well.  Sure enough, at the beginning of the race during the neutral roll out, I looked over and there he was.  It was incredible to see such an iconic cyclist right there in the same race as I.  Lance wasn’t the only celebrity I saw, however.  The day before the race,  after picking up my race packet in the Crested Butte Resort hotel, I walked outside and Dave Wiens was standing right there.  He could tell I was staring at him in bewilderment and asked my name while shaking my hand.  He was a genuinely nice guy.  Anyway, back to the racing action.  The race was two laps, with a big climb at the beginning of each.  After the neutral rollout, I hung with the lead peloton for a while until everyone slowly split apart.  Most of the race was dirt road, and I had no intentions to try to podium, so the first lap I rode at my own pace while taking in the gorgeous views.   The second lap I found myself picking up the pace quite a bit up the big climb.  I caught up to a young lady who was the leader in the women’s category.  She was happy to have found a partner in me to join in the painful climb to the top.  After conversing for a minute, I found out she was Amy Beisel, the sister of pro-endurance racer Kalan Beisel, and this was her first endurance mountain bike race.  It appears as though endurance runs in the family.  I had to push really hard to help pull her up the mountain, and eventually she pulled away near the top.  She ended up getting first place, which was her first for the year after racing XC all year.  The poor girl was crying when she crossed the finish line because she was so happy.  After she pulled away, I rode alone for quite a while until the last part of the race.  A racer passed me on a downhill pavement section, and then I passed him on a short pavement climb before the last part of the race which was single track on Crested Butte Mountain Resort.   I went deep into my cave of pain to stay ahead on the single track climb before a long descent to the finish line.  He stayed on my tail the whole time, but I had enough left in me to sprint to the finish.  Remember how I mentioned earlier that this race was a Leadville 100 qualifier race?  Based on the age class size, they allot so many entries to each class.  My age group was given 10 spaces, so the top 20 would be given entries, but if anyone declined, the entry would get rolled down to the next person in the rankings.  Come to find out, the guy behind was in my age group… and I got tenth place!  Talk about a close one!  Luckily enough, 1 of the top 10 finishers did decline, so he got his entry too.

One more thing before I end this post.  During the first lap in a downhill single track section I hit a stomp with my pedal which caused me to come off the bike in front of the saddle, and somehow the bike jolted forward right into a very uncomfortable to spot.  I spent a good ten minutes crying out in agony after that one.  Remind me not to go to prison ever.

Wanted Sex Offender

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cyclocross is here!

Had my first CX race yesterday.  Thanks to a couple of upgrades, I may actually do well this year.  When I got into my accident back in May, the only thing that broke was my fork.  Honesty, I'm glad it did!  I didn't realize just how horrible that unlabeled carbon fork was until I put on an Easton EC90X.  The old fork flexed so much in the corners that I was never confident in the turns, and it was horrible at absorbing the rough terrain.  The EC90X feels solid in the turns, but is very forgiving on the rough terrain.  I love it!  I also decided to go tubeless with the Conti Cyclo X-King RaceSport tires I bought.  I set them up with Stan's NoTubes sealant on my Mavic Ksyrium wheelset.

Muddy CX Bike
The race course was a mixture of tacky, and muddy trail.  It had rained all day, but luckily stopped a couple of hours before the race started.  We had decent field size show for the race which always makes it more fun, and tougher.  At the beginning of the race during the charge for the hole shot, I heard a loud noise under my bike that sounded like glass.  I looked down to check that every thing was okay, and when I looked up I was in the back of the pack.  I spent the first lap passing like a mad man.  I got up to second place and hold it until the last lap were I was passed.  I was gassed from my first lap, and I didn't want to turn myself inside out to chase since I still have an endurance to do on Saturday.  I ended up getting 3rd place!  Pretty happy with that result.  Great start to the CX season!

UPDATE: Apparently that race cost me my bottom bracket!  The bearing on the left side ceased completely.  I serviced it, but it's still not that smooth.  Bottom brackets aren't too pricey so I'm just going to replace it.  Probably needs it anyway.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Yesterday I went on my last long training ride for 2012.  Finally!  I started my ride much later in the day than I usually do for long rides.  I didn't get out until 11:24am, so I was riding in the hottest part of the day.  Usually I only need a water bottle an hour to stay hydrated and carry two water bottles on me.  I went through the first two bottles I had in about an hour and half before I had to refill.  Once I refilled I figured I was just thirsty at the beginning of my ride and would have another two hours before needing to refill again.  That was a mistake!  I went through those two water bottles in about an hour and fifteen minutes.  Out of water with no water fountains nor gas stations anywhere close.  One good thing was I didn't run out until the long descent so at least I wasn't climbing without water.  It seemed like forever until I finally saw a potential water supply.  At the base of Red Rocks park is a wedding chapel.  I looked around for a water fountain, but there wasn't one.  However, there was a facet with a hose attached on the side of the building.  I took a quick look around for cameras and witnesses before shamelessly detaching the hose, filling up my water bottles, and reattaching the hose before making a quick get away.  I went through that pair of water bottles in about an hour, but luckily I knew of a water fountain close by.  It was a hot, painful ride, but I still felt it was a good strong effort so it was an success.  No more late in the day long rides for me though!

