Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year Old Year

Old year goes first: The 2008 year of racing is now officially in the books. Not all my racing and training went as planned, but in the end I learned a lot and I continued to improve my skillz and fitness. I found that I derive a great amount of pleasure from abandoning my car for days on end and transporting myself only by bicycle (when weather and daylight allows). I still really enjoyed racing and the training associated with it. I'm lucky to have such a great group of friends to ride, ski, and train with. Although I'm sure they question my sanity at times, I'm also really lucky to have a family that supports me in my crazy, mixed up world of endurance racing. So, the old year was a good year.

New year: I'm still hammering out the schedule, but I've got a pretty rough idea. Jan. - mid March: Train for and compete in 7 ski races. 4 shorter events and 3 marathons. Mid-March through mid June: Train/Race in preparation for the Mohican 100 on May 30th and the Lumberjack 100 on June 20th. Mid-June to end of Sept.: Train for Ore to Shore on Aug. 15th and the Crank the Shield 3-Day Stage Race Sept. 18-20. Oct. - end of year: Train specifically for cross country ski season: upper body work, running stairs, roller skiing, etc. Stay tuned as it all unfolds in the new year.

p.s. If the todd that comments here every once in a blue moon is indeed the infamous Retodd, shoot me your snail mail address. I'll be glad to send you a copy of It's Too Late To Stop Now. It is a great album. Where you been anyway?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Muzak

The ways in which I listen to and acquire music has changed dramatically over the last decade or so. First came the iPod, and it was like "Holy Crap, I can fit 1000 songs in this little digital box". Since my first iPod 10GB (which still works by the way as long as it's plugged in to a power source) I've dabbled with the iPod shuffle, my current 40GB goto iPod, and most recently the iPhone. Let's just say they've come a long way. Somewhere in there among the iPod evolution, satellite radio came into my life. I have it in my car and at work. I'll listen to all kinds of different stations; and if I hear something I like a few times, I'll either buy the one song or the whole gosh darn album at the iTunes superstore. While all these changes in the ways I listen to music have been going on my extensive CD collection (you remember CD's right) has been gathering dust. Yesterday I got a bunch of "new" music for free. I dug out a box of CD's from the back room at the store and picked out a few of my favorites. I downloaded them onto the computer and then onto my iPod and presto: music I hadn't listened to in so long it was like I was hearing it for the first time. I downloaded a couple of classic Stevie Ray Vaughn albums, a great two disc set from Traffic, and some old Van Morrison tunes as well. So if you're in the market for some "new" tunes, dust off your old plastic and fire up your iTunes.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday Morning

We had a brief scare with the weather this weekend. Saturday brought temps. in the low 50's and rain. Fortunately, we didn't loose too much snow, and the forecast is calling for cooler temps. and snow for the rest of the week. The real bummer was that while it was plenty warm enough for riding on saturday, winds in excess and of 40 mph and treacherous icy roads prevented me from getting out and keeping the streak alive. But today I will ski again. Hugh and I are going to meet up at Chestnut this afternoon for a little skate sufferfest. After a couple of unexpected days off it'll be nice to get the engine revved up again. My first ski race of the season is coming up on sunday, and conditions so far appear to be quite a bit better than last year. And that is all I have to say about that.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Holidays

Hope everyone had a merry christmas. We did. I got up early and opened some nice presents in front of the fire with Sarah and the dogs. After yet another hour of snow removal, we headed over to Chestnut to do some cross country skiing. I had a skate lesson on monday, and I wanted to get some practice in before I forgot all the things Nick had taught me. I felt better, and my timing's coming along; but I gotta tell you, skate skiing is hard, hard work. I took a quick ice bath when we got home, and my legs are feeling better than expected today. After my immersion in cold water, we headed into town for christmas with the rest of the family. Good presents and good food. This morning I got fresh tracks in 5 inches of new snow........on my way into work. Boo. Well, if it's not raining when I get out this afternoon, I may yet be able to get some skiing in today. If not, I've got some wood all ready to be fired up in the sauna. If you've got something that needs to be done this year, you better get moving. 2009 is right around the corner. Take care, and drive safely.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Consumer Report

Back in the day, when I drove a pickup truck (F-150) and then an SUV (Trooper), I would include a full sized shovel in my winter emergency kit. My winter emergency kit also contains a tow strap, a couple of blankets, and some jumper cables. When I made the switch over to the wagon a couple of years ago, I needed a smaller shovel to haul around unobtrusively in the winter months. Enter the Life Link avalanche shovel. I chose this shovel for it's compactness and because I figured if it was good enough to dig people out of avalanches it was probably good enough to dig my dumb a** out of a snowbank.



So I bought the shovel three winters ago, and it has resided in it's handy three pieces in the wheel well above my spare tire ever since. At least it did until I got stuck on Middle Village Rd. last weekend. Boy was I glad to have this shovel on hand. The three pieces snapped together in a flash, and I was off and digging. I've got to tell you, for such a small and lightweight shovel the thing digs like a champ. The blade cut through the chunky, frozen snowbank like a hot knife through butter. So, if you're in the market for a small emergency shovel for your vehicle this winter, or if you're lucky enough to live somewhere where you may actually need an avalanche shovel, check this one out.



Anyway, that's it for this christmas eve. Hope you and yours have a very happy holiday. Take care and ski well.

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Warm Up Routine



I decided to head out to the MVSC saturday afternoon for the first time this season for a little change of pace. For some reason I thought the road was just wide enough to pull off a U-turn where we normally park. It's not. So I spent the first twenty minutes of my workout shoveling out the front end of my car. Needless to say, by the time I strapped on the boots and boards, I was sufficiently warm. The skiing was pretty fast on saturday so I stuck to some of the tamer slopes for an hour or so before heading back to work. Sunday morning I met up with JT, Tim, and Matt around 10:30 back up at the MVSC. It was Matt's first ever time out with us, and he did a really good job. There were six inches of new snow on the ground, and the skiing had improved dramatically. I had planned on being out around an hour so that I could do a longer ski in the afternoon. However, the skiing was so incredible that we stayed for over three hours. I got home around 2:15, and I had just enough time to have lunch and almost finish snowblowing the driveway before it was time to get skiing again. We were going to a solstice party around the corner, so I had Sarah drop me off at the Tower and I skied down and over to Mary and Greg's house. I ended up with over four hours on the skis yesterday, and my legs are feeling it. This afternoon I've got a skate lesson down at Walloon Lake and my last yoga class before the holiday break. Tomorrow afternoon I think I'll treat myself to some lift served skiing out at the resort. Over and out.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I Am So Sorry

I should have forewarned you folks that you would find some nudity and stupidity on the website I wrote about the other day. I'm able to filter out his nonsense and enjoy the video clips of bike races and the political/social commentary. Apparently, others do not possess the same filtering ability. If you're offended by his postings, my suggestion would be to never visit his site again and forget that I ever mentioned it. Also, rest assured that this site will continue to be as wholesome and pure as the driven snow. Sorry about the mix up. Have a safe and happy weekend.

Snow Report

We've still got a ton of snow. It dawned on me yesterday that I hadn't been on a bike in the month of December. Combing back through the last couple of years of records I realized that unless I get outside on the bike in the next week or so (which is highly unlikely due to snow volume), this will be the first month in over two years that I haven't ridden a bike outside at least once. Who said we should be worried about global warming? I don't really miss the bike yet, and I'm sure that's directly related to how much fun I've been having on the skis. Below is a link to my workout yesterday for those who care to look at numbers and stuff. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Product Review

There are quite a few bike bloggers out there that do product reviews from time to time. By and large, they review products related to the world of cycling. Since it's winter here in the north, and since I don't think there are too many regular readers that are quite as interested in bike products as I am, my first product review will be of alcohol. Shocking I know. And get ready for this, it's a two parter.


