Thursday, December 31, 2009

Years End

And years begin. My race season kicks off Jan. 2nd and 3rd (skate saturday, classic sunday). It's all part of the complex master plan for next season. Race more and HTFU. HTFU by the way, is my new mantra for the 2010 season. You should feel free to use it as well. It came to me via last months VeloNews. They did a little write up on Australian cycling (since that dude Cadel won the world championships and all). Included was a glossary of common Australian cycling terminology. Near the bottom of the list was HTFU. Translation: Harden The F**k Up. For some reason, those fours words really struck a chord with me. So, from now on when I start to feel like a pu**y, or I start to feel like maybe I should skip the days workout, I will say to myself "Harden The F**k Up". Beware, I may say this to other people as well. Don't be offended; it's just my form of friendly encouragement. Happy new year. See you on the other side (unless I see you tonight at the SBYC party). Over and out.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I Ran

Yesterday we had some pretty nasty weather to deal with. It was just above freezing and spitting rain most of the day. Skiing would have been dicey and not very much fun, but I still needed to get out of the house and exercise doing something. I drove down to Hugh and Denise's with the intention of running stairs, but the stairs were extremely treacherous with ice and snow so I decided to run on the beach (which was only slightly less treacherous than the stairs). It's been a couple of years since I've run, and yesterday it actually felt pretty good. Not so good that I plan on doing it on a regular basis or anything, but it's nice to have a fall back option when conditions aren't good for skiing or biking. I did some crunches and push ups when I get home, and today I am sore (but in a good way). Hope you all had a good holiday. I did. Over and out.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Peter and I hope everyone has an amazing holiday!
We miss those who are out of town and to those who live in the Northern parts, we hope for a huge dump of snow so we can ski tomorrow!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ski Weekend

Had a great weekend on the skis. Saturday I skied for an hour and a half at Mary and Greg's place. They have a winter solstice party every year; and while I've been to the party a few times in the past, I've never taken part in the ski portion of the event. I will not let that happen again. Greg borrows a snowmobile and groomer from a friend, and then he sets a classic track all over their 100 plus acres. The trails are awesome. The terrain covers the gamut: hills, open fields, trees, and it's all centered around the Sugar Shack where you can stop to warm up and chat if you so desire (see below).

Hugh and I were having way too much fun skiing to stop. It took us the whole hour and a half to ski all the trails with a minimum amount of backtracking. Fun stuff, fun stuff. We saw Greg out on the trail near the end, and I said "Greg, you need a groomer." He said, "talk to Mary". I did. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Yesterday, Sarah and I met up with JT at the Tower for turns in the woods. The snow conditions are good for this early in the season, but you still have to be a little careful about downed trees, stumps and the like. Another foot or so, and it will be ideal.

On the homefront, we got a new door. This singlepane (very poor insulating) door has been replaced with an energy efficient jobby that will earn us a nice tax credit from the man.

The new door is in, but I'm waiting to take some pictures until the trim is on. Trim or no trim, it's already a lot warmer in the house. WNS is up in the air still. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 18, 2009

WNS # 1

Attendance: Myself and Sarah.

Weather: 20 degrees, but not windy at all. The skies were clear as well, so we had some nice views of the stars.

Trail Conditions: Grooming and snow cover were excellent. The headlamps we had on were more than enough illumination.

Wednesday is my long work day of the week in the winter (7:30/8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.) so adding the WNS into the mix makes it an even longer day. All the same, it was really nice to get out for a quick ski on the way home from work. Due to the holidaze, the next couple of wednesdays are going to be up in the air. I should know by the day before whether or not I'll be able to make it, but after the first of the year it's on. MVSC Sunday afternoon. We'll probably meet around one, but call for an exact time if you want to come out. Have a good weekend.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ski Report

The skiing was good over the weekend. I got out for a little over an hour saturday afternoon for some classic skiing at Nub's. The changes they've made to the two upper loops are really good. Get out and see for yourself. Yesterday, JT and I met up with James for a couple of hours at the MVSC. The forecast wintry mix/drizzle never materialized over the weekend, so the snow levels in the woods remain good (especially for early December). If the cold temps. last throughout the week as predicted, we should have a nice base for skiing in the trees.

This week I'm going to start up the WNS (wednesday night skiing/snowshoeing). Every week from here on out (until the snow melts and we can start riding again) I'm committing my wednesday nights to skiing. I will be at the end of Valley Road past Chestnut by 6:30 every week. I encourage one and all to come out for at least one hour a week of exercise. This location offers up a wide variety of options, so the only real excuse for not showing up is laziness. You can classic ski or skate ski on the two upper loops of Nub's. You can snowshoe or backcountry ski on the NCT which just so happens to pass through the parking area. If you don't own any of the above mentioned equipment, I have a few pairs of snowshoes and poles you could borrow. I may even be able to rustle up some skis depending on your shoe size. So, WNS @ dead end of Valley Road 6:30. Plan on one hour of activity and 15-30 minutes of socializing/beers afterwards depending on weather. Over and out.

p.s. I found this picture this morning and just had to share it with the class.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

WInter Storm Warning

We are in the midst of a winter storm warning through tomorrow morning. 4-6 inches last night and 8-12 more through today and tonight. No WNS at the MVSC. I'll be skiing behind HQ at 6:30 if anyone feels like braving the weather.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Just Like That

Well, winter is here. After the nice WNR that Benson and I had last week, I thought we may be able to eek one more out at Boyne this week. Nope. We now have just over a foot of snow on the ground, and the forecast for this week is calling for much of the same. Got out on the boards for the first time this season yesterday with Marcus, Matt, and JT. We parked near the bottom of Pintail Peak (which isn't open yet) on the backside of Nub's Nob. It's a longish climb to the top (appox. 350 ft.), but the ride down is well worth the effort. Five self-serviced runs took a little over two hours. Fun times. WNS(ki) @ MVSC this week. Meet at 6:30 for a nice tour in the woods. Bring your headlamp and give me a shout if you need directions.

Friday, December 04, 2009

WNR # 32

Attendance: Myself and Benson.

Weather: Cold. High 30's and a wicked wind out of the north.

Trail Conditions: The dirt and paved roads on which we traveled were in fine shape.

That may just be the last WNR of the season. There are 3 to 4 inches of white stuff on the ground, and the long range forecast calls for much of the same. Still, it's hard to believe we went 32 weeks in a row. Attendance wasn't always great, but the important thing is that at least a few of us were out to represent the Team every Wednesday since the early spring. Tentative plan for a WNS next week. I'll do a little recon and see if I can find us a suitable spot to strap on some boards or snow shoes. I'd like to keep the whole WN thing rolling; so if we end up being stuck in some limbo land between the bikes and the skis, I'll plan some fun alternative cross training activity. Take care and have a good weekend.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


I tried do dial it back on the stair climbing compared to my first run last fall. Instead of the eight laps of yesteryears first run, I opted for what I thought to be a sensible five laps. I failed to factor in a change to the equation though. Over the vacation I read an article on stair climbing as a cross training exercise for nordic ski racing. It was a short, but informative article touting all the usual benefits of running up stairs. They also suggested to do the stairs two at a time. Last year I did them one at a time for whatever reason (it probably goes back to dry land training for downhill skiing in high school). This year I did them two at a time. That hurts more. Yesterday I could barely walk. Today, I'm still pretty sore, but the idea of a nice mountain bike ride tonight actually sounds like a good idea. We'll see who shows up.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Resume Play

Got back on friday, and I've been on two rides since. Saturday I did a little loop on the Q29er (the road bike is still in transit) mixing it up between the pavement and dirt. Yesterday it was cold and rainy so I skipped the dirt and instead did a cold 20 miles on the road. Both days I felt surprisingly good, although I could have done without the rain yesterday. Today Matt and I are going to run up and down some stairs. The trip to California has definitely reignited the desire to start training seriously again. This is a good thing, since I've been in an unmotivated and directionless state of limbo since the end of summer. I've almost got my whole 2010 season planned out. If everything pans out with scheduling and such, it's probably going to be my most ambitious to date. I'll try and get it posted once it's finalized. Also, the WNR is back on tap this week. Plan on a 6:45 start at HQ. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Homeward Bound

I just got back from the UPS store, and the bike is now on it's way home.