Friday, August 10, 2012

'Tis The Season

Ran to the local today booze shop today and saw something that made me very excited.  Samuel Adams Octoberfest is out!  I know, it's sad.  Colorado has more microbrews then you could think of, and yet I'm a sucker for this mass produced beer each year.  Anyone, back to the point.  Octoberfest equals cyclocross season is near!  Only four more weeks of two to five hour training sessions to prepare for my last endurance race, and then it's one to one and half hour training sessions for cyclocross season until January.  I'm super stoked this year for cross since for the first time every In Colorado there is going to be an ultra cross, the Boulder Ultra Cross.  Fifty miles containing mountain roads, singletrack, run-ups, barriers, cowbells, beer, and everything else that makes cross so much fun!  Heck, I might actually do well at this cross event.  That will be a change from me coming in among the mid pack feeling like my lungs are going to explode.  It's the first CX race of the year for me.  Perfect way to start the season.  I love my off-season!

Cyclocross is near!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Race Report: PV Cycle Derby

Welp, it happened again.  I over-trained and just like in the Ridgeline Rampage, my legs were sore before I even started the race.  Maybe it was the ride I did during my off week after the Breck 68 with a teammate, or the low calorie diet I was on to frantically lose as much weight as I could for this race, or maybe I just went too hard on the interval ride I did the previous Monday before the race, or perhaps I just needed more recovery time after the Breck 68.  Most likely it was a combination of all of them.  One way or another, my legs were overly sore on the Tuesday prior to the race and then I should have known to cut some training rides.  What can I say, I'm not the only A-type athlete who's battled with pushing too hard in training.  I remember reading an article by Georgia Gould about her lack of recovery causing her to be 'flat' during her Cyclocross season; and hence created #heckleme.  At least I'm in good company.  The race was 3 twenty-two mile laps.  It was a really windy day with a lot of open field fire roads so pace lining (yep, we all look like a bunch of roadies) was important to do well.  Unfortunately, I fell behind the group late in the first lap and spent the rest of first lap and some the second lap trying to catch up.  By mid lap during the second lap my legs were screaming.  Every climb was so painful I was actually biting my lip and clenching my teeth.  I thought the Breck 68 was going to be the most painful race of the year,but man was I wrong.  My body was saying, "Just give up", but my mind insisted, "Quitting isn't in your vocab, pansy!".   So I kept on grinding along.  I have never been so happy to cross a finish line.  I sat for at least ten minutes breathing hard before I even remotely came back to life.  Luckily only seven people showed up and I somehow beat two racers for a fifth place finish.  Good thing I did finish because it gave me just enough points to win third in the Rocky Mountain Endurance Race Series!  It's bittersweet though because I know I had the potential to podium that race, and it would also probably bumped me up to second in the series.  Still have a lot to learn about endurance racing, but for a guy with a training plan on a PDF, no coach to tell me when to back off, and the ambition to keep grinding along towards my goals no matter what obstacle, I can't complain too much.  I still have one more endurance race before cyclocross season starts.  Going to take a solid week off from biking, and take it easy the following week before hitting it hard again... but hopefully not too hard.

3rd in Rocky Mountain Endurance Race Series

Monday, July 16, 2012

Race Report: Breckenridge 68

EXPERTS ONLY!!! This race was tough! Not only was it a mean amount of climbing, a lot of the climbing was done on steep, loose, rocky sections. The descents were just crazy. Seriously, they'd be dicey on a nine inch travel downhill bike let alone a hardtail carbon XC bike. Super steep, big rocks, roots, and loose. The race had four huge climbs,and each one was a swift kick to the groin. The 'easiest' climb was the last one on a dirt rode which started at 9,917 and went up past the tree line at 11,438. To makes things worse, it rained at the end of my first loop (two big 34 mile loops in the race) so the second loop was a little moist in spots. There wasn't a lot of smiling coming from me during this race. It was a grunt fest the whole time. Despite being over my race weight and being half asleep, I somehow pulled out a 4th place. Almost 3rd by 1:31. On the last climb I passed the guy at the base, but he caught me near the end. I tried to up it a notch, but he pulled away more. Guess that's what I get for being a fatty. Still, with a 4th place finish I guess you can call that a good day of racing, but I certainly wouldn't call it a fun day in the saddle like my other races have been. And to top off my day of suffering, I hit Sunday afternoon traffic on the way home so my hour and half drive turned into a three hour drive in traffic with sore legs and a stick shift. Now if you excuse me, I have some Ibuprofen calling my name.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Race Report: Firecracker 50