To lead it off, I've chosen the Cabin Fever Brown Ale from the New Holland Brewing Company. I've been a fan of this brewery for a while now, but it was just recently that I had the chance to sample their brown ale. It was really good. I'm not normally a huge fan of the brown ale, but this one has something different about it. It took me a few bottles over the course of the past week or so to put my finger on it, but I think I've nailed down what set's this brown ale apart from others I've tried in the past. It has just a tinge of sweetness to it, that I thought was chocolate and malt. The label actually says that it's caramel. But it's note is so faint that I think it's hard to really tell. Anyway, if you can get it in your area, and you like beer give it a try. It should be about $9 a six pack + tax and deposit.

I've also chosen a really reasonably priced red wine from Spain that you may want to seek out if that's your cup of tea (or wine). From the Bodegas Castano Vineyard, have a look at the 2006 Monastrell. I took a few bottles downstate to Sarah's family over Thanksgiving, and it was very well received. After that I kind of forgot about it until the other day when JT brought it up while we were out skiing. He mentioned that he and Madge had been drinking it lately, and that they both thought it was a really great wine for $5.99. I took a bottle home a couple of nights ago to try it again, and I agree. For six bucks it's a really good bottle of wine. So many of the less expensive spanish reds lately have seemed a little light and fruity for my tastes, but this was a very pleasant departure from that trend. Instead this monastrell is full bodied and earthy. Check it out.



So that's a rap for my first round of product reviews. Depending on feedback and whether or not I have anything better to blather about, look for more of them in the future. Perhaps next week I'll review my brand new pair of Scarpa T2X downhill boots. Drive safely out there.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yogaskate

After getting my hair trimmed up this morning, I ambled down the street in Ptown for a session of yoga practice at The Northwoods Yoga Studio. What was on the menu for today's session? Backbends. How do backbends and I normally get along? Not all that well. Today we might have turned a corner in our relationship. It was still really hard for me raise my rather large frame up off the floor and into a U shape while lying on my back, but I felt like I was finally able to feel some of the positive things that are supposed to come out of the work. Mary, the guru, says that backbends are "a substitute for sunlight". They are supposed to enhance mental clarity, improve mood, and increase energy levels. They must have done something for me today because I summoned the energy for an hour of skate skiing on the freshly groomed trails out at Nub's Nob immediately following class and before heading into work. The groomer was just finishing up the golf course loops at Chestnut Valley when I got there, so I got fresh tracks on both the golf course loops and the superpipe loop. The skating was still really hard, but it was a little better than last time. I guess there must be something to this whole notion of practicing a skill to become better at it. Who knew? I'm planning on doing a long classic ski tomorrow before rewarding myself with some downhill, lift served action on thursday. Just to give you a heads up: I've added a new link off to the right. It's a blog entitled Drunk Cyclist. Despite all the possible negative connotations one might conjure up given the name of the site, it's really pretty great stuff. His postings run the gamut from anything bike related to current events with a strong slant to the left. He also posts links to news articles of riders being killed by cars from around the country. It's a bit depressing how often it happens (a couple of times a week on average), but at the same time it underscores what a problem this has really become. So if you're looking for another bike blog to check out (I know you are), give him a whirl. I find him to be quite entertaining and informative. Over and out.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weekend Report

I got out for some great backcountry skiing both saturday and sunday this weekend. Saturday the snow was perfect, and we skied for a little over two hours. Yesterday the snow was not perfect, but we still skied for a little over two hours. The temperature rose to a balmy 34 degrees saturday night so the snow (which was like airy sugar on saturday) resembled thick, lumpy mashed potatoes. Oddly enough, the skiing was still pretty good.



I took advantage of the wet snow and made some preparations for a bonfire this friday night. I built up some walls behind the benches around the fire pit in an effort to create a sort of shelter from the wind that generally blows up the driveway from the west. I didn't have anything else to do while I was waiting for the sauna to heat up anyway. And heat up it did. It was just a tad over 160 when I got in; and by the time I finished up, it was up to just over 180. That's definitely at the upper end of the spectrum in the world of saunaing. When the temperature is between 140 and 160, it's really nice and relaxing. You can sit quietly and ponder life's mysteries. Once it gets over 160, all you can think about is how hot it is. It makes for a quicker (but still enjoyable in some twisted way) sauna experience since you start sweating almost immediately upon entry. I don't generally get it that hot, but it's a nice change of pace every once in a while.





Anyway, now you know what I was up to this weekend. What were you up to?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Friday

I was listening to NPR in the shower this morning, and I heard a really interesting story about banking and mortgage loans in an Amish community in Pennsylvania. It was nice to hear about a small subset of the American population that actually manages their money and debt responsibly. If you're interested, you can check out the online article here. Otherwise, have a good weekend and enjoy the snow.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bailout Humor



So I know I shouldn't be joking about the whole American automobile industry debacle considering I live in Michigan and all, but the little tidbit above was just too funny to pass up. I just had to share with the class. Make sure to read the fine print at the bottom. In snow related news: I'm off to a great early start to the ski season. I got out for just over an hour today at Nub's Nob on the classic skis; and considering it was only my second time on the skinnies this season, I think things are looking pretty good. My technique is coming back a little faster than normal, and I was able to ski the hilliest loop without spending any time in the red zone. I'm enjoying the snow so much that I'm going to see how many days I can ski in a row starting today. Tomorrow, I think I'll head up to the tower for some backcountry action. I don't know where I'll be skiing the next day, but there are certainly no shortage of options. If there's snow where you are, I highly recommend that you get out and enjoy it. I do.

Friday, December 05, 2008

One and One

My sister had her second kid this morning. Now Niko has a baby sister, Stephania (Nia). Welcome to the team little one. Everybody have a good weekend, drive safely, and get out for some skiing. Over and out.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Finally

This summer a local resident, Fred Knoodle, was struck from behind and killed while riding his bicycle. While I didn't know him personally, the story hit close to home for two reasons: One, I spend a great deal of time riding my bikes on the roads around here. Two, a good friend/riding partner of ours (Benson) was struck from behind and almost killed in the summer of 2007. The woman who hit Benson never received so much as a ticket. I thought for sure that the killing this summer would be swept under the rug as well, but it looks like the tide may finally have turned. It now looks as though the person responsible for killing Fred Knoodle will actually be punished. Check out this article from the Petoskey News Review. I realize that the circumstances surrounding the crash certainly suggest that it was indeed an accident, but that doesn't change the fact that someone was killed. If you accidentally kill someone with a gun, there is a very good chance that you will be charged with negligent homicide. The same should be true if you accidentally strike and kill someone with your car. I'm glad to see that the sheriff's department and prosecuting attorney are finally going to defend our rights as cyclists by bringing charges of negligent homicide against the driver that struck and killed Mr. Knoodle this summer.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Yo Yo @ The Tower



Working the split shift today allowed me to get out for my first backcountry ski of the season this afternoon. Tim and JT went yesterday afternoon, but I was stuck doing two hours of snow removal around the HQ. They reported back last night that conditions were excellent, and they weren't kidding. It's hard to believe that it's only the second day of December. There's so much snow up there that you can practically ski wherever you please. I yoyoed up and down for over an hour before climbing out. It was one heck of a workout without any help breaking trail, but it was well worth it in the end. I made several nice runs in around of foot of fresh powder. You had to be a little careful; but if we get just a little more snow, everything should be wide open soon. It's also looking like this early snow will enable the resort to open up all 28 km of classic and skating trails on Friday. What a treat, to be able to enjoy all four of my ski disciplines in the first week of December. Hopefully everyone is enjoying the snow as much as I am. Until next time.