Below is a picture that pretty much sums up one of the things I like least about SoCal. This shot was taken as we inched our way through L.A. in the early afternoon on tuesday. I don't even want to think about actual rush hour.

Wheels up tomorrow morning at 8:40 (if all goes according to plan). I can't wait to get home.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Justin JUST Inn

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Paso Robles Rd. # 2 (to Justin Vineyards)

I rode up to Justin Vineyards from Paso Robles this morning to meet Sarah and check into the JUST Inn. It's a really small, quaint little inn situated right on the vineyard property. We had a really nice and informative tour of thier production facilities and vineyards this afternoon. Tonight we'll be feasting right here at the inn at what is supposed to be an uber gourmet dining room. Tomorrow morning our time here in wine country will come to a close. We return south to Sarah's brother's house for a little pre-thanksgiving feast before we fly home on Thanksgiving day. It doesn't look like it's going to get cold enough at home for Nub's to make enough snow for skiing this weekend, and that's a bummer. We've been lucky enough to get out skiing over the holiday weekend for most seasons in recent memory. So, anybody up for some dirt road adventuring on Sunday? Over and out.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Paso Robles #1

Went for my first ride in the Paso Robles area today. It was good. Temps. were a little on the cool side, somewhere in the low 50's and most of the roads were pretty shady (with leaves). But the roads were also very smooth and had very little traffic in the a.m. hours. I ended up bundling up in literally all the worst case scenario clothes I brought with me from Michigan: knee warmers, arm warmers, base layer, wool jersey, vest, long fingered gloves, and a wool cap. I haven't needed them until now, but I'm glad I brought them along. It was cold at first, but after a short spin up the first hill the kit worked out perfectly given the weather. I ended up with just under 25 miles of hilly road riding on some great blacktop. I'm already checking out the maps and planning out a route for tomorrow. Check out today's ride below:

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Paso Robles #1

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mt. Palomar Hill Climb

Yesterday was the first wednesday without a WNR since early spring. I suppose I could have taken the day off, but instead I decided to ride my road bike uphill for about 15 miles. I'd heard of Mt. Palomar before, but I'd never been anywhere near it. Before I left Michigan last week, I began to do a little research on the mountain. It's only a little over an hour from Sarah's brother's house. It was a mountain top finish in last year's Tour of California. It's not a particularly steep climb, but it is long. I wanted to ride it on this trip, and yesterday I did. Sarah and I decided to head north from Encinitas yesterday, and I talked her into shuttling me for the ride first. She drove me to the bottom of the East Grade Road and left for the Mt. Palomar Observatory. I set out on the bike and quickly settled into a slightly elevated, but sustainable pace. And so it was for about an hour. Then, about ten miles in there was a brief respite of downhill before turning back uphill again. I rolled into the parking lot of the observatory in just over an hour and a half. I was hungry and a little chilled, but other than that the legs seemed to have worked pretty well. Apparently my laziness of late hasn't put too much of a dent in my base. We head north to the central coast tomorrow; and from what I can tell from the maps so far, there appears to be some good riding to be had. Check out the pictures and ride data below. Stay tuned for reports from wine country.




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Mt. Palomar Hill Climb

Sunday, November 15, 2009

California Day 1

Sarah and I didn't roll into our final destination last night until after 9:00 PST. It was a long day. First, we had the five hour drive to Detroit. Next up was the almost five hour flight to San Diego. Finally, we got a shuttle to our rental car and made it to Sarah's brother's house in another half an hour. We ended up with close to twelve hours door to door, and I was beat. But not too beat to stay up and have a couple of beers with Sarah's brother and his wife. This morning I got up and had a nice big breakfast with the family. I got my bike together and did a little test spin up and down the street with Sarah's niece. I'm not sure she'll make the jump to the big leagues of Team Terpening or not, but she's giving it a shot.

After my test ride with little Rowan, I headed out for a proper spin to make sure I had reassembled the bike properly. I cruised down to the Pacific Coast Highway from Sean's house and headed south. It is utterly astounding to come out here and ride the road bike. For starters, there's the traffic. Imagine Shore Drive with four lanes for cars, a bike lane on either side of the road, traffic lights and stop signs, and about 1000 times more traffic. Fortunately, there are also literally hundreds of other riders out on the road enjoying the nice weather and wonderful views. The cars almost have no choice but to share the road, and they do. While it's plenty nerve racking to have to move across two lanes of traffic to get in the turn lane, the drivers are so used to cyclists they actually pay attention. Anyway, I had a good ride.

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Encinitas to Del Mar and Back

After the ride and a shower, the whole family (Myself, Sarah, Sean, His wife and two kids) headed down to Juanita's Taco Stand for lunch. After refueling on chicken tacos (for me) and the like, we headed up to Carlsbad for a walk on the beach. It was nice. But to be honest, I like our beach better. We have a lot less people and a lot less salt. It was still nice though.

Tomorrow I'll probably ride a little further south to Torrey Pines. Then I'm planning on tackling Mt. Palomar either Tuesday or Wednesday before we start heading north on Thursday. Hope all is well in the north. Over and out.

Friday, November 13, 2009

WNR # 31

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Rob, Secret Steve, Kevin, and Charlie.

Weather: Cold and clear. Temps. in the mid 30's.

Trail Conditions: Given the darkness and abundance of leaves, the trail was a bit difficult to navigate. There were a couple of large trees that required a dismount as well.

Despite the cold and somewhat difficult trail conditions, it was a great ride to close out the season (unless we don't get any snow in december). We stood around and shivered through a couple of beers after the ride, and I think everyone was happy to have made the effort to get out for one last WNR.

Sarah and I are heading out to the west coast for a couple of weeks tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have some good pictures and ride reports coming soon. Stay tuned and have a good weekend.

Friday, November 06, 2009

WNR # 30

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Rob, Secret Steve, Charlie, and......Bruce.

Weather: Cold. 40ish. Windy and very dark.

Trail Conditions: Marginal at best. The wind that has been blowing through lately has wreaked havoc on the trail. Everything from small sticks and twigs up to full on trees currently litter the trail. Not much we can do about that until spring.

The ride was pretty good. Just under an hour for 7.5 miles. Back on the squishy fork for the first time in a month, and I won't be going back to the rigid steel anytime soon. We took a vote after dinner about where to do the ride next week, and the winner was Kipp Rd. It'll be nice to close out (unless we don't get any snow in December) the WNR season with a nice hard ride in the dark. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

YouTube For You

Funny video for you to check out.

Making Preparations

In less than two weeks time now, Sarah and I will be heading to sunny California. My bike is heading out a little earlier to get acclimated (thanks for loaning me the box Steve). The airline is charging something like $150 to take a bike along, and truth be told I trust the dudes in the brown trucks way more than the baggage handlers. So the bike ships out tomorrow, and we ship out one week from Saturday. Even though the trip has been planned for some time now, it still snuck up on me for some reason. Since we won't get back until after Thanksgiving, there were a couple of chores that needed to be completed before leaving. The two biggies being securing the new hedge and trees with deer fencing and blowing the leaves out of the yard. Hugh, I promise yours will be done too before I depart. Normally, southern California is pretty far from my favorite place on earth, but with the crappy weather we've been having lately coupled with the dwindling daylight, it's starting to sound pretty good.

Weather forecast for the WNR tonight: 70% chance of precip. with temps. in the high 30's. In the dark, wonderful.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's Never Too Early

.... to start thinking about next year. I've got my ski races all cleared with work, so why not start thinking about bike races for next year. This race will almost certainly be on the calendar come September. Check it out.

Friday, October 30, 2009

WNR # 29

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Rob, Secret Steve, Kevin, Charlie (the new guy), and Sarah.

Weather: Cool and dark.

Trail Conditions: Still pretty good. There are a lot of leaves on the ground so it was a little hard to follow the trail once it got dark.

I had a good ride, and I think I've finally reached some conclusions about my rigid steel fork experiment. I've had some nagging neck pain for the last month, and my hands have been a tad more sore than usual lately. This has all been going on for about the same duration that I've been riding the rigid fork. It occurred to me the other day that the pain may be a result of using the non-squishy fork. I really like the way the rigid fork feels, and I also enjoy the 2.5 # weight reduction of the bike. However, if it makes my hands and neck hurt, it's probably not worth it. I'll switch back to the singlespeed (that has suspension) for the remainder of the season, and we'll see what happens.

