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!