The Firecracker 50 has been one of my favorite races of the year since I began endurance racing, but since I have the Breckenridge 68 a week and half later which is more of a priority, I decided to not do the whole 50.  Instead, I decided to do the race as a duo with my good friend Don.  Don is more of the casual rider, and this was actually his first mountain bike race (which I didn't know until after the race; awesome first though!).  My only goal was to pound out the fastest lap I could to give Don ample time to complete his lap before cut off.  That is exactly what I did, but not without some complications.  The first complication was that I had forgotten my saddle bag which had my CO2 inflator so instead I stuffed Don's frame pump in my jersey pocket.  Complication number two happened during a downhill section were there was a slower rider in front of me who I attempted to make a quick move to get around, but instead took a spill which caused the frame pump to fall out.  I have never raced this race without getting a flat, which brings us to complication three.  I was riding along on some sweet singletrack when I heard a loud noise coming from rear tire.  The culprit making the noise was a decent sized nail in my tire... that's right, a freakin' nail in the middle of the forest.  Why was there a nail in the middle of the forest you may ask?  Well, because several of the trails are on old mining trails and this one in particular had a old metal mining shoot running along side the trail.  And to our last complication, it had been awhile since I had put some sealant in my tire so a tube was needed.  Without a pump my only option was to run until I found someone in the race crew because no one was going to stop to help out.  Luckily it wasn't too far off before I did find someone, but it still cost me 10-15 minutes.  I completed the lap around 2:15:00 which considering my difficulties was pretty good.  Don was up, so I figured I'd keep him company for awhile since the first six miles is up a dirt road.  Once we hit the singletrack, I figured I had already climbed so I might as well reward myself... then Don wanted me to help support him on the second and only other big climb... might as well reward myself some more... just did the only other big climb anyway... so much for only doing half the race!  Yep, I ended up doing the whole fifty!  For the sake of proper recovery, probably not the best idea.  For the sake of having a blast riding at a casual pace with a good friend, fantastic idea!  I wasn't going race pace for the second lap so I'm just going to consider it a long cool down.  Besides, it was fun seeing Don really tearing up the downhills.  On one really rocky dirt road downhill section that had singletrack going through it, Don chose the rock garden to blaze around a line of racers with a slow person leading the pack.  I was absolutely stunned... and then I shifted in my third ring and followed suit.  Good times!  Our official time was 5:29:06.2 and were 61st out of 85.  Not too bad at all for the guy that found one of the only nails out there and the first timer.  You couldn't rip the smile off my face after that race.  We both had an absolute blast!  Even enjoyed a good brew or two afterwards.  HFDB!

Chasing down my friend Don

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Midwest Mountain Bike Fest

This is how my past Friday went: 8%, 4%, 4%, 12%... no, I'm not talking about the grade of the hills I was climbing, I'm talking about the ABV I was consuming on my day off during the Midwest Mountain Bike Fest held in Davenport, IA. I had gotten in on Thursday night to start my camping trip out at Scott County Park in Long Grove, IA where the Midwest Mountain Bike Fest was held this year hosted by my favorite club, FORC. Friday started with a fast loop at Scott County with my buddy Paul. After Scott County, it was off to Sunderbruch Park in Davenport, IA with some guys visiting from Michigan. That's where the ABVs started, and then continued at lunch at the Filling Station with some tasty wings. Once back at Scott County, the Michigan guys gave me an awesome 12% beer before embarking on the night ride. So, here I was on Friday night with a group of other mountain bikers preparing to start a night ride. I had no lights, and probably couldn't even walk a straight line. Now the no lights thing I've learned to master before. You simply just have a good friend in front with lights and another in back with lights, and just really trust the guy in front you to have a good line. Everyone I followed had a great line, but the last key to this riding format is being able to hold a line yourself. When I started riding I could see my front tire going everywhere on the trail but straight. The result was me crashing... a lot! After the hundredth crash, I finally forced myself to concentrate enough to make it back to the campsite without impaling myself onto a tree first. As a high level mountain bike racer in Colorado, I wasn't too proud to have fallen as much as I did... but did I mention 12% ABV! Oh well, at least I didn't hurt myself too badly other than a badly bruised right thigh and a bent brake lever on my friend's bike that I will be replacing for him. Saturday was more crash free as I opted to skip the night ride. There was a big beer potluck and grill out to occupy my time anyway. Great riding, great beer, and great friends! The Midwest Mountain Bike Fest was a huge success! Thanks to all my old and new friends for tolerating me for the weekend... now excuse me while I ice my bruised thigh and try to restore my dignity I lost on Friday night's ride.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bailey Hundo: Race Report

Saturday morning at 4:30 a.m. Bailey was freezing cold, as predicted. Arm and knee warmers in the middle of June... brrrr!  The shot gun (that's right, the race is started by a shot gun... gotta love Colorado!) went off promptly at 6 a.m. and we were off!  The first couple of miles were all dirt road climbs which made it nice to thin out everyone before hitting the singletrack. The course was designed very well in the fact that most of the climbing for the first half of the race was on doubletrack, and the rest was on some truly sweet singletrack!  I decided early on to back off from race pace so I wouldn't burn myself out too early. I'm glad I did because there was some really breath-taking views to be enjoyed, and some amazing trail to be ridden. By the end of 60 miles of twisty singletrack and descending, my index fingers were sore from all the braking (yeah, I do that 'braking' thing from time to time), and my triceps were burning. I've never been happier to ride my mountain bike on asphalt. After a 'break' on a good stretch of asphalt, we hit a looonnnngggg dirt road climb back to the top of the  mountain. You may think to yourself, "Dirt road? sounds easy!", but this was not the case. The road was steep, full of loose rock, and really choppy (kinda like the speed strips on the side of the interstate that when you hit them make your whole car vibrate in order to wake up swerving motorists who fall asleep at the wheel... except bigger). My legs were just screaming at this point. Once again, really glad I backed off during the first half of the race. The whole climb my legs were on the verge of cramping, but miraculously I never hit that point. After the first stage of the climb, we hit a false summit and got a break with some fast dirt road descending. In this race, there are two big water crosses. The first water crossing is the worst of the two and made the second one just a good way to rinse off the muck from the first. During the first, I was riding with a guy that I had been chatting with since the asphalt road. He warned me to stay left and just plow through it. Glad I did because about three-fourths through the crossing it was deep!  Seriously, it was up to my top tube. Oh, and did I mention the water was brown from all the cow pies dropped in it?  Yum!  Cow poo water!  Now somewhere between the last big climb and the last few miles my legs suddenly came back to life. This was probably because an afternoon thunderstorm was brewing above head and my legs didn't want to be out there any more than I did. On the last summit where the last aid station was, the storm finally let loose and it started hailing. I stopped under the aid station E-Z Up and threw on my rain jacket for last bit of the race which was muddy dirt road descents and short climbs that I was able to stand on to really plow through to the end. Hail turned to rain as I descended to lower elevation. Visibility was pretty low since my glasses were caked with mud and thus became a splash guard sitting at the bottom of my nose so I could see between the top frame of the glasses and my helmet. I really had to get on the brakes early to wipe off the water and mud before they even were semi-functional. I have to say, even with the terrible conditions I was smiling like a mad man flying down these steep dirt roads. I made one last standing climb to a short doubletrack section that desceded to the finish. Sprinting to the end, I crossed the finish line at 7:56:45.08. My goal was to do it in eight hours so I was pretty happy with the results. First thing I did was to make a stop at the beer tent for some delicious micro-brew. Not sure what it was, but it a fruity summer beer of some sort and it tasted absolutely amazing!  Have to say, best race I've done so far. What an awesome race!

