I had not done any XC races this year. There were a few that was interested in doing and something else conflicted on the calendar or I just couldn’t get myself to make the drive. This race was the last one in the DINO series and there was going to be a few teammates there. I also had someone to share the ride with me so that always makes it easier to go. Before this race I had not been on my mtb since the Mohican. I figured I might be a little rusty, but it didn’t really matter as I was not worried about winning it or anything. But, I have put in some good miles and figured I would not be too bad.

The weekend didn’t start off too well for making a good showing at the bike race. There was a soccer game on Saturday in the middle of the afternoon. I sat in the sun baking for two games. This was not a good way to stay hydrated. After the games we went to the next town’s festival to see a few people and get a bite to eat. I figured what could a beer or two hurt. Well, several beers and hours later we got home a lot later than I wanted. Good thing I had most of my stuff ready.

Sunday morning came around real early. It was a cool morning and the fog was pretty thick. I had the top down on the jeep so it was a little on the cool side in some sections. But, it was still a nice drive and had some good company to help it go by pretty fast. The sun came out right before we got there and really warmed things up. I set the canopy up and started to get ready for the race, signed up and went for a little warm up ride. It was pretty warm by then and I could feel the effects of the sun and beer that I experienced the day before.

Before I knew it I was running late to the starting line. Well, maybe not that late, but it was getting close. I was probably there before Bob rolled in to the parking lot. LOL Just kidding Bob, well kind of. The groups in front started taking off. I didn’t want on the first row and figured I would do what felt good and try to not worry about everyone else. Sometimes that is easier said than done. We took off across the field going faster than I was ready to do. I didn’t want to completely red line it already and tried to ride at a pace that worked for me. I backed it off a little and tried to keep in contact to the group in front of me. I was doing a pretty good job for a little while. There started to be a gap in front of the guy right in front of me. I asked and tried to get around, but they didn’t really let that happen.

I was not riding how I should have and then when we hit the berm section I was a little more shaky than I normally would be. The time off of the bike and not really having trail like that around here to ride made me not trust the front wheel as much as I should have. I was still rolling pretty well, but the guy in front of me pulled away. I rode really well in the second half of the lap. The tighter stuff and the section that was muddy was more in my wheel house. I also cruised down the levee at a really good pace. I am sure all of the road miles helped.

I maintained a pretty steady pace for the next two laps. I passed some people and was passed by a couple. It was really hard to figure out what age group all the people around you were in so I was not sure where I was, but felt pretty good about it. I was riding really strong considering everything. The only thing that I was a little slow on was the bigger climbs. SWW has a couple hills that are fairly good sized. I didn’t have any issue climbing them, I just didn’t climb as fast as I needed too. I am sure the previous day’s activities were part of that, but I am just not where I want to be with my climbing. I really need to improve that.

I ended up finishing 30th overall and 11th in the 40-49 class. I am pretty happy with that. I always would like to finish farther up, but I really can’t expect to with out putting more effort in. Even with all the things I did to keep from being fast, I was less than 8 min. off from being on the podium for age group. Maybe next year I will be able to get a little closer. My main focus is not XC racing, but if I do better at the races that I would like to do well in, then it would have to move me up the finisher list for XC races too. Maybe next time.

Posted in Bikes, DINO, Dino Series, Mountain Biking, Racing, Team Adventures | 1 Comment

2016 Mohican 100k

Sorry a little late to the party here. It has been busy and then didn’t have a good time to sit down at put this together. Part of this has been sitting in draft mode for quite a while. The Mohican was the second race in my dumb decision I made to my race schedule. I was feeling a little better about this than the Cohutta, but still not where I wanted to be. The three weeks leading up to the race I was only able to get out for one ride a week. I did do a few other things that were off the bike, but probably not the best plan of tapering. But, I should be well rested. As usual I was running a little late on getting everything ready to go and the bike cleaned and tuned up.

Img_0141Friday morning I was up way earlier than I wanted to be after not getting to bed very early because I was doing a bunch of last minute things. I had thought about leaving Thursday night and camping part of the way, but I just didn’t have the motivation to do that and staying home allowed me to spend more time with my family before heading out. The day didn’t start out very good at all. The ATM machine that I stopped at was not working. Then the gas station was out of bags of ice. The second ATM machine I stopped at was no longer a bank, so that didn’t work either. I guess I hadn’t noticed that they closed. I figured I should just get moving down the road and it would all work out. Then as I was leaving town I ran in to this dense fog that made my travels even more interesting. Off to a good start!!

