Friday, June 29, 2007

In for the long haul

The summer season is now officially in full swing. Traffic/Parking is a nightmare. The vast majority of people that I deal with on a day to day basis now appear to be oblivious to the world around them. This is bad enough when you're attempting to talk to them in the store, but out on the streets it becomes downright dangerous. The only good thing about these two months is that it's only two months. I shouldn't complain too much because the money they spend does allow me to buy shiny new bikes and skis. But I can honestly say that if we were this busy year round I'd be looking for a new job.

I normally have a hard time keeping up with my training this time of year, but I'm really comitted to sticking with it this year. It may mean getting up early and doing some of my rides before work, but I've put too much time in already this season to just let myself go to shit now. I'm thinking that my fabulous new road bike will help motivate me to a large degree. I can't say enough good things about the job Scott did building my dream bike. It fits perfectly. The paint job is beautiful. The Campy stuff works like a charm. If you're ever interested in a custom ride I would have absolutely no reservations steering you in his direction.

Since the fourth falls on a Wednesday this year, the WNR will be on Thursday night at Team Headquarters. Hope to see you all there. In the meantime, take care and ride well.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Quiring Special

It's here, and it is everything that I hoped it would be and more. I got up around 5:30 Thursday morning for the trek down to Charlotte. I was home with my new baby just a little after 3:00. I put some bottle cages on, pumped up the tires, changed my clothes and was on the road by 4:00. I did a great 27 mile loop with some big climbs and a few northern michigan cobbles thrown in for good measure. I can't begin to describe how wonderful this bike feels. Perhaps after a few more hours in the saddle I'll be able to articulate my impressions a little better, but until then I'm just going to ride. Working with Scott was great, and I'm pretty darn sure this won't be the last frame he builds for me.

Have a good thought for our buddy Doug. He's in Marquette this weekend for his first forray into road bike racing.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mission Accomplished

It's over, and I guess you could say that I got what I wanted out of the race. I finished it. I would be lying if I told you there weren't plenty of times out there on the course when I seriously considered throwing in the towel. It was far and away the toughest race I've ever done. It was so hot and dusty. But you know what? It could have been a lot worse. I didn't crash, and the Scalpel performed perfectly. My goal for a finishing time was somewhere in the ten hour realm, and I just made it in 10hr49min. I'm really curious to see how many people dropped out. I heard there were quite a few, so just the finishing part feels like a huge accopmlishment. Hugh ended up finishing 5th in the Masters class, and Will finished an amazing 2nd in the Singlespeed class. Congratulations to both of them, great job. In the overall men's class Doug ended up 56th and I scored a solid 70th. Somwhat suprisingly, my neck and shoulders are the sorest part of my body. Following closely in second place are my hands. My fingers are still a little numb even today. Special thanks go out to the pit crew. Sarah, Denise, and Secret Steve did a great job keeping us topped off with all the right food and drinks. All in all it was a great event, and I'm already looking forward to going back next year. Who ever knew that self-inflicted abuse could feel so good? WNR at Boyne this week. I'm looking forward to getting back on the singlespeed. Until then, here's some pictures from the Big MFer (Lumberjack 100).

Chris Eatough coming in for the win.

Hugh psyching out the competition before the start.

In the pits after Lap 2.

Doug and I waiting for our turn in the shower back at the cabin.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I want to be a Lumberjack

Well, race day is less than 24 hours away. Hugh, Denise, Doug, Sarah, and I will be departing the Clock Tower Plaza at appox. 3:00 this afternoon bound for Udell, MI. I've done just about everything I can in terms of preperation, so now I'm just anxious to get started with it. The forecast is calling for a high of 83 with a chance of rain in the afternoon. I guess that will have to do since there's not much you can do about the weather. I'm shooting for anywhere in the realm of 10 hours for a good finish time, but since this will be my first 100 mile race just finishing will be an accomplishment. I'll report back later this weekend or Monday. Until then, ride well and take care.