Next weeks WNR @ HQ. We'll probably ride the normal route all the way down to Lower Shore and then head back home via Surfwood, so if you have a red blinky rear light bring it along.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Two Track Singletrack

Rob and Tim came out to HQ yesterday at noon for a long ride in the woods. We set off north on the usual North Loop route. They have continued their logging operations up that way, and now there is a really nasty, huge mud bog about 2/3 of the way up. It requires dismounting and the very real possibility of muddy wet feet. We went around on the way home, and I will continue to do so until spring. Tim seems to think they'll probably "clean it up a little" when they are finished. We'll see. Anyway, we rode north on some very wet and technical two tracks until we got to the NCT on Van. Rd. We hit up the singletrack south to Middle Village Rd. where we turned west to head home. It was right around then that rain that had been threatening all day finally started. It wasn't a downpour or anything, but it was steady. From there we took South Beacon/Radle/Webb/Stuts/Home. I just looked at my numbers again to see how fast I got going down that last paved hill on Stutsmanville. I knew I was going super fast, but I couldn't risk looking down yesterday what with the rain and all. My GPS unit is normally very accurate, but maybe it hit a blip or something yesterday. It recorded my max. speed at 50.3 mph. Holy Crap. It did feel a little faster than normal (low 40's), but I thought it was just the rain and cold. Hmm. Bottom line: 24.8 miles/2 hours 33 minutes/ 2025 feet climbing. A good ride indeed.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

WNR #28 (On Thursday)

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Rob, Kevin, and the new guys (Jason, Greg, and Charlie)

Weather: Cold, but not raining. Temps. right around 40 degrees. Dark.

Trail Conditions: Slippery and almost totally leaf covered. A few larger pieces of debris here and there.

It was definitely one of those nights where you really don't feel like riding. It's getting dark as you drive to the trailhead. It's really, really windy and cold. But as usual, within a couple turns of the pedals up that first hill, you're happy to be out on your bike. Mr. Benson set a brisk pace both out and back, and we ticked off the 9ish miles in around 50 minutes. In the dark, with the slipperiness that's a pretty good clip. Benson, Rob, and I headed up to the Pond for dinner afterwards. I hadn't been there in probably close to ten years. They've done a little remodeling, but the burgers are still excellent. We've got a big ride planned for tomorrow around noon leaving from the HQ. Next weeks WNR @ Boyne. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

No WNR #28 Report

The weather yesterday was rather abysmal. It's been pretty crappy for a while, so that's saying a lot. Benson called me up to see if I was down with switching the ride to today. I was. While it wasn't particularly cold, it rained almost non-stop the entire day. That would have made the riding last night not so much fun, plus the wet roots that are all covered up with leaves would be harder to spot in the dark. Today, the rain has let up. Hopefully the roots/obstacles that are harder to see in the dark won't be quite as wet tonight. My batteries are charged and the bike is in the back of the car so we'll find out soon enough. I got a good YouTube clip from Tim F. today. I pass it along to you. Check it out.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chandler Hill on the NCT

I met up with Benson, Rob, and Tim Flynn yesterday morning for a little ride on the NCT. We drove down to Harmon road and rode up to the top of Chandler Hill (Rob was the big hill climb winner of the day) and back. It's a really nice trail, and I hadn't ridden down there since the spring. I'm pretty sure the other guys haven't ridden down there at all this year. The climbing is some of the toughest around. I think we did just under 2000 feet in a hair short of 16 miles. Click through below to check out the details. Have a happy monday.

P.S. Second ride with the rigid fork, and I kind of like it.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

WNR #27

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Rob, Keri, and Kevin.

Weather: Cold. Temps. in the low 40's when I started around 5:30 and down to 36 by the time we finished up about 7:45. Brrr. It was also dark.

Trail Conditions: Good to Excellent. There are a few leaves on the ground, but overall the trail is still fairly easy to follow.

Just to spice things up a bit, I put the rigid fork back on the geared bike for the WNR this week. I figured if I was going to be riding in the cold and the dark, I might as well make it a little more challenging. It was. The newer downhill trail on the backside was particularly tricky on the steel fork in the dark. All in all, we had a good (albeit cold) ride. Truth be told, once you get moving it really isn't that bad though. Next weeks WNR @ The NCT off of Lark's Lake Road. Possible dinner at The Pond after. Take care and have a good weekend.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cap's Cabin

Sarah and I rented a cabin at Wilderness State Park on sunday night. Since we knew that Matt and Jess had sunday and monday off, we invited them to join us. Cap's Cabin was one of only two available for the night; and since we hadn't stayed in it before, we decided to give it a shot. It was nice. The stove didn't work particularly well, but there was a great spot in between the cabin and the beach that would be perfect for a couple of tents. We're going to see about reserving it for a weekend in early May for a little mini bike fest. The total occupancy is supposed to be 8, but I think we could fudge it up to 10. So if Matt and Jess were still in, that would leave us room for 4-6 more people. I was thinking maybe a short ride on the friday night followed by dinner and drinks. Then we could do a long ride on saturday followed by more dinner and drinks. Sunday I figured some people wouldn't be up for riding, but I'd be willing to lead a ride on the NCT south to town or HQ. Anybody interested?

Back to this weekend though. I had monday off as well this week, and I figured if I were so close to the U.P. I might as well do a little exploring. There is a small island off the eastern edge of the U.P. by the name of Neebish. It's about 25 square miles with a few roads and light human habitation. I've never been. Yesterday, I drove on some nice pretty back roads along the river until I got to the ferry. At that time, I would have had to wait an hour for the next ferry. The return trip wouldn't happen for two and a half hours. I just wasn't sure I could fill up 2.5 hours exploring such a small island. So I turned around and took some other nice pretty back roads south to the bridge. The colors were really nice up there, and they're starting to turn around here as well. This weeks WNR @ Boyne should be pretty, until it gets dark about a half hour after we'll be starting. Hope to see at least a few other's out to brave the dark and the cold. Over and out.

Friday, October 09, 2009

WNR # 26

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Rob, Secret Steve, Kevin, and Keri.

Weather: Cold. 50 degrees or so, but not raining at least.

Trail Conditions: Good for the most part. I removed most of the larger downed limbs on my first lap, but you still had to be a little careful around the smaller sticks and stuff.

As per The Plan, I got out for an extra hour before everyone showed up. So I ended up with a little over two hours in the saddle. The legs actually felt okay. I'd say a solid 7.5 out of 10. It was our second ride of the fall where we needed lights, and last night we had to bust them out (on) even earlier. By the time we got down to the creek the sun was just setting and there were rays of bright pink shining haphazardly through the trees. The ride back up to the house was just as hard as at always is, even the second time around. I made it to yoga practice last night, as per The Plan. It was wonderful. Today, I will either clear ski runs or work on trail clearing. Then I will sauna. Next weeks WNR @ Boyne 6:30. Bring lighting. Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Lull

I seem to be in the midst of a cycling lull as of the last couple of weeks or so. Last year I had the stage race and Hugh's Humongous 100 to keep me motivated in September. This year, both events were left off the schedule. Hugh's ride because he cancelled it. In all fairness it would have been difficult for him to organize/host the event from his place in France. I skipped out on the stage race for two reasons: One, I wanted to see whether or not the course changes happened before I went back. From all the reports I've read so far, the changes happened (We hope to head back next fall, the race sounded awesome). Two, Sarah and I are going to California for a couple of weeks in November, so it would have been tough to get the extra time off. What does all this mean? It means I have been particularly lazy in terms of riding/training. The weather of late hasn't really helped things out either. Basically, it boils down to this: Unless some race promoter has my money for an event in the near future (like a month or two), I find it very hard to stay focused on my "training". I ride less, and I eat and drink more (I know, hard to believe right). So at any rate, I plan to take a three pronged approach in order to put the skids on my unacceptable backsliding. Part one will be to ride more. Part two actually has two very similar subparts: aggressive trail building, coupled with aggressive tree removal for backcountry skiing at the Tower. Part three will most likely prove to be an allusive component of The Plan. I'd like to take my yoga practice to the next level, but that will require practicing at home. The whole goal of The Plan is to get me in shape for what I'm hoping will be an exciting race season on the snow. I'm about set on a schedule that will include 5 to 6 almost entirely new (to me) races between late December and early March. In terms of long term bike plans, i.e. next season, I'm thinking about doubling down on the 100 milers again in the spring. Instead of the Cohutta/Lumberjack combo of two years ago, I'm leaning towards the Mohican/Lumberjack combo for 2010. Also, this race has appeared on the very periphery of the radar. It's a faint blip, but it's there. It would be, far and away, the hardest race to date for me. I'll know by the end of November or early December whether or not "I get in". Tomorrows WNR ride is looking like it might be a little wet, but you won't melt. Come on out anyway. Over and out.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

WNR # 25

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Rob, and Keri kind of (Her car broke down right when she got to Benson's cabin, and she had to sit out the ride to wait for the tow truck. Boo).

