Monday, August 8, 2011

I'm back!

After a long hiatus on the blogging scene I decided I am going to give 'er a try again. Lots of fun stuff going on recently so try to keep up!

Yesterday was the Hines Park Time Trial. A 20k (12 mile) out and back TT on relativity flat, notoriously windy Hines Drive. This was my first official road time trial so I didn't really know what to expect. It couldn't be that hard, right? Ride until I'm about to puke, then scale it back a notch. The cool thing about this race is they have an Eddy Merckx category (meaning no aero equipment). Looking at the times from last year and given my (lack of) training I figured this would be the right class for me to enter.

The first thing I noticed about this road racing thing is how organized it was. When I rolled up to the start tent the guy ahead of me went off at exactly 10:00:00am. I'm amazed they were able to start on time after sending 100+ people through the gate starting at about 8:00am.

Off the line I felt good. I pedaled my way up to what felt like a pretty good pace and held it there. I spoke with a guy before my start that mentioned a fairly strong headwind on the way back so I tried to keep my head down and hammer until I saw the turn around. It felt good to pass some people on the way out. It seemed like one by one I was reeling them in. I saw the orange barrel and cones for the turn around up ahead, clicked it down a few gears and slowed to make the tight turn. Once I was clear the head wind made itself known immediately.

6 miles back went fairly quick, but seemed to be full of hills that I didn't remember on the way out less than 15 minutes ago. Picking off one after another rider I set my sights on a rabbit quite a ways up the road and didn't pass him until less than a mile from the finish. We both commented on how brutal the wind was on the way back. I put my head down and pushed the biggest gear I could through the finish line. I missed the actual finish chute (I was going so fast everything was a blur... yeah, right), but the race volunteers were able to record my time manually. I felt great yesterday and my time of 32 mintues and some change was good enough for 10th place (unofficial).

Thanks to Kristen for the photos!

This week is the last Flying Rhino's Wednesday Night Worlds race at the Waterford Hills Racetrack in Clarkston for the summer. Be sure to come out and ride!

The Birmingham Bicycle Festival will be on August 28th in downtown Bham. They'll also be hosting a criterium race on the same day. Also going on that (busy) day is the $150 Bicycle Challenge. Can you build a bike for $150 or less and ride it 62 miles? If you're interested in building a bike to ride with us and want an invite please let me know.

Ride on friends! 1gear1love

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lumberjack 2010

This year was all about change. I decided that I am tired of burning myself out on training and racing. I decided that I just needed to get back to riding bikes for fun. And that is just what I’ve done this year. Rather than bind myself to a rigid training schedule, I just ride when I want to. Tuesday night brick workouts, Thursday night group rides, riding bikes is FUN again!

Yesterday was an amazing day for a mountain bike race. The weather could not have been any better. It was very nice to sleep in an actual bed the night before this race too (I’ll be camping before big races no more). 4:45am came pretty early on Saturday but I felt rested and refreshed and was ready to race. I ate as much as I could for breakfast and headed to the Big M.

I am pleased to report that I had a pretty uneventful race. The roll out is always interesting on a single speed. I lined up in the front half, spun my balls off and got passed by about 200 people that I knew I’d catch and pass in the single track. As always the first lap is a bit of a pain trying to match speeds with people in front of you. Why is it that no one can cruise down hills without brakes? Easy on the gravity jokes there folks… There were brake bumps (BAD ones) on sections of trail that didn’t even require braking.

I was on cruise control all day- trying not to blow myself up early. I stopped at the aid stations and walked the hills I couldn’t ride. I was focusing on keeping my heart rate down and breathing under control, I knew I had a long day ahead of me. Coming up the cement step and around the corner, I saw the start line, I was sure I was seeing things, 2:54:44? Really? I was well on pace to attaining my (now seemingly achievable) goal of 10 hours. After a quick stop to refuel (perogies!) and fill up water I was on my way.

Lap two was much more of the same. I rode with a guy named Rob from Ann Arbor for quite a while. I had a few moments of suffering (the 10 miles after the aid station were a bitch! I swear it was ALL up hill). I had a few moments of worrying that I hadn’t eaten enough or had eaten too much. The aid station was great. Seeing familiar faces is one heck of a pick-me-up. I was in a great mood after the stop and it helped me finish the lap.

