Monday, December 31, 2007

1/2 Day and Last Ride of the Year

I had to go back to work today. I was one of three! Everyone else decided not to come in. So...I filtered through the emails, did a little work and then took off at noon. I thought that I would take an easy mountain spin to loosen up the legs. Well the Red Flag Wind Event made that a little difficult! I did my Chesebro loop backwards which makes it a shorter steep climb and long flatter section as opposed to a long steady climb and steep descent. I cleaned the technical climb for the first time and it wasn't easy with the 50 mph+ winds! I was stoked! Flying down the mountain I ran into single speed Vince and his friend and stopped for a quick chat. Once my legs loosened up I felt pretty good! It was a nice loop to end my year with! It looks like I am not going to make it to Santa Ynez for the big ride tomorrow. I will have to start my year off with a long shop ride. Hopefully my legs will hold up! I attached a couple pictures from my Disneyland trip last Friday! Happy New Year and please stay safe tonight!
Keep Climbing,

Screaming Good Time!

We Saw These Scary Pirates in Line

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Poor Planning

I was supposed to do the 50 mile Project Rwanda with Brendan on Saturday. This is a ride that you know I was super excited to do. But because of some lame planning for the month, I had to bail. Brendan, Mary, sorry. Hopefully we will all ride soon!
I slept in a little with the dogs and once they were all walked and fed, decided to get in another long road ride. I toiled about the route since I was pretty sore from my previous two days of riding but decided to go the way of pain anyway! I did Rock Store over to Decker Canyon then down to the Pacific Coast Highway. The weather was perfectly cool and I tried to settle into a steady pace. I crossed Ventura County Line and made a right back into the mountains. I had decided to climb Yerba Buena which is a 10 mile climb at an average of 8-10%. I realized about 3 miles into the climb that I was in some serious pain! Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse I was passed by two guys that were probably in their 60's and carrying on a full breathed conversation! Demoralizing! I set my mind towards a hot tea latte and was able to push my way to the top. The payoff on this climb is an amazingly fast and smooth descent down Little Sycamore. It's like a Grand Prix race track with twists and turns but an average speed of about 35 mph. Then it's just a bit more climbing before dropping back down Decker into Thousand Oaks. I rode over to the shop for a bottle refill and a little moral support for the end of my ride. The guys tried to talk me into a Midnight Ridazz ride that night. More on that below! After a bottle of water and some chit chat I took off for home. When I got back I had traveled 51 miles and climbed 5100 feet in about 3 and a half hours. I was destroyed! Climbing up the hill to home was tough! After walking the dogs and a nice hot shower I went to meet my beautiful for some dinner! I never had my tea latte!
I asked the wifey if she minded that I go on the Midnight Ridazz end of year ride and she gave me the approval. Free ride close to home equals yay! Midnight Ridazz is a group that has grown all over the country into different groups of people that love to ride. I believe that they are born from fixed gear riders that started holding after dark rides. Soon they had over 1000 people showing up for the rides through Los Angeles and the surrounding cities.
My guess is that there were about 200 people that showed for this ride last night. I think that the cold kept people away. It was amazing riding through the streets of Studio City, Burbank, and North Hollywood with 200 or so other people! People were dressed super crazy like Lucha Libre masks, onesie flannel pajamas, and all kinds of other craziness! At points the police would pull up into intersections and block traffic for us! They seem to be cool with these rides as long as no one does anything stupid. one point the ride went into a 5 story parking garage and the cop that had just blocked an intersection for us wasn't digging that decision! I had held back and watched the cop zoom into the garage. After a moment had passed a police helicopter was above shining his light onto the top of the garage!(Video Below) After two hours of riding our group broke off to head home. Did I mention that I did this 14 mile ride on my wife's beach cruiser? Basket and all! This will definitely not be my last one of these! I am attaching some pictures below! That's my friend Drew on the double beach cruiser! He's crazy.
I would of scrapped both of these rides in order to do the Rwanda Ride instead. I really need to start financially planning my race season! I would hate to miss a big race because I wasn't paying attention! Back to work tomorrow and then off for New Years Day.
Keep Climbing,

This is The Indian at the Top of Decker that Keeps a Look Out for the French

Down There Lives Wayne Gretzky On Lake Sherwood

Looking Back Towards the Ocean

Not The Sign You Want to See When Your Hurting

This is What Pain Looks Like

High Tide at County Line

Lake Malibu

Drew Rolling in High Style

I'm Being Followed by a Skeleton

Bik on the Brown Bomber

Friday, December 28, 2007

Pit Bull

Just as hoped, I scored a new camera for Christmas! My new riding buddy! Kristen had to be at work in Sherman Oaks at 4am the day after Christmas and I drove her down as she has a hard time driving that early. I needed to get in a long ride and the only way that I could work it out was to take the car back down there after a little sleep and ride home. The air was cool, the traffic was OK, but the wind was demoralizing! I headed down Van Nuys, left on Burbank, right on Balboa, and took that all the way up through the valley. I almost took a spill in a pothole that was as deep as a well! Once I got to Rinaldi I took a left and headed towards Simi Valley. Up and over Santa Susana Pass and down into town. I opted for the long way around so I hugged the East hills. As I made my way through a neighborhood I got the scare of the day when a pit bull charged me! I made like Tornado Tom Boonen and sprinted my ass off! I almost had to change my chamois! I made my way back into Thousand Oaks via Olsen and Erbes Road. The Erbes climb was painful 40 miles into the ride! I somehow got a flat halfway down Erbes. That sucked. I made my way to Westlake Cyclery after changing the flat. My front wheel was a little out of true and Tony fixed me up. From there it was on to home! I finished the day with over 55 miles and 3200 ft of climbing in 3 and a half hours. I then ate more Sushi than I ever have and may have single handedly wiped out the spicy tuna and eel supply! My goal was to do a 4+ hour mountain bike ride the next day...I did it..barely! I will post pictures of that Sunday. I am off to Disneyland with my lovely for the day and then tomorrow is the Project Rwanda 50 miler. I'm a little scared!
Keep Climbing,

Short Reprieve from Traffic

101 to the 118 Via Balboa Blvd

Looking Back Over the San Fernando Valley

Climbing Santa Susana Pass

Pushing it in the Wind

Looking Down on Simi Valley From Rocky Peak

Back Home in Westlake

View From Above

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

Merry Christmas from the land of plenty! Lucas, Kristen, Pippin, Lola, Finnagin, and Bean(that's me...pretty good looking huh!)
We wish you all a wonderful, memorable day.

