Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I Need Butter for My Toast

The sun decided to show it's face yesterday! I was so excited! I grabbed the road bike and new exactly the ride that I wanted to do. I layered on the clothes as it was very cool out. As I headed down the road towards the mountains, the wind hit me like a mack truck. The funny part is that no matter which way I turned, the wind was either hitting me head on or from the side! I suffered my way up Mulholland and as I crested the top I was greeted by freezing cold 40+ mph winds! Yippee! I was on my bike outside though so I didn't care. I crossed the ridge line and dropped down Decker Canyon. Things got crazy as the road was like a waterfall all the way down. I have never descended this road so slowly. The best part was crossing the lake that had formed at the bottom! From there I turned left into Hidden Valley with a round by Lake Sherwood. Hidden Valley was brutal as the headwind was blowing so hard I couldn't get my average speed over 15 mph. I usually average about 22 mph across this flat section. I climbed out of the valley and made the turn towards home. I noticed some dark clouds coming from the ocean and got a little scared that there was rain coming. My legs were TOAST, yet I found a good pace that I was able to hold all the way to the mall. A few miles of rolling terrain straight into more wind and then I stopped by the bike shop to refill the bottles and put my feet into the microwave! Didn't work so I just stayed long enough to warm up and then hit the road towards home. I was pretty hungry and wiped out from the wind. I tried to sprint up a couple short hills on the way home but would crumble before the top of each one. All said and done I got in 43 miles at about 3 hours and 3500 ft. of climbing.
I tried to get on the trainer this morning but only lasted about 35 minutes! TOAST!
Legs felt like anchors and I just couldn't spin! I am going out in the freezing cold tomorrow morning with Mike! We are hitting the trail in Simi Valley. We are going to ride over the pass into the valley then climb Johnson's Motorway figuring that we will see some crazy cool waterfalls! I will take photos if we find any. We will than bomb Chumash Trail and head home. Hopefully legs will feel better! Work at the shop again tomorrow...Good Times.
Oh Yeah, I passed(or they passed me) the Rock and Republic Race Team as they were on a team ride. Led by a Cadillac Escalade and followed by a Hummer H2. Kind of a surreal sight. Some of the shop team guys came in today and said that they saw Rock out on Mulholland today filming a video or commercial. They had a helicopter filming the team from above! Sounds cool. It will be interesting to see what happens with this team this year.
Keep Climbing,