Disclaimer: I didn't really think anyone would follow my advice on the stair workout, but if you do for some reason Be Forewarned: It will probably make your legs hurt really, really bad. I'm okay once I'm up and moving, but getting out of bed the last few mornings has been an exercise in pain. At least today I was able to walk down the stairs normally.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Stairs Can Hurt

If you're ever in the mood to give the legs a really good, quick, painful workout, I've got just the ticket for you. Find yourself a set of stairs with appox. 150 ft. of elevation gain. Next, alternate walking down and running up. I did that eight times this afternoon, and by the end my legs were shaking like a bowl of jello in the back of a truck cruising down a bumpy dirt road. I don't recall packing so much effort into such a small time window in I don't know how long. Until I can get out on the skinny skis, I think this will be my cardio workout of choice. Next week I may try to incorporate some pushups at the top in between laps. Check it out on the MotionBased below.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving

I like to think that I'm aware of, and thankful for the good things in my life more than just one day out of the year. But it is nice for those with a less positive attitude to be reminded once a year to take a moment of reflection on what they may have to be thankful for. At any rate, turkey day has come and gone. My hiatus from structured and disciplined training is almost over. Monday it's time to get down to the business of getting ready for the upcoming ski season. I haven't gotten my plan totally set in stone yet, but I do know that I will be starting to do some serious work on the upper body. So far, this will include pull ups (of which I can currently do two), push ups, sit ups, and double poling on the skis. I've also slacked off enough on yoga this fall that I have enough credit to go twice a week through the month of December. Here's to hoping that everyone had a nice holiday. I'll be looking for you out on the slopes and trails. Take care and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chipmunk Meets Dog

Here's a little ditty of the Gdog hunting down a chipmunk. His basic strategy is to quietly stalk them and eventually chase them up a tree. Then he just waits them out. He'll sit down at the base of the tree and have himself a good old fashioned stare down. The chipmunk usually gives in first and tries to make a run for it. Sometimes they make it, and sometimes they don't. We've finally gotten some snow, and it's looking much better outside with a little white on the ground. Have a happy wednesday.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Seedless Grapes


If they don't have seeds, where do baby grapes come from?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

WNR Season End

Last night would have probably been the last WNR of the season if I'd actually gone out riding. Unfortunately, the weather wore me down; and I called Benson around three to tell him I wouldn't be riding. It was 38 degrees and raining. After a long, long season of riding, I just couldn't muster the motivation necessary to head out last night. Next week I'll be on break, and there will me men (probably a few ladies too I suppose) in the woods with guns so it looks the end of another successful WNR season. Hopefully in a few weeks there will be enough snow to start up some WNSkiing. At any rate, the blogging may be a little light over the next couple of weeks with the lack of activity on my part. I do have some raw video footage of the G-Dog hunting and killing a chipmunk so maybe I can cobble together a video. Have a good weekend and take care.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Civics



Sarah and I went up to the tower yesterday morning to perform our civic duty. That done, I spent the rest of the day hanging out around the house before heading out on the loop around 2:00. The warm weather trend is still holding, and yesterday afternoon I actually got hot in shorts and a short sleeve jersey. Needless to say, this is not normal November riding gear. It looks like we're going to have a couple more good days, but the forecast for the weekend is sounding a little more normal for this time of year (high of 40 with rain/snow). Well, we knew the good weather had to come to an end sooner or later. I'm ready to start skiing anyway, so bring it on. Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Transition

I've definitely entered what I feel to be my transitional time of year. Daylight savings has reallocated my waking daylight hours. Before too long, there will be a lot of people with guns populating the woods. On top of that, my legs are pretty wiped out after a long season of riding/training. I'm planning on taking a good 5 to 7 days of little or no exercise starting Nov. 14th. It's going to be tough. I was looking back in the books yesterday, and I couldn't find a stretch of inactivity that long in just over a year. But it should end up being a good thing in the end. I'm hoping to come out on the other side with fresh energy and motivation to get ready for skiing.
On to current events: We've been having unseasonably warm weather over the last few days, and so we've had to take full advantage by doing some good riding. Saturday afternoon Sarah and I did a nice leisurely road ride up Good Hart way. Sunday I met up with Benson, Rob, Matt, and Tim for a great ride on the NCT at Larks Lake Road. I decided to trade the front shock for gears and rode the Quiring 29er fully rigid. I go back and forth on whether or not I like this setup. Yesterday it felt fine. It's amazing how different it feels riding a rigid bike, especially going uphill. Anyway, we rode a good 13 miles at a really good clip. Come on out for riding and/or beer on Wednesday. After that, the WNR will be up in the air due to weather and hunting. Hope everyone had a good weekend.

Friday, October 31, 2008

TNR Report

Benson, Matt, Chad (new guy we've ridden with on a couple of other occasions), and I headed out around 6:30; and the sun was just dropping below the horizon. We were able to ride straight back to the great new downhill trail and ride that before the lights became necessary. After that it was just a nice ride on some great singletrack in the dark. Matt commented that he felt a little short of breath, and I'll admit my legs were feeling the lack of gears. When I got home and downloaded the data, I was able to figure out why we were both feeling a little pain. We rode 10.6 miles in 1.25 hours. That doesn't sound too bad, until you factor in the 1,987 ft. of climbing. For those not in the know, that's a hell of a lot of elevation packed into a relatively short distance. Still, it was a great night and a great ride. The weather was so warm that when we finished up just before eight, we were able to have not just one, but two beers while we hung out and shot the breeze with a couple of other riders that had finished before us. Speaking of which, the parking area was more crowded than any of us have ever seen when we headed out. Benson and Chad had to park up in the weeds. I'm sure everybody had the same idea we did: to enjoy what may have been one of our last good days of riding. But who knows? Monday and Tuesday are supposed to be sunny and 60. Next weeks WNR will be out at HQ. We'll ride at 6:30 rain or shine; but as I said before, everyone's welcome to stop out for a beer and a bite to eat even if you don't feel like riding.

I came across a really good article on the VeloNews website yesterday in the Legally Speaking column. It's part of an ongoing series about two pro roadies that were hit by a truck while out training in the summer of 07. It's kind of long, but I encourage anyone who spends any amount of time riding a bike on the public roadways to check it out. Thanks for reading and have a good weekend.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The First Snowfall

We finally had our first glimpse of the white stuff on monday, and it definitely got me excited for the upcoming ski season. I'm so glad that I have something to do outside when winter rolls around. As much as I love riding bikes, I can't imagine spending the whole winter inside on one spinning away to nowhere in front of the television. I know a couple of guys around here that literally spend the whole winter on the trainer, and I don't know how they do it. I'll do one or two days a week on the rollers/trainer after the first of the year just to keep the legs used to it, but other than that I'll be outside enjoying the white stuff. My ski racing plans are in limbo due to the addition of another family member on Dec. 5th (Kate's having another kid so my work schedule will be up in the air for December and January). Fortunately, there are a quite a few local races on sunday's, so at least those won't be a problem. I'd also like to do the VASA again (in better weather please). Depending on how the weather holds up and how work is going, I also may make a return trip up to the Great Bear Chase in Swedetown (about an hour north of Houghton in the U.P.). I didn't go to up last year, but I do recall having a good time two years ago. Anyway, I don't know if anyone is going to show for the ride tonight. I've got my lights charged and my clothes and bike are ready to go here at work. I'm planning on hosting a ride next wednesday at HQ. Feel free to come out and celebrate the end of the season (for most) and have a beer even if you don't feel like riding. I got a quick video of Matt riding in the snow when we were out at Boyne on monday, and I planned on sharing with the class this morning. Instead, I found this funny YouTube clip on The Drunk Cyclist Blog this morning. I can't wait for this fu**ing election bull**it to be over. Have a nice day.



Late Edit: Since the weather forecast for tomorrow is considerably warmer (I think we're looking at 36 right now), the rest of the team decided to postpone the WNR until tomorrow night (TNR). Fine by me, I can go home and clean out the wood stove.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

BREAKING NEWS


Word on the street: Team members Matt and Jess are getting hitched. Congratulations. I can tell you from just having made it past the 1 year mark that it's not that bad.