Monday, December 17, 2007

2007 Cycling Memories

I just can't believe that this year is almost over. I am not complaining, time has just flown by. I mark 2007 as a year that my life changed drastically. I had raced in my first mountain bike race November 2006 and from that point on...I knew 2007 held some immense challenge and fun!
My racing year started on a FREEZING cold and SUPREMELY windy day in January at the Southridge Winter Series. I think that I weighed around 245 pounds. I took second place that day in the beginner class and was stoked. Over this 6 race series I met some amazing people that helped me in many ways, and some I have built great friendships with. Rory, whom I raced with in the first race of the season, became my greatest challenger of the season. The last race of the series proved to be our best as we battled it out to the end! He almost caught me at the end...almost!
The California State Series started the day after the Southridge final and I was feeling great. After winning the overall at Southridge it was time to move up to the Sport division. Moving up to the Sport class meant doubling the mileage and faster competition. I was flying through this course. My first lap was so great..then on lap two, disaster struck! I was 9 miles into the 12 mile lap when every muscle in my lower body balled up like a twisted phone cord. I spent the next 7-10 minutes on the ground in agonizing pain! I was still able to finish in 2nd place about 2 minutes back from 1st. That means I had well over 10 minutes on 2nd when I came near death! OK so I am exaggerating a little. The rest of the Cal State Series was great and I was able to take the overall in this as well! State Champion...good times!
In April I also raced the annual Sea Otter Festival in Monterey. This was an amazing experience getting see all the pro's and racing in a field of over 60 riders. I placed 21st and learned a great deal in this race. I also learned not to speed on the 101 driving through King County! 1st Speeding ticket in a long time!
One of the highlights and goal changing events of the year came in June. I headed back to Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey Ca. for a 24 hour mountain bike race. I was part of a four person team with Rory, Jenn, and Heather. I instantly fell in love with the atmosphere and commraderie of this discipline called endurance mountain bike racing. After my first lap I was hooked! We managed to pull off 10th place in the Co-ed open field! We were stoked and an endurance inspiration was born!
The end of Sept. brought my first endurance challenge! 8 hours of Hurkey Creek. I thought that I was super ready for the race until I got a cold the week before and my wife(whom was going to be my support) got scheduled to work. About 5 days before the race the weather forcast was calling for freezing rain! Every day the forcast seem to change a little...and it was always for the worst! Well, we never got more than a light sprinkling for a couple of hours! The race was great. I was able to stay with friends in their R.V. and they also helped a little with support between laps. I was able to ride all 8 hours of the race and came in 13th out of 31 racers! I had an amazing time and couldn't wait to do it again. I had every intention of doing the last 12 Hours of Temecula of the season...but could not work it out.
I finished my race season with the Southridge Challenge. I decided to give the expert class a try! Just as I expected...I came in 6th place. That was out of 6! I really got everything out of the race that I desired and know that for any XC races I do in 2008, I won't yet be at the expert level! My ending weight for the race season, 214. From first getting on my bike after the sickness a little over a year and a half ago until now I've lost about 75 pounds. If I could lose about 20 more I think that I could compete with the little skinny guys! Pulling my fat ass up all the mountains would be much easier if it were a skinny ass! If I could lock into the right eating regimen, I think I could do it.
I have one last ride before the end of the year and that is the Project Rwanda charity ride. This is a 50 mile endurnce ride that will test my limits. Please check out the website as this is a great cause that I stand behind fully. Brendan from Siren Bicycles and I decided to partner up for this ride and suffer together! We both have not spent much time in the saddle lately and this will be an amazingly painful ride! I can't wait!
For the few of you that have been reading my race stories this year, I aprreciate your thoughts, support, humor, and love! If all goes as planned on Christmas, I will be getting a new camera that will become my cycling buddy! This will make my blog a little more exciting as I will be taking mad photos of most rides in order to share what I see as I enjoy this love called cycling!
I am still not sure what 2008 will bring. I would love to say that I will be racing every weekend and by the end of the year ready to go pro....but then I would wake up and realize that I need a job! My goal for this season is to race a solo 24 hour event. Right now my eyes are set on the 24 Hours of Hurkey Creek in September. A lot would need to fall into place for this to happen but I figure that if I train my butt off over the season, when and if all falls into place...I will be ready. In the mean time I will be cheering on some of the amazing people that I met this year:
Mary and Brendan Collier, Josh Smith, Bernice P., Jeff Kerkove, Ernesto(Solo Goat), Eldin(Fatty),The Langins, Rory, Jenn, and a few others! Good luck my friends! For those of you whom I met this year, thank you for your support, advice, and friendship.
May you all have a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Is it ever going to get any warmer? I was finally able to get out on the bike Friday afternoon. I hit Chesebro Canyon at about 3:30 and did 2 reverse loops. I had strapped on the light for the second lap as it is getting dark at about 4:30 now. As soon as the sun went down it dropped about 20 degrees! I had enough clothing on but with the strong wind it was giving me a brain freeze headache! My legs felt pretty good after not riding all week. They did not recover all that well though! Saturday I slept in a little and then worked at the bike shop all day. Christmas in the bike shop means lot's of crying kids! The parents bring them in to size them up and then drop the bomb that they are not getting the bike right now. Once that happens...all hell breaks loose! It's a blast though.
Bill let me borrow his trainer again so when I got home I spent a little over an hour spinning. I did a couple intervals as well! It hurt a bit.
Today was the Southridge Racing awards banquet. It was all the way down in Riverside but worth the drive. I received the 1st Place Champions Trophy and Jersey. I will try to post a picture tomorrow! It was a fun ceremony. When I got home I put all my warm clothing on and did some time trial pace laps around the neighborhood. I wish it wasn't Monday tomorrow...
Keep Climbing

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I haven't been on the bike since Sunday. I seem to have caught a form of that flu that is going around. My biggest symptom is absolutely no energy. Very much like when I had Epstein Barr Virus. It doesn't seem to be fading either. I am bummed. I wanted to start bike commuting again this week.
I have been trying to put together my race schedule for next season but it hasn't been easy! There are so many Southern California races that are double booked it is making it hard to decide which ones to do! Then there is work conflict as well! I think that in January and Feb. I could race every weekend if....(wife approval, work approval, body approval, pocket book approval!) I really wanted to start putting in some base miles this week and not being able to will definitely affect the start of the season!
I am going to the Surf and Skate Expo in Orlando in a couple of weeks with Mike and his company Honey Longboards. I have never been to Florida and am looking forward to the trip as well as the opportunity to meet more pro surfers and skaters! I will keep you updated on this and definitely take lots of pictures! I will miss the first race of the season at Southridge but I think that it is worth it.
Pray for health,

Monday, December 10, 2007

Thar She Blows

Another weekend and another Southern California wind event! The 35 degree weather kept me off of the bike on Saturday. I was pretty bummed about that but planned a great ride for Sunday. Myself, Mike and Rory met up at the Sycamore Canyon trailhead Sunday at 9:30. It was still in the high 40's(which is freezing for us SoCal kids) when we dropped into the canyon! We FLEW down the 2 Foxes singletrack and decided to give the Goat Trail a go from bottom to top. Note to self...probably never a good idea to ride UP a trail called Goat Trail. Still being pushed by the adrenalin from our screaming descent I took off a little quick! I quickly found myself in the pain locker with Lactic Acid rushing into my legs like Niagra Falls. When we finally got to the top of the trail, even Mike said he never wanted to do that again! Going down this trail is much better! Going the opposite way there is still a ton of climbing but you get the payoff of a great descent at the end! After arriving at the top we dropped into Wood Canyon and headed up Guadalajasco. Mike took off like he was Tinker Juarez and left Rory and I in the hurt. Rory even managed to put about 3-4 minutes on me! I was ready for a great downhill. With all the rain on Friday, the trail was tacky and perfect! We dropped the first part and made our way to Backbone and flew down like Freeriding pro's! The wind had really picked up and was gusting in the 50 mph range. We decided that climbing up the covered canyon was better than the exposed fire road. It hurt but was definitely the better choice. When we reached the infamous Black B*$@h to climb back to the cars we all looked like broken men! We found a little extra steam until halfway up we hit the wall of wind! Pedaling into a 50 mph headwind....well it's demoralizing! Mike tried to make a jump and I let him get a few yards on me. I waited to the last turn and dropped the hammer! I was able to pass him about 25 yards from the top as my heart rate hit 190! That was my last little bit of juice and the last 2 miles back to the car was extreme pain!
We loaded up and hit the local Chipotle! Perfect painful ride followed by a great burrito! Hope to get in some great rides this week...
Keep Climbing

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Super Funny Post

Check out today's post from the Fat had me "shredded" with laughter! The comments are just as funny!

Fat Cyclist

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Finding the Long Way Home

Rode to work yesterday..(still no car or hope of getting it back before the rain hits tomorrow) It's a quick 5 mile shot to the office via Chesebro Canyon. Staying out of the crazy school mom traffic is the only excuse that I need to hit the dirt on my way here! I left work at 2 yesterday in order to ride over to the Ford dealership to see if they could get me out of my crappy money pit. That tacked on another 7 miles. No luck with them..although I am not to upset as another Ford is the last thing I want at this point. So I thought that I would find the long way home!
I headed for the hills. After an uphill seven miles, I hit the trailhead. Dark was starting to fall so I strapped on my light and began the 3.5 mile climb from Avenida De Los Arboles up Albertsons Motorway to China Flat. I had only ridden this trail a couple times before and I started to get worried that I had missed a trail turn? Worst case scenario is that I would end up in the Valley! Right after worrying I reached the top and my turn! My legs were feeling pretty good even with my 20 pound bag on my back! I decided to drop down into Chesebro Canyon and extend the ride a bit. There were a good number of folks out riding as well! About 5 miles from home the Red Flag winds started to get pretty nuts. At one point I was standing trying to pedal into the headwind...and I really wasn't moving forward!
When I was climbing out of the canyon towards my house my legs were letting me know that they were really pissed off at me!
When I got home the Garmin read 31 miles, 2.5 hours of ride time, 2800 ft of climbing! Not a bad way to sneak in some saddle time. My legs are still a little pissed this morning! Not the easiest ride in to work! Maybe take a long route home again tonight..we will see, Kristen's off today and I still need to figure out what to do with the car.
Keep Climbing