Weather: Sunny and breezy. Chilly with temps. around the 50 degree mark.

Trail Conditions: The NCT north of Levering Rd. is in pretty good shape. The massive amounts of rain helped firm up some of the sandy sections, but it's still very clear that it just doesn't get used all that often. It's a tad overgrown in spots, and just a little bit on the bumpy/choppy side overall (compared to the sections further south).

The three of us had a good ride, and with the delay of helping Keri get a wrecker on the way we definitely needed our lights for the last half hours or so. Then it was beers by the campfire at Benson's cabin before dinner. The fire felt really good on a cool night. Next weeks ride at HQ. Due to the decreased number of riders because of the light situation (or whatever else your excuse may be) Sarah and I will take care of dinner next week. Just RSVP on the team calendar or give us a call so we know how many to plan for. I'm planning on a long ride for sometime sunday morning. Given the current weather forecast I doubt too many people will be interested; but if on the off chance you are, give me a call for the skinny. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

French Racing Report # 2

Here's another (and last for this season) report of Hugh's road racing exploits from across the pond. Enjoy.

Well the road racing season officially ended yesterday.

Saturday a week ago was a 14 km two person time trial. I did not have a partner so one of the faster cat 3 riders did double duty and rode earlier with another person and then with me. God, I hate time trials. This was a full on heart attack but we ended up slightly over 24 mph. I am sure that if it was me alone, it would have been closer to 22 with luck. The course was rolling with no big hills but it did go through a fairly major town here and the roads were not closed. Strange combination of bureaucracy and disregard for obvious safety concerns. Did I mention, I hate time trials.

Yesterday (Sunday was the last race of the calendar). This was not a circuit race like the others but a large 80 km loop more like the road races in the States. This had 4 major hills. I did have a chance to pre-ride the course the week before so I knew the route which turned out to be very helpful.
There were around 35 cat 3’s with a lot of the local clubs being represented by multiple members. I was the only cat 3 rider from our club. I figured there might be a break on the second hill (which I had ridden many times) so I positioned myself near the front. The break did happen and I just managed to cover it. This split up the peloton into the 7 of us at the front and the rest behind. Unfortunately only 3 of us were willing to work to make the break stick. I did my part but after 10 km, part of the 2nd group caught up so now we had a group of 20 on the front. Still there were only 3 of us doing any work, after a few surges and pulls, we eased up and cruised along until the 3rd big hill. There was another surge and I held on as did all the others but the time at the front and the hills was taking its toll so I settled into the middle of the pack. I knew there was going to be another break on the last big climb so I went back up near the front. About a quarter of the way up, 3 guys went off the front, I was not able to bridge the gap but held the gap steady. This split the group into pieces. I crested the hill in 7th about 15 seconds behind the leaders. I halved the gap on the downhill as well as passing 5th and 6th (these guys are wimps on the down-hills or maybe I am a little nuts). This put me about 5 seconds behind the lead 3 so I had to dig pretty deep to bridge. Again not everyone was willing to keep the pace up and the remnants of the group were starting to catch up so myself and another guy picked up the pace again. I would rather fight the other 6 guys rather than all 20. This was with about 5 km to the finish. Nearing the finish straight was a very quick left right left through the center of town to a 200 meter finish straight. I was 5th in line onto the finish straight and managed to find a little left to 4th at the line. I was very pleased with the results considering the time spent at the front. This was great fun with a lot of strategy and gambling involved. Definitely different from the mountain biking and its own animal. I now am certain I can ride with these guys. I may never get a win but I love mixing it up.

The season is done and actually I am too. I look forward to more casual riding and the change to the winter ski season.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cycling Adventure: Plan B

My cycling adventure got cut short a day on either end due to work stuff, so I ended up with three days to work with instead of five. The weather forecast for two of the three days was for heavy rain and thunderstorms. Luckily, I had a Plan B up my sleeve, and so I loaded up the truck with my mountain bike and headed to Marquette for the weekend to ride some new (to me) trails and not race. It occurred to me recently that I've always heard about the singletrack around Marquette being top notch, but I've never ridden it. Whenever I head up there it's for the Ore to Shore (which has very little singletrack). This time it was all about relaxing and riding.

Friday I stopped at the halfway point to ride Bruno's Run. I don't remember how many years it's been since I've ridden that particular trail, but it's been at least five or six. It was just as much fun as I'd remembered, although it seems like the last time I rode there it took me a lot longer. Check out the link below for ride information; and if you're ever in the area, give it a try.

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Saturday I headed out to the South Marquette Trails. They are very well marked loops that begin and end at the same trailhead. Killer singletrack with a lot of technical rocky stuff abounds. It took me close to two hours to do something like 13 or 14 miles. I didn't get all the loops in, so I can't wait to get back and try them out.

When I checked out of the hotel yesterday morning, it was cold and just starting to rain. I opted out of riding and took my time driving home. Plan B was nothing like Plan A, but I had a wonderful relaxing weekend in Marquette. That's not so bad. Check the calendar for this weeks WNR details. Hard to believe we've been at it for 25 weeks in a row now. Hope to see everyone there. Over and out.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

WNR #24

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Rob, Secret Steve, Kevin, and Keri.

Weather: A touch of fall in the air. Temps. in the mid to high 60's till the sun went down. Then it got cold.

Trail Conditions: The rain did indeed help things out, and we had a good ride.

I didn't feel particularly great yesterday. I managed a solid two hour ride with my solo warm up, but I never felt nearly as good as I did on sunday (when I was slightly hungover). Weird how that works. We chatted a bit after the ride, but it got cold out so fast I only managed to get one beer down before I had to get the car started and head home. Next weeks WNR @ Benson's cabin. Check out the team calendar for info. Also, while we didn't really need lights last night, we almost certainly will next week. Take care and have a good weekend.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Sunday morning Rob and I were the only ones up for a ride after the previous night's festivities. Those of you that did not ride missed out on yet another wonderful day in the saddle. We started out at Kipp Rd. and headed north. Then we rode down the front of Nub's Nob and rode across the street to Boyne. From there we headed up the long paved climb. For some reason this always seems like a good idea until about the halfway point when you start thinking "this maybe wasn't such a good idea". It is however, without question, a very good workout. Then we rode the Peak to Peak trail and down Secret Steve's trail to the Bridges. Then the new sweet downhill on the backside and back out to Pleasantview Rd. We headed north to hook back in with the NCT at Sutsmanville Rd. and then rode south back to the cars. Good times, good times. 22.67 miles and 2,679 feet of climbing in 2:32.

Rob and I parted ways after the ride, and I headed into town to catch a ride on a sailboat. The SBYC came to Harbor Springs on sunday. JT and Madge had their sailboat in the water, as did Ceci and Tim. Stuts and Ed (the commodore) had their powerboats in the water as well. I sailed/floated with John and Madge for a few hours, and then Stuts ran me back into the shore before five so that I could make it home for dinner. The weather was perfect all day long, and I had so much fun I could barely stand it.

WNR @ NCT off the end of Chestnut Valley Road tomorrow night. The trails should be in much better shape after the rain we got yesterday. Hope to see everybody there.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

French Racing Report

Some of you may not be aware that one of our teammates had extended the racing season a bit. Since returning to France at the end of the summer, Hugh has obtained his racing license and has been competing in the local road racing scene over there. With his permission, here is his report from week two. Enjoy it, and get out and ride this weekend.