Sunday, January 27, 2008

1st Race of 2008

After a week of rain and the beginning of my rebuilding starting to take place, I decided to do a XC race. As much as I wanted to suffer through the 12 hours of Temecula, the dire forecast for the week and my current level of fitness had me choose the XC race instead. It has been since November that I last raced and I was missing it very much!
Friday the forecast stated that this large storm would not hit until the late afternoon so I figured that the race would be dry. After arriving it was great to see many of all my old friends from last year! There was a few of my competitors that had obviously raced cross all winter and were ready to race! Even though I am still over 200 lbs. I decided to race my age group in the sport division. I know that this is the choice that will make me a faster, more competitive racer. As I lined up with 7 other guys in my class, I knew this was not going to be easy. As much as I love to be challenged...I also love to win! I won almost all of my XC races last year and I am not that accustomed to losing! It was a new scary feeling to line up next to guys that were close to half my body size! The start was great and I hung with the pack until the bottom of the paved road climb.(I was racing at the Southridge Winter Series) Then 3 of the little guys took off like a Japanese Bullet Train. I decided that I was going to just race my race and see where I would end up. There was 1 guy that I HAD to beat though.
When I raced my first race ever a little more than a year ago I remember the start line vividly. We had a group of about 9 guys in the beginner Clydesdale's class. There is this one cat that had a $7500 Epic S-Works, a full team kit, and was talking a great game. I thought that this guy was just going to take off and leave us all in the dust! Not the case! I think that I smoked him by ten minutes in that first race! It was the same in all the races last year. Just not the fastest dude. Well at the November race a couple of months ago, homeboy showed up and had dropped about 50-60 pounds! That was the race that I (tried) to race expert. So as I was finishing lap 2 of 3 at that race, I noticed he was trying to beat me to the line. He told me later that he really wanted to race again because he wanted to beat me! I told him that I would see him this year!
Back to this race...
After the three leaders took off there were four of us in a group and one other that dropped off into oblivion. This course has a lot of climbing and that is where I was having some issues! Carrying my extra weight up the mountain was tough. Every time we would hit a sustained climb a couple guys would pass me including Steve.(the one I was talking about above) I figured out pretty quickly that I could descend and hammer the flats way quicker than all of these guys in the group. With that realization I decided to stand up and quick sprint at the last part of any climb to try to pass those who passed me. Being caught behind a slower descender on tight singletrack downhills would keep me from pulling away. Other than putting me in the pain locker, this was working for me. At the end of lap one I thought that I had put a good gap on Steve. Then at the top of the paved climb I saw him coming up the hill. I was able to keep a little distance until we hit hurl hill on the backside of the course. I popped! I popped and he rode past me midway up the hill. I was surprised that I actually caught sight of him at the bottom of the hill. I kept him in view up the switchback climb and then made another mistake. There is a little rocky technical section at the end of the climb that slays even the best of riders, and I decided to jump off and run through it. About halfway through the 20 feet, both of my legs cramped above the knee! If I was going to be pedaling this wouldn't have been that big of a deal but I was at the section that is like a roller coaster track! This requires use of those muscles! The next 2 minutes was spent in agony! I pedaled as much as possible and worked it out! I pulled up behind Steve and planted on his wheel. An expert on his third lap had also caught up and when we dropped the drainage ditch he passed me. And wouldn't you guess, it was a teammate of Steve. All of a sudden Steve grabbed his draft and put 300 yards on me! I couldn't believe it! I thought that this was it. I was crushed. I did not have much left but put it all on the line and spun it out. There was a small climb and a run up hill left along with a descent. I thought if I could catch him before the run-up I might have a chance. I bombed the downhill like Steve Peat and caught sight once again! About 150 yards from the run-up I caught his wheel! He started to up-shift and I had an idea! I left my bike in the big ring and jumped off at the base of the hill. He jumped off at the same time and I yelled at him," Come on man, let's do this!) We both hit the top at the same time but as I jumped on my bike I hammered off towards the finish and he jumped on and had to shift to a better gear! I ended up beating him by 45 seconds!
I wish that the fight was for first but never the less it was a great fight! When I finished I couldn't breathe! I love at the end of a race when I can look back and say...I gave it my all! I ended up in fifth place..just at the bottom of the podium! That's me on the left in the black shirt. I won't even say how much faster first place was! I just know that i have my work cut out!
With my new job I will not get to race most of the Southridge Series but my training seems to be back on track and I have a great test coming up in three weeks. February 16th is the marathon mountain bike race in Santa Ynez. 50 miles. If I can stay on track with my training and really get my diet back in line...I will be ready!
Congratulations to Mary Collier for her 2nd place in the 12 hours of Temecula. Todd Carpenter also placed 4th in the Pro men's field! Siren had a great day at the races! I believe that they will all be at their first 24 Hour race of the season when I am in Santa Ynez.

***I know that this has been a long post but I have one more thing I would like to tell everyone. One of our dogs, Bean, woke up with an infection in his gums this morning. It has the right side of his face all swollen. We went out to see Jane from BARK Rescue from whom we adopted Bean 2 years ago. She had some tooth work done on Bean when we first adopted him so we went to see if she could direct us to the same vet. Little Bean will have his tooth removed this Thursday so please keep him in your thoughts. This is a picture of him...

So we met her at the pet store where she was holding her regular Sunday adoptions. I have purposefully stayed away from these adoptions as this is the whole reason that we have FOUR chihuahuas! We walked into the store and it took only a fraction of a second for my wife to latch onto a scared precious little pup! Laying curled up with 4 other dogs was a young, beautiful, very scared chihuahua/italian greyhound. We stood and held this amazing guy for about an hour. If we had a house and not an apartment I would be telling you that we had brought him home. I just don't find it fair for our other pups to bring another into our place! It was very hard to walk away because this little guy took to us very well. I can tell you that my wife REALLY wanted to take him home! So I bring this all up because I would love to help find this amazing guy a home. If anyone is looking for a small dog please let me know and I will give you any information that you like. I warn you now...if you meet this guy...it will all be over! He is amazing!