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Lesson Learned

So with the car in the shop, I have been riding to work! I of course bring my lighting set-up, as it is dark when I get out of here! Last night on my way home I learned a valuable lesson! I use a Chrome Messenger Bag and of course stuff it as full as possible. Last night I had my laptop, clothes, and some papers that probably weighed close to 15 pounds. I am lucky enough to work at the base of my local trail Chesebro Canyon and I can do a great 12 mile loop home. It is about 900 feet of climbing at a steady rate except for a couple steep rocky sections you have heard me refer to as the "Chesebro Challenges."(This is where I clipped a deer last week) All was well and I was trying to push a heavy pace. Legs were sore from Sunday but doing a great job. That is until I hit the Challenge...Lesson Learned....When you have 15+ lbs. on your back, it's a little hard to balance up steep sections! As I rode up the rock face, I rode myself right onto my back! Luckily my clothing cushioned most of my fall! There I lay...on my back staring up at the black night! It was actually very peaceful for a moment..than I heard some critter noises in the bushes and jumped up! I think that I will pick a slightly different line up that hill tonight!
Keep Climbing,

Monday, December 3, 2007

Oh Boy

Not a super amount to share..Work was long and difficult last week. I had the opportunity to get in a few short of which was a night ride that I collided with what I hope was a deer! I was shooting down Chesebro Canyon when I came around a corner and went to drop through one of the "challenges" (it's a rocky steep section) when I saw something huge dart up the rocks and across right in front of me! I managed to catch its ass with my bar end! Luckily I was going fast enough to stay up! I wondered whether I should turn around and look with my light or make a break for it? I decided to turn and look...but all was gone. I am assuming it was a deer because it was to large to be a coyote and I am pretty sure that I heard what sounded like hooves scammering across the rocks! A few moments after that i rode through a small flock of bats and I am sure one tried to bite me? OK maybe not...but that was two scares within five minutes! Great ride though!
Friday brought a heavy rain and no opportunity to ride! The rain was supposed to start late but was pouring when I woke.
Saturday I rode early before the shop and it was 39 degrees F. My toes have yet to thaw out! Saturday night on my way home from the shop....MY CLUTCH BROKE AGAIN! Not two months old. More on that in a few.
Sunday was great. After recieving VERY STRICT after riding rules from the wife..(I had to driver her car to and from my ride! She no want's a stinky car!) I was off to meet Mike at his house in Simi Valley. We headed out towards the valley around 11 and rode to the trail head. Nice warm up in the cool air! We climbed Chumash and it was in great post rain condition. Only bummer was to realize that some goofballs had gone up and did some "trailwork" recently. Maybe someone can clue me in on why you would fill fun technical, but very ridable sections with dirt? Mike was pissed as this is his favorite climb that he rides a few times per week. We made it to the top of the 2.6 mile climb in about thirty minutes and headed over towards Rocky Peak. We looked for a trail that Mike had heard about and finally found it. It was a super fun, really technical downhill that had some sketchy areas. We then climbed up Stagecoach Trail to Rocky Peak Church and headed for Johnsons Motorway. By this point we had climbed about 2100 feet in 11 miles and I was feeling the pain. When Mike told me that we had about 2000 feet more to climb I about melted! Johnsons was really cool. It was really rocky and technical all the way up! I managed to clean every bit of it except for one toe tap. This made me pretty happy because I was having some balance issues earlier.
Once to the top we worked our way back to the top of Chumash and FLEW down! This is one of my favorite descents because it has everything! YOu have to be on your toes or you's in some trouble! We made it out to the road and dropped back into town. We had brought some money and stopped at Taco's Jalisco for a Super Burritto that was like gold! All in all we had about 28 miles, 4004 ft of climbing, and a ride time of 3:20 minutes! Just what I needed!
I won't enrage you in my car details. Ford, please take mercy on me?!
Ride On and Keep Climbing

Monday, November 26, 2007

Is it Christmas Break Yet?

What a wonderful four days! Food, Family, Food, Riding...did I mention food? Turkey day started off with a great mountain bike ride with Mike Mahoney. We rode Chumash in Simi Valley which was a blast. From there I headed to my mother in-laws and got ready for the feast! Usually they say that we are going to eat at 1 and ends up being more like 4 or 5! This year we were face first at 1:05! Stuffing, ham, stuffing, Kristen's amazing creamed corn, stuffing, turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes, corn bread cakes, stuffing, gravy, and I think some more stuffing! One of the doctors that Kristen's mom works for kicked down a mega expensive bottle of Cabernet that was amazing! I am not really supposed to drink red wine for reasons that I will not tell(let's just say that there is something in red wine that makes me blackout) but one glass is usually OK. The one glass I had was very enjoyable.
We had a couple drinks and played some games as the day passed. I even beat my high score on Wii bowling!
Friday brought another cool and very windy morning. As the ladies went out at the butt-crack of dawn to shop, I stayed at home asleep with my four little heaters cuddled around me!(My pups) I ate a nice breakfast and went out on a mountain bike ride in Chesebro Canyon. This decided to do a few hours of climbing and rode for about 3 hours in the wind! I learned that when there are 60 mph wind gusts, you should ride as far away from the edge of the cliff as possible! I came around a couple of exposed corners that the wind literally blew me over a foot or two! All in all I had a great ride! Then it was just an afternoon and evening of eating and relaxing!
Saturday I awoke to the smell of smoke and just as all had feared there was another fire raging in Malibu! This one was a little closer to home. As I headed down my street on a road ride I could see the flames at the top of the hill! They were HUGE. I had planned on riding up that range of hills but decided for more weekday road route. Other than the wind, the ride was great. I dropped about 4 minutes off of my time on this 30 mile route. I was impressed with this as the wind really slowed me down for a majority of the ride. Then it was off to the bike shop where we watched the fire rage all day as we worked. I think I have said this before but working at the shop on Saturdays is really fun for me.
Sunday morning was time for a group ride and I was excited to ride with some new people. One of our long time customers at the shop started working with us on Saturday. Drew is a CRAZY fixed gear talented rider in all arenas of cycling. He is part of a cool fixed gear group that holds impromptu races in town. He is also part of the Midnight Ridazz which is a really cool group of cyclists that hold these late night rides through Los Angeles and the surrounding cities. Drew has a Jesus style beard, a complete tattoo sleeve on one of his legs and showed up to the road ride in a pair of Dickies cut-offs and a Vegas t-shirt! The only thing out of place on this guy is his super nice S-Works road shoes! He wanted to try to ride Rockstore on his fixed gear but bailed out when his buddy did. He brought a geared bike and hit the road with myself, Kim, Danny Luphold and his girl Dee. As we headed out Mulholland to Rockstore we saw the fire helicopters picking up water in Malibu Lake! This was about 50 yards from us! It was amazing to watch as they had to drop into a very tight space to pick up the water. Once we got up near the top of the mountains we had one of those HUGE water dropping DC-10's fly over us! That was a sight. Only along the top of the ridge did the smoke become an issue as the wind was blowing it away from us at every other point. I had a blast on this ride as well! Once back to the house I took a great nap with my dogs and then relaxed for the rest of the day! Then, just like that, my four days of paradise were over!
Back at work on Monday I found out that one of our employee's lost their home in the fire and our owner almost lost his. Poor guy lost everything.
Monday was a rest day and I hope to get in a ride this afternoon if I can sneak out of work early! We will see!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Joy and Thanks

As I contemplated all morning what I would add to this list, I was beat to the punch by the Fat Cyclist If you have not already done so, please check out the post below this one as it is an amazing read!
What am I thankful for this year? Well in no particular order after the first two:

My wife Kristen. No matter how sarcastic, crazy, happy, tuned-out, grumpy, sleepy, sullen, excited, or whatever I may be at the moment, she loves me. The woman that I fell in love with instantaneously back in 1995 only to marry 4 months later...still gives me the same heeby-jeebies in my tummy when I look at her! I am so thankful for you babe!