Eventually things started rolling better and I met up with some of the People’s Brewing team in Columbus and the train rolled in to town the rest of the way. Our home for the weekend was awesome!! I was very happy with the cabin arrangements, although we joked about who was going to get hurt first on the spiral staircase. Our location was just across the street from the finish line, so not far from anything.


After getting unloaded and settled in, we met up with a couple other riders and went for a little warm up/pre-ride. It was good to spend some time on the bike and also try to loosen up the legs after the drive. I started off a little sketchy, but eventually started riding a little smoother. The problem I was having is not feeling very strong. The legs were hurting and I was getting winded way too easy. If the little warm up spin was going to wear me out then I was in for a very long day. I managed to finish the ride and make it back to the cabin with out getting hurt. Made some last minute adjustments to the bike, changed and went out for dinner. The rest of the evening was full of smiles and laughter to help me relax about what is in store for the next day.


Here we are before the start of the madness. There are a lot of racers at the start line. This year we went off all at the same time. The last time I did this race the 100 milers started a few minutes before the 100k. I made sure to not line up too close to the start line, but not all the way back. The start heads down the road for a little ways. I tried to not go too crazy, but still keep some speed moving. We rolled past the turn that I thought we were going to make and kept going. I was getting passed by a lot of riders and at one point I could see way up the road to where the leaders were. It looked like I must have been in last place, but when I turned around I was happy to see at least a few people behind me. No idea how many as I could not see everyone. Eventually we made it in to some trail sections. The traffic was still pretty bad and there were even a couple spots that everyone had to stop because we were all bunched up. I was not too stressed out and just rode my pace when I was allowed.


After a little while I started to ride a little better. Not as good as I would have liked, but much better than the day before. Most of the race is all blurred together. I know I made a lot better effort to eat and drink than I did the last time. The first rest stop came up pretty fast and I didn’t stick around long. There were several people standing around at this one. There were different sections that looked familiar and some that felt like we rode the other way last time. I know one of the rest stops that came early I would have sworn was the last stop the previous time I raced. I felt like I was not riding too bad, but I was hurting more than I wished I was with way too long to go yet.

The section before rest stop 3 was where I blew up last time. I didn’t blow up, but this section felt like it took forever. When I came around the corner where I could see where the previous rest stop was, I figured I was getting close or at least fairly close. This section had a lot of wet spots, rocks, roots and trees. It was very technical riding, but I was riding a lot more stuff than most of the people around me. This helped me keep motivated and actually passed several people. I was really feeling it when I finally rolled in to the rest stop. I filled my pockets with stuff from my drop bag and ate as much as I could. The watermelon was really good! I knew my tank was running low and I still had a long way to go. I wanted to eat as much as I could with out making myself sick at the same time.

When I finally was ready to roll out of the stop, I was very thankful that I was making the left turn for the 100k and not the right turn for the 100 mile. Maybe some day I will turn right, but not for now. Just down the road from this stop, the 100 milers rejoin. I was crazy to see how fast some of those guys were still climbing at that point in the race. Tomas was cruising up the road. That gave me a little bit of info on how I need to be riding, before I can even think about finishing well. The last time I did this race I remember this section being completely horrible. This time it was still hard, but at least I was riding.

From here to the end was a big blur. I just kept pedaling as hard as I could with out cramping up or something. I kept trying to drink and eat frequently, but I really have no idea. Time seemed to stand still for this section. I was pretty tired and wore out, but kept moving. In 2011 when I hit this last section I was feeling pretty bad and had been for a while. I was riding the SS and had to walk just about every hill because both legs were cramping up any time I used them. This time it was a lot better. I still ended up walking a few hills, but at least my legs were not cramping. Eventually I came down the road to the last rest stop. I made a quick stop to try and find some energy to push threw the last section with. As I hit the trail I was really starting to hurt. It felt like I was going to have a full leg cramp at any moment, but I kept pushing on just trying to keep moving. There were some other people around me that I was trying to hold off and even a couple that I passed.

After I hit what seemed like the upper part of the trail I was starting to roll a lot better. It was more flowy and less climbs. There was a deer just off the trail having a snack. I almost stopped to hang out with him a minute, but then remembered that there was a couple guys behind me that might be in my class and I didn’t want them to catch me. I had no idea how much more I had to go. I came flying down the hill in to the first camp ground section and almost missed a left turn. Shortly after that, I was in the section of trail that was freshly cut the last time I was there. It was in a lot better shape and I knew at this point I was really close. Cruised through the next camp ground section and made the right on to the road.