Friday, October 24, 2008

WNR and TDR Reports

New record for the Wednesday night night ride. Five riders (Benson, Matt, Rob, Bruce, and I) took to the trails of Boyne armed with illuminating devices attached to our helmets and handlebars. We got in about 9 miles in just over an hour. We're planning on closing out the month there next week. Who knows, maybe we'll up the ante to six riders if Scott is able to join us. Yesterday was a great day for the end of October with sunny skies and temps. in the high 50's. After wrapping the cedar hedge for the winter and rearranging the garage to allow room for car parking, I headed out on the Loop for the first time in a while. The trail is still in good shape with only a few trees down here and there. I'm thinking the first wednesday of next month we'll have to hit it up for the last time before the snow buries it for the winter. Have a good day and a fun weekend.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend Riding

Sarah and I did a quick 1.5 hour ride at Boyne on Saturday afternoon, and I headed out again on the same trails Sunday morning with Tim and Benson. Sunday, we rode just about every trail at Boyne and then headed over to the NCT and rode up to the top of Nub's Nob. We rode down the front side of the ski hill there and headed back over to Boyne and the cars. Good long ride on the singlespeed, and the legs are starting to feel good again. Check out the data below and have a nice day.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Rough Video

I was able to cobble together a couple minutes worth of raw footage that I've shot since getting the new video camera last week for our anniversary (thanks Sarah). Unfortunately, YouTube busted me for copyright violations and wouldn't let me publish the video with the song I'd picked out. I had to go through their authorized music library (which isn't very big), and this tune was the best one I could find. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

WNR Report

Just Benson and Rob were able to muster the strength for riding last night, and boy did we have ourselves a trail ride. As you can imagine, riding at night in the woods with one bright headlight to guide your way presents a host of new challenges. Last night there were a few more thrown into the mix. For starters, a steady rain for most of the day left all the leaves on the ground the same bright shiny colors. Normally, you can see the trail at night with leaves on the ground because they're more packed down on the trail and less so off the trail. When they're all wet and shiny, they all look the same. Thus, the trail is much harder to follow; and so we had more than a few off trail excursions. The rain also makes all the sticks and roots on the ground that are buried under the leaves really slippery. Since you can't see them, you never know when one of your tires is going to do a little slip and slide. It keeps you on your toes. Benson was leading the ride last night, and I guess he didn't feel like those challenges alone were going to be enough for us so he added one more. We rode two different sections of trail that are fairly new (a few months old at most). Since the trails are new, they're not really packed down that well or that easy to follow.....when it's light out. Still, we had a good ride, and it was warm enough out afterward for a beer and some pretzels. I should have an additional light available by next weeks ride if anyone out there should be brave enough to try something new (give me a call so I remember to bring it if you're interested). Sunday's ride is TBD. Call or email me Friday and I'll know what's going down.

Breaking news: I can see from my new fancy world tracker thingy that apparently there are at least a few people out there interested in what I have to say on the old blog here. They can't all just be random people doing random searches can they? Anyway, since I don't correspond with anyone on a regular basis; feel free to leave a comment here, and perhaps we can correspond in that way. Also, if you have any questions or ideas for me to ramble on about pass them along as well. I'm getting to that time of year where I don't have much going on outside since the daylight hours are limited, and yet I have more time than I need to fiddle around on the interweb. Take care and ride well.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

North End of the NCT

I met up with Matt and Tim Flynn on Monday for what may very well be the last hot ride of the season. The temps. were in the high 60's and low 70's for the entire afternoon. We rode the North Country trail from the end of Sturgeon Bay Trail all the way up to French Farm Lake outside of Mackinaw City. We ended up covering 23 miles in just about 2.5 hours. Thanks to Matt for the GPS download, and thanks to Sarah for the pictures (I used my new video camera that Sarah got me for our anniversary). I've got a big ride planned for Sunday, so give me a shout if you're interested and I'll give you shuttle/route information. Over and Out.



Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Random Thoughts

I have very little of interest to report from the world of bike riding. I went out for a good hilly ride on my road bike sunday afternoon, and I'm pretty sure I'm still not fully recovered from the race two weeks ago. The non-rational side of my brain says that two weeks should be plenty of time. Fortunately, my rational side also has a say, and it's telling my to be patient and just take a little more time to recover. I took monday and tuesday off the bike, and took care of some chores around the house instead. Legs feel okay today, and I'm looking forward to some night riding tonight.

I got and iphone a couple of weeks ago, and the little camera it has on it is pretty cool. It doesn't take the best pictures, but the fact that I have it in my pocket means I'm taking more. So maybe volume will override the lack of megapixels. I've posted a few new ones below.

Hugh and Denise leave for France today. They will be gone six weeks (or maybe forever depending on how the whole election thing turns out). BonVoyage. Hugh has been helping me wire the new workspace (thank you very much), and we've just about gotten her sewn up. I'm going to meet with insulation and heating people while he's gone to get them lined up for mid december. I'm hoping to have the project completed before the first of the year.

The election: I normally despise democrats and republicans just about equally. However, John's VP pick of this horrible Palin woman definitely tipped the scales for me. I used to say that nobody could do worse than GW, but I'm not so sure that's true anymore. I really think that she could give him a run for his money. Anyway, for a while there I was afraid I was going to have to give Obama the nod just to be on the safe side. I mean it's not like John's a spring chicken or anything. Since John pulled up the stakes in Michigan (thus conceding the electoral votes to Obama), I'm free to vote my conscience again. I firmly believe that until there is a viable and electable third party of some sort we're all fu**ed. If you do live in Michigan, don't forget to vote yes on proposal's 1 and 2.



YOU KNOW IT'S FALL WHEN THERE ARE LIGHTS CHARGING ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER



I FOUND THIS GRAPE VINE WHILE I WAS CLEARING SOME BRUSH THE OTHER DAY. I WONDER WHAT KIND IT IS?



JUST SOME SINGLETRACK


Get out and ride.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Stolen Pictures from CTS

Since it wasn't really practical to carry a camera with me during the race, I stole these pictures off of the race website. Also in Crank the Shield related news: I got an email from the race director yesterday, and they are already talking about a major course overhaul to lessen the bog experience next year. It's been two weeks since the race ended, and most of the bruising and scabs are gone. All that's left are the good memories of a great race and a great weekend. So who knows, maybe I will be going over again next year.


BOGS




CAMP


THE CAMERA GUY TOOK 500 PICTURES AND THIS IS THE ONLY ONE OF ME


ONE MORE BOG FOR THE ROAD

Thursday, October 02, 2008

WNR report

Not much to report. Cold temps. and a threat of rain kept the pu**ies indoors, but it wasn't enough to stop Benson, Scott, and I from doing a quick hour on the loop. As usual, it only feels cold for about the first two or three minutes and then you're fine. The trails in good shape, and the two big trees that have been forcing us to practice our cyclocross skills have been cut out. It was just about too dark to ride when we finished up around 7, so next week we're pushing the start time back to 6:30 which means you'll need some form of illumination. If you give me a heads up early enough in the week, I may be able to cobble together enough light for one other rider. Otherwise, take care and have a good weekend.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Stage 3

We left the camp around 9:30 for a police escorted 17 km neutral ride on the road. It was supposed to serve as a warm up before a quick staging and the start at 10:00, but it was so cold and the pace was so slow that I don't think anyone really got warm. Anyway, we only had to wait around for about five minutes before the gun went off. I had managed to position myself in the front third of the start again, and things were looking good right from the get go. The hills hit us right away, and the first 15 km or so were nonstop climbs that reminded me of the power line sections of the Ore to Shore and fast, rocky, technical descents. As an added bonus, I don't think I had to get off my bike once before the first aid station. I was thinking to myself, "now this is what I came here for." My legs felt great, and I was constantly picking off riders on the long climbs. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, it did. I got into a nice working group for a longish dirt road haul, and then we had to slow down for a sharp left hand turn. Low and behold, we were on honest to goodness singletrack. The rest of the race was alternating sections of dirt roads and singletrack. Not a bog in sight. I was in heaven (if you can look past the fact that I was also in fairly great deal of pain from the cumulative effects of three straight days of racing). I crossed the finish line in four hours and some change, and that was good for 30th on the day. This pushed me up to 32nd overall with a time 15 hr and 14 min for the 245 km in three days. All in all, it was a great event. I didn't much care for the bogs and all the walking, but now I'll know what to expect next time. I do think I'll go back, but probably not next year. Hugh and I are batting around the idea of each tackling our first 24 solo next fall, and I don't think I could fit in the stage race as well. But you just never know. Ride tomorrow at Boyne 10 am. WNR @ HQ with a 6:00 start time. Until next time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stage 2

Stage 2 didn't start until 10:00, so I was able to have a pretty mellow morning getting ready and shoveling as much breakfast as I could down the gullet since I knew we were going to be in for the longest day of the race. We had to retrace our steps to the finish of the first stage to start the second, and that made for a nice little warm up ride. I got into a good starting position, and I was feeling pretty good right out of the gate. I did have a nice high speed crash within the first half hour or so when my rear tire slid out on a slippery descent. Fortunately, the bike was fine and I only ended up with a little trail rash and bruising where I landed on my right hip. This was definitely the mother fu**er of all the stages with just over 45 uninterrupted kiolometers of the ATV/bog thing to start the day off right. After that, we got a brief respite on some Hydro Cut trails (what we call power lines). Aid Station 2 was at the bottom of a big climb, and after that it was was about 10 more kilometers of the ATV/bog thing. The stage finished on a loose, sandy gravel rail trail of 18 km. It took me 6 hours and 40 minutes; and when I pulled into the finish, I was very, very far from a happy camper. Fortunately, the camp for night two was fantastic, and that soon put everyone in a better mood. The cabins and showers were awesome, and the food was off the charts for both dinner and breakfast. All of that, coupled with the fact that we were over the halfway point had everyone in a better mood when it came time to start stage 3 on Sunday morning.