My 4 Chihuahuas Pippin, Lola, Finnagin, and Bean. These are our kids. Every single time I walk in the door...I feel loved. Whether I have been gone for thirty seconds or 3 days, my pups jump all over me giving me endless kisses and all the attention I could ever want in this life! There is absolutely nothing like coming home from a crappy day at work and walking in the door to the most exciting welcome! One of my favorites is coming home from a ride and laying down to stretch only to have all the sweat licked from my face! Pip, Mama, Ginnies, and Professor....I love you all!

My Family I am thankful for my family! I am definitely not the best son or brother but I am thankful that my family loves me anyway! Mom, you taught me about sensitivity and compassion. Dad, you taught me about hard work and humbleness. Thank you for never giving up on me! My older brother Micah who teaches me about family through his example. My younger brother Stephen who has followed God's heart in his life. Thank you guys for not only loving me unconditionally but teaching me in everything that you do.

I am lucky enough to have two families! I give thanks for Kristen's mom, Jan. She has loved me like a son since the beginning. I am also thankful for our niece Kailey whom I have been lucky to be an uncle to. Kacy and Clint, thank you for being such cool in-laws.

My friends Mike and Karen Mahoney, Bill, Rory and Jen, Tom, Kim, The Langins, Mike G, Andrew, and Jeff and Talina. Thank you all for everything.

Pizza. I am thankful for pizza! Toppers is my favorite!

Cycling.I have had many obsessions in my life. Some have come and gone and some become a little less important. Kristen has said for the last two years that she thinks this too shall pass.. I say...Cycling is here to stay with me. Whether I ride with a group of friends for fun, pedal around Catalina Island with Kristen, hammer my way through the hills, ride out my stress of the day, or spin leisurely to recover, I am hooked and hooked for life. The views, the competition with others and myself, the feeling of accomplishment, the battling through lactic acid burn just to go a little longer, and the dream of riding a 24 hour solo. These are just a few things that stoke me about riding. Also, the thought that I can do this until the end...

My online cycling friends I am thankful to all the cycling friends that I have found. Some I have met at races, some I have met through those whom I have met at races, and some I have met through searching the blogs! I have learned so much from each and every one of you. Thank you for always answering my questions and allowing me into this amazing community!

And not to be missed, I am thankful for ALL the things that I have been blessed with. I am so lucky to have all the necessities and extras like a home, food, water, clothing, health, and the like! I thank the Lord for all His provisions!

Happy Thanksgiving
May you eat, ride, shop, and eat some more!

Check this out

Everday I read the Fat Cyclist blog. Elden, better known as Fatty, often makes me laugh and has even made me tear a couple of times. His blog is most often hilarious and sometimes sad. Elden's wonderful wife has been fighting cancer and they have opened up their most personal fight to all his readers. I believe that there are many reasons that he would do this, but I believe that what has come from it is an ever growing army for the battle against cancer. Fatty so beautifully put his Thankgivings in todays post that I thought I would share. Mine will come tonight or tomorrow.
Enjoy the read!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

One Heck of a Weekend

So grab a hot cup of cocoa and a blanket cuz this one may be long! Other than some work drama, I am having a great weekend! First off, I have to give mad props to Brendan, owner of Siren Bicycles. Brendan raced his first 12 hour solo race in Temecula yesterday and pulled off a 6th place! I haven't heard the whole story yet but read that he pulled a 1:20 minute lap to finish the race with only 10 minutes to spare! Way to go man!
Well, Saturday morning came quick considering I was at work until about 9pm on Friday night. I thought I was going to finish my day up at about two and get out for a ride. Yeah...didn't happen. I headed out to Fontana(or Fontucky as I like to call it!) at about 6:30am and was feeling pretty good. Once arriving it was cool and foggy which made me pretty happy.
I was told that if I wanted to move up to expert, this race would not count towards the #1 plate and jersey for the season. That brought forth a problem because Rory was on his way and he was only 40 points behind me in the standings. As soon as he arrived I asked if he would move up to sport and let me keep my hold on the season. He said that he planned on that anyway, so I was all good to go with my plan for an ass whoopin!
A quick warm-up and it was time to line up. Great thing about the expert class is they are one of the first to start and in today's case, we were the first group to start. As soon as the gun went off these guys took off! I thought to myself, Oh man, what have I done? The Fontana course has most of it's 1100 feet of climbing per lap packed into the first 3 miles. By the top of the paved road climb I was already about 45 seconds back! I just settled into a pace I was happy with and stuck it there. When I came through to start my second lap I still felt pretty good even though I knew I was in last place. My plan was coming together! Lap two was good. It was about 4 minutes slower than the first. With about 4 miles to go in that second lap I noticed one of the sport guys that I used to race with apparently trying to chase me down. Other than the fact that he had started about 6 minutes after me and he was on his last lap, and I still had one to go, I was not about to be passed by this guy. Now I will tell you that even though I always blew this guy away, he has one the same as me in the fact that he has dropped about 65 pounds this year and been putting in some mad time on the saddle. I was very impressed with his speed, yet I was not going to be passed! This chaser helped me push like mad through the last 4 miles of the lap. Lucky for me, the last 4 are rolling and flat. I have really improved in this type of terrain with all my road riding. I think I managed to put about a 4 minute gap on him in that last section. He told me after the race that he had been chasing me for a while and finally, with about 2 miles to go just blew up!
My third lap was...uhh..pretty sad! My last lap saw me post an identical time to my first race ever at Fontana exactly one year ago! The hard part was that about half way through the lap I passed what would be the last person I would see until coming in to the finish! With about 2 miles to go my legs started to seize in a way that scared the poo out of me! I threw it into the granny gear and pedaled softly for a few. I was able to make it all the way without stopping to stretch. Well my time was 2 hours and forty-two minutes! Are you ready...drum roll please...dead freaking last! Or 6th place....out of six! I was only 40 minutes behind 5th place! Just as I thought, I am not ready or able to race at that pace! Wow! These guys were so stinking fast that it was amazing! The better news is that I had a freaking blast! I would do it again if someone asked!
On my way home, I stopped off at Bonelli Park in San Dimas. My friend Mike who owns Honey Skateboards had a booth at the Downhill Skateboarding Championships. It was qualifying for downhill skateboarding, luging, and gravity bikes. This was truly amazing. His booth was right at the bottom of the course where the racers had to make a 90 degree turn at speeds of 30 to 44 miles an hour. (There was a guy with a radar gun standing in front of me.) Let's just say that about every third person turning the corner slammed spectacularly into the hay bails! It was really cool. No one was injured which was amazing after seeing them just hammer themselves into the wall!
Today I got to sleep in with the pups and Kristen! This was much needed in many ways! Kristen is working late today so we got to enjoy breakfast together this morning and even some time just hanging out!
My legs were pretty tight but I decided to take a risk and hit the road bike. I planned on a long ride and prayed that the cramps would not come back. I got on the road at noon and felt like a long ride was in store. I headed out towards Newberry Park and dropped down Portrero to Camarillo. I rode through the produce fields towards Pacific Coast Highway. I learned today that fields of red bell peppers smell a little like marijuana. Anyways, when I hit PCH it was socked in with fog and getting pretty cold! I worked my way down the coastline at about 20 mph. I stopped at Sycamore and refilled my bottles with all my Hammer Nutrition that I had brought in plastic baggies. I had filled up with Heed and Endurolytes in hope to stave off the cramps. I was back on the road and stopped to watch the surfers at County Line for a few minutes. Got back to flying along the coast and decided that I would climb up Encinal Canyon. I knew that this 7.76 mile climb at 6% the whole way was going to hurt! 50 minutes and 2000ft of elevation gain later, I was flying down the twisty, turny Decker Canyon Road. I rode over to the bike shop once back into town and filled up my bottles as they were closing up for the day. After about 10 minutes of chat I headed home. I was surprised how good I felt as I took the long way home. So all said and done, I had traveled 68.36 miles in 4 hours 10 minutes. Average speed was 16.4 with a max speed of 47 mph. Average heart rate was 150 bpm with a max of 175 bpm. Total elevation was 4126 feet of climbing and 4168 feet of descending! The only part of the ride that sucked was about 2 miles into it I had an old lady pull the dreaded left turn in front of me. Had to slam on my brakes and still kissed the car! Lady sped off too! Whatever?
All in all I had a great weekend! If you made it all the way to the end of this...thanks! Now the stress of tomorrow is falling upon me. Can't wait until Wed. night! 4 days off baby!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Getting Ready