The night before we were discussing what time we wanted to make. With this race being more trail and more technical than the Big Frog, I was hoping to break the 8 hour mark. Even in the last wooded section I was not sure if I was going to make it. On this road section I looked up and saw some of the other guys hanging out in our driveway, I was ecstatic that I was going to make my goal and probably even more so that I was finished. I was very ready to get off the bike at that point.


After crossing the finish line and getting my finishers glass, I headed up the hill to the cabin. I grabbed a beer and took a quick shower. Then I drug my chair down to the end of the drive to watch the remaining finishers come down the road while re-hydrating. Overall I am pretty happy with this race. Of course I wish I would have done better, but I have a lot of work to put in before I should expect any better. In 2011 I did the 100k on my SS and finished in a time of 9:22. This year I finished in 7:33 and only 11 minutes off of my Big Frog time. This makes me think that I could do better than a 7:22 for the Big Frog with a little more work. Actually, I am positive I could decrease both times with the right amount of work. Doing that work is the hard part.

Img_0160Once again this was a great weekend overall. It was a long drive and a brutal race, but the company makes it all worth it. No matter how bad the drive was or how bad I raced, nothing compares to having good times with some good friends. These weekends don’t seem to last near long enough. It is not often enough I can hang out and have such a good time that I am almost brought to tears from laughing so much. I can hardly wait till the next time.

Posted in Bikes, Mountain Biking, Racing, Team Adventures, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2016 Big Frog 65


One evening over the winter I made the commitment to race the Big Frog 65 and the Mohican 100k. Either of those would have been a big deal in it’s self, but to make both of those decisions in a matter of 20 minutes was pretty crazy. But I have been known to agree to some pretty crazy things when it comes to riding. I was coming off of a pretty good fall with a strong ride at the Great Pumpkin and my strongest ride in the Gravel Grovel. I didn’t feel like I did too bad over the winter and did more riding than in previous years. I also made the trip to Florida, Pisgah and raced the Death March. I was feeling like I was preparing myself pretty good, but as the even drew closer I didn’t seem to have the snap in my legs that had been there earlier. I tried to be smart and do the right things, but in the end my legs still did not feel as good as I was hoping. Maybe not as bad as I think they are, but definitely not what I had hoped them to be.

Early in the trip I knew it would be an interesting one no matter how I rode. Not 1.5 hours from home and a half hour after picking up Kruger, we found ourselves waiting for a bathroom at a gas station. It seemed to be taking a lot longer than it should. I was starting to wonder just how bad it would smell in there when they finally would come out. Then he finally came out, but the door closed behind him. Hummm… it seems that he was not alone. Yea, time to use the women’s room. I guess everyone needs to make some money some how, but I didn’t need to be anywhere near that.

We drove down on Thursday and got there a little later than planned. We made a stop in Cleveland to eat before getting to camp. This town was happening. There were people everywhere and a few bands playing. This would have been a great place to hang for the night. We already had plans to camp with someone else that was waiting on us, so we didn’t hang out there long and headed toward camp. We missed a turn that we needed to take and went a little out of the way but not too far. Soon enough we were at camp and had everything set up for the night. Camp was on of the coolest sites that I have been at. There was a nice stream right there with running water. It not only looked nice, but the sound was nice too. We had a great evening winding down around the fire before calling it a night.


Friday we needed to go check in and get our packets. We were not in too much of a hurry since they didn’t start till around lunch. After getting out packets we headed out for a little ride to see the single track section. The race was going to start with a 3 mile climb. It was not too bad, but still a long hill. I do not get much of that around here and really need to make a better effort to do more long climbs like that. The single track was a blast! It was nice and flowy and a lot of run. We did’t go too hard, but I was worried I was going harder than I thought since it was so fun. It was about a 13 mile ride before it looped back toward thee car. We were going to go farther, but decided it was better to just head back. It was a good warm up to shake the legs out.

We had another fun evening around camp and tried to get things ready for the race. We were headed north after the race to stay in a hotel so we would have to have camp packet up before we headed to the race. The 100 milers headed out at 7 and we were about 30 minutes from the start. It was nice having almost everything ready in the morning. It made getting ready and packing up as easy as it could be and we made it to the start area with plenty of time. I started to get ready thinking that I started at 7:30, but after the first race started I could tell we were not starting then. I figured it would be more like 8. So I had a little time to kill and wonder around trying to not get nervous.