So clean... that didn't last!

The only way I could see for the last few miles!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bailey Hundo: Big Day in the Cold and Rain

Well, it's finally here. The start of the Bailey Hundo is less than 24 hours away. Tonight I'll drive into Bailey and set up camp. Race start is at 6:00am. Weather is calling for 30% chance of Isolated T-Storms this afternoon until 10pm. In other words, 30% chance for camping in rain and lighting. Temperature at race start is 45 and will get up to 69 by the last 2-3 hours. Once again chance for Isolated T-Storms starting at 11am. Yep, it's going to be a long, cold, and potentially rainy day. Going to have to carry a lot of clothing for this 8+ hours ride. I'm a little nervous, but not as nervous I was on Monday. Now that I've checked off everything on my 'what to bring' list and looked over it a hundred times I'm a little more at ease. All that's left is to drive down, set up camp, and attempt to get a halfway decent nights sleep until I wake up at 4:30am in the dark and cold. What can I say, this is what I raised $500 to do, and I love it! The second the gun goes off I'm going to be in mountain biking bliss. There are some really good trails to be ridden tomorrow. Thank you to everyone that donated so I could do this race! Don't know how well I'll do, but failure is not a option! Game on!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Yeah, I'm One of Those Guys

Having some Midwestern mountain bike friends visiting this week really made me think, “Gasp! Should I ride with baggies or not!? What are they going to think about my shaved legs!?”. 

When I started mountain biking in the Midwest, it was always considered taboo to ride in just bike shorts and would most certainly result in ridicule. When I came out to Colorado, that same mind set lasted about a year for me until I really started to put in a lot of road miles where riding with bike shorts without baggies is not only accepted, you kind of look like the black sheep if you're seen road biking with baggies. Not too long after I started riding non-baggy during my off-road efforts as well. It may seem trivial, but when you ride as much as I do having one less layer to deal with makes a huge difference. Not only is it more comfortable, it's one less item you have to wash. Plus, you don't have to worry about the occasional catching of the baggies on the saddle case scenario. This isn't to say I've completely shunned baggies altogether. My rule is that if I'm on the road or on the hardtail race rig really pushing the pace I'm in bike shorts. If I'm on the full suspension and taking it easy I'm in baggies: more all-mountain style. And of course, when in a group ride I always follow the dress code that everyone else is wearing.

Now that I've explained the baggy or not topic, on to why I shave my legs. Now it's not like I bought a bike and bunch of gear and instantly started shaving my legs the day I began biking. It wasn't until mountain biking for six years and my second year of endurance racing in Colorado before I started shaving. It all started when I decided to 'trim' my leg hair two days before the Firecracker 50. The day before the race I went for short ride to warm up the legs with a friend who insured me that my 'trimmed' legs looked terrible and shaving them would actually be an improvement. I went to the store, bought a razor, and the shaving of the legs began. At first I was shy about my newly smooth legs, but I quickly came to the realization that I deserved to shave my legs. That's right, I DESERVE TO! Each year I put in thousands of miles and hours training. Each vein and muscle that protrudes through my skin is a medal of honor to me, and damn it I'm going to show them! Besides, if I want sponsors to take me as a serious endurance mountain bike racer I better look the part. If you look at the rest of the top finishers you'll be hard pressed to see hairy legs standing on the podium. Nuff said!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Warning: Graphic

For all of you who want to see the carnage, here's some pics of the accident.  My left arm took the bulk of the impact.  Before and After pics of the 63 stitches:
Before Pic
After Pic