So it's been a good week! Wed. I hit the road for the same ride as Tuesday without the intervals. I did the same Time Trial pace around the lake and shaved 9 seconds off the day before! It was a great 30 miles with unreal weather for early in the morning! I hit the trail that night with a 13 mile Mountain Bike ride! It was really warm and a great dark night to be out. I think I passed 4 other riders that had the same idea as me! I love seeing lights coming out of the darkness! I even saw a couple may have tried to bite me?! Legs felt OK being my second ride for the day. It was about 1500 feet of climbing so it got me pretty good by the end.
No riding yesterday because I was at a photoshoot all day. I am headed back now but hope to make it out of there by 2 today. If all goes to plan I will get a good longish tempo ride in. Tomorrow is race day and I still plan on racing in the expert class! It will be a great butt-whoopin, but well worth it to me! Happy Friday.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy Tuesday

When I took my dogs out late Sunday night I made the decision that it was going to be to cold to ride in the morning! With the rain and the wind...I just figured. I slept in a little which was very nice then took the dogs out front only to realize that a Santa Ana windstorm had heated up the air considerably! I was kicking myself as this would have been nice conditions (other than the wind) for a ride!
I jumped up early this morning to get out and was greeted by a slight chill that ended up being perfect for a flattish 30 mile road ride with a few intervals mixed in. Legs did not have the snap that my head did but was able to push pretty hard. I did a Time Trial pace around Lake Lindero which took just under 15 minutes. I also did a 5 minute all out with 5 minutes of easy followed by a 4 minute than 3 and so on. After the time trial pace...let's just say that I was hurting!
I had a great ride and look forward to another in the morning! If I can get up a little earlier I can tack on another 10-15 miles...We'll see.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Relaxing End

Ride Friday was great, Saturday ride with Mike was fun! Today I was supposed to go on a long road ride with Kim. We planeed on heading out to Piuma in Malibu but about ten miles into the ride it got a little wet. We climbed to the top of Mulholland and decided to turn back instead of getting caught in a downpour in the middle of the Santa Monica Mountains! All day I waited for it to dry such luck! This will all probably pay off though as it is the first day in a long time that I actually rested! I got to watch the Steelers in a great game...then watched the Colts battle back from a huge defecit only to blow it in the last few seconds!
Back to work and hopefully a week of fast tempo training to get ready for the Fontana Fall Classic on Saturday. Last race of the year...this race last year was my first race ever! I was thinking about going big and racing in the Expert catagory. I think taking a horrifc beating going into the off-season will give me the inspiration to train like a madman through the winter and ready myself for the jump to the next class next season! We will see!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Sweet Friday

7:00-Walk the pups
7:30-Go to Work
1:00-Run by the bike shop and pick up new saddle and 24 Solo DVD
2:00-Head Home with the bike on the brain
2:10-Walk the Dogs
2:30-Hit the trail

I'll try to let the pictures do the talking. My body was not feeling as good as my brain was...but who freaking cares! I was out on the bike! My new Specialized Phenom saddle was pretty good! I'll let you know how it holds up. I have been looking for the right mountain saddle for a while and it's hard to take a risk when they cost $100-$150. It felt good today! I hope to have a full weekend of riding, I hope you do to!

So happy together!

Quick climb into the canyon

I can't believe I am actually riding!

Spinning in the flats getting ready for the pain

The 100 mph+ winds that blew the fires out of control left lots of damage!

If a tree falls in the forest...does it make a sound?

Hey look..Another climb!

Short steep ascents put me n the pain locker today

Second to last climb

I love that this is my back yard

Last Climb

It's all down hill from here!

Home Sweet Home Bottom Left

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Better Day

Bean aka The Professor

Pippin, Lola, and Finnagin doing what they do best.

Kristen and I on Thunder Mountain at Disneyland 2 weeks ago!

So I decided to delete my entry from yesterday. It was a little depressing! I am sorry to any who may have read it. I really just needed to vent! Thanks to Brendan from Siren Bicycles for his words of encouragement! You are stand up brother. I did want to repost the pictures of my sweet family!
Tomorrow is Friday and I can't's been a way long week with absolutely no time to ride! That all changes tomorrow. I hope that you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Saddle Sore

Finally got back on the bike yesterday. I haven't been on since last Friday. Needless to hurt. Went on a 20 mile road ride with very little climbing. One of the few things keeping me off the bike this week has been that daybreak is not until almost 7AM. With as unusually cold as it has been, it's hard to get out into the freezing darkness! Afternoon rides have been shot as well since I have been putting in 12 hour days since last week. I have also been experiencing migraines for the lst couple of weeks and this week they have been really bad. Not sure what is causing them? I started on some new vitamins a few weeks ago and of course that is about when the headaches started. Went back to my old vitamins today to see if it makes a difference. My prescription medicine is not even taking these things away! Enough complaining for now...sorry.
Legs were not very cooperative on ride yesterday. Still feels like I have no juice in them. Not sure what the cause of this is's been this way since the cold/flu a couple weeks ago? Maybe the round of antibiotics I was on? Hope to put in some heavy time on the bike this weekend. We will see.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Smoke Filled Haze

Luckily most of the fires around me are out! Our prayers and support go out to all those in Orange and San Diego counties that are still under evacuation and those who have lost everything. Stay strong, it can only get better.
The large Castaic Lake fire that is still burning near us is now just supplying us with enough smoke to keep us indoors. Without the heavy winds the smoke is just floating into our valley and sitting. I actually got out yesterday morning for the first time since Saturday(between the smoke and work being insane) and it was pretty bad. If you do not live in Southern California, let me put the wind from this event into perspective. I rode into Chesebro Canyon (which is the local loop outside my house) yesterday morning. Once dropping into the canyon I realized that there was no loose dirt anywhere on the trails! This area is famous for having a loose topsoil most of the year and very deep sand in parts. Even the sand was mostly gone! The wind was so strong that it blew all the dirt away! I saw parts of the trail that I had NEVER seen before. There was also trees down everywhere. At the beginning of my ride I was removing large pieces of tree from the trail but quickly realized that I did not have enough time to continue doing this! One area through Sulfer Springs (yes it smells just like it sounds!) had a huge tree down blocking the trail! Detour!
When I woke up this morning, the smoke was already really bad so I skipped riding. I couldn't take it anymore so I went home at lunch, put on my riding gear, filled my Chrome Bag with my work clothes, put a bandanna around my mouth and nose(like a Bandito!) and hit the hills! I won't lie, the air was horrible even through the bandanna. But it felt good to ride. And the bonus is, I get to ride home...back through the hills. I probably will not get to ride this weekend as we are headed to the Happiest Place on Earth for Kristen's birthday! Some of K's family are coming down from Northern Ca. so it should be a great time! I hope everyone else has a great weekend!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fire Storm

We have found ourselves in a Ring of Fire. The wind hit about midnight last night like a hurricane (60-80 mph gusts) and it was loud. When it gets like this I always start worrying about our cars getting hit by downed trees. So when I finally got out of bed at 6:15am to get ready for my ride(yeah, like I would ride in this wind) and I walked outside to see the downed tree on my walkway, my heart sunk. I had to climb over it to get out to the parking lot. Cars were good. Other things like the homes in Malibu...not so much. After smelling the smoke I came back in and turned on the TV. News did not start until 7 so I was watching Sportscenter when the news started scrolling across the top. Malibu was on fire! There was also another fire out behind us that started last night, and they started talking about a third that would be right on the hill behind my house. 100% of the shitty newscasting was about the fire in Malibu. As horrible as it is if I hear that another multi, multi, multi, million dollar home caught fire, I was going to throw up on my TV. Are these houses more important than a less expensive house? Do we really care how expensive the house was?
Sorry...It just makes me sick. Something that was horrible was watching Malibu Presbytarian Church burn to the ground. This is a church that I have driven by 5000 times on my way to go surfing. Thank God that the fire hit early instead of later while church was in! The other pictures I just took fom outside my house here in Oak Park. It looks as if there is a fire coming over the hill?! Can't find any news about it though?! They are still concentrating on Malibu. I will try to keep you updated as the day finishes out.
Oh yeah...I heard Britney Spears may have started it to smoke out the Paparazzi since she was arriving home past her court appointed curfew...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Riding with Tinker