Keep Climbing,

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's Raining It's Pouring and It's Not Stopping

I was super excited on Friday when the decision was made that I would not have to go to Salt Lake City this week. All that I could think was, wow, I am going to ride all week long! Saturday morning I got a morning ride in that hurt like a mutha! I knew that I hadn't ridden much over the last two weeks, but it felt as if it had been 2 years! **Note to self #3, when you haven't had much saddle time in the last couple of weeks, don't pick the biggest, baddest hill to climb!**
I had promised to work at the shop Sunday and also do the shop ride which starts at 8am. It's just a quick hour and a half road ride over Rock Store. I thought that I would get a little extra time in and head out for a 12 mile loop at 7am and then meet up for the ride. The temp when I started was around 37 degrees! I had enough clothing on to keep me warm in all ares except my face and toes! When I got to the meeting spot at 10 till 8 my toes felt as if they had frozen and had a heartbeat of their own. A throbbing heartbeat! I decided that I was not going to be able to stand this pain and headed home! I know that I am a big baby, but man!
Monday I slept in with my lovely and we spent a nice day off together! I had some shopping to do for my new job and was able to find some amazing deals! I hate spending money on clothes when I could be saving it towards THIS. I spent an hour on the trainer Monday night. I wouldn't mind the trainer so much but it hurts my ass realllly bad! There is no forgiveness! An hour is about all I can take because of the pain. I would love a pair of THESE rollers! This would take care of that non-forgiving feeling that puts such punishment on my backside. I would be willing to do a century on these in order to raise the money to buy a set! I would then follow the lead of Fatty and bet you all that I could do a second 100 miles THE NEXT DAY in order to raise money for one of my favorite charities. Any takers? If only I had 160 readers that would all donate ten dollars?
Back to my week...
Tuesday the rain was supposed to hit so I slept in and than headed to the bike shop to get another days work in. I got home and hit the trainer for an hour again. Wed. morning I got up and grabbed the mountain bike as the rain had stopped for a moment. I climbed Dead Cow and came back down as it was getting muddier and muddier the higher I went. I then made a mad dash around the city as the clouds started to roll in. I logged about 25 miles in an hour and a half. As I got about a mile from home, the sky opened up and started POURING!
I got up this morning and did another hour on the trainer before another day at the shop. I came home and with the intention of getting another hour in on the trainer but my garage door would not open? I tried with no success to get it open and now must wait until 9am to get a key from the office to open it. Bummed! As soon as I am done I think that I will hit the Gym.
I had planned on going to the 12 Hours of Temecula race on Saturday but it seems that the weather is going to stay. I don't feel to hot about driving 3 hours in this kind of rain! Hopefully I will be able to log some hours next week but it looks as if the rain is going to be steady until at least Tuesday! I usually love the rain but this is crazy!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I want to apologize to the millions that read about my adventures! OK, so how about the 5 people. I feel that this blog started off so great last year and was exciting to write through the race season. But as the season came to an end and my job started to take over every aspect of my life, I feel that it has become a little depressing and stale. Just like my (lack of) training.
My job as a Director of Marketing for a clothing company was life-changing. I felt as if I had fallen into the perfect carreer for myself. My co-workers were amazing and I thought that I was going to gain an immense amount of knowledge from the president. I definitely learned a lot. But my time at this company has come to an abrupt end. Though I usually experience only 1-2 colds per year, In the last 4 months it seems that I have been sick non-stop. Because of my drive to be the best that I can be and not just do things right but do them amazingly, I have physically and mentally worked myself into the ground. I have allowed old habits to resurface which end up depressing me in more ways than one. It has been really hard giving what I have given with no real payoff. I strongly realized a couple of weeks ago that I needed to make a change. I miss riding...I miss being happy...I miss being healthy...I hate making excuses...
Well friends, change is in the air! In more ways than one! As I started off in this post, I want to say that I am sorry! Sorry for the depressing, angry posts. Sorry for bailing on plans. And I am sorry that this blog became more about self-loathing and less about MY QUEST TO BECOME AN ENDURANCE RACER! That will all change starting now!
I have just a few days left as a Marketing Director and will soon attack a new challenge. I will get back to my passion. I have accepted a position to manage another retail establishment. The exciting part of this to me is that my passion is putting together teams of people then leading, coaching, mentoring, and learning from that team. The position that I have taken is with a company whose goals and morals are on track with mine and believes that success comes through its people. I am stoked! The store that I have been offered needs to be totally rebuilt as far as staff. The challenge is huge and the first 2-3 months will be long hours and lots of pain...(kind of like an endurance race) but the experience is what I will enjoy..and the payoff will be a great chance of growth both personally and professionally.
I am also excited that I will be able to get my training back on track! I am so happy! So I give you my promise that I will increase the happiness in my posts and get back my goal of becoming a competitive endurance mountain biker! I still anticipate a rough training schedule for the next couple of months as most racers seasons get underway, but come mid-spring....watch out Southern Cal...I will be back..lean..fast..on my game!
Keep Climbing,