Lap three and a bit more suffering. I rode most of this lap alone. I’m glad to have had my mp3 player with me (Metallica, Beastie Boys, Johnny Cash). I caught up with Jeremy Karel a few miles before the Aid Station and rode with him for a bit. After the stop it was much more of the same. I was feeling pretty good after the stop so I decided to pick it up a bit. I passed a few guys on single speeds and I saw Steve Kunnath in the distance (thankfully, he was walking the same hills I was). Steve is a monster and I just couldn’t catch him. I did pass my buddy Craig about ½ a mile from the finish line (also on a single speed).

Even though my lap times were slower each lap I felt pretty strong throughout the race. I pedaled my way to a 9:04:04 and that was good for 21st in the single speed category. I had a bit too much gear (32x16x29) and next year I’ll take an 18t on the back. It was great to see old friends and meet some new ones. Great job to all of the 19 Greyhounds! Rick Plite’s events are always top notch and this was no exception. Thanks to all of the volunteers and everyone else that made this race possible!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Night Worlds

Saturday was the 2nd Annual Barry Roubaix Killer Gravel Road Race. The RACING GREYHOUNDS has a strong showing with a bunch (exact number) of riders and 2 podiums- Big props to Jeffro for taking 2nd place in the tough Expert Fixed Gear category which included some great riders like Dan Frayer, Joe Kucharski and Jimmy Raggett. Aaron McCreedy took second in the Expert 19-29 class. Full results are here

Tuesday night is a good night for an ass kicking, and that's just what I got tonight. If you like to ride the pain train check out:

Next up is the Yankee Springs Time Trial on April 18th. See you there.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Guess What I'm Wearing...

Without further Adeux, here is the 2010 Cycle To Fitness Racing Greyhounds team kit:


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Where have all the Cowboy's gone?

Its that time of year again. I know it because I am going through withdrawls from all of my velo-friends. Its also the time when we start spending money on new bike parts and drafting up race schedules and training plans that will all fall apart within the first week of the season.

A few things that happened in the cycling world since my last post:
  • I'm now gainfully employed. Bottom line- I should have ridden more when I had the time.
  • The PSSWC was again an absolute blast. Even though I dropped 4 beers out of an expensive 6 pack of Bell's.
  • I placed 9th in Expert 24-29 at Iceman on my Soul Cycles Dillenger SS 29er
  • I got my ass kicked at several Cyclocross races around the state of Michigan this fall
  • The Racing Greyhounds adopted a bunch of new Puppys

First up this year will be the 35 mile variety of Barry Roubaix the fixed gear.

One gear One love.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fear and Loathing in Udell

Last weekend I learned a hard lesson. Nothing is a sure thing. I thought for sure I was going to slay the beast that is the Big MF'r.

Everything was going well all weekend, I arrived at the campsite early on friday and got everyhting set up, my body felt great at the starting line and I cruised through the first lap in a time of 2:14:48.
I was on pace to break my 10 hour goal and I felt pretty decent dispite the heat and humidity.

This was supposed to be my big race of the season, everything leading up to June 20th has been training for the LJ100. Sometimes things don't quite go as planned. The bike slid out from under me in a corner and I went down hard. I jumped up and took a quick inventory, I at first glance I was fine. Then I tried to pedal. it felt like someone had hit me in the right thigh with a baseball bat. I made it to through the inner loop and stopped at the 8 mile aide hand off station. I needed help getting the bike out from under me because I could barely put any weight on my leg. some nice woman offered to help me stretch it out. When she touched my leg I about screamed. I layed there for a while trying to decided if i was going to go out and finish another 73 miles. My head said yes, but my leg said no. I had to call it quits after 33 miles. this was my first DNF ever. I am sorely dissipointed as the course conditions were perfect and the weather was great (if not a little hot). I will be back with a vengance next year. I've got 9:30:00 in my sights.

The rest of the Cycle to Fitness RACING GREYHOUNDS did and outstanding job. Seven members of the team finished the race, but everyone that attempted did a great job.

For the rest of the year I'll focus on staying healty and maintaing my fitness by riding some of the Fun Promotions 6/12/24 hour races, Cyclocrossing in the fall and training for the Dances With Dirt 50K trail run in September.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mohican100 Race Report!