Today I again received affirmation as to why I love mountain biking. Whenever I go on a ride or to a race or some other MTB event, people are just stinking cool. They make you feel at home and they make you feel welcome! I met up with Mike Mahoney out in Simi Valley for the Cannondale demo. Mike and I got bikes and went out for a quick loop to get loose. I rode the new Team Edition carbon fiber Scalpel. I was quickly impressed with the climbing ability of the bike and the acceleration was amazing. Once we hit a technical descent it was a little different. I had a really hard time getting comfortable with the super short top tube. I felt really sketchy on the downhills.
We rolled back to the parking lot and met Tinker Juarez and his wife Terri. They were instantly aprreciative of US haveing THEM there. From the get go of the ride Tinker old his his stories and training tips. He answered everyones questions with excitement and concern. What I thought was more cool than anything was that he more than once commented how he knows how good he has it to have this as a job. As we were all suffering up each steep climb Tinker had it in his big chain ring and I don't think he ever broke a sweat!
Needless to say, we all had a great time. Tinker and Terri, thank you!
I would highly reccomend that if you ever have a chance to meet Tinker and his wife...jump at it!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Tinker Juarez

It's been a tough last seven days as I woke up with a sinus infection and stomach flu last Friday. I finally went to the doctor yesterday as I have not been able to shake the congestion. He told me that I needed less stress in my life! As long as it's not the training that is making me sick...!
The picture that you see above is Tinker Juarez. Tinker is a legend! Please take a moment to check out his blog and from their make sure to link to his homepage and read about his past! Tinker is the 2007 24 Hour World Champion. One of the most impressive things about him is that he is 46 years old! Through my friend Mike Mahoney I actually get to do a ride with him tomorrow! I am so stoked to meet this guy! Tinker has been a mainstay in the cycling community since his BMX days in the 70's. I look forward to sharing my story and some pictures about the ride.

I have gotten out a few times this week regardless of feeling under the weather. Monday I rode and felt like it helped me a bit. Thursday as I hit Chesebro canyon I ran into some of my racing buddies and was invited to follow. Everything was going great until we hit the first big climb and my legs had nothing! I haven't felt bonked like this in a long time! It was very embarrasing as these guys quickly put about 5-6 minutes on me and then waited at the top! As I approached, I thanked them for waiting and told them to not wait as I really had no juice to keep up. I rode on with them and because of some mechanicals of one the guys, I ended being able to hang for most of the ride. We rode about 16 miles and climbed close to 3000 feet. I loved the ride but was bummed about my performance. I also went out this morning with Kim for the Fast Friday ride(our version anyways) and it was another ride in the pain cave. 20 minutes up Rock Store was pitiful! As we approached the Power Climb, Anthony (Pro class rider from Fast Friday) blew past us, smiled, laughed and took off! We were really worried that the rest of the group was going to catch us but we never saw them. Thank goodness because that would have sucked!

My legs are just hurting at this point. The beummer is that they did not feel like this before I got sick. I need my boys to come back on line if I have any hopes in competeing at the 12 Hours of Temecula!

Ohhh Yeah, I forgot to tell you about the HUGE stressor that happened the night before I woke up sick!
When I was walking Pippin, Finnagin, and Lola on Thursday night, I did something that I have never done...I stepped on Pippin! When we were almost home a large dog was walking up the road. I reached down to pick up Kujo..I mean Lola, and Pippin just started yelping. This was one of the scariest moments of my life. I quickly picked him up(I never felt him under my foot so I am just assuming that I stepped on him) and his leg was just kind of hanging and his yelping did not stop. After the longest 2 minutes of my life he stopped. I sat him down to see if he could stand on it and he limped across the way. I picked him up again and took him inside. Lola was so scared when he first started yelping that she tried to bite him? It was a very sleepless night for me. Once morning came I was sick and Pippin was limping around. Kristen was working later in the day so we decided that she would keep an eye on him and then make a decision wether or not we should take him to the vet. I am happy to report that Pip is doing great! It's just me that feels like an ass!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Picture From Piru Time Trial

My good friend Bill Knapp of Knapp Photography shared this picture with me today! This was when I was flying WITH the wind!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

35:41 Fighting the Wind

Time trial experience #2! I looked forward to beating my first time of 32:35 this time out as I was feeling much stronger. With what I learned in my first attempt I thought that I could knock off at least a minute. I awoke Sunday morning to the sound of hammering wind outside and I was instantly discouraged! I have heard the horror stories of the windy Piru time trials and they flooded into my mind as I took the dogs out. When I left the house driving down my street was like being in a pinball game with downed tree limbs and debris everywhere!
Once I arrived to the canyon road it did not seem as bad as home! I enjoyed watching the elite athletes warm up on their TT bikes. They have a look of seriousness on their faces like this is the World Championships! It's kind of cool.
So as I rode down the course to warm up I realized that there was a HUGE tailwind at my back! This was verified when I turned around to head back and the wind blew into me like a Japanese Bullet Train! Holy smokes, this was going to be interesting!
I was third off and I hit it out of the gate. The course is a 12.2 mile out and back. The 6.1 miles out was extremely fast! Let's just say that I averaged over 30 mph and made the turn around in under 13 minutes! Then...the wind!
This is where I entered the pain cave. I had already passed one of the two that had started in front of me and I had the other in my sights. I used this as motivation considering it was a Fast Friday rider! As much as it hurt I pushed and pushed. I hammered up the little rollers and pushed hard without overdoing it. The 6.1 miles back felt like 20. Once I realized that I could catch the Fast Friday guy I pushed even harder. As I came within 10 yards of him a huge gust of wind pushed him right off the road! He managed to keep it upright and get back on but I quickly dropped him and smiled inside! That smile turned back to pain as I had about 3 km to go! I saw a couple pictures of me at this point and let's just say that they are not pretty! I knew that I had passed my time from the last race so that did not help either. I pushed through to the finish and then spun myself down the road.
I ended up 2nd in my category again! I missed 1st by only 4 seconds! Ughhh!
It took me 20 minutes to get back! Freaking crazy! I felt like I rode it so much better than last time which is what I know matters. I would love to give it a shot on a TT bike. Someday...
Great news to share! I was asked to join a team! Previously known as Team One Racing, they are renaming the team for this year. This is primarily a road racing team with a few of the guys racing mountain as well. I am super stoked to ride with these guys and look forward to learning a lot! I will of course keep you updated on the progress!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Ouch! My Legs

So I managed to not ride my bike until Friday of last week!:( I tried to get up Thursday but could not find some of my gear and used that as an excuse to not ride. My legs were feeling better by Thursday and I really wanted to get out, but I failed. Friday I did the Fast Friday road loop with Kim and felt OK. Saturday I went for a quick mountain bike loop through Chesebro Canyon before work at the shop and that hurt a little. My hamstrings and quads actually feel bruised! I pushed through the wimpy 13 miles and worked for the rest of the day. Sunday I made the mistake of telling two groups of friends that I would ride with them. I started a 32 degree FREEZING (for Southern California)road ride with Kim and a couple motorcylce racers that just finished their season. When we pulled up to the bottom of Rock Store I felt a rush of energy and settled into a pace. One of the motorcyle racers and I gently pulled away and pushed up the hill. About 3/4 of the way up he pulled away from me like I was standing still! Skinny bum! Once we were to the top of Power Climb I realized that I would not be able to do the whole ride with them and make it to my mountain bike ride with Mike. So I finished out the road ride at about 30 miles and 2450 feet of climbing.
Once home I ate quickly, walked the dogs and took off to Sycamore Canyon to meet Mike. My legs were hurting pretty good at this point! We dropped down into the canyon and I started to feel a little better up the Sage trail climb. He was just warming up so I was able to keep up. Once we hit Guadalajasco I was not certain I was going to make it! Usually I climb this trail in my middle ring but had to resort to my granny gear today! I suffered up the hill until about 5 minutes from the top when I got some juice back. I rolled up to the beautiful view were he wads waiting for me. He had probably put 6-8 minutes on me. We flew down the hill like pro's until he flatted! Quick change and we were off again. Headed back to our cars and we climbed the singletrack all the way to the black b*@$*. I actually climbed that in my middle ring and sprinted the last 200 yards. Quick jaunt over the connecter and it was off to Chipotle! I finished the day with a little over 50 miles and over 5500 ft of climbing!
Legs are still feeling a bit bruised today...I think it's time for a massage. I want to start some seriuos training to run through the month of October and get ready for the 12 hours of Temecula. I will write about my goals this week!