I stole this picture from someone on the internet, but it gives you some idea of what I'm talking about with the bog ordeal.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Stage 1


What do you pack for this sort of thing anyway?

Sarah and I arrived at the start of the race on Thursday afternoon. After a quick hour spin on the trails of Buckwallow, we set up camp next door at the KOA and set about the task of packing up our bags for the three days of racing/volunteering. We each received a big red Crank the Shield duffle bag that would have to hold all our gear (clothes, sleeping bag/pillow, riding gear, spare parts, toiletries, etc.) It turned out we really didn't have to do this since Sarah found out in the morning that she could drive the truck each day. Still, it was a good exercise in order to prepare for some race down the road where I won't have that luxury. We woke up to fairly mild temperatures on Friday morning and made our way over to the start of the race. I got dressed and got the bike ready while Sarah went to her volunteer meeting, and then she was off on her way to Aid Station 1. This left me all alone with a bunch of Canadians for about half an hour before the rider's meeting and the start, but I was able to pass the time chatting with other racers (280 of us) gearing up for the big unknown. And I really mean the big unknown. Since this was the first running of the event, nobody knew what to expect (including the race directors). The gun went off right at 10:00 and the madness that is mountain bike racing began. The first 10 km. or so were on the same trails that Sarah and I had ridden the previous day. We just rode them all at a much faster pace. They were fairly technical with a lot of exposed rock and tight corners. After about 45 minutes of this fun, we shot out onto the road and made our way to the first ATV trail of the day. This area of Canada is known as the Canadian Shield (hence the name of the race) which means there really isn't a whole lot of dirt on the ground. Instead there is mostly exposed rock and hard clay. Since there is no dirt to speak of, any water that falls from the sky or springs from the ground pools instead of drains. This leads to one of the biggest challenges of the race: large, long, deep pools of muddy water that Canadian's affectionately refer to as bogs. Occasionally, you can ride your bike through them; but for the most part you have to dismount and carry your bike through knee to waist deep muddy water. Needless to say, after a while this gets to be a real b**ch. And so the rest of the first day's 80 km. were alternating sections of ATV/bog trails and dirt fire roads. You'd get a good steady pace going on the fire road sections and then BAM: back to the bogs. I was able to keep a pretty positive attitude about it since everyone was in the same boat. I was even joking with other racers about all the dismounting and remounting being good practice for cyclocross season. So anywho, after 4 hours and 38 minutes Stage 1 was in the books. From the finish, we had to ride about 7 km to Camp Kandalore where there was a nice bike wash station set up and Subway sandwiches waiting for us. After cleaning the bike and shoving some chow down the hatch, I retrieved my bag, went to my cabin, and set about finding a shower to rinse off some the nasty mud that was covering almost my entire body. After that Sarah and I were able to hang out for a little bit on the docks and have a beer before dinner. There was a brief awards ceremony for the top riders and a preview for Stage 2 after dinner. Since we were looking at an even longer day in the saddle for Stage 2, I hit the bunk before 9:00 for a little reading. I'm pretty sure I was asleep by 9:30 in order to rest up the next days adventure.


Sarah volunteering at Aid Station 1.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Quick Update From the Road

I'll keep this short and sweet because I haven't had a chance to download data or pictures yet. We just finished up our intense immersion into Canadian mountain bike culture, and all is well here with our neighbors to the north. I finished up stage 3 this afternoon, and I wound up somewhere around 30th overall in the men's solo 40 and under category. I felt great today (except for the numerous scrapes, bruises, and a sore a**). The legs held up really well, and I'm happy with the way things turned out. Look forward to a stage by stage report once I return stateside. Right now, I'm sipping on a glass a Hurradura Anejo and waiting for our pizza to arrive at a Travelodge in Bracebridge, Ontario. Thanks to Chris for keeping up with the WNR report in my absence. I'll see you all at Kipp Rd. on wednesday night with stories to tell. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

WNR Report 9-17-08

With Pete & Sarah off to Canada for the Crank the Shield 3-Day MTB Stage race, we expected a lighter-than average turn out. Fortunately we gathered a decent showing; Chris, Rob, Scott & Matt arrived in the Meadow behind Boyne for a gorgeous evening ride...the last WNR of the Summer (Autumnal equinox is 9/22.) With the days getting shorter, we are starting the rides a little earlier & with good reason, it was getting pretty dim by the time we returned @ 7:30! As for the ride, we mixed up the planned route a bit to head straight for the new downhill section which is getting some traffic & is showing some signs of wear & tear but is just too sweet to pass up. We followed up the single track climb & opted to try a new section on the return (trail 13 according to Boyne) & it turned out to be a much nicer path than climbing up the "Shower Head" hill. We even saw a couple other riders enjoying the sweet single-track, two riders had their ride cut short with a broken/loose crank & Rob & I caught up to JB & Jeff Ford who must have had a great ride because they were gone before we started & finished after us (nearly 2 hours.) It's nice to see other riders out having a good time. As for next Wednesday, we have chosen to ride the NCT starting at Kipp Rd. We're starting early - 6:00 to make sure we can see our way home. We'll be riding with lights soon enough.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Note From Chandler Hill

I picked up Chris and Matt yesterday morning for a little jaunt south over towards Maxwell Road. The weather was a balmy 58 degrees with a slight drizzle, and that's pretty much how it stayed for most of the day. From there, we rode the N.C.T. south to Thumb Lake and back. Chris affectionately refers to this ride as the 24 miles of pain, but either I'm getting stronger or the hills are getting smaller because it really didn't feel nearly as bad as normal. Even after some major overindulgence the night before at Short's and LuLu's down in Bellaire. For those that haven't had the pleasure, the ride is one of the truly epic rides in the area. Packed into those 24 miles are 4,916 feet of climbing and almost no signs of civilization to be found. The trail crosses one dirt road and one paved road. Other than that, you've pretty much got the woods to yourself. It's got great singletrack, great climbing, and even a few sketchy/scary little bits to boot. We did spot some other riders for the first time yesterday, and they were getting ready to ride a smaller section at the south end. It was nice to see some other riders on the trail. The geared Quiring 29ern that I'll be using for the race (I just couldn't decide what gear to run for the damn singlespeed, and I just paid a good chunk of dough for the geared bike this spring specifically for racing so that's what I'm taking to the race) performed really well in spite of nasty wet and messy conditions. Overall I feel pretty good. I'll take it easy now leading up to the race, and I'm fairly certain I'll be out of luck for any internet access over the coming week so this may be it for a while. Rest assured I'll be having fun and doing my best to represent for the team and for Michigan with our neighbors to the north. In the meantime, ride well and be good. WNR @ Boyne this week (in the field not the Bartley House) @ 6:15. I won't see you there because we'll be across the border by then. Over and Out.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Countdown