The Breaking Point

Since January I have been training and dieting like a mad man. My world has revolved around power to weight ratio and every gram of food has been counted. As I lost the weight, I also was slowly losing my sanity. I was always hungry and therefore always irritable. I even gave up my beloved beer... that's right, I live in a state with the best beers you can find and I was too scared of the extra calories to indulge. This made me pretty unbearable to be around. Something had to break for me to regain my sanity, and that my friends came in the form of the back window of Nissan Xterra. Let me explain. On Thursday, May 29, I was in the midst of a tempo training session best done on the road. The route I take for this training session is on roads with the least amount of traffic... except for one intersection that connects the route. I was heading north on this intersection which is a two lane road with traffic merging from highway 58. It was around 5:40pm so it was rush hour, and there was a car merging into my lane. To make sure that I was not in the blind spot of the car merging, I sped up and looked at the driver until he made eye connect so I knew he saw me. As soon as we made eye connect I looked forward... traffic had come to a complete halt. I didn't even have time to feather my brakes. I ran into the back of a the massive yellow SUV going about 20 mph and flew through the rear window. I had done a half twist and was laying in the trunk staring at the ceiling with my right leg hanging out what was the window. The glass was everywhere, and so was my blood. The majority of the impact was take(n) by my left arm. An ambulance came and gave me a pricey ride to the hospital. I ended up getting about 63 stitches on my left arm, and about 5 on a deep cut on my left leg. Luckily nothing was broken. There I was, lying on a bed in the hospital and all I could think about was how I was not able to complete my training session.  I could have been killed and I was worried about not completing a training session. That's when I knew I'd lost my mind.  My club in the Midwest, FORC, has a saying, "Have Fun, Drink Beer". Somewhere in midst of all the training, dieting , and obsession of competing I lost focus of the fact that this is suppose to be fun.  Instead of training I spent the weekend drinking some beer and having fun.  On Monday I decided to do the six hour ride I had planned on doing on Saturday in order to train for a one hundred mile charity race I have in a few weeks.  It ended up taking six and a half hours instead.  Although ever bump mind me grit my teeth, I had a blast.  For now on I'm going to drink a little more beer and make sure I'm having fun even in the midst of training.  HFDB!

Bloody, but still smiling!
The long ride only four days after accident... just follow the blood trail to trace the route!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Race Report: Battle the Bear

It was cold and lightly raining when I woke up early Saturday morning. (I was) Not exactly thrilled to embark on a race in such conditions (and) I was slow to get ready. I left ten minutes later than I had intended and had to cut my warm-up short. I arrived at the start line with only two minutes to spare before the start. Within seconds to the start we all heard thunder...(change... to ;) not what you want to hear starting a sixty mile race. It was about five minutes within the race when all of a sudden it started to downpour. In seconds the singletrack turned to peanut butter. The first climb my rear tire was spinning out, and by the second climb it turned into (a)cyclocross (race) because we all had to run our bikes up the hill. After a season of cyclocross the adverse conditions really didn't bother me too much and I intended to use it to my advantage. My legs were feeling pretty good and I was cutting through the racers ahead of me fairly easily. And then it all came to an abrupt end. About halfway through the lap the ranger was waiting on a road cross letting everyone know the race was canceled(cancelled). Bikes and racers were caked in mud, and everyone was freezing cold. Hours of bike maintenance and laundry for maybe thirty minutes of racing... yep, sounds like cyclocross to me! Oh well, it was for the best. The damage we did to the trails in a few minutes was already too much. The Battle of the Bear will have to wait until August when it will be rescheduled. I went home, took the hottest bath I could, grabbed a beer, and proceeded to cleaning my bike and clothing. With the race canceled (cancelled) my plan to take a recover(recovery) week turned into a hard week of training in preparation for the Bailey Hundo. Actually, this all works out great for me since the following week will now be a light week and I had intended on going out of town anyway. Plus, I was looking for a race to do in August anyway to break things up. Bailey Hundo, here I come!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Race Report: Ridgeline Rampage

Within five minutes of my warm up I knew it was going to be a long day. My legs just didn't feel 100%. This was probably because a forty five minute easy day I had the previous Tuesday turned into an hour and half with the first fifteen minutes pushing harder than what I should have uphill to catch up with my friend. It could of also been my Wednesday tempo ride being in the mid 70% of my max HR when it should have been in the lower 70%. Or maybe I was just having an off day. Whatever the case, I just wasn't feeling it. The start of the race was a quick hole shot. I was the fifth to the singletrack, and breathing much harder than what I should have been breathing at my level of cardio. I managed to make quick work of the four racers ahead of me and was sitting in first mid first lap. Within minutes Jason Hanson of Bandwagon Racing, who was one the unfortunate guys that flatted out at the Voodoo Fire ahead of me, was on my tail. Rather than beat on each other we decided to spend a lap taking it a little easier since we had a decent gap. Jason apparently was feeling strong that day (or I was just feeling that weak) because he was pulling away from me a little about two thirds into the lap. Out of the blue another racer passed by me. When he caught up to Jason the race was on for the two of them and they were off. Jason was able to hold him off and ended up winning by two minutes. Awesome to see since he had such bad luck two weeks prior. For me the race turned grim. By lap three of the six laps my legs were really feeling it. One by one I watched racers pass me.  I was helpless to attack.  I ended up 11th in 30-39 and 45th overall. Not at all what I had hoped for, nor was it a display of what I'm capable of. As bad as the day was, I still managed to beat my previous time by almost twenty five minutes. I guess I can't expect every race to go great, but I'm still pretty disappointed in myself. All I can do now is analyze what might of caused this and not make the same mistakes in the future. Battle the Bear is in two weeks which is my home stomping grounds since I've used Bear Creek Lake for endurance training several times. Hopefully I can redeem myself there. Heres' the stats: 

Pics from the race:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Voodoo Fire Pictures

Finally got all the pictures from last weekends race.  Enjoy the pics of me looking all nerdy racing with my eyeglasses on.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Team Kit!

New Pedal Pushers Cyclery team kit is in!  Not the greatest picture, but here it is:

Well, even if I don't win I'll at least look good out there.  Very cool team kit.  Nice job guys!