Monday, September 24, 2007

8 Solo Hours at the 24 Hours of Hurkey Creek

I did it! I have yet to come down from the amazing high that this race set me off on! I hope to have some pictures to share soon! I cannot not even explain how scared I was the couple days leading up to this race that the weather was going to be terrible! We heard everything from non-stop rain to snow, to hail and thunderstorms! I am very happy to report that the weather was close to perfect for the eight hours that I was on the course! We had a few quick bouts of rain but nothing that soaked in to the bone! It was also rather cold but that kept my body temperature just about right!
I drove up to Idyllwild on Friday after doing a quick spin up Rock Store in the morning. It was supposed to be pouring rain up there by afternoon so I figured that I would not get to pre-ride the course. Other than some wind and scary looking clouds, the weather was great. I found my friends the Langins' and sat down to relax. They had arrived early and pre-rode the course. They shared all the good info with me and we kicked it for the rest of the afternoon.
Sleeping in an RV is THE WAY TO GO! With the threat of thunderstorms overnight, the Langins' offered a spot inside! Race day came quick and the morning hours seemed to fly by. Jr. was doing a rain dance and I was sure that it was working considering that the clouds came in like the mouth of a monster..all foamy and scary! It started to drizzle and I started to cry! J/K. The sky changed from sun to scary clouds on and off leading up to the start.
I went to check in, put my bike in the transition area and head to the start line. As I placed my bike on the rack I tried to turn on my heart rate monitor only to find that it would not work! This was devastating as I was heavily relying on this to help control my pace! I swallowed hard and proceeded to the start. The race starts with a Leman's style run about 1/4 of a mile long. This is not my best area as I am not much of the runner especially in cycling shoes! The energy was amazing as there were hundreds of people screaming and ringing cowbells! I was about mid pack when I hit my bike.
The first lap was excruciatingly slow! Most of the course was singletrack so there was no room to pass on the opening two mile climb! This worked OK for me as I was able to find a steady opening pace and just kind of stick with it. I wasn't out to win this race so it worked well. The course was freaking amazing! Some of the best trail that I have ever ridden! Perfect race course! First lap I felt great and as I came through the finish decided not to stop at all.
Second lap was completely different! Wide open with few people holding you up. This is where I made a slight mistake as I started to push it pretty hard not having many in front of me. This course just begs to be ridden fast and I had a good time throwing down a quicker lap! When I came through the pit area I hoped that someone would be around to help refuel me. I had layed out a couple bottles already and since there was no one around I swapped out and took off.
Lap three brought some pain! About 1 mile into the 2 mile climb my left hamstring snapped like a stretched rubber band! I jumped off my bike and quickly stretched. I sucked down a Hammer Gel and a huge portion of my Hammer Heed with Endurolytes powder. This lap saw me off the bike about 8-10 times to stretch out the cramps. As I came through the start/finish I realized I had made pretty good time even with the cramps. As I was approaching the end of the lap there was a medical helicopter landing on the course to airlift out an injures rider. I guess that they actually held up riders behind me which affected my friends team and final race outcome.
I hit my pits and grabbed my Camelback. I also ate a banana and drank 6 pills worth of Endurolytes. This really helped as the cramps never became a huge issue again. I was doing really well at the beginning of lap 4. I motored up the climb at a comfortable pace and hit the top ready to fly into the meadow. As I started the descent disaster struck in the form of a rear tire flat?! After my horrible flat experience at Big Bear two weeks prior I took my time and changed out the tube carefully airing up the new tube! Back on my bike I noticed about a mile later that my rear gears were not working properly. After five minutes of fumbling on the side of the trail I was up and running again.
Lap five was a steady grind that was cold and just OK. I had been going back and forth with a woman that was also doing the solo 8 hour for the first time. I would hang with her through the meadow and up the backside climb then drop her on the descents. She must have been rolling through her pits because I would often catch her at the beginning of the meadow every lap. She stated that she wasn't going to do a 6th lap and I tried to convince her to push on. She thought about it but I never saw her again. Mad props to her though as she battled out 5 tough laps!
Lap 6 was in the dark and I was ready for a night lap! I love riding during the night because the laps just seem shorter! The hills are great to because you can't see how long they look! This was definitely not my easiest lap as my legs were on the verge of cramping again and my arms were feeling it to! Once I got up the climb on out of the meadow I was so stoked! 2 tiny climbs left then the pump track section and the finish line! I rolled through at 7:58 and had a smile on my face like I had just won! A quick jaunt by the standings table revealed the results!
13th out of 31 riders! Way better than I ever expected! I was so happy!
The only thing I could have done better is had race support. I am confident that if I had not needed to stop and mix drinks and stuff between laps that I would have had time to do a 7th lap! That would have put me in the top ten close to 6th or 7th! This race definitely taught me so much and I look forward to the 12 Hours of Temecula in October!
I want to congratulate my friends Pedal Mullisha for 2nd place in the 5 person co-ed division. Also Mary Collier 1st place 8 hour solo women's who busted out an amazing 8 laps! Todd Carpenter 24 Hour Solo winner! And Kenny Gioeli the winner of the men's solo 8 hour race who did 9 laps in 8 hours! Freaking amazing!
My legs are finally getting better! Yesterday they felt as if someone had beat them with baseball bats for a day and a half! This was an amazing experience that has only deepened my desire to ride my bike for longer and longer and longer!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Could Use Some Sunshine

Where do I start! I am a ball of positivity at the moment...I woke up last Friday not feeling well at all. A cold has been running rampant through work and family. I started with heavy doses of vitamin c and plenty of water and zinc. As hard as it was I did not ride Friday or Saturday. I went to a 2008 Gary Fisher and Trek demo on Sunday and rode 8 or so new bikes. I felt better but tried not to over do it. I got up early Monday and rode in the cold. Legs were not feeling great but pushed out some miles anyhow. Tuesday slept in. This morning got up early and layered the clothes heavily as it was freezing out! Hit Rock Store and the legs were very tight. I am getting a little worried about my body performing Saturday. That is my body woes...I am also having bike woes!
I had a pair of Avid Juicy Seven's given to my last week by Kim and we installed them Saturday. I rode it after the demo on Sunday only to realize that the rear break had air in the line and therefor did not work. They have been trying to bleed them all week at the shop with no resolve! I am about to go crazy! This is all compounded by the fact that it may be thunder storming for most of my race on Saturday! Brutal! I could use all the prayers and good thoughts any and all you could send my way!
Bright spot in all this? I can't wait for the race...Rain, bike, health, I am going to ride my heart, body and soul out!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Double Down

Well I decided that since I took two rest days, that I would double down on my riding on Wed. I started with a freezing cold morning road ride up and over Mulholland to Encinal. There is a part of Encinal that you drop down about 1 mile at a speed of 45-50 mph! Once you get to the bottom I think my nipples fell off from the change in temperature! I climbed out of the canyon over to Decker and dropped back down into Westlake. My legs were really not firing like I hoped that they would be after two days off! I guess my race effort was a little much! That makes me happy though, thinking I gave all that I had! Recovery has been slow this week.
After work I was able to get out on the trail! My wife was working late so I jumped on the opportunity to ride late. I headed over to Los Robles Trail for some climb intensive laps. There is a 3.5 mile loop on this hill that has 500 ft. of elevation gain per lap. It reminds me a lot of some of the courses that I race with just a little shorter of a distance. Knowing that my climbing needs to improve, I fought with whether I could handle 3 or 4 laps in the hot sun. I also wanted to work on pacing myself with the 8 hour race coming up. The first lap was tough, I always want to go hard when I feel I have the energy, and then I blow-up needing a couple minutes of recovery. By the second lap I was doing a little better finding a pace, although it was a little slower than my brain wanted me to go. I finished the second lap about 30 seconds behind the first. Third lap was in the pain cave but I felt that I kept a steady pace for all of the climbing. That lap was about 30 seconds slower than number 2. I took two fun side laps on Rollercoaster for a little break after lap 3. This is a fun 1 mile descent that is like a rollercoaster if you hadn't put that together already. At that point I decided not to pedal back to the car but take one more lap through the loop! I had a couple rough spots on the climb but pushed through and rolled back to my car!
I had every intention of getting up at 5:20 this morning to catch the Amgen Road ride....yeah...didn't happen. Rough night of sleep and could not convince myself that riding would feel good! Took the dogs for a walk and climbed back in bed for an extra hour of sleep! I always feel a little bummed when I do that! I really wanted to ride...Could of, would of , should of!
Fast Friday tomorrow morning! Maybe a 15 minute Rockstore climb is in the air?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

State Champion!