> guys
> Just
> an update from race central in France.
> I
> raced on Saturday and Sunday last weekend for my
> 3rd and 4th
> races here. Each time continues to be a learning
> experience.
> Saturday
> Race: 11
> laps - approx 6 km each lap with one big climb and one
> scary fast narrow alpine
> style descent with 3 hairpins. The finish was on
> small flat about 2/3 of
> the way up the climb. This was the only flat section
> with the rest being
> the one long climb and the scary descent. After 3-4
> laps two groups
> formed and I was at the back of 2nd group. I stayed
> calm and took my time
> to get into a rythym on the climb. Found that I had
> pretty good kick at the
> finish after the meat of the climb. With 5 laps to
> go, I went off the
> front of the 2nd group with another rider, he eventually
> dropped but 1 other caught
> up. The two of us rode together the rest of the way
> and picked off 4 or 5
> stragglers from the first group. Unfortunately the
> other guy refused to
> do any of the work so I was on point for the rest of the
> race. By the
> last lap I had put enough time on the second group that I
> backed off a little
> to not get behind on energy for the last climb and the run
> to the finish line.
> I planned my move for the last 100m of the climb before the
> finish straight. The
> guy who was shadowing me pounced first but I managed to get
> onto his wheel.
> He saw that he did not drop me so he backed off a little
> before the run to the
> finish. I stayed right on his wheel. He again
> made a move within sight
> of the finish but I dug pretty deep to stay with him and
> then sprinted by to
> beat him by a wheel. Great fun, classic stuff and
> great experience.
> Ended up 8th overall and 4th in cat 3
> which I was pretty
> happy with. Turned out that it was about 41 miles
> long with 3500 feet of
> climbing at a 19 mph average. I think the mountain
> biking is helping.
> Many of these riders are very cautious on the fast descents
> and don’t
> know how to use their brakes effectively (they brake way
> early and not
> aggressively). I was able to gap most of them on the
> descent. This race
> gave me a little confidence in being able to keep somewhat
> in the hunt.
> Sunday
> Race: 15 laps - approx 4.1 km each lap, rolling with
> no big hills, all on
> narrow country lanes. The pace started fast and I
> held position about 10
> back for the first 5 laps. One guy went off the front
> on lap 5 and I was
> feeling a little cocky so I went to the front and helped
> haul him in. My
> legs were a little tired but not bad from the day
> before. I drifted to
> the back after the pull and reached into my jersey for fuel
> at the same time
> that the peloton surged ahead. Instantly I was 50
> feet back and I found
> out that my legs were not quite as good as I thought and
> the peloton just faded
> into the distance. I rode the last 9 laps solo and
> nearly got
> lapped. Quite humbling. Finished dead last in
> cat 3. This
> wasn’t quite as fun as the day before but again,
> great experience.
> This
> whole thing is so different from mountain biking. I
> never trained
> intervals that much but that’s what is needed here.
> I need to improve
> my short term power delivery to be able to handle the
> surges and sudden effort
> requirements.
> Oh,
> by the way, each race costs 5 Euro to enter ($7 US) and in
> the case of the
> Saturday Race, they hauled out a 20 liter container of red
> wine after the
> race. I never figured wine for a recovery
> drink! The season here is
> coming to an end soon but for the most part, you can
> typically race on both
> Saturday or Sunday every weekend.
> Tomorrow
> (Saturday) is a 2 person team time trial….I’ll
> let you know.
> I think the local club president has found me a riding
> partner for tomorrow, or
> at least I think that is what he said on the
> phone.
> Hope
> all is well there. I have been checking weather in
> Harbor and it looks
> like you are still enjoying good riding.
> Talk
> to you all soon.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

WNR #23

Attendance: Myself, Sarah, Benson, Rob, Kevin, Keri, and Dr. Phil (one of the original WNR's from way back in the day).

Weather: Cool but sunny.

Trail Conditions: Dry, and very sandy. But the logging recovery is coming along well.

It was nice to have Phil back in town for a couple of days. It's really cool that he can plan his visits around the WNR because he knows it will be happening even though he hasn't lived here in years. Everyone had a good ride, kind of. Sarah, Keri, and Phil were riding in one group. Keri was supposed to wait at the top of a climb before they turned right so that Sarah could take the lead since Keri doesn't really know the trails that well. Keri didn't stop and turned left. Phil followed. They rolled into the parking area about 45 minutes after we did, and it was really dark. But they made it back. Next weeks WNR @ NCT off the end of Chestnut Valley Road. Adios.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Riding and More Riding

Those of you who missed out on last sunday mornings ride missed a good one. New trails, perfect weather, I even brought sandwiches for a post ride snack. Benson and I headed over to Secret Steve's and piled all our gear on top of and into his wagon before heading south to Dead Man's Hill. There we met up with Kevin and Brian (the new, new guy). They had ridden the trail once, but for us other three it was the first time. First off, technically these trails are, for the most part, off limits to bicycles. Curiously enough, they are open to horses. I have my own little personal rule, and it goes something like this: If horses (which do more damage to the trail than a bike) are allowed to use the trail, and if they are allowed to defecate in the middle of the trail whenever they please, than I feel like I should be allowed to ride on the trail as well. We did, and it was a blast. Lung busting climbs and sweet, swooping down hill singletrack. There were enough technical sections to require special attention and a couple of dismounts. It was just wonderful. In the end, we tallied up about 15 miles of singletrack with a 5 mile dirt road stretch back to the cars. I will definitely be back before the end of the season.

Self portrait of the group (minus Kevin who was in front of me).

The view from Dead Man's Hill.

Monday brought the beginning of what would be my shakedown ride for the upcoming cycling adventure/tour. I had the bike all loaded up with my camping gear (tent, sleeping bag/pad, cookstove, small cookset, food, spare clothes, H20, wine). The plan was to ride up to Sturgeon Bay after work and camp out on the beach to get a feel for the bike fully loaded and make sure all the gear was in working order. The first thing I noticed rolling down the driveway monday morning in the dark was that my bike was really, really heavy. I estimate the bike, bags, and gear tipped the scales at a hair over 60 lbs. The flats aren't too bad. Going down is really fun because you accelerate like you're pedaling really hard, but you're not. Going up on the other hand is anything but fun. I've already started weighing individual pieces of equipment in order to try and shave some weight. For instance, my thermarest with chair conversion kit weighs close to 8 lbs. I dug out the old foam pad and crazy creek chair last night, and I will weigh them this afternoon. I also have a line on a bivy sack that I may borrow to take the place of my cozy two person tent with vestibules that is very heavy. When I first started planning this little cycling adventure, I was thinking I could easily get in 100 miles a day. Monday's ride to work and then the beach was probably around 40 miles, and my legs were definitely feeling it on the ride home yesterday morning. My legs feel good today though, so who knows. I leave one week from tomorrow.

Camping out at the SBYC turned out to be the perfect idea. A good half a dozen members were in attendance when I arrived, and most stayed till sunset for dinner and drinks. I passed up on offers of food to maintain the test ride protocol (squeeze cheese mac and cheese for dinner), but I did get a little extra wine from JT. Once the sunset, I had the beach to myself. It was awesome. I had two packets of instant oatmeal for breakfast in the morning. Then I just chilled out and read my book while I waited for the dew to dry off the tent. Then I packed up all my gear, loaded the bike, and headed for home.

Camping out at the SBYC for the first time.

One of the best sunsets of the season for me.

WNR @ Boyne tonight. Party @ HQ saturday 6:30. I'll provide beer and wine. Bring something for the grill and a dish to pass. Over and out.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

WNR #22

Weather: Hot. Temps. in the upper 70's and dry.

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Rob, Kevin, and Keri.

Trail Conditions: Sandy and Bumpy. There has been some horse traffic lately that chews up the trail a little, and we've had very little rain for the last couple of weeks.