Monday, April 23, 2012

First Race Report, Voodoo Fire

The first race was the Voodoo Fire down in Pueblo, CO. This was a three lap 66 mile tight, twisty, and very rocky course with lot's of sharp shale rock. Here's the Garmin info:

This race was not without some good luck, and some bad luck. Starting with the bad luck, when I got up in the morning and went to put in my contacts I noticed that one was missing. Not a clue where the missing contact must have went I had to go to plan B. I wore my glasses instead which aren't exactly great for seeing around twisty corners. Since it was probably the most twisty course I'll see all year, I have to wonder how much better I would have done with my contacts, but that's how it goes. After a chilly warm up, it was time to race! I was the second person to the singletrack. Me and the racer ahead of me spent quite awhile getting through the tail end of the 20-29 age group before things cleared up. I was able to pass him and was ahead for awhile, but then was passed by him and another racer during the second lap. As I was riding along I saw one of the racers who was ahead of me on the side of the trail with a flat tire. That meant that at the time I knew I was at least second. I picked up the pace to see if I could close the gap, but the racer I thought was ahead of me was no where in sight so I played it safe on the last lap so not to fall victim to a flat myself. I crossed the finish line at an official time of 5:06:30.1. The announcer said he thought I may have been first for 30-39 age group, and as I was walking to gather my things it was made official. I ran into the racer I thought was first. He had flatted four times before calling it quits. Lucky for me, but terrible luck for him. I really hated to hear that since I know how hard everyone trains all year, and to be disqualified because of a flat just sucks. Next race my friend. So there you have it, first place in 30-39 age group!
1st Place!

It's good to know that all the hard work has paid off. I know my loved ones have put up with a lot over the last few months since I haven't always been in a great mood after hardcore dieting, and riding in the freezing cold winter nights. Thank you to my beautiful wife and my friends for putting up with me! This win is for all of you. And of course, couldn't have done it without my team Pedal Pushers Cyclery! Great start to the season!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sylvan Island Stampede Photos

Just a few photos from the race last weekend.

Race requirement: Have a good time.

It's probably best the course tape covers my face... who wants to see that anyway!?

Craving the turn

Pushing before a short steep hill

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Training Day In Santa Barbara

My wife and I had a great trip to Santa Barbara.  The hotel had bikes to use so that's how we got around.  Downtown was about four miles from the hotel.  We headed out in the morning to do some shopping, then went to Trader Joe's and grabbed stuff for a picnic by the beach.

Cruiser Bikes by the beach
After basking in the sun for awhile we headed to The Brewhouse for some samplers.

Samplers at The Brewhouse Santa Barbara, CA

After The Brewhouse we went to Union Ale for four more samplers and then off to dinner at Brophy Brother's which over looked the ocean.  There was an hour wait at Brophy Brother's so we went to a local pub.

Telegraph White Ale at pub while waiting to be seated for dinner...  that bottle was two and half glasses worth!

After a day of fun in the sun we headed back to the hotel for some much needed hot tub time then off to bed.  Awesome day!  Rode about thirteen miles in total at a nice slow cruiser pace.  Great training day!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Recovery Week A Success!

After taking off Monday and Tuesday,  followed by a light ride on Wednesday, by Thursday I felt much better for Friday's two hours with short thirty second max efforts.  It was the right amount of intensity to test the waters and see how I was feeling after hitting the wall last week.  I felt great! I was even able to ride with some Pedal Pushers teammates for a little bit.  Thursday I shuttled Mount Falcon with some midwestern friends whose weak lungs couldn't handle too much climbing in altitude.  It took me awhile to acclimate myself so I felt their pain.  After the ride, I rushed to pack and make it to the airport for a much deserved weekend trip to Santa Barbara, CA that my wondeful wife surprised me with.  She is a flight attendant (therefore we fly free) so we try do these weekend trips whenever I'm not training or racing on the weekends.  Best wife ever!  Biking, travel... yep, I have a rough life, I know.

My trail bike, 2008 Giant Trace X1, on Mount Falcon.  The gold RaceRace Atlas handlebars and Crank Brothers Joplin dropper seatpost is my sad attempt to make it an all mountain rig... gotta love the gold bling though!

Picture of me climbing White Ranch and somehow smiling... yes, I love the climbing as much as the downhill... I'm one of those weird kids.

Balcony of the hotel in Santa Barbara, CA!  Can't believe I'm saying this, but the humidity feels nice with the 70's degree weather... and humidity is one of the big reasons I left the Midwest in the first place!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Parasympathetic Overtraining