I cannot even describe how good it felt to receive the State Champion's Jersey! Right before they gave them out, every conceivable doubt went through my head! Then when the jersey and plaque was handed to me, I felt a stream of emotion run through my body like a river in the middle of a flash flood! I had worked so hard all season to accomplish this goal...and though I did not always have the toughest competition in my class, I pushed on and trained harder.
As I wrote in earlier blogs, I really wanted to finish out the State series with a strong race. I was a little unsure how I would do in the altitude of Big Bear but I was determined to give it my all. I was also a little worried that I was going to be standing on my feet the two days prior to the race helping a friend represent his brand at the Action Sports Retailer show. I rode hard Friday morning before leaving for San Diego and had a Long Board Skate session in a 7 story parking garage that night! I climbed the staircase over and over to give my legs the workout and planned on using Saturday as a rest day.
Early Sunday morning I left San Diego and headed up to the mountains. I felt a little stiff when I arrived so I checked in and started spinning my pedals. Fortunately the weather was perfect! Low 70's and the sun was in and out of the clouds. The last race at Big Bear was in the upper 90's! That and the altitude hammered me. Race time came and all the usual suspects were there. I had Brett in my class which was nice and he was on a new bike ready to race! The 35 and over guys were staring each other down as the championship would be decided by this final race! These guys have always been a little faster than me and my goal was to beat them! As we started one guy took off like a semi-pro and the rest of us settled in for the 3 mile climb. We quickly dropped two of the guys and the other 5or6 of us hung pretty much together. 2 of the guys pulled away at about 2 miles and I did not see them again until we started descending again. It was nice to see them and gave me something to chase as we rode on rolling terrain.
After months of road riding I finally saw some payoff by the way I was really able to push a much higher pace on the flat and rolling terrain. I was actually catching and passing some guys that were always faster than me. It gave me an extra bit of confidence that pushed me harder and harder. I was doing really well sitting in 3rd with the group I started with. I continued to keep a steady pace only slowing for some of the grinding climbs. I unfortunately got caught up behind a bad descender on the really fun single-track descent in the middle of the course which allowed 4th and 5th to catch my wheel. As we started to climb out of the valley 4th passed me and took off as 5th latched on to my wheel and wouldn't let go. Nice of him to let me do all the work up front. At mile 13 I felt as if I was popping. My heart was beating out of my chest and I was feeling the effects of the altitude. For the first time in the race I dropped my chain to the granny ring and slowed my pace. My follower did not seem to mind and continued to take up the rear. As we reached the top of the climb I started to feel a little better and picked up the pace.
At this point we had hit Fall Line and it was now hold tight and don't crash. This downhill single-track is some of the most technical trail in all the series. It's just plain scary downhill! I did fine on it last race but you do not want to find yourself behind someone that does not descend well! At about 14.5 miles in and half way down Fall Line I blew my back tire! I was so pissed as I was having a great race and this was my first ever race flat! I crazily ripped off my back wheel and proceeded to replace the tube as rider after rider flew by. I frantically aired the new tube up once I put it in the tire only to see it pop out of the rim and blow like a fourth of July firework! My heart sank as I reached into my saddlebag for another tube. I made sure to make sure this one sat inside before airing it up. Once I got it on and aired up I placed the rim back onto my bike only to here the tube blow again! Well that was it..I was ten minutes into this mechanical and I had no more tubes. I tightened down my rim and decided to take off on a flat and finish the race. I had close to two miles to go and it was the rockier than I ever remember! I would very often have to pull off the trail to let other riders pass always hoping that it would not be Brett. I had to stand and pedal the whole way, running a couple of short steep hills. As I approached the finish line all the riders that had already finished were there cheering us on. As they heard my broke down pile come through you could hear everybody groaning with pain. I love my fellow competitors...this sport is just so great!
As I crossed the line I was really angry with my result even though I had no control over it! Much to my surprise Brett came in 1 minute later! I could not believe that I had so much time on him! I ended up finishing about 20 minutes back from the 35 and over guys which really burned since I was hanging with them!!! Any suggestions on altitude training? Is it possible to acclimate in any way?
Anyways, this was an amazing XC series and I am stoked I finished as State Champion! I think that I have 2 more XC races scheduled for the end of the year, but all concentration now goes to the 8 Hour race in two weeks and the 12 hour race in November! I will put up a picture of the jersey and plaque in the next couple of days!
Live Free_

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Dear God..Can You Please Turn On the A/C?

Wow! I was so excited for the long weekend! I had a whole plan of a ton of riding. Yeah, not so much. We endured 5 days at 105+ heat! Two days we hit over 110! I have mad respect for those who competed at the 24 Hour World Championships this last weekend. Some friends had some great finishes. Josh Smith from Team Sho-Air pulled an amazing 2nd place in his age group! Bernice also from Sho-Air battled through what she says was her hardest race ever, to pull off 6th place in the womens ELITE field which was stacked with the worlds best! Tinker Juarez who won the mens elite put down a 1:02 minute lap on his 18th of 19 laps! That was the second fastest lap of the race! Unbelievable! Congrats to all those who competed! Mad respect!
I started my weekend by deciding I was ready for an epic. I had no one to ride with so I took off on my road bike at about 615am and it was around 75 degrees! I climbed Rock Store and headed down Encinal towards Zuma Beach. When I hit the coast the weather was so nice I decided to ride up and down Pacific Coast Highway for a bit. I stopped at Starbucks to refill my bottles and headed towards Yerba Buena. When I started up the canyon I was pleasantly surprised with how cool it was. I made it up about 6 miles before I hit the exposed sun and that's when I rode into the pain locker. The next 6 miles of climbing was done in about 112 degree heat. I was at about 52 miles when I got back into town and still had to climb another 8 miles to get home. With about 3 miles left I seriously considered calling someone for a ride! I couldn't take the shame of that thought and pushed my overheated self all the way home. I finished the day with 61 miles and 5500 feet of climbing in just under 4 hours.
Sunday I did a short recovery ride on the mountain bike early in the morning. We headed out to the beach and I surfed for a couple hours after that. Monday morning came very quickly as we went out Sunday night and I ended up with only about 3 hours of sleep. I hit the road again with Kim from the shop and we later met up with some of the guys from the team. We rode up and over Decker Canyon to the beach and then turned up Mulholland. We were 1/4 of the way up when these two guys passed Kim at a good pace. I had slowed to let her catch up and when she did she was all pissed that these guys had blown by her than slowed considerably. She stated that if you are going to pass someone you better make sure that you can keep your pace. She told me that I should chase them down and put the hurt on and if I did, she would follow. I took that as a friendly challenge and my legs were feeling pretty good so I hit it. I blew by them as if they were standing still and never looked back for the next 5 miles. About 2 miles from the top I decided to turn and look and when I did no one was behind me! I waited about three minutes until Kim came around the corner. As she got closer she said, "GO"! I quickly got up to speed and she was bent on keeping her pace to the top! She held it really nice until we reached the top and when all was said and done, Kim put about 2 minutes on them! I think I could have had 6 or so on them if I kept going! Feels great!
I took a rest day on tuesday which was much needed. Wed. I hit Chesebro on the mountain bike and did a race ride. 2 laps at race pace! I actually dropped over a minute off my 2nd lap! That stoked me because I have n=been working on my endurance and the ability to pick up the pace as the ride progresses. I followed up that ride with a climb up Dead Cow this morning and a fast pace down Chesebro and up Palo Comado.
I will do the Fast Friday road ride in the morning and then I am off to the ASR show in San Diego. Saturday will be a short spin in the morning to shake the legs and Sunday I have the Ca. State Finals in Big Bear! I hope to finish strong!