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sitting in the Airport

So I decided to bring my laptop. It's kind of crazy when you are sitting at your gate next to a security checkpoint and all of a sudden everything comes to a loud screeching halt. Security and police filled the gates and demanded that everyone stop moving! They sent someone into the "tunnel" to seal off the gate and everyone just sat somewhat in awe of what was going on. The "tunnel I am referring to is a long 1/4 mile white hallway that I assume goes under the runway and leads to the gates where I am at. As I walked through this long white tunnel, I wondered if this was the hallway people speak of seeing as they are brought back from the dead?
About 1 and a half minutes later they screamed all clear and quickly went back to work. No explanation or anything! Whatever!
I will try to post some pics tonight after arriving.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Florida Bound

Just have to make it through the day and off to Florida I will be! I got in a little saddle time Monday night. Took the road bike out with lights and every piece of warm clothing that I could find. I got about an hour and 15 minutes of riding in. When I got home some of the lesser covered areas of my body were frozen! I hope to get a mountain ride in tonight as my home trail should be a little dried out! It will be cold but good!
Tomorrow morning I will fly to Florida. As I have stated in prior posts I am super excited. Mike called me from the Orlando Convention Center and said that our booth is right across from the mini halfpipe where the Volcom mini ramp contest is being held! I will take lots of pictures and post as soon as I can. Still not sure if I am taking my computer on the road but if I do I will for sure post updates. The only thing that I am not looking forward to is the jet-lag. Escpecially when I come home! It might make it easier to get up early and ride though!
Keep Climbing

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Rubber Ducky

I sure blew it this week! I took that short ride on New Years Eve and that ended up being it until today! New Years Day was so windy that I made the stupid decision to accept an offer to go running! Not just running down the road...no...that would be to easy! My friends wanted to run up Dead Cow! Sure I said! Well we ran/walked quickly up the 950ft of elevation in about .9 miles! Than we turned around and ran down! This is what proved to be fatal. I felt great for the rest of the day. The next morning when I woke up...not so much! I have two flights of stairs at my office and lets just say that I had to waddle up and down those for THREE days! My ass muscles, hamstrings, and calf muscles were toast!
With that pain I wasn't able to get on the bike at all. Then on Friday the rain hit. It rained heavily here in Thousand Oaks through the night. It was supposed to rain all day Saturday as well so I worked at the shop. It did not rain until Saturday night. Today I couldn't stand it any longer so I put on all my gear and took the Mountain Bike out on the road. I was about an hour in when I noticed the clouds coming over the mountains into the valley. They were scary looking! I was about 40 minutes from home so I hit the gas and the buckets started coming down just a I got home! Close call! Legs are pretty sore but I hope to get in some saddle time over the next three days. I will be off to Florida on Thursday and don't think that I will have the opportunity to ride while there. Our hotel seems to have a nice gym so I will need to get in some spins on the stationary bike if possible. It's time to turn up the training and turn down the bad eating. I am a little behind where I wanted to be as far as my fitness goes. I will also be off the bike for the week I am in Salt Lake City in a couple weeks. More gym workouts...yuck! Hope you guys are all staying dry!