Eureka! I've found it! After doing some research on over training I figured out what was going on! Whenever you see articles about overtraining it always talks about your HR being higher than normal. With Parasympathetic Overtraining the opposite happens, your HR is lower. This happens to a lot of endurance racers and is exactly what was happening to me. As blogged about in my topic “The Dreaded Dead Legs Experience”, it was getting harder for me to keep my HR up during my Wednesday threshold (maximum steady state) workout even though my perceived exertion felt like I was really pushing it. By Friday I was cashed. There's a great blog post about it here: http://troyshellhamer.blogspot.com/2012/03/parasympathetic-overtraining-and.html. Looks like I really need to start paying more attention to my perceived exertion especially during hard training blocks. Maybe now that I'm more aware of the signs of it I can better prevent it from happening again.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Feeling pretty let down after failing one of the most critical training days in my winter/spring training. It was apparent I needed a break physically, and mentally. Luckily, I had some out of town guests that were good friends of my friends back in the Midwest that needed a mountain bike tour guide. I decided to bring them to a local trail that was easy to shuttle to the top so they didn't have to do much climbing in the high altitude, and I could save my legs from climbing as well. We also met up with even more Midwest vacationers who are good friends with one my Colorado transplant friends. We all enjoyed some down hilling together and then met up with my wife at the bottom who brought sangria and a snack while we waiting(waited) for (the)cars to be retrieved from the top of the mountain.  Best wife ever!  Great times were had and it was awesome to ride with somebody other then my own thoughts. I also took a break from logging my calories and over indulged in some really good grilled food for two days. Made some new friends, ate some good, and even had some good beer for the first time in weeks. After a fun weekend it's time to get back on track and start my recovery week. Going to cut out a day off of training and really going to listen to the body. If I'm not feeling it from the start I'm not going to attempt riding. Recovery at this point is much more important then(than getting in a ride) getting a ride in.

The Dreaded Dead Legs Experience

Well, it's happened. I've hit a wall that I've never hit before. The dreaded feeling of dead legs as result of over training. As blogged about on March 26, I had a hard week of training and positive results. I want into the beginning of the second week of the training block with high hopes of having another great week. Monday's VO2 max went well. I took it easy on Tuesday for my recovery ride by hitting the dirt jumps at the local Golden Bike Park... maybe should have took a few more breaks between hitting the jumps since my legs aren't used to jumping. Wednesday I should have took the hint that over training was occurring and backed off. I had three Maximum Steady State intervals with efforts uphill. The first interval I felt a little weak, but decided to do the second interval anyway since sometimes the first interval your still not quite warmed up. The second interval I was able to do, but it was a lot more of an effort then what it should have been. Stubbornly I did the third interval anyway. I should have did the first interval and known that a recovery was needed, but I guess I figured a day off on Thursday was going to be enough... that was a mistake. Friday was a 3.5 hour ride with a 2 hour tempo effort. I had to cut the tempo effort short by 20 minutes because I could feel the effects of over training worse then ever. I was really hoping by cutting the Friday training short I'd somehow miraculously recovery enough for Saturdays 5 hour hard endurance training. Instead Saturday was a disaster. I couldn't even hit the low HR zones to warm up. I ended up doing a 3.5 hour death march ride before calling it quits. My diet also played a key role in my over training. On Thursday I broke 150 was done to 149. I was so caught up on trying to hit my max power to weight ratio that I continued to cut calories during two critical weeks that I needed the extra calories. Fail.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Riding The Ranch

Headed out to White Ranch for my 2.5 hours ride with Maximum Steady State uphill efforts. Hit Belcher Hill Trail hard up hill three times and came back down it three times. Each time I was pushing pretty hard uphill to keep my heart rate in the proper zone. Apparently I wasn't the only one that thought White Ranch was the place to ride. I passed at least 20 people heading down after each hard effort, and then turned around to do another interval and passed the same people again. Hopefully I didn't offend anyone out there. Wasn't trying to show boat, just trying to stay in my HR zone. Great to see that many people out there enjoying the mid 70's temperature in March!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Any Time, Any Weather

Monday was the scheduled VO2 maxes uphill day. The temp was nice in the 70's, but it was another windy Colorado day. I elected to ride the hardtail out to a nearby steep uphill fireroad with the wind at my back as opposed to taking the road bike uphill into the wind. Riding in this adverse condition made me think of all the times that I have ridden in trouble weather. Just a couple weeks ago I rode when the wind has even stronger. On one section the wind was so strong it blew me off my bike and tossed my sunglasses a couple of yards. I've ridden in rain, sleet, and snow (sometimes in the same day). One time it was sleeting/snowing so badly several motorists stopped to ask if I needed a ride. I've also ridden extreme cold weather were even with two layers of gloves and hand warmers the downhills I had to stop several times on the downhill to warm up my hands. Sure, I spend a fair share in my basement on a trainer, but there are just some training rides that cannot be simulated on a trainer effectively. My theory is that every time I ride in these adverse conditions when no one else is crazy enough to try it gives me a little bit of an edge on the competition who are warm and dry on there trainer. We'll see if it pays off this spring.

Monday, March 26, 2012

One Week Done Of Two Week Hard Training Block

One week done, one more to go!  These two weeks are the hardest weeks I have for training.  So far this week:
Monday: 2 hours with VO2 max (zone 5+) efforts uphill
Tuesday: 1.5 hour recovery ride
Wednesday: 2.5 hours witMaximum Steady State (MSS) (zone 4-4.9) efforts uphill
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 3 hours with long tempo (zone 3-3.9) effort
Saturday: 4.5 hour endurance with 1 hour warm up, hard effort for 3 hours, 30 min cool down
Sunday: Rest... is walking 9 holes of golf considered active recovery?