Friday, June 08, 2007

My New Ride

At long last the project is in the home stretch. Scott got the frame painted this week, and I must say I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out. I just picked out the shade of blue and told him to fade it any way he wanted to white. I gave him the go ahead for parts this afternoon. I'll be running a Campy Centaur Gruppo (except for the Chorus upgrade on the crankset) with an American Classic wheelset. The fork, handlebar, seatpost, and stem will all be from Ritchey. I cna't wait to see what it looks like all built up. Fortunately, I won't have to wait too long. Scott said he'll be able to deliver it to the Lumberjack next weekend. So no matter what happens at the race, I'll be coming home with a new bike. Yeah.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Hanson Hills Cross Country

So I woke up early (5:30) Sunday morning to head down to the race. The trip went smoothly since I had wisely packed everything the night before. I wanted to get down there early enought to get signed in and have at least an hour to warm up. I did about 13 miles on the road with some hard, but short intervals at race pace to get myself going, and I arrived back at the start with about five or ten minutes to spare. The start did not go as planned. I was last in the line of 15 heading into the first singletrack climb. I started thinking that maybe I wouldn't beat anybody in my group. Then I thought that this was just training for the Lumberjack in two weeks. Then I told myself to shut the f**k up and get your head in the game. We'd only been racing for like five minutes, and I was still right with main group. I passed two guys at the top of the hill and instantly felt much better. The faster of the two would prove to be a big motivator throughout the first lap. Every time I looked behind be, he would be just in sight. I wasn't able to lose him until right before the end of lap one. I was feeling good on lap two and managed to pass two more guys in my group. Right before the end of the lap I got caught by the first place elite female and a couple of expert 40-49 guys. I rode with them for the first part of lap three. Then in a momentary lapse of judgement I decided to put the pedal down and opened up a small gap. That lasted for maybe five minutes. They caught me. They passed me. I didn't see them again until the finish. Right before the finish there is a really steep, sandy downhill. I saw a guy right at the top of it when I was still 30 or 40 seconds away. I didn't know if he was in my group or not, but I decided to try and catch him anyway. I dug deep and caught him right at the bottom of the hill. I stayed right on his wheel while we wound our way around to the finish. Then with about 30 yards to go I went around him and just managed to beat him to the line. When I turned around to see who it was, I was happy to see that he was indeed in my group. That little sprint finish (my first ever) moved me up from 10th to 9th place in the expert 30-39 group. I did a quick 30 minute cooldown ride and got back to the car just as the clouds opened up with a torrential downpour. I felt bad for the sport racers out on the course, but I was oh so happy to be laying down in the back of the Passat with a PBJ and a cold Sacred Cow IPA. I ended up with five hours of riding and just shy of 50 miles on the day. That was my last big day before the Lumberjack, and combined with the five hours on Thursday with Hugh I think I've done all I can in preparation. It's time to taper off a little and just keep the fitness up heading into the big day. The WNR is at Headquarters this week and I have a new route planned so come on out. Until then, take it easy and be safe.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Sneak Preview

Yesterday morning Hugh and I headed south for a little recon on the Lumberjack 100 course. I picked him up around 8:30, and after a few stops we rolled into the Big M parking area around 11:40. Two laps and five and a half hours later we were tired, but the course was not really as hard as we expected. I'm sure that after the third and fourth laps we'll be singing a different tune. I didn't get home until just after 10:00 which made for a really long day. It was well worth it though to put my mind a little more at ease with the big day only two weeks from tomorrow. We're thinking that 2hr45min laps would be real doable. That would leave us with a 30 minute cushion for any mental, physical, or mechanical breakdowns before the cutoff time of 8hr45min for starting the fourth lap. The bottom line is, it's going to be a long ass day in the saddle no matter what. Now I'm just ready to get on with it. I have the Hanson Hills race this Sunday morning, and then all eyes will be focused on the LJ 100.

I just wanted to quickly touch on something else that has been on my mind lately. Sometimes when you start a relationship with someone new, you don't always let your friends know about it right away. This happened to me in the early part of the year when I started working with a coach. His name is Joe, and he lives in Millwaukee. Since this whole situation was totally new to me, I wasn't really sure what to expect or if it would even work out at all. So far things are going well, and I'm really pleased with the progress I've made in my skiing and biking. So that's all. I just felt like it was time for me to introduce everyone to Joe. Take care everybody, and we'll see you out on the trail soon. Thanks for reading.