One week from today I'll be right in the thick of it. I'll have one stage under my belt and be getting ready for the start of stage two. I'm really excited. Since it's my first foray into the world of stage racing my only real expectation is to have three great days of good epic riding. There's not really anything else I can do from my end. The bike appears to be in good working order. I put a new cable on the rear der. and trued up the front wheel. Both repairs have worked flawlessly so far after a few hours of riding. I'll do a long ride tomorrow with the boys down at Chandler Hill, but after that it'll just be a couple of easy spins and resting for me. I'm pretty sure all interested parties have been informed, but on the off chance no< the ride tomorrow is starting at the Maxwell Road trailhead of the N.C.T. @ 10:30. Have a good weekend.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Hugh's Humongous 50/50

For a new option this year Benson, Roy (Hugh's brother), and I set off from the start @ 8:30 for a 50 mile mountain bike ride. I decided to add a little extra punishment and ride the singlespeed. It was a great day for riding with cloudy skies and temps. in the high 50's and low 60's. The ride ended up being 47.4 miles with 5693 ft. of climbing in just over 4.5 hours. I topped off my bottles, grabbed a banana and some fig newtons and swung my leg over the road bike and set out for the second 50. In retrospect I think I should have done the road section first. I just don't like road riding nearly as much as mountain biking. So after spending all morning ripping up sweet singletrack, it kind of sucked to be on the road with all the cars and sh*t. At any rate, I bailed after the first 25 mile loop on the road. Still I ended up with just under six hours in the saddle, and since this was more prep. for the stage race than anything else I'm happy with the way things turned out. Plus, I'm feeling good enough to get out again this afternoon. That's nice. WNR @ Bartley House this week for a 6:15 start. Hope to see you there. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Happy Labor Day

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. I labored, so mine wasn't that much fun. But the best part of the year is here now, so let's all make the most of it. I certainly plan to. I'm ready to start putting the final touches on my preparation for the big canadian adventure. I'll be putting in some more hours during the week, and the next two sunday's have some big rides scheduled. This sunday is Hugh's Humongous 100. I will do 50 of those on the dirt with only one gear. The sunday after that will be a long ride somewhere with the boyz. I think right now we're leaning towards the 24 miles of pain section of the NCT that includes the infamous Chandler Hill. The other option is the NCT from Kipp to Sturgeon. Either one sounds good to me, so I might just leave it up to Benson. The wednesday after that we'll be hitting the road for the great white north (actually the race is about due east of here, but we do have to head north initially in order to get there without a boat). In unbike related news: I went sailing with JT yesterday on his new boat, and it was awesome. The wind wasn't even that great and it was hotter than s**t, but I still had a great time. We have plans to go again next tuesday, and I'm looking forward to it already. WNR @ HQ tonight. Bring an appetizer to pass. Oberon currently on tap in the shop. See you there.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It's Been A Long Strange Summer

It's almost over, and I can safely say this has been a very long and strange summer. On the store front, I feel like I've been on a carnival ride that speeds up almost to the point of self destruction every few days before slowing down to a barely manageable pace. Only two weeks left now, and I know I'm going to make it. My new training regiment has paid off in spades, and I'm feeling really good. Power output is up and body weight is down. I'm in the midst of a recovery week, and I'm actually finding it hard to take it easy. Today is the first day off the bike since before the Ore to Shore. I know deep down that this recovery period will pay off in the long run. I've got Hugh's 50/50 ride in two weeks (50 miles on the dirt + 50 miles on the road), and then I've got two more weeks before the big shakedown in Canada. I think my ability to maintain even a shred of sanity this summer is definitely the result of bicycle commuting and yoga. That's all to report for now. WNR @ Larks Lake trailhead of the NCT. Until then, thanks for reading and keep the rubber side down. Over and out.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Quick Ore to Shore Recap

I'll have to keep this short because I have to get back to work this morning. Rain the night before made for a nicer course than last year, but the slippery stuff in the beginning did lead to a couple of not so serious (but time consuming) crashes on my part. Fortunately I was able to keep my head in the game and kept a good steady pace going for the first 35 miles or so. From there I was still feeling pretty good so I really put the hammer down. I passed a ton of people in the last third of the race and came in at 3 hours and 14 minutes. That's almost 20 minutes faster than last year. I was definitely hoping to have cracked the top 20 in the 30-34 age group after coming so close last year (23rd). The nice girl at the timing table handed me my printout, and I had to ask her if she was sure itwas correct. She said it was. I ended up 8th out of all the other 30-34 year olds. Needless to say, I'm really happy with how the race went down. It gives me a great boost to keep the volume up in training for Hugh's Humongous 100 and the stage race in Canada just over a month away. Other team results: Hugh 3:01 and 5th in the 50-54. Doug 3:08 and 11th out of all the singlespeeders. WNR @ Boyne this week. Start time 6:15. See you there. Over and out.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Final Prep for O2S

My final preparations for the Ore to Shore this year were definitely in keeping with my new training philosophy. In years past I would have ramped down my hours in the saddle and tried to avoid any extra manual labor this year. This year I took the exact opposite approach. I've still been riding a fair amount. And I took on a few extra projects around the house. They turned out to be big projects and now I'm really starting to wonder how good of an idea it was (at the same time I really didn't have a choice). I started off my chores by stacking ten cords of wood for the winter. When I ordered it a couple of months ago, I really didn't take the race into account. But at least it's done.



My second big chore was to rip out all of the carpet in our home tuesday. It took me the whole day, and it was one of the most disgusting/physically hard homeowner job I've done to date. My body is really sore in a few new and interesting ways. But I needed to be ready for our new hardwood floors that are going to be installed monday. Jamie called last week to let us know he'd be ready to start next week. So I had the option of doing it tuesday, or waiting to do it when I get home from the race on sunday. Now that I've done it, I'm sure I made the right choice. It really sucked, and I would have been even more miserable if I'd had to do it on sunday.



So to make a long story short, I'm sore but feeling okay at the same time. I've been feeling really good on the bike for a couple of weeks now, and I'm mentally ready for the task at hand. I'm just going to give it a really good push at the start up until the top of the bobsled run (20 min. in) and see how I'm feeling. If I'm feeling good, I'll put the hammer down and make a race of it. If I'm not, I'll back off a tad and see how the day unfolds.

WNR report: Good turnout, and exactly one year since that bi**h ran Chris over. We all celebrated with a little extra beer and were thankful that Benson's still able to ride with the big boys. Have a good weekend everybody and ride well. I'll do my best.

Anniversary Ride

The Wednesday Night Ride August 6, 2008 also marked the one year anniversary of CB's car attack/crash. In honor of the day, Chris, Doug & Kurt got an early start for the Pro-Loop/Pre-ride. Kurt had a minor issue with a rock which caused his tire to unseat & lose air, luckily the trio made it back to Terpening Station & Pete had a spare wheel in the stable. The official ride group included the aforementioned trio plus Pete, Rob & Matt. Along the ride, we made our regular stop in the field before the sweet downhill & CB noted that at this time last year he was getting hit by the SUV. After the ride, we all enjoyed a wonderful meal prepared by Sarah with help from the gang. There were a few added to the social & dining crew including Marcus Q, Jess, Amber, Sonya & Marcus, Scott, Katherine & Mitchell, & Zach. Thanks to everyone for coming out to ride & share in the day.

