Sunday, November 9, 2008

Iceman... and the "plan"

Iceman turned out to have near perfect conditions, all thing considered. The temps were around 40 and the rain for the most part held off, but the rain that we received the night before seemed to have really packed the sand in. I wasn't sure what to wear but figured that I have been warm enough at the CX races at similar temps so I went with what I have been racing cross in. I have never shivered soo bad in my life as I did at the starting line!! I was thinking that I made a big mistake and would be paying the price for the next 2 hrs!
Now as I said before... I had a plan. By riding the course in the lab earlier in the week, I had a general idea where the hills were and where the flats were. I had received a bike computer for my birthday and finally put it on the bike and had it working before we left. Part of the plan was to track where I was at to prepare for the hills... I couldn't get the computer to work during the warm-up!! When the starter said go, we were off... I don't remember ever feeling cold after that which made me very happy! Part 2 of the plan was to use my HR monitor to maintain a HR range that will keep me from blowing up... it worked up until the start and then freaked out and stopped reading. So much for the plan... I was letting the lead group of guys set the pace until we hit the first sand pit, which was called out, but I ended up taking the "bad line". This forced me off my bike and I was off and running. By the time I remounted the bike, at least 8-10 guys had passed me. I was thinking that it was only a mile (or less) into the race and I was already having issues, not a positive thing. I then just put my head down and ran my race. I was feeling pretty good and soon found myself riding with a guy for a while, so we talked a little. We found out that we were in the same class... and he told me that he ran 1:58 last year. I started thinking that I may be on pace for a sub 2 hr race. We passed a lot of people, I think I passed more people in this one race than I did in all the races this year. On one stretch, I put it in a big gear and attacked trying to gap him, but couldn't. Since he was in my class, I figured I would try and stay with him to the end and then race for the spot... this would have been a good plan until I caught one of the tandems. Now this wasn't the first tandem but it just so happens that I caught this particular one right before the final piece of single track and it took a long time before I could pass. By the time I got around them I was out of the hunt so I just hammered out the final miles. I figured that I had a decent time by the shear fact that I passed soo many people and had very little issues. I went over to the board and saw that not only did I break the 2 hr mark at 1:57:44 but I had also made the top 5 in my class!! WooHoo!!
Lastly, my favorite part of this race was that my wife also did the race and we got to hang out most of the weekend! This was her first Iceman and finished in a very solid time of 2:58!!

Next stop: Munson CX on Nov 16th in Monroe.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Sorry for the lack of updates... I have been getting harassed by a couple of friends. Time has been hard to come by with the kids in school. I have been spending time with Nathan in his Cub Scout en devours, we went to a trail blazer day and a camping weekend. We shot BB guns and bow and arrow... he is pretty good with the BB gun once we figured out to keep the barrel higher so the BB's wouldn't fall out!! Ash and James were both home for a few days. It was nice to spend time with them as they only make it home a couple of times a year. Another high point is that we are now back to one dog as Ash took Daisy with her back to NC. I am a little sad as Daisy and I had a bond, but she was high maintenance and Ash will give her the attention that she deserves.

Biking update - Massive fall out was fun, but I could have had a lot more fun with bigger tires. I have learned that skinny tires are good for grass and pavement, but are not good for much else. We are leaving for Iceman tomorrow... not sure how I feel about it as the weather is going to SUCK!! Cold and rainy is not my favorite riding weather, but it is a fun race with lots of people. I rode the complete course in the cycle lab at Fraser on Wednesday and I have a plan. CX racing has also consumed a lot of time. I will update more on that when I get back, but here are some pictures.

Start of Vets Park race

Barriers at Vets Park CX

STEEP run up at Lower Huron CX

Uphill barriers at Lower Huron CX

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Skinny tires for the 29er!!

Well they are on and the bike is now down to ~22lbs! We will see how much of a difference it makes at the next cross race. I am going to try them out on the Massive Fall Out Ride this Saturday... hopefully I don't land on the ground too many times!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

On The Limiter!!

