Monday, June 23, 2008


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


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


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.