This race was the first true test of my fitness of the year. I’ve logged more miles already this year than I have ever before and I was anxious to see if my time in the saddle had paid off.  I figured this race would be a good way to see how I‘ll stack up for my goal time of under 10 hours at Lumberjack. It’ll be a stretch, considering my time last year was 12:05. This was also my first race using a Camelbak and I thought I would try listening to my MP3 player to help the loneliness that sets in at about mile 50 of a long race.

I just got my bike all dialed in the week before with a new carbon flat bar and a WhiteBrothers Rock Solid Carbon Fork. I was nervous about my choice of 33x16 on my 29er after riding the 24 miles of the State Park loop on a 33x15 the week prior. I knew I’d be walking some hills no matter what gear I ran, so I figured 33x16 was a solid choice.

What an amazing weekend this turned out to be! The Mohican100 experience was everything I hoped it would be. The course had everything. Long grinding hills, short steep hills, technical switchback climbs (some of you may scoff at my use of the term technical, but on a rigid single speed, anything more than a paved bike path can be classified as “technical”), blistering fast, 42mph, downhills, 16mph flats, paved roads, two-track, dirt roads, and singletrack.
 Had I not just ridden it, I would have never believed that there were so many hills in Ohio.  CMo and I were discussing all weekend how much the landscape reminded us of West Virginia. 

With 11,000 feet of climbing, it seemed like turn after turn there was another monster hill waiting for you. Even the downhills were tough to enjoy because you knew something else was coming up.  Some parts of the course were cyclocross style, there is no way anyone (even the pros) rode this loose, sandy, steep two track stuff.

The race started out in downtown Loudonville which is sort of an archaic little town in rural Ohio with one stop light, one church and something like 5 or 6 bars. After a short ride from the campground, CMo and I lined up midpack and waited for the race to start. 
Almost exactly 7am and the police siren went off. 
The first challenge was navigating all the people, the second challenge was the gigantic hill we had to climb. After the funnel effect from 2 lane road to single track we filed in and basically walked the single track for about ½ mile. The first part of the race was through the Mohican State Park singletrack which is pretty amazing. 22 miles in I got the first flat I’ve ever had in a race.  It was a quick fix, but I had to borrow a tire lever from another racer who had a flat at about the same spot I did. He was having troubles with his CO2 so I let him borrow my pump.  Little did I know that we’d leap frog 4 or 5 times the rest of the day. At the end I found out that he went thought 5 tubes throughout the day. 

I stopped at the 2nd aid station and refueled. Digging though the drop bags to find mine I saw that everyone else’s drop bags consisted of water bottles and  gel packets. Mine had pierogies, baked potatoes, pretzels and  almonds. I guess I’m the only one who needs real food on long rides. After the second aid station we got spit back on two tracks and dirt roads then eventually back on to some single track.  

At this point I was contemplating my sanity, who the hell would ever sign up for a 100 mile mountain bike race?!  Why do I do this to my self? I decided I was selling all my mountain bikes and sticking to road riding. Thankfully 10 or so miles later, I got my wits back started feeling a bit better. Aid station 4 came and I was glad to get a bit of a break. 

The last 28 miles were a bit of a blur, paved roads, dirt roads and the remaining 4 miles of  the Mohican state park trail. The trail spit us back out on route 3 right outside the campground, little did I remember that we’d have to climb all the hills that we’d descended in the campground on the way out.  It felt great to cross the finish line and still have legs to carry me.

After the race CMo and I went back to the campsite to clean up a 
bit then we headed back down for some post-race grub and suds. It was too bad all the good beer was gone and we had to drink some shit Budweiser swill. The food was Mongoilan BBQ style and was pretty good. But I had no appetite.  

We hung out and watched the award ceremony and waited for the 
swag to be given out.  It was awesome to see some hometown boys up on the Men’s Open podium (Simonson and Tanguy).

CMo and I both ended up with some Darn Tough Socks and Pro Gold chain lube. 

Here’s what I learned from this race:

1. CMo is the MAN.
2. Camelbaks look dorky, but are necessity for rides longer than 25 miles or so.
2. Pierogies are superfood!
3. ALWAYS carry more tubes than you think you’ll need. 
4. I am NOT selling my mountain bikes.
5. Listening to music helps take the edge off long rides. One ear only though!