As I woke up this morning, excited to try my first cyclocross race, I walked out the door to frost on the yard and on my windows. As I scraped my windows off, I contemplated what I was going to go do... Ride a bike in the cold on wet grass at max effort for 30 mins!? Sounds like fun right!? I arrived early and rode the course... the frost on the grass was collecting on my tires like I was riding in snow and I was having a hard time following the course. Once on the right track, I had it in my head what I needed to do to get through it in once piece. As I rolled up to the line it was somewhat what I expect, but not what I expected. Based on what I was told, I was expecting to see more than a couple of mountain bikes in the C-Men group. There were 2 or 3.... out of 27 in my class. I was feeling like I had brought a knife to a gun fight. Before I knew it we were off and I was struggling to keep up with the front pack. Once I settled in, we came up to the first set of barriers and I made it through. Now mind you that that I have only practiced a few times in my back yard... I was having a hard time committing as it is not natural to want to exit the bike while moving. As we worked our way through the course I buzz a few tires and drifted a few corner calling out my passes. I haven't used my HR monitor for most of the season as it is normally a distraction, but thought it might be useful during this race... every time I looked down at it, it was around 180-185 bpm. I wasn't going to ease up, so I quit looking. As I was finishing up my second lap I started to catch another group of riders which inspired me and I pushed as hard as I could to catch them. I worked my way through and gapped them by the time we made it to the beach. Due to my poor running ability, the next guy that I was chasing gapped me so I pedaled through to a 12 place finish. Hopefully with some barrier practice and some skinny tires, I can bridge the gap to the front of the field! What a great way to spend a beautiful fall day.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My race with Laurie to the Finish!

I wasn't originally going to talk about this, but since there are pictures, I figured I would share. During the Elite/Expert race, I was going out and running along side my friend Mike Riffe to cheer him on. When Laurie was coming around to the finish line, I figured I would do the same thing... then I decided that I might as well "race" her to the finish.

The final surge!

The finish!!

I had a really good time at this race due in part by the fact that it was a family affair. Nathan and Arianna also both raced in the kids race and had a great time wearing there metals around. I am really excited about next year because Laurie is talking about racing more!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Addison Oaks XC Race (3rd Place)

Since DNFing at Fort Custer (I was taken out by a guy that turned into me during a pass and broke my glasses) and getting off to a slow start this spring in the CPS due to being sick, this race was all about having fun. I think this trail is one of the best in the state as it is fast and flowing and just keeps getting better thanks to Pauly, Steve, and Chris. I have been feeling pretty good lately expecially after the Stony race as the pressure is off and I have had time to recover. I had thoughts of racing Expert at this event, but wanted to see how I would do against the riders in the CPS. When lining up, I looked around and noticed we had a big group and since the single track is fast and tight, I wanted to get out near the front early. My teammate Dave Messing had the same thoughts as we were leading the pack as we entered the trail. I stayed with Dave for about half of the first lap until Christian and MV went around me. I followed Christian for a while but we kept getting caught behind people. I passed Christian and headed out to see if I could reel in Dave and MV. I pushed on the hills and start passing people from the classes ahead... I think I took out one guy by accident (If you read this I am sorry!). If there is one thing that I need to work on, it is passing people! Later in the race I was almost taken out by a guy that crashed in front of me... it was a good thing that I gave him some room!!

One thing I enjoy more than anything is catching friends of mine and talking a little smack as I go by. Brian Brown is one of those guys that I seem to catch every race and he always lets me go by with little issue. I think I actually motivate Brian as he always comments on how long/short of a time/distance it takes me to catch him!! He along with the whole Precision Concrete Team have a great additude about racing! My friend Jeremy is another as we are on the same team and push each other on rides. I started to catch him in a spot where I could seem him early enough to tell him I was coming for him. Once I was behind him we rode together for a little while and talked... he then about took me out as he was "letting me by"... it pays to look ahead for trees!! We laughed about it and then hammered on. I was feeling really good towards the end and since I was passing SS guys, I was now on a mission to pass my friend Matthew Faraday. It was just my luck as we were on the grass going towards the finish line I saw him racing another guy, so I hammered to catch them. I caught them right at the finish line... mission complete!

My wife also did this race... as she did sooo well at Stony, I told he she had to race Sport at this race!! She was a trouper and made it around 3 laps with her last lap faster than her second. She finished next to last, but is now talking about racing next year!! She is very competitive and this will probably motivate her to ride even more.

I will probably do Grubers Grinder TT next, but the real focus for the end of the year is to finish Iceman in under 2 hrs.