Despite the small rider turnout (maybe it was too nice out for some people) we still managed a good fast paced ride from the parking area on Lark's Lake to Van Rd. and back. The pace was fast, but controlled on the way north. On the way south I put in a little extra effort and pretty much rode at the redline all the way back to the cars. My legs are feeling the race pace effort today, but it felt really good last night. I've got the day off tomorrow for the first time in almost three weeks, and I'm thinking a long road ride is in order. I've been mapping out a long a** road loop in my head for a while now, and tomorrow I'm looking to make it happen. Have a good weekend; and if you're interested in a Sunday morning ride down in the Jordan River Valley, check out the Team Calendar to the right for all the details. Next weeks WNR @ Boyne.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Sweet 16

Yesterday marked the end of my 16th summer working at the store. We had a really good group of kids working this summer; and that, along with a few tweaks here and there, made for one of the least stressful summer seasons in recent memory. I was still very near the end of my proverbial rope, but I'm here to tell the tale. After all, survival is the most important thing to consider when going through one of these summer seasons. It's always an amazing (and confounding) thing to spend a few months surrounded by a ton of people that operate on a completely different wavelength from your own. For now, I'm planning on enjoying the nice weather and a few extra days off. Come the end of October, it'll be time to start getting ready for ski season. WNR @ the NCT off of Larks Lake Road tomorrow. Sarah and I are talking about going to The Pond (Moosejaw Junction) for dinner afterwards. See you there.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

WNR #21

Weather: Sunny and 70. Perfect.

Attendance: Myself, Sarah, Keri, Jess, Benson, Matt, Rob, Kevin, and Scott (he took the pictures below).

Trail Conditions: A bit on the dry side, but excellent other than that. We also rode up Lower Shore Dr. to hit up the singletrack at The Humongous HQ. Hugh, your trail is in fine shape.

A good turnout for a good ride. Sarah assigned everyone a different food item necessary to assemble a killer taco bar. Next weeks ride is at the NCT trailhead on Larks Lake Road (I think). I can't remember for sure if that's what we decided on, but I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm mistaken. We're closing in on the last sunday of work for the summer. I'll be celebrating on the beach at Sturgeon Bay by 4:00 if anyone cares to join me. The sunday after that I'll be up for one long a** ride in the woods since I won't have to be at work. Take care and have a good weekend.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Thursday Night Race League

I found this over on the DC, and he apparently found it from someone else. It's a little ditty about a weekly race league in Whitefish, Montana. Thanks to whoever shot it, it's a sweet video. Not to mention the fact that it would be so awesome to have a weekly race series/trail network like that in your hometown. If and when I win the lottery, that may be a good place to spend the summer. WNR @ HQ. Call Sarah for food assignments if so inclined.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cross Conversion

The old LeMond that has served me faithfully for over ten years is almost ready for retirement. Once I got a new Quiring road bike a few years ago, the old LeMond was left to gather dust until I converted it to a commuter last summer. The other day while I was attempting to put it back together after a little tune-up and paint touch up it occurred to me that the bike is fu**ing old. It really doesn't owe me anything. Also, I've got this really nice Cannondale cyclocross bike that doesn't get used very much. It just happens to have mounts for racks in the front and rear. I swapped over the rear panniers and a new rear rack. The knobby tires also give me the freedom to ramble down dirt roads and trails if the mood should strike me. I've also recently ordered panniers and rack for the front end as well. You may be asking yourself, why would I need any more storage if I'm just riding to work or yoga. Well, I'm going on a little bicycle adventure at the end of Sept. My only plan so far is to load up the bike with my tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, small cook stove/cook set, a few extra bike clothes, one set of leisure clothes/shoes, and a small amount of food (I'm planning to resupply on the road). Then I will ride and live out of my bike for seven days. My rough plan is to ride south to Frankfort or Manistee and then cross over to the "sunrise side of the state" near Tawas. Then I'm planning on heading north to the bridge before heading south for home. One big circle tour. Does anyone want to join me? Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

WNR #20 (on tuesday)

Attendance: Myself, Sarah, Benson, and Kevin (the new guy). I don't know if it was the day change or the weather that was responsible for the low rider turnout.

Weather: Pretty crappy. 65 and a light mist/rain.

Trail Conditions: Clear but slippery. The tremendous cloud cover meant very low light conditions by the end of the ride, adding to overall trail sketchiness.

In the end, I was happy to have gotten out for the ride. It's always a good time when you get to ride/run up Kipp. Rd. Trail on the singlespeed. It's even more fun if you do it twice. Trust me. I think we ended up with 12 miles in a little under 1.5 hours with about 1500 ft. of climbing. I even had my first crash in I don't know long. Right near the end of the ride I got a little off the trail, and before I could take corrective measures a small but sturdy tree just to the left of the trail halted my bikes forward progress. I continued forward, slamming both my legs and knees into the handlebars before landing about five feet in front of my bike. I was able to immediately remount my bike and finish out the ride, but the damage had been done. I started the self-medication process with a cold HumaLupa and headed home for dinner. At that point in the evening I was pretty sure it was just a good crash as opposed to a bad one. But how can a crash be "good" you ask? I look at it this way. If you spend a lot of time riding/racing different bicycles to and fro, you will eventually touch the floor (crash). In my book, a "good" crash is one where (A) your bike suffers no non-cosmetic damage, and (B) your body only suffers bruising and small to medium scrapes/cuts. Often you're unable to tell whether or not you had a good or bad crash until the following day when you roll out of bed. This morning I was able to chalk last night's crash up in the good column. I bruised the living sh*t out of my legs and knees in a couple of spots and have a few scrapes, but other than that I'm feeling just fine. I checked out the rig this morning, and bike appears fine as well. Going to the bull ride tonight, so I'll try and get some pictures. Next week's ride @ HQ. Oberon is on tap again. Over and out.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Check Is In The Mail

Once Rick picks up the mail this morning I'm committed to my first ski race of the season. It's a doozy. It's the biggest ski race in North America. It's been on my radar for a couple of years now, and talking with Steve Biggs at Matt and Jess's wedding sealed the deal. I don't know whether or not he's going to follow through on his end, but I'm in. I have many, many more miles to ride yet this year; but signing up for the Birkie definitely gets me excited for ski season.

Back to biking: The commuter is almost back up and running after a little TLC. I touched up a few rust spots, replaced the crankset with an old FSA 2X9 I had laying around (a little easier gears for fully loaded hill climbs), got a front rack ready to install, and replaced the chain. Hopefully she'll get a shakedown ride in the morning to Petoskey/Yoga. Then, it's the WNR on tuesday. Kipp Rd. @ 6:30. See you there.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Photo Dump

I haven't been taking as many pictures as I should lately, but here's what I've got.

A nice sunset and the after party at a WNR sometime back @ Boyne.

The lighthouse up at BIg Bay on Lake Superior.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

WNR # 19

Attendance: Myself, Sarah, Benson, Rob, Steve, and Kevin.

Weather: Hot, humid, and sunny. Temps. in the low 80s.

Trail Conditions: Boyne Mountain has apparently been getting even less rain than we have this summer. That, coupled with the fact that those trails get ridden a ton more than our local ones, meant for a sandy and rooty affair. Also, it's been two years since I've ridden down there, and I'd forgotten how much climbing there is. The 34X18 gear I run on the singlespeed was just about maxed out. Fortunately the steroids seem to have worked their magic, and I was able to ride up most all but the steepest of hills (there it tended to be faster to get off and run anyway).

After the ride, our group reconvened at the Red Mesa Grill for some well earned dinner and drinks. It was a late night getting home and an early morning dragging myself out of bed to get to yoga, but it was super cool to ride some trails I hadn't ridden in some time and dinner at the Red Mesa is always a treat. Next week's WNR is going to shift to a T(tuesday)NR @ Kipp Rd. A few of us have a friend riding in a bull riding competition next wednesday, so that's the reason for the switch. TIme is still at 6:30. Be there or be square. Have a good weekend.