What seemed like a long time going by and then all of a sudden I found myself at the start line getting ready to start. I lined up around some other Jasper people and stayed with them up the climb. After we dropped in to the trail, I found myself behind some people that were going slower than I wanted to go. I made a few passes before hopping on a train that was going a good enough pace to stick with. There were times it was too slow, but not too bad. I knew it was easy to go too hard with it being so fun. Somewhere along the way I guess the other Jasper riders didn’t make all the same passes I did and were no longer right behind me. I figured they were not too far back and would probably catch me on the gravel, but I never saw them again.

After the trail section there was a rest stop. I made a quick stop to top off my bottle and grab something to eat. I tried to not stay there very long because I had a long day to go yet. The first section of gravel was not too bad, but I could tell we had some climbs to do. There was one section where we were flying down a hill for a little while and came around the corner to see the road drop out of sight. I did’t think it could have gotten any more down hill before that, but it sure did. I was flying down that section. A short time later as it transitioned in to some rollers it hit my. Crap!!! This is part of the out and back. That means we will have to go UP that hill. Super!!

I rode past the second rest stop and continued toward the third one. At some point along this section my stomach started to hurt and cramp. I was not feeling very good, but kept moving and tried to ride it out. I tried to keep drinking and eating often so I would not tank it by the end. I stopped at the third rest stop and looked for my drop bag. I could not find it, but never asked for help looking either. I just figured I messed up and put it in the wrong place and it would be at the first and last rest stop. Oh well, I grabbed some more water and food and headed out on the next section all alone.

This section really hurt. My stomach was still cramping and it didn’t seem to flow very well for me. I was running out of gas and there was no one around to keep me company. Toward the end of this section I finally grabbed on to a few other guys and tried to draft as much as I could. I was worried since I still had a long way to go for how bad I was feeling. Also at this point I had a couple spots in my legs that started to feel like cramps were coming on. I continued to eat/drink as much as I could at take all precautions to keep from cramping. It work working for the most part, but pains would still come an go.

I was happy to roll in to the third (fourth) rest stop for the second time. I topped off the bottles again and grabbed some food. I also looked for a Coke, but they were out. I had to settle for a Dr. Pepper. I figured it was better than nothing and I actually like that better than a Coke. It took me a little bit to get it down, but I wanted to make sure and drink it all. While I was resting and drinking, I was kind of looking at the drop bags. I was sure I put mine in the correct box and not sure what happened. Then I saw a bag that looked a lot like the stuff that I put in mine. It had 377 on the out side. I figured I just messed up and put a 377 on the bag instead of the 577 that it should have been. So, I grabbed some more Honey Stinger stuff. I filled my pockets and figured it was time to go. As I grabbed my bike I happened to look at my number plate and saw that it was actually 377. I guess I didn’t label it wrong, but my brain was too messed up to remember what my number actually was. Doh! I sure wish I could have grabbed some stuff out of there before that last section. Oh well, too late to do anything about it now.

Something to note at this point. I am sure I was not eating or drinking near enough. Part of it was because my stomach was hurting and some of it was just me. The thing that made me wonder just how bad of job I was doing was the fact that I had to pee at this stop. I would think if I was not doing a good job of hydrating, I should not have to pee. Maybe I was not as bad off as I thought. But, I was still getting the feeling that my legs were going to cramp. After that rest stop I tried to just keep moving the best that I could. What I didn’t want to happen, did happen all too soon. I started to cramp. There were times that it was not too bad and other times that I had to get off and walk because I thought I was going to fall over since I could not turn the pedals. It typically didn’t take too much walking before I could get back on and ride, but this happened on and off way too much for this gravel section.

I rolled past the next rest stop again not feeling like stopping. I took my salt tablets and tried to keep drinking fluid. I was really wishing that I had packed some mustard. I have no idea why that was not part of the plan. I guess I figured that the salt tablets have never let me down, but I have not done enough testing for this many hours and miles. There were a few people that I kept getting passed by and then a little later I would pass them. I was also getting passed by some of the faster 100 milers. It was a little disheartening to see how strong those riders were going and they had another 35 miles in than me. I have a long way to go to get to that point.