Addison Oaks Chapter Benefit

The Addison Oaks race was a big deal for me not just because it is my favorite trail in the area, but because I was part of the group that was promoting it. This was the first chapter benefit race for the Metro North Chapter of the MMBA. Nick and Marty Shue and I have been working on this on and off all spring/summer. Unfortunately, the summer went by very, very fast and we found ourselves with a little over 2 weeks to go and a lot to get done. Fortunately, Marty works very well under pressure (See her blog – Corporate Hippie) and pulled the awards and shirts together in short order (Thanks for the design Jeremy… glad we didn’t do light blue shirts!! LOL!!). Mike Moss along with other volunteers stepped up to fill in the gaps on race weekend. I was a little nervous when I showed up in the AM, but Anne and John Gualt were great to work with and registration happened without a hitch due in part that Robin and Shari have had a fair amount of experience with registration and did a great job. This race has pulled ~250 racers for the last few years and at the close of registration we had 333!! The weather was great and the trail was in great condition thanks to Pauly, Steve, and Chris who have spent countless hours working on it including the new section that was debuted at this race. At the end of the day, we had very few if any real dramas and everyone seemed to have a good time. Thanks to all of the racers that came out to support the event because we could do with out you!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


OK... so the dealer called today and they complained to Honda that they are not getting enough Fits and are now receiving a Silver one and a Black one. They also informed me that someone backed out of a red one and it is now available. The color I want is White, but I don't know when I will get that one as the Black and Silver cars will not arrive until mid October. Anyway, I put up a poll to the left to see what you guys think.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Goodbye my friend!

OK... So I have this Ram3500 Diesel that I bought when I was hauling cars around and Laurie and I were looking at larger travel trailers. This has been my favorite vehicle of all time and I have had a lot of cars, including everything from a Camaro and Mustangs to Ford Lightning and a Chevy 454SS truck... probably around 20-25 in total. The funny thing is that now that my primary interest is biking, my 1-ton 4x4 Diesel truck has turned into a very nice bike hauler which is very amusing to people as well as my self! A bit over kill and not cost effective. So the truck is now sold and should be leaving me tomorrow. So what would someone that would drive a truck like this replace it with you ask. Well seeing that all that the replacement vehicle has to do is transport me to work, my kids to school and my bike to the trail, I decided that the most practical vehicle would be a Honda Fit (See picture below). It gets an easy 35+mpg, it has 4 doors, and my bike will fit in the back!! I know... its not as cool as the truck, but with the money I save on gas, insurance, and the cost of the car I could buy a very nice new bike every year (I've included a picture to the right of the one that I want... My birthday is only about a month away)!! Laurie, this is only a figure of speech as I know that you would kill me if I bought a new bike every year.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Stony XC Race

I have been looking forward to racing this race all year as it is my home course and I know it well. With the rain that we had earlier in the week, the course was shaping up to be very good come race day. I hadn’t been feeling that strong most of the summer and coming into this race was not different. Earlier in the week I felt like I didn’t have any legs left… so I took time off the bike and waited for the race. Sunday morning I woke to the sound of rain on the roof. I debated not going, but if I was to hold on to my position in the points I needed to show up. It rained all morning until just after the Elite and Expert guys went out. Soon the sun was out, I was warmed up, my legs felt great, and we were off. I used a little different strategy at this race. I decided to attack the 2 track climbs instead of conserve to try and get in front of the slower guys before the roller coaster. I started out easy filing in behind my teammate Mike Riffe and was mid pack by the first climb at which point I attacked passing 4-5 people putting me behind teammate Dave Messing who was following Paul Wood, the leader. Mike must have also liked my strategy as he caught up with us during the first climb after I went by him. I hung with the leaders for the first lap and part of the second lap until we caught the back of the SS class and were separated trying to pass in the single track. I then kept a steady pace for last portion of the race… UNTIL!! Chris Matthews, the point’s leader, flew around me in the last section of 2 track. I told him that I thought I was going to finally finish ahead of him for once!! I then got it in my head that I wasn’t going to let him beat me and hammered to get on his wheel. I drafted to the top of the hill by the team tent and then put the hammer down, went around him, and didn’t look back until the finish line. He later said that it was all he could do to catch me on the 2 track and when I passed him back, I stole his MOJO!! I finished 3rd at the race and also locked up 3rd in the series in the Sport 35-39 class. This turned out to be my best race of the year as I felt good the whole race, got to race with my teammates Dave and Mike, and had a finishing race with another competitor! My wife Laurie also raced her first XC race in the beginner woman 30 – death class and WON!! I am very proud of her!!

Start of the race!!

Dave Messing leading the train!

Mike and I... doesn't Mike look determined?

Waiting for the go!! Look at those legs!

Making it look easy!!