Friday, August 14, 2009

On the Roid's

That's right, I'm officially doping now. But it's okay because I got them from the doc right? What I thought were just lingering effects of the sickness/race (coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing) turned out to be a wee bit more serious. I finally sucked it up and went to the doctor yesterday morning. Greg was way, way more concerned about my lungs than I had been. Initially, he thought I may have to be admitted. I told him that wasn't really an option. He had the nurse inject a large syringe of steroids into my right buttock, had me take six big hits off an inhaler, and told me we'd wait a little while to see what happened. After two hours of waiting in the exam room, Greg finally agreed to let me go. But only after I promised to call him in the afternoon with a situation report. If I hadn't improved dramatically by that point I promised to come back over. The shot eventually helped things along quite a bit, and by the afternoon I was probably about 70 percent better. He also prescribed an oral steroid that I am to take for the next few days to get everything back in check. Apparently, what I thought was a cold was really some sort of wicked bronchial virus that triggered a rather severe asthma attack. Anywho, I'm off the bike till Monday when I'm allowed to do an easy 1/2 hour on the road bike. If I experience any wheezing I'm to back off for a couple more days. I already feel a ton better after the shot and two days on the Prednizone, so I'm optimistic that I'll be back to full strength by the end of next week. Have a good weekend, and get a ride in for me. I'm all about the R and R (other than work that is). Take care and thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

WNR #18

As Peter was only able to make it for roll-call due to his recent illness, I'll have to give you the Wed. ride info. We were looking to shake things up a bit with a new start location to ride @ Boyne & all be able to ride the sweet 'North Ridge' downhill. We opted to park along a dirt service road near the start/finish of the 'Blue' trail at the Highlands just past the Boyne Country Club. Ride attendance was solid again, though heavily weighted for the boys & included myself, Rob, Doug, Kevin, S.Steve, Seth, Scott, Mitchell & Sarah with Katherine joining for a hike. The trails are in great shape & oh so sweet, even the logged section between the South & North Peaks is smoothing out (somewhat!) Doug had one of his most horrendous crashes just below the bridges but lived to ride on after catching his wind; Kevin was bouncing off a few trees and Mitchell tackled the downhill section in top form with most of us right on his pressure!

We are going to try Boyne Mt. next week while the summer daylight is still long & strong (some of us might even enjoy dinner at Red Mesa after the ride.) See you next week, South of the (Petoskey) border.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

O2S Report

Despite the fact that I've been sicker than a dog for the past few days (including today) the race went pretty well overall. I only lost about four minutes on last years time. Rob kept me honest, and without him in the race I surely would have ended up with a slower time. He passed me about 1/3 of the way through, and I was unable to hold his wheel. At that point, I thought to myself "I'm sick, it's okay. Rob's been riding a ton lately, and he's got a new bike". But then I caught up to him again, and we rode together back and forth for the remainder of the race. Rob just wouldn't give up. Every time I'd get a gap on him, a couple of minutes later he'd be right back on my wheel. Every time he'd get a gap on me, a couple of minutes later I'd pull in back behind him. This went on and on....and on and on..... Then we got to the ten mile to go mark, and I made my move. I got a small lead on Rob before the last big climb, and rather than shifting into the granny gear I decided to run/sprint up the hill. I passed at least half a dozen people on the climb, but it definitely put me in the red zone. Within a couple of more miles my quads were cramping up something fierce. Coming out into the home stretch, it was all I could do to keep moving forward. I only ended up about two minutes or so ahead of Rob, but without him there to motivate me I'm sure my time would have been much slower. I really didn't feel very good at all. But that's how it goes. Sometimes the trail eats you, and sometimes the you eat the trail. Today I got eaten, spit out, and thrown away. But after a nice dip in Lake Superior with Matt (who did remarkably well in his first 48 miler) I'm feeling just as fresh as a somewhat wilted daisy. Tomorrow is another day, and I plan on spending it lounging around Maraquette. Whether that is on the beach or around the campsite remains to be seen, but rest assured tomorrow will be a day of relaxation. Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 07, 2009

WNR # 17/Wo Is Me

WNR Repot: Record number of riders for the season I believe. Around fifteen if memory serves me correct. The Loop is pristine condition, if I do say so myself. I spent a couple of hours tuesday afternoon thinning out the trail below the Biddick's by hand with a bushwhacker thingy and a rake. I thought I was doing my last minute and unorthodox cross training before the race (last year I ripped out all the carpet in our house and stacked wood). It turns out I was just getting sick. I haven't been sick in over two years. I'm a really bad and grumpy sick person. Wednesday I felt the twinge of sickness, but I told myself that it was just allergies from the trail work and the hard ride (I felt really good by the way). By thursday afternoon, I had to admit to myself that I really was sick. I've been pumping myself full of Airborne and H2O for the last couple of days, but the truth of the matter is that I really don't feel so hot. Sore throat, headache, runny get the picture. Anyway, we just got the camper set up, and I'm settling into a Two Hearted. I need a miracle. I'm hoping to get to bed early and wake-up tomorrow all bright eyed and bushy tailed. However, I'm prepared for the fact that they may not happen. Either way, my a** will be on the line in the morning, and I'll report back from the other side. Wish me luck. Over and out.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

WNR #16

Eleven riders. Good brisk pace. Too busy to write more. Next week at the HQ. Be there or be square.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sore Legs

My legs have been pretty wiped out for the past week or week and a half. The past couple of days were no exception. Both days I was really tempted to skip a ride in favor sitting on my a** and having a few beers. Both days I summoned the motivation to head out for a quick hour before sitting on my a** and having a few beers. Both rides were excellent, and my legs felt okay. Not great, but certainly strong. Saturday I hit up the Loop on the singlespeed. I'm so lucky to have such a killer trail starting in the backyard. Yesterday I rode the road up to Island View Rd. and back. It started out as a recovery ride, and I rode an easy pace on the way up. The weird thing is that yesterday's "easy" pace was wicked fast. I made it to the turnaround point in under thirty minutes. All of a sudden, setting a new personal record for that ride was possible. I cranked up the pace a bit on the way back. I rode the last climb on Stutsmanville Rd. in my big ring. When I stopped the clock after cruising up the driveway, it read 54:47. I've never done that ride in under an hour before. My legs weren't feeling super or anything, and my heart rate for the ride only averaged 141 (if pressed upon I can sustain a heart rate somewhere in the mid 160's for up to three hours). Drawing on my decidedly unscientific background/knowledge base, I'm hoping this means that I'm getting faster. That's my story for today anyway, and I'm sticking to it. Matt and I are supposed to do 30 on the dirt this afternoon. WNR @ Boyne. Hope everybody had a good weekend.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

WNR #15

Attendance: Myself, Sarah, Keri, Keri's Friend, Sheri, Doug, Rob, Kurt, Benson, Seth, and Scott.

Trail Conditions: Excellent. They've bushwhacked most all of the trail, so you don't get too scraped up from the berry bushes. They've also installed some nice bridges over the wettest parts of the section between Stutsmanville and Lark's Lake Roads.

Weather: Muggy and hot, but it didn't rain on us.

That was the biggest group we've had in quite a while which was nice to see. Next weeks ride @ Boyne. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's Finally Raining

This is what's going down right now with the weather. After a cool, dry summer so far, the weather forecast is calling for a chance of rain every day for the next week and a half. How does that saying go? When it rains, it pours. While this may cut into the riding/commuting, it really will be good for the trails and the trees.

Also, the Pisgah Stage Race in October has fallen off the radar. The campground is already booked and staying in a hotel for the duration of the race would more than double the cost. I think I'd rather spend the extra dough when Sarah and I are in California for a couple of weeks in November. Instead of the race, I'm starting to plan out a bike intensive vacation/tour slated for sometime in October. Stay tuned as details get hammered out.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

WNR #14

Attendance: Myself, Hugh and Denise, Benson, Rob, Jake (employee at the store on his first WNR), and Johan (his buddy visiting from Denmark).

Weather: Windy, but hot and humid.

Trail Conditions: Perfecto. Sammy has raked to perfection all of the trails near his house on the south end of the Loop.

I had a really good night on the bike. I went out for a hard 50 minutes before escorting Jake and Johan at a more leisurely pace. After leaving them at the bottom of Five Mile Creek, I rode at full on race pace back up to the house in a little over 20 minutes. I ended up with just under two hours and 15 miles, and my legs finally came around after a couple days of feeling a little off. Next weeks WNR at the NCT Trailhead off of Brutus Rd. heading north.

In other race related news: Sarge, I know you've requested a race schedule. I haven't put one up because other than the Ore to Shore and the Lumberjack, I wasn't sure what other bike races I'd be doing this year. While I'm still not ready to fully "schedule" the rest of my season, this race has reaapeared on the radar. I've got a few logistics to work out before I send them my dough, but so far it's looking good. Take care and have a good weekend.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

O2S Prep.