The gravel and hills continued to drag on. One of the most relentless hills that I have ever climbed just had to show up in this section. Remember that down hill I mentioned earlier? Yea, going up it really sucked. It would have been bad if I was fresh, but in the state I was in it was just horrible.  I guess it is a good thing that I am not too bad at suffering because I sure was at this point. Eventually I rolled up to the first/last rest stop. I grabbed a hand full of pretzels and took off. I didn’t really see anything else that looked good. I have had some luck with the salt on pretzels in the past. Off in to the woods I went and shoved a handful in to my mouth. Yea, they were not the pretzels that I was thinking they were. They got real mushy and I almost gagged. It was really hard to breathe and try to get them down. Eventually it worked out with out having to spit them out or puke.

The last section of trail was over all pretty good. Some of this is what I had rode before, just in the other direction. I was starting to feel better at times and was moving pretty good. I did have a few climbs that the legs locked up on and I had to get off and stretch, but the flowy stuff was way more fun then the last few hours. There were a couple people that I had been trading positions with on the gravel. I would pass them on the flowy sections and down hills, but anytime it pointed up they would be right there again. I really had no idea if they were in my class or not, but at this point I was racing them if they knew it or not. LOL


I dug deep to try and get in front of as many riders as I could and keep them there. Toward the end of the trail section I seemed to drop them all and didn’t see them behind me anymore. I rolled out of the trail and on to the bridge toward the road. I felt so relieved to hit this point and did what I could to keep a good pace going. Then this section took way longer than I was thinking it would. After what seemed like forever, I finally pulled off the side of the road and in to the parking lot that we started at in the morning. Now I am surely done…. well the parking lot was a LOT longer than I remembered. My legs were not really cramping at this point, but they were just shot for all the miles, climbs and cramping. I just put my head down and kept moving forward. I saw the final bridge to cross to the finish line. I started to feel pretty good about being so close to the finish. Then out of no where Kruger came flying by me. Apparently my bright socks gave me away and he saw me from way back there and kicked it in to catch me. If I would have looked back I would have had to put in a hard effort to try and hold him off. I think it is a good thing I didn’t look back. I hurt enough and there was really no point it hurting myself anymore.

I rolled across the finish line in a time of 7:22. Not a bad time, but no where near the top. I never expected to be at the top, but it hurts to see just how much time I have to take off to make the top 10. I would have to cut my time in half!! Not just take an hour or so off, but actually cut it in half. I am not sure I can get to that point. I will just have to keep working at it and see just how strong I can get and maybe I can get part of the way there. After crossing the line and finally letting it set in that I was done, it is unreal the amount of emotions that my body goes through. Goose bumps and all kinds of stuff. I felt like I was going to just start bawling my eyes out for no reason. It is crazy how much tests and trials your mind and body go through for longer endurance events. It is one crazy emotional roller coaster that you never know what is going to happen next. But, I just love it. I may not be as competitive in the race as I would like, but that does not mean it is not a competition for the entire ride. Competing with my mind, body and bike with no guarantee that I will win.

I want to thank everyone that helped me fight this fight as good as I did. Phil at Adventures Recreation is always there to help be it motivation to ride stronger or helping get my bike and gear performing flawlessly. Honey Stinger for giving me energy products that I still enjoy eating after nothing sounds good anymore. Tailwind Nutrition for helping me get in some much needed nutrients when I forget to eat enough food. To Kruger for talking me in to doing this race that I have wanted to do for several years. I am just glad the weather was as good as it was. To the Bushong’s for being great company and friends. It sure makes events like this a lot easier with good people like you around. It also helps to draw on some of the power of the beard by just being in close proximity. To my wife for allowing me to spend all this time away from home racing or riding. With out your support I would still be sitting at home. I know you have to do a lot more work when I am out riding or away at a race. Last but not least I have to thank Tuell for consistently motivating me to go for rides when I feel thee least motivated to do anything. There is no way I would be in the condition I am in with out him. It is always hard to juggle riding in around work and soccer. Many times I am tired and could just stay sitting on the couch and do nothing. You make me want to get out there and keep improving.


Posted in gravel, hills, Mountain Biking, Racing, racing, Team Adventures | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2016 Team People’s Brewing Pisgah Trip


When I was first asked about going to Pisgah with some People’s brewing riders I was not really sure what to say. I really wanted to go back as it has been way too long, but I know what kind of talent these riders have and didn’t know if I would be too slow. Even though I should be in the best shape that I have ever been when I was there. I was assured that it would be a more casual pace and I would be fine. I still knew that I would more than likely be making everyone wait, but I really enjoy riding with some of these guys and figured it would be worth it. Worse case I know my way around pretty good and could just take a shorter route if needed.