Here's the results from Saturday:

Last year I did this same training session at Bear Creek Lake so I compared my results starting after the 1 hour warm up until the 30 min cool down.  In the same 3 hours of hard effort I went 6.53 miles more this year!  Good sign of improvement!    Next week is more of the same except with a 3.5 hours with long tempo effort on Friday, and a 5 hour endurance on Saturday.  Lots of fun!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Race Bike

2009 Giant XTC Advanced
FRAME:  Advanced-Grade Composite
FORK:  Fox F100 RL, 100mm travel
SHIFTERS:  Shimano XT Rapidfire
REAR DERAILLEUR: Shimano XT Shadow, top normal
BRAKES:  Avid Elixer R 160F/160R
BRAKE LEVERS:  Avid Elixer R
CASSETTE:  SRAM PG990 11/34, 9-speed
CRANKS:  Shimano XT, 22/32/44
BB:  Shimano XT, External
RIMS: Stan's ZTR Crest 26"
HUBS:  Stan's 3.30
SPOKES:  2.0/1.5 DT Revolution
TIRES:  Continental X-King Protection, 26x2.2 Folding
HANDLEBAR:  RaceFace NEXT Flatbar
SEATPOST:  Thompson Setback 30.9
SADDLE: Fizik Tundra with Carbon Braided Rails color Orange
GRIPS:  Ergon GX2 Leichtbau Carbon color white
PEDALS:  Crank Brothers EggBeater SL

Not sure the exact weight, but it's somewhere between 22 and 23 lbs with pedals.  Some of my favorite components are the Fizik Tundra saddle, Ergon GX2 grips, Stan's ZTR Crest Wheelset, and Continetal X-King Protection tires.  The Fizik Tundra is the most comfortable saddle I've found so far.  Long hours in this saddle is no problem at all.  And it's bright orange!  Added bonus!  Orange highlights on the site, orange saddle, my teams color is orange so the team kit is orange... yeah, there's a bit of color scheme going on here.  The Ergon GX2 grips also makes the long rides a lot more comfortable.  They are awfully stylish in color white.  Yes, they are a bit of a pain to keep clean, but totally worth it!  No matter what Ergon grips you choose, they are a must for any endurance racer.  I'm a bit of a fan boy for the Topeak Ergon Racing Team.  Dave Wiens, Jeff Kerkove, and Sonya Looney are all awesome endurance racers!  Jeff Kerkove's blog was an inspiration for me to start my own.  The Stan's ZTR Crest Wheelset matched with Continetal X-King Protection tires have shed pounds off the bike.  Although light, the wheelset is super stiff!  Can really feel it when I get out of the saddle.  The X-King Protections are a light tubeless ready tire, but the sidewalls are tough enough to run at crazy low psi!  The rolling resistance on them is awesome to without sacrificing any grip.  It's not the sub 20 lbs race machines the pros have, but without any sponsorship help (yet) it's what I have to work with.  No worries though since my 'Porsche' (that's right, I call it my 'Porsche') still can get the job done!

Damn Those Skinny Kids

I've said it once, and I'll say it again... POWER TO WEIGHT RATIO! This was the BIGGEST downfall I've had in my previous years of racing. I had the power, but the weight thing was out of hand. I've heard a few times that endurance racers can eat what they want since they burn so many calories; well tell that to my body because that wasn't working! Doesn't help that I have the uncanny ability to eat like a 400 lbs man. Seriously, if I wasn't trying to be a professional endurance mountain biker I'd be a professional eater. It wasn't until I started logging my calorie intake that I really started to shed a lot of pounds. In fact, it wasn't until I lost the weight that I realized just how heavy I was. I wasn't even this skinny in high school! Looking at my training logs from just a month or two back, I'm already seeing huge gains in performance. I've come to the cold hard fact that if you want to be as fast as the skinny kids then you have to become a skinny kid yourself. Only downfall is having to shop for new clothes. At least size small seems to always be on clearance.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Big Changes For 2012

Many elements have gone into my training for 2012. The first improvement for 2012 started in fall 2011 with the purchase of a cyclocross bike. I raced from September to December in cyclocross races. This is a huge improvement from the previous fall of not riding for three months. Once CX season was done I turned the cyclocross bike into a road bike and decided to do more of my high intensity training on the road. This is another huge improvement from 2011 were I did most training rides that are best done on the road on dirt instead which caused me to have less than optimal training sessions. My recovery in 2011 was less than great as well. I would go too hard on days that I should of taken it easy which translated to tired legs when I needed to excel on hard training days. Another big part of recovery that I lacked in 2011 was taking better care of my legs. For 2012 I purchased a foam roller. The foam roller along with massage and stretching regularly has kept my legs fresher than they have ever felt. Power to weight ratio in 2011 was not even close to par with other racers. Losing quite a bit of weight already, I can feel the power gain on climbs. A few more pounds and I'll be at the perfect power to weight ratio for myself. Another area that needed some pounds dropped was on the race bike. I bought a new wheelset and dropped 2.4 pounds which is 4.8 pounds of rotational weight. Hopefully all these elements translate to a season of top place finishes in 2012.

First Blog!

For my very first blog post let me tell you a little bit about myself and the reason for this blog. I started riding mountain bikes in 2005 and started racing in 2008. Every year since I started racing mountain bikes I have gotten a little more serious about racing each year. My first year in Colorado in 2010 I hit the ground running by switching from XC racing in the Midwest to an endurance racing in Rocky Mountains. The first year of endurance was a lot of trial and error with nutrition during races, adjustments to the bike, getting used to the long hours of training, etc. The second year went much smoother and I was able to nail down a good on bike nutrition plan, but I still had a lot of room for improvement. 2012 needs to be the year I make huge gains in order for me to live out my dream of one day being a professional endurance mountain biker. This blog is about my journey along the way to obtaining my dream and is dedicated to my passion of endurance mountain bike racing.