Preparations are under way for the O2S next month. I'm pretty much recovered from the Lumberjack/Fourth of July Extravaganza, and so I'll do a good three or four week build up for the race starting tomorrow. We're also fortunate enough to be upgrading our accommodations at the race this year. Rod and Joellen have graciously agreed to let us take their camper with us for the three day weekend. Yesterday, I went over to their place after work for a lesson with the camper, and then I towed it up and down Stutsmanville before depositing it in our driveway for the night. We spent the night in it, and it's an amazing upgrade from the REI two person tent we've been using in the past. In other race related news: Hugh and Denise bought the tandem mountain bike that they were trying out a couple of weeks ago, and they'll be toeing the line of the 48 miler aboard it come Aug. 8th. So far, we've got quite the contingent heading up to Marquette for the race.

WNR @ HQ this week. Over and out.

Friday, July 10, 2009

WNR #13

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Doug, Sherry, Kerri, Rob, Matt, and Scott.

Weather: Sunny and warm.

Trail Conditions: The trails that they haven't logged are in really good shape, but there is a fair amount of sand here and there. We could really use some rain.

The ride was nice, and we had a good time hanging out afterward with some cold beverages. Next weeks ride is back at the HQ, and I'm hoping to talk Sarah into making some homemade pizza crusts for us. I'll be in touch early in the week with food assignments for the regular riders. Part timers that wish to contribute can give us a call on monday. Have a good weekend, and don't forget to get out and ride your bike.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Calm After The Storm

I've endured my 16th fourth of July holiday extravaganza at the store. It cut into my ride time a little last week (I only clocked three days in the saddle); and while I'd like to think of it as extra recovery time after the last race, my legs don't feel a whole lot better than they did the day after the Lumberjack. It must have something to do with running around like a chicken with it's head cut off and carrying heavy boxes to and fro. Anyway, I got back in the saddle yesterday. I rode the old commuter in to work at 6:30 yesterday morning, and it actually felt really good. Traffic was light at that hour, and I saw an abundance of wildlife on my trip in. After work I needed to run some errands in Petoskey, and so I rode my bike around the bay. I hit up the hearing aid lady, and found out that my unit is fu**ed. On the upside, I do carry a rider on my homeowners policy for it so I'm not out the $1200 for the new one. Then I stopped at the RiteAid for a few odds and ends. My last stop was the AT&T store for some new headphones. By the time I rolled up the driveway just before six, I estimate my days mileage at a hair under forty miles (for free). Today I'll be driving (boo) south to continue my NCT exploration along the Jordan River Valley. Riding new trails is fun. WNR @ Boyne tomorrow. See you there.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

WNR # 12

Attendance: Myself, Hugh and Denise (on a tandem mtb.), Benson, Rob, Matt, Brian (Matt's buddy from Chicago), Scott, Mitchell, and Bruce.

Weather: Cold. 54 degrees and cloudy.

Trail Conditions: Things out on the Loop are just about perfect. If I can get down to the creek for a little more raking, they'll be 100 %.

Good ride, and a good dinner afterwards. Thanks for coming out.

Next week's WNR @ Boyne. Have a happy 4th. I'll be working.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Interweb @ HQ

The weather is still shi**y, and it's early in the day so I have nothing very interesting to report. But wait, there's this: thanks to my trusty iPhone and Matt I now have access to the interweb from my laptop here at the HQ. Matt gave me the heads up last week on how to turn my iPhone into a tethering device. I don't know exactly how all this works, but it does. With only two little bars of cell signal, my laptop is able to bluetoothily use said signal for surfing the interweb at speeds a good deal faster than dial up. Now I don't really care how long it takes for DSL to show up, I'm in. Have a happy tuesday.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Blah Monday

Weather is crappy today. Cold, windy, and a steady rain. I didn't ride to work this morning because of it. I got a ride with Sarah instead. Perhaps if it clears up a little this afternoon, I'll get a spin in on the 1X1. If not, I'm off tomorrow so I'll I get a ride in regardless of the weather. WNR @ HQ this week. So far the menu is burgers on the grill. Scott's bringing the buns (that's right Scott), and we'll have the burger and cheese. Call if you'd like to contribute, and I'll give you something to bring. Hope to see everyone out on Wednesday.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

WNR #11

Attendance: Myself, Sarah, Jesslilyn, Sherry, Doug, Benson, Matt, Seth, Kurt, Rob, and Hugh.

Weather: Almost unbearably hot. 86 degrees, but sunny.

Trail Conditions: The NCT trail crew has been through bushwhacking between Stutsmanville and Brutus Roads. That particular section of trail is in the best shape that I can remember. Beyond that, the trail was a little sandy, but it was still nice to be riding on the singletrack after a couple of days on the road.

One of, it not the biggest group of the year so far. We could have hung around a little more after the ride if it weren't for the fu**ing bugs. Anywho, not much more to report from the WNR front. Next week's WNR @ HQ. May still be Founder's Pale on tap. If not, New Holland Mad Hatter is up next. Have a good weekend.

Monday, June 22, 2009

LBJ 110 Race Report

Lap 1: 2 hours 14 minutes. I felt about as good as can be expected going into the first lap. It's hard to get too amped up when your alarm went off at a quarter to five in the a.m., and you're getting ready to race 100 miles of singletrack. But at the same time your legs feel good, and so you want to put the hammer down right out of the gate. I've made that mistake before, and I was determined to reign in the pace for a nice easy first lap. After the initial big hike-a-bike climb, I settled into a nice pace behind someone in a red Specialized kit. I rode behind him with about half a dozen other guys for most of the first lap. It worked out perfectly because his speed was just a hair below what would be my normal race pace. Things were rolling along well until he pulled off at the last aid station. This left me at the front of the train; and while I tried to keep a lid on the pace, I felt my heart rate creeping up from time to time. I just had to keep reminding myself that it was early in the day, and it would be downright to stupid to ramp up the pace. Rolling into the pits after Lap 1 I was feeling good, and I only stopped long enough to change out my bottles and head back out.

Lap 2: 2 hours 19 minutes. The second lap of the day went much the same as the first except that I was the one leading out for most of the lap. There were a group of 8 or 9 riders right behind me; and whenever I asked if anyone wanted to come around, the response was always "no we're good". I know that drafting doesn't really play a roll when racing on the singletrack, but it was a little unnerving psychologically to feel as though I was pulling them around the course. So I put in a little attack before the last aid station and rode alone for the remainder of the lap.

Lap 3: 2 hours 35 minutes. This was my slowest lap of the day, and it was also the toughest (both mentally and physically). The climbs in the beginning seemed unbearably long, and near the halfway point my legs started cramping up just a tad. I stopped and popped a couple of Endurolytes with an Enervit chaser. I stopped at the aid station for the first time of the day and dumped a couple cups of ice water over my head before finishing up the lap.

Lap 4: 2 hours 33 minutes. Once I had the third lap wrapped up and it looked a sub 10 hour finishing time was well within the realm of possibilities, my outlook on the day improved dramatically. Each time I went up a long climb, I knew that was the last time I'd have to do it (this year). And I felt better than can be expected for most of the lap. I steadily passed and lapped riders that were in far worse shape than myself, and that only improved my mood and pace. I stopped again at the aid station for the cold water over the head routine and a small cup of ice cold flat coke. After that, my body was pretty much on auto pilot until the finish. I knew my time going to into the home stretch from my GPS, but it was still a relief to round that last corner into the finishing stretch and seeing the clock just turning over the 9:40 mark. I crossed a minute later and immediately handed over the bike to Sarah before collapsing into a chair in our pit. I didn't realize how hot it had gotten until it was over (85 degrees in the shade). But it was over. 100 miles of singletrack in 9 hours 41 minutes. When I downloaded the data back at the cabin, I realized I'd only stopped moving for seven minutes the whole day.

In conclusion: I'd like to first thank Sarah for doing such a good job setting up the pit and keeping me fueled and motivated throughout the day. Your help let's me concentrate all of my energy on riding my bike, and it always makes a big difference. Hugh had a great ride, finishing in 8:58. Great job. All in all, this was one of the better races I've had. Toeing the line for these 100 milers is always a bit intimidating. So many things can happen that are beyond your control, whether it's physical, mental, or mechanical. This year I had a plan. I had a slow build up this spring, and I was very diligent in getting in my long rides every week. In the end everything came together. Thanks for reading.

P.S. WNR this week @ the Pleasantview Township Hall.