We were all heading down in one of the best vans I have ever been in. It was obvious right away that it was going to be a great trip no matter how well I rode. I am used to going all the way down in one day, but with everyone else coming from farther north, we made a pit stop part of the way to break up the trip in to two segments. It was really nice doing it this way. I was not as tired when we got there and we still put in a good ride after checking in to the hotel. We did the normal Maxwell>Black mtn>sycamore cove loop. This was not a huge ride, but it was a great start to the weekend and ended with a ride to Oskar Blues Brewery. This place is just awesome and a great addition to the area. This was just the beginning, but I soon found out that there was a lot bigger ride planned for the next day.

Three of the guys are signed up for the Pisgah 111k. The one had not done it before and the plan was to see a lot of that loop for a training ride and to make sure the intersections were more familiar. To do this meant we were going to ride a LOT of trails. We did Clawhammer,  Buckhorn gap, Squirrel, 5015, Laurel, Pilot rock and a few other trails that I can seem to remember at the moment. A lot of the intersections were familiar, but I was very rusty on my navigation of the area. I could really tell that it had been a while.


The day went pretty much as the day before and as I figured. I was pulling up the rear for most of the day. Some times not as far off as others, but any time the trail headed up I was by far the slowest of the group. I rode a lot of stuff and climbed fairly well compared to previous trips down there, but I just didn’t have the power when climbing. I was having this issue before I went down there and had hoped that the legs would come back better than they did, but no such luck. I had a pretty scary moment on Squirrel as I went over the bars on a tight section and ended up landing over the side of the hill. I landed a lot lower than the trail that my tires were just on. I saw the bike flip end over end about 3 times before stopping. The side of the hill was pretty steep and I was not sure how I was going to retrieve my bike. Somehow I managed to make it down to it and back up to the trail. I was not hurt, but I sure was a little more timid for the rest of this trail. With the wreck they were really waiting on me and was starting to wonder if I was ok LOL.


The climb up 5015 and Laurel was hard, but seemed to be going better. By the time we made it to the top I was feeling better about my riding again, but still getting tired. I had a little mess up right at the top of Pilot and should have known that my game was a little off. I walked down the first two switch back drop offs and started to ride as much as I could. I was doing pretty well for a few sections, but not too far down the trail I went over the bars again. This time was just as scary as squirrel, but the landing was not near as soft. I had nothing but a section of rocks to land on. I ended up jabbing the end of my bars in to my lower gut and ending up sprawled out on the rocks. My head was lower than my feet and I was having a little hard time getting back up. I was a little worried that I really hurt my self where the bars hit me. My hand was hurting and partly numb. I was having a hard time feeling my brake or holding the bars. The mount to my computer was broke so I put it in my pocket. I then walked a little bit of the trail after that. I was not sure if I could hold the bars or squeeze the brakes.


I last time I came down Pilot I rode more of the trail then I had ever done before. This time I walked more than I had ever done before. Quite a difference between rides. But, I was really mentally messed up and not confident in my riding. Eventually I started riding some sections, but still had issues using the back brake. Sometimes I could squeeze it and it worked and other times I could not feel the lever. I really thought my finger or hand was broke. With all of the issues they were waiting at the bottom for a very long time. One even started to ride back up the hill looking for me, but I was already near the bottom by then. I was hurting pretty bad and not really sure of my condition. They must have discussed it already as they decided that we would take the road around back to the bottom. It was going to be a little longer, but it was going to be an easier ride. There were no arguments from me. I was just hoping to make it back to the hotel at that point. This ride was one of my longest rides in Pisgah to date. The only other time I did a longer ride was the only time I actually finished PMBAR and was out there for over 13.5 hours.


The beer was sure good that night as I tried to kill the pain and discomfort. Still thinking my finger was broke, I now had a softball sized blood bruise on my gut and assumed that I didn’t do any major damage inside or I would have known by then. I was not sure what was planned for the next days ride, but it was not looking good for me to be there. The next morning I decided that I was going to just go do my own ride on some gravel. I figured I could turn pedals but the bars/brakes were another story. I called my wife to give her an update on how I was doing and said I was not riding. After that it seems that the peer pressure kicked in and before I knew it i was loaded up in the van heading toward Dupont. It was sold to me that it was smooth there and if I could ride gravel, I could ride Dupont. That was not completely true, but not too far from it. I still had some issues using the brakes at times, but I managed to ride good enough.