As a follow-up to a post-dinner discussion on proper Cycling Hand Signals. Since we couldn't come to a consensus, I did a little research and have to acknowledge my ignorance in the matter and have included examples of correct signals here:
Under the terms of the Vienna Convention on Traffic, bicycles are considered to be vehicles and cyclists are considered to be drivers...so ride like a driver & Share The Road.
Good luck to the Ore to Shore riders this weekend & to Katherine & Scott on their nuptials 8/8/08 & their reception Saturday. Next week's ride is at Boyne at 6:15!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Last WNR (of July)

I have been overdue for a post and seeing as how WPG wasn't able to join the group, I guess I can fill in the details. Pete arrived hoping to join us for part of the loop but his pre-riding had taken a bit more out of him than expected & he needed his reserves for the spin home...so the group was on the small side with Rob, Matt, Jessilyn & myself in attendance. Jess got some directions & felt confident she knew her route as she was the solo girl rider & didn't want us boys slowing her down. Matt had a different plan in mind for the route with a diversion on a section of single track that Y-bike Dave had shown him. It turned out to be a pretty cool alternative climb that bypasses the "old" logging two-track climb (that Marcus fixed years ago), Pete's Knee, & the Stuffed Lamb & brings you out to cross the two-track just before you cross onto Boyne's property - newly marked by their ridiculous sign-in request signs. We obviously poached the trails & headed on to the South to North Peak run & caught up with Jess at the top of the Loser trail (she's so fast!) & that's where the group split up, Matt had a shorter route in mind so Rob & I headed out to the bridges & then back down to the new climb to try the downhill direction. All in all a good section, a bit overgrown with some biting thorny spots but it's late July & that is the price you pay for beautiful single track. Rob & I decided that Sarge's section would be required to complete our loop & other that a few more scratches on the arms, it is in wonderful shape as well. We even shared the trails with at least 10 other riders, on their own routes but enjoying themselves immensely...even a tandem! Well next week starts a new month so the WNR is at Terpening Station with a bit of hoopla for the 1-year anniversary of my crash. I know Pete & Hugh will be tapering their efforts before Ore to Shore but for those able & willing, Rob & I are planning on arriving early for the Pro-Loop. Until next time, get out & ride!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Whoa!

Had just about the busiest regatta weekend that I can recall. Things went just about as smoothly as can be expected though. We've got a great crew of kids this summer, and that definitely makes a big difference. It seems like most kids these days are lazy and apathetic; but if you look hard enough, you can still find a few good ones in the bunch. I've got one more week of heavy saddle time, and then I'll start tapering off in preparation for the big race coming up on Aug. 9th. It's going to be interesting to see what happens. I'm not sure yet how my new training strategy (more riding/less structure) will work out when it comes to actually racing. But I'm feeling good, and you can just catch a glimpse of Labor Day if you try really hard and squint. Hope everyone had a good weekend. WNR this week 6:15 @ Boyne this week (show up at 3:30 if you want to start with me). Thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Countdown to Regatta

Less than a week to go now before the big regatta weekend. It's probably our second busiest weekend of the year, so it's a good one to get out of the way. Once I get past that weekend, there are only a couple of weeks before Ore to Shore. After that's it's mostly smooth sailing to Labor Day and the end of yet another summer in hell. This summer is my 15th, and I honestly don't know how many more I can handle. I'm not sure that it's possible to understand what it's like without experiencing it, so I won't bore you with all the gory details. Suffice it to say that summer is far and away my least favorite season. At least I've got three other ones that don't suck. On the brighter (cycling) side of life, things are going rather smoothly. I've been getting in a good ten hours a week of saddle time, and I'm looking to up the volume a little now that I'm getting ready to ramp up the racing again. After the Ore to Shore, I'll have about a month to get ready for the 3 day stage race in Canada. I'm really starting to get excited about that. I'm looking at it like three marathon races in a row where you get to camp/hang out with all your fellow racers at the end of each day. Also in bike related news: I put the old LeMond back into working order about a month ago to be my primary commuter vehicle. I've got a rack with panniers (thanks for the loan Hugh) on her, and it's been great using her to cruise around the county. In a little less than a month I've logged just shy of 500 miles that I normally would have driven. I'm super motivated to see what kind of total I can rack up before the snow starts flying this fall. Now if I could just find a good route, I could ski to work this winter..hmmmm..probably not going to happen. WNR this week on the NCT. Meet at the Pleasantview Twp. Hall for a 6:15 departure (Hugh and I will most likely be departing headquarters around 4:30 if anyone's interested in a longer ride). Take care and ride well.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Evolution

When Mike Bodt was in town over the fourth, he was commenting on how much the Loop behind the house had changed since we all took up biking back about 8 or 9 years ago. I like to think of it as more of an evolution though. Over the years the trail has evolved according to training needs and the unending quest for more singletrack. When it all started the trail had very little singletrack and was only about 6 miles of an out and back loop. We all thought we were bad ass for making it up the big climb to the 95 acres without getting off to walk. Now, I ride up that climb at race pace over and over again as one of my favorite interval workouts. Yesterday, I rode what I consider to be the current official Loop. After the initial few miles of singletrack you climb up to the 95 acres and descend down to Five Mile Creek road. From there you use Geary Rd. to get to the back of Pond Hill Farm. After riding the outermost perimeter of the farm, you head over to the creek for all of Sammie's freshly groomed singletrack goodness. From there it's home via the cart path. It's just a hair over 10 miles now, and the flow and mix of trail type is just about perfect. Come on out and ride. This weeks WNR at Larks Lake Rd. NCT trailhead. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Quick Update

Just some quick and random thoughts to let you know I'm not dead:

1) New WNR ride time: 6:15 instead of 6:30. This week the ride will be @ Boyne. We're planning on some serious climbing so come prepared.

2) I've been getting a lot of time in on the saddle, and I'm definitely over the bad mojo that plauged my world this spring. I've gotten to be more proactive about the things in my life that I can control, and I've done my best to come to terms with the things that i can't.

3) Try riding a bike somewhere that you would normally drive to. I've taken to riding most places I need to go (work, yoga, doctor appt., haircut, etc.), and I'll tell you what: it's a win, win, win situation all the way around. I feel better mentally when I get where I'm going. You don't have to worry about parking or traffic congestion. You get a little exercise. And most importantly, you save $ on gas. I haven't totally converted, and I still drive one or two days a week to transport clean clothes/dirty laundry and beer/empties between the store and home.

4) I'm coming to truly despise some of the people I have to deal with in the summer months. We have one customer that won't drink Fiji bottled water because it's "wasteful" to have water shipped all that way. This same guy just built a 8,000 square foot summer cottage and travels on a private jet. Do the fu**ing math a**hole.

5) Congratulations to Scott and Catherine (sorry if I misspelled that). They're getting hitched next month. Best wishes from the team.

That's it for now. Over and out.

Monday, June 23, 2008

SBYC

We finally got a nice day for the yacht club yesterday, and quite a few of us showed up to take advantage. The water's still a little chilly, but the sun was out and the temps. were in the upper 60's. We were also able to witness a good number of small, isolated, severe thunderstorms passing through the straits to the north (see first picture below). Dinner last night was grilled chicken breast with couscous and spinach salad. A nice bottle of spanish red rounded out the meal perfectly. Thanks as usual to Madge and John for providing the grill. Got some good rides on tap for this week, and WNR is currently scheduled for Cross Village. Meet at Scott's by 6:30. Hope everybody had a good weekend.



Parting shot before packing up and heading for home.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Updates

WNR was good. Rode the one speed for the first time in a while and that felt really good. Good group, and the trails at Boyne are in really good shape. I've taken to riding my road bike for most traveling these days in an effort to cleanse my system and relieve stress, and it seems to be working. I feel pretty good on the bike, and I haven't touched the car since Monday. I even rode to P-Town this morning before work on the bike path for a yoga class. It's all part of my new and improved training plan: more volume, less structure. So far so good. I'll report back after the weekend.

Monday, June 16, 2008

LBJ 100 DNF

Things have been going downhill for me pretty much since I finished the Cohutta 100 in April. I've had a few good training rides and a good race at Hanson Hills, but overall my training has been sporadic and extremely labored. Work related stress/tension is at an all-time high, and that has finally manifested itself in sporadic, sharp shooting pains in my right shoulder whenever I encounter anything even remotely stressful. At any rate, Saturday it all finally caught up with me, and I had one of the worst days on the bike.....ever. Normally, for some insane reason, I take pleasure in pushing my physical limits way beyond the point of being merely painful. Saturday, I didn't feel good about anything that was happening. My shoulder was flaring up, my knees hurt, my hands were cramping up, and I was having one hell of a time summoning the strength to turn the pedals over. Halfway through the second lap I knew it just wasn't in the cards for me, and I decided I would stop at the end of the lap. Deep down I knew that I probably could have forced myself to finish, but I also knew that I would be digging myself into one very deep hole (the likes of which it would prove hard to get out of). This was the first time I've quit in the middle of something like this, and it was a bitter pill to swallow. But sitting around the pits the rest of the afternoon and witnessing the carnage reassured me that I'd made the right choice. Way stronger riders than myself were forced to abandon as well. I'd have to say the main two culprits (aside from the 100 miles of singletrack and the relentless climbing) were the heat and one particularly nasty 1/4 mile section of standing water and mud bogs varying in depth between 1 and 2 feet. So I ended up as only half a lumberjack, 51 miles in 5 hours and 10 minutes. Rest assured I haven't given up, and I'm already planning out next years strategy in my head. For now, I'm going to take a step back from my serious and strict training regime and attempt to reinvigorate myself. I've got two months to rest up, refocus, and train for the Ore to Shore; and that's exactly what I intend to do.