I can not express how grateful that I was invited along for this trip. It was so much fun on and off the bike. I might have been riding slow, but considering who I was riding with I would say that I didn’t do too bad. Maybe some day I can get up to that level or at least a little closer. I can not thank Jeff and Jason enough for everything. This was the best trip I have been on in years. Florida is not bad, but not even close to how much fun this one was. I think my face hurt from laughing so much.


Posted in Bikes, hills, Mountain Biking, mtb, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2016 Death March


Before last year I had done every Death March there was. I was bummed that I missed it, but with the weather not being good it made it a little easier to get over. This year I thought that I was going to miss it too. It was not that I had anything on on that day it was more that I had a lot going on the weekends around it. Just when I made up my mind to not worry about finding a partner and skip it another year, a team mate fell in to my lap @alexeatsbeans and something came up that his partner could not make it. After several days of contemplating and making the decision to not race, I changed my mind and agreed to race in less than 1 minute.  This is just the kind of race that I really enjoy being part of and I could not pass up the chance to have this partner.


Thanks to Quickdirt for the picture.

I have had all kinds of situations in previous years. Some times I was the stronger rider and had to put out the pace that the other team mate wanted to ride. Some years I was the slow person of the team and the fate was in my hands. I had a lot harder times the years that someone was waiting on me than I did the years I waited on someone else. I am not normally too worried about how I would finish, it was more about the experience and to what point could we push ourselves to the limit. I have done it where we would go to complete all the check points and some years where it was just the mandatory and head back.


This year had the potential to be a little more than previous years. Now don’t get me wrong, we did not think at all about going for a good result. We didn’t really plan anything out at all. I really didn’t look at the maps and what time bonuses there were from each check point. A couple days before the race I did look at where the mandatory check points were just so I had a better idea where we needed to go. I had a map that showed where the check points were so we could figure out where we needed to go when the missing check points were drawn. We had only briefly discussed the plan for the day.  We were both in agreement that we were just going to go get some check points and head back. We were also going to skip all the trails if they were not pulled as a mandatory.


The last check points were drawn and we were off. We talked about a couple options to make the two additional stops on top of the plan. We didn’t really worry about it and off we went to the first stops. It was pretty obvious that we were not too worried about our time by how little we hurried to take our pictures and move on heading to the next stops. If I would have done a little more planning we would not have stopped at the wrong cemetery. After we took our picture and started to move on, someone else came up and made the comment that it was the wrong one. So, we had to move on and make another stop to get the correct one.


It seemed that our lack of planning was not the only thing not going our way. With my bike still being trashed from the Gravel Grovel, I had yet to get it working 100% the way it should be. I did a few more tweaks on it the week leading up to the race, but I guess I needed to do a few more things. My back wheel was rubbing on the frame as I was putting power down. I stopped twice to try and make adjustments to fix the issue, but it didn’t really make a difference. Some how it finally stopped rubbing so much. I also had an issue with the crank arm coming loose. I had that issue on the previous ride and thought I addressed the issue, but it didn’t agree. I just put my wrench in my back pocket so it was close by if I needed to use it again.


One thing that I found with having a partner that is also a runner, this was one of the few times that I actually climbed the fire tower. Usually one or both of us don’t have the legs. It was not as bad as I thought it would be and it was a nice view at the top. The traffic slowed the climbing and descending, but I think we still netted a time savings for climbing it and that is all that really mattered. From here we moved on to the check points that were on the east side of the map. At the Maumee bridge we should have taken the effort to go pick up the Fleetwood check point, but at that point we were thinking that we would be going right by it on way in anyway and can get it then.


After hitting several check points and climbing a lot more hills, we were starting to feel it in our legs. We started thinking about how we would head back in. The extra trip to Fleetwood seemed like it would take longer that just taking a trail an toward the last check point of the day. We were really wishing that we would have gone ahead and picked it up earlier that day, but it was too late now. We took the trail across and headed toward Hickory Ridge. After a quick stop we then busted it down the hill back toward the car.

We were making some really good time and flying down the road. We figured the extra time to Mitchell was also not worth the effort to go there, so we turned on to the bridge and rolled across the finish line. It was a much shorter day than we figured it would be, but we still had a good ride. This was all for a training ride and fun anyway. After we settled in it seemed we were in some strange company. There were only a couple teams who finished and some of them were the ones that If figured would win. I know they had more check points, but with the time we finished in we could not help but wonder how well we finished. The food or beer was not there yet. I had never had that happen to me before.