On a much, much happier note: Hugh had the ride of his life. He absolutely buried himself and walked away with the overall win in the Masters division. He's got the sweet axe trophy to prove it. Awesome job Hugh. With any luck and whole lot of practice I hope to someday be half as strong a rider as you are.

Take care everybody and have a good week. WNR @ Boyne this week.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Lumberjack Prep

I just finished up three days of good final preparatory riding for the Lumberjack this weekend. I got in good solid 1.5 hour road rides on Friday and Saturday. Yesterday morning, I capped it off with a great 3.5 hour epic ride in the woods. Hugh (fresh from France and riding strong) joined Benson, Kurt, Doug, Matt and I for the festivities. We rode the NCT from Kipp Rd. all the way up to Van Rd. where we took a long and hilly dirt route back to my house via the Stutsmanville Tower hill. Total time was 3:33 with 33.87 miles covered and 4,598 ft. of climbing. I felt really good the whole time, and I could have easily gone longer. I guess that's a good thing since I'll have to do about three times that much riding come Saturday. WNR this week will be starting at the dirt road trailhead of the NCT on Stutsmanville Rd. There will be the option of heading south for a hilly ride, or you could head north (with me) for a very flat and relaxing mellow ride. Hope everybody had a good weekend. Over and out.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Hanson Hills

Got up early Sunday morning and headed south to Grayling for the Hanson Hills Cross Country Race. The weather and my enthusiasm for training were downright horrible in the week leading up to the race. Saturday afternoon was 47 degrees and raining. It was so crappy out that I did my tune-up ride on the trainer in front of the TV. I just couldn't wrap my head around putting on tights, booties, and a rain jacket just to do an an easy hour spin with a few sprints thrown in. The last fu**ing day in May, and riding indoors on the trainer actually makes sense. The forecast for race day was actually quite favorable. And the weather forecasters were right on the money this time. Blue skies and temps. in the low fifties greeted us at the venue around 8:30 yesterday morning. That left me plenty of time to get registered and do a nice long warm up on the road. We had pulled in next to Will Baker so the two of us headed out on the road for our warm up around 8:50. Did a nice hour on the road with a few hard efforts thrown in to open up the legs. Those hard efforts in the warm up always come in handy when the gun goes off and your heart rate goes from resting to redline in about 30 seconds. I got a pretty good start (see video below) and hit the first big climb in the middle of the pack.


Lap 1: 10.5 miles in 49:53. Avg. h.r. 171
Felt as good as can be expected in the first lap. I was able to maintain my place in the group and just basically followed the same wheel. There was a really big climb right at the end of the lap. I got passed by a couple of riders right at the top of said climb, and I don't believe I ever saw them again. I rolled through the start/finish area and got a fresh bottle and gu hand up from Sarah. Thanks wife.

Lap 2: 10.5 miles in 52:37. Avg. h.r. 167
Definitely felt myself slow down a tad on this lap. I think part of it was the fact that I rode alone for most of the lap. It's hard to maintain that super fast race pace when there aren't any other racers around. Still, I was only a few minutes off the first lap pace when Sarah handed me a fresh bottle for the final lap.

Lap 3: 10.5 miles in 51:45. Avg. h.r. 168
I was definitely able to step it up a little bit in the last lap. That was due in large part to hooking up with a good group of two riders about halfway through the lap. They went around me, and I was feeling good (well, at least I didn't feel like I was going to throw up) so I decided to stick with them. We rode together for a little while, and then the dude right in front of me made a move to pass the other rider. I decided to join him, and we immediately dropped the other guy. The guy made another pass right before the final climb, and I almost let him go. That was until I heard the voice of a female racer behind me asking to get around somebody. Normally, the first 2 or 3 pro/elite women pass me about halfway through the third lap. I made up my mind then and there that it wasn't going to happen this year. I knew I didn't have far to go, so I dug as deep as I could and got to the bottom of the last climb with nobody in sight behind me. The guy that I'd been riding with earlier was about halfway up the climb. I decided I'd try to reel him in, and by the time I got to the top he was only 10 or 15 seconds ahead of me. The finish was a long off camber downhill along the front of the ski. He thought he was alone, and I was able to surprise him with a last minute sprint to the line. I ran into him later in the parking lot, and we got to chatting. It turns out he (Dave) and his brother (Greg) are the Hintz brothers that are friends with Hugh. I've seen that at different races throughout the years and it was nice to finally meet them.

So that's a rap. I think I finished 11th out of 15. Considering how crappy I felt all week I think things went pretty well. I maintained a good consistent redline pace without blowing up or cramping. And I didn't get chicked. Sarah drove me over to Bellaire after for a beer at Short's and couple of growlers to go. All in all, a very good Sunday.

video

Thursday, May 29, 2008

WNR Report

Nine riders showed up for a ripping good, fast ride between Kipp and Brutus on the North Country Trail last night. I was having so much fun that I forgot to take any pictures, boo. I'll try and get Sarah to snap some at the race down at Hanson Hills this weekend. Other than that there's not much to report: Ride, Sleep, Work and repeat. Take care and have a good weekend.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

13.1 MILES



From Sarah:

I ran in my first ½ Marathon this past Saturday. The day was perfect for Northern Michigan. With the start close to the light house on Old Mission Peninsula, the race started at 7am and it was around 40 degrees, sunny and the water was like glass. I fueled up with a power bar bagel, good protein and carbs, a gu and lots of water and only one cup of coffee.
I wasn’t really that nervous, for some reason I knew I could do it, it may hurt, but I was going to do the 13.1 miles.
The race started and I ran slow at the beginning, a lot of people passed me. I was able to run to mile 9 without walking and I actually felt good. But, I didn’t want to push it, so I grabbed an orange and a few pretzels from the most amazing aid stations and after a second, I knew it was the wrong thing to do. I was starving. I didn’t eat enough and my energy was going down. I decided to walk for 2 minutes and rest a bit and after that, I would run 15 min and walk 2. This seemed to work because I made it to the finish with a smile on my face and the time of 2 hours and 35 minutes and that is about an 11 minute mile average. I even got a medal at the end! Even though no one was there to cheer me to the finish line, I had a lot of people cheering for me in thought.
First of all my husband, Pete. He made it possible to go to a great personal trainer this past winter and I was able to strength train my body in preparation for the run. And he also gave me his two cents once in awhile and we all know what that is……
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” and the like!
Thanks to Scott Conti for training me into a running machine and yelling at me when I ate bad food.
To my running partners, Denise Simon, for when it was freezing and making me get up and run, even on the ice! And even Hugh joined me for a run when Denise was out of town. Also Kelly and Lacey for picking up for Denise because she went to France. These girls made it possible to get my miles in and it was actually fun!
There is something to be said about partners and friends to help you along. There really are days you want to say, “Well, I can just do my miles tomorrow”, but since someone else is counting on you, you go.
If I can train for 5 months and endure the pain and sweat, so can any of you. Because in the end, it feels so amazing that you accomplished this feat!
Next, Mackinaw Island Lilac Feast 10K.
Sorry honey, I will mow the lawn first!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

WNR Report

The Ride of Silence last night went off without a hitch, in spite of extremely inclement weather. I believe it was 38 and raining when we set off from downtown. I'm guessing we had somewhere in the vicinity of 30 riders representing a very broad spectrum of the local cycling community. The local police and the sheriff's department even sent out representatives to lend a hand with logistical/traffic related issues. All in all, a good ride for a very good cause. Hopefully next year we'll have better weather and an even better turnout. Next week's WNR @ Kipp Rd. Be there or be square. Have a happy holiday everyone.