We ended up riding 44 miles in just over 3 hours and had 11 check points. This sounded pretty good, but ended up not being as good as it sounded. If we would have done a little more home work and saw that Callahan was worth 50 min. I am sure we would have gone there. If I would have done a little more planning and scouting, I would have noticed that right across the road from the one check point was another way to Callahan that I never took and would have been the right way to go. Instead we went farther down the road to take a different trail that came out just down the road from the other one. That last check point would have made a big difference. We would have also picked up that other check point earlier in the day.

In actuality it is hard telling how the day would have ended up if we would have went for the other check points. We could have had some major issues that really slowed us down or could have kept us from finishing. I am really happy with the day and that is all that matters. I had a great time riding my bike with someone who kept me laughing all day. It is hard to ask for much more. Maybe another year I will do a little more planning and see if it would make any difference, but it really does not make any difference. Good times had by all is the only thing I ever need to ask for on the bike. See you next year.



Posted in Basket Case, Bikes, death march, DINO, Gravel, gravel, hills, Racing, racing, Team Adventures, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Florida fun


Once again I went with a group of guys to Florida in February. This has been a great trip the last few years since it helps me get a lot of miles/hours on the bike early in the year. There are always good times, lot of verbal abuse and a little recovery drinking going on. As expected with a lot of people crammed in to a condo and spending several days together, there can be times where a little space is needed, but over all it has been a great group of people to hang out with and ride with.


The typical plan is to stay somewhere around Clear Water Beach. This gives us walking distance to a lot of food places and good bike lanes all the way out to Fort De Soto. The trip out and back to the Fort with riding all of the road section @ the fort, we end up with 70 miles. Then our other option is to head north to Tarpon Spring and back to get the other 30 miles in. The bike lanes north are not near as good as the ones heading south, but still doable. There also tends to be more traffic that way.


This year was a little different for me since I was flying both ways. Previous years I have drove at least one way. We flew down Tuesday morning fairly early. We ended up getting to the condo somewhere around 1:30. The trailer was emptied and we got ready to ride. The weather was amazing. It was 78 degrees and sunny. We headed down the road around 2:00 for our first ride of the week. It didn’t take long for something to happen to make me wonder how good this week will be. We came across a rough road section and with the train of 10 guys, sometimes the reactions can effect the back of the pack. Unfortunately one of the back riders hit the hole as a bad spot and went down. He re-grouped and seemed to be only out some skin and bruising. We continued on, but a little more cautious.


We went out to a spot that we had planned on going to, but we had to make a decision. The weather was looking like rain on Wednesday so we were not sure how many miles we would be able to get it and thought about adding miles to that day’s ride. With the weather being so good and in Florida, everyone wanted to go for more. We headed out the rest of the way to Fort De Soto. We ended up having a flat tire on the way out. This is not unheard of, but not very common, but a trend that we would find ourselves in the rest of the week. Once we hit the Fort we knew we were pushing the amount of daylight to get back. No time for pictures this day and put the hammer down toward home. We were not going to make it in time, but figured we could get close enough before the sun went down. But, we had our second flat tire of the day and held us up longer than planned. Some dumb ass made the comment that he was surprised that we don’t have more flats down there with all the road debris. Well, that pretty much told me how the rest of the week would end up and it was not very forgiving. It was still a good 68 mile start to the week.


Wednesday welcomed us with the rain that was in the forecast. We kept an eye on the radar and made a plan to head out later. With the later than planned ride the day before, a little late start was welcomed by my legs. Eventually we got ready and headed north. We didn’t make it 20 minutes down the road before we were getting poured on. Not what I prefer, but what do you do. The good thing is that the rain didn’t last too long and we were riding in clear weather again, but with some wet roads. The wind was not being very nice and with the rainy start most legs were hurting. We did the 30 to Tarpon Springs and back, but didn’t head all the way out to the Fort. With the late start and everything we just rode part of the way and turned around. It was the shortest day of the week, but still a good ride. We ended up with close to 65 miles for the day and another two flat tires.


Thursday was a little cooler, but still much better than Indiana weather. The wind was still strong, but it was not raining so all was good. We headed south again towards the Fort. This time we could stop for a few pictures and rest up knowing what kind of head wind we were going to have on the way back. It was brutal at times and other times it was still hard. My legs were really feeling the effort and the previous days. I was ready to get back to the condo. My plan the whole day was to just ride out and back and call it a day with 70 miles. The wind was telling me that was a great decision. Then we rolled back in to Clear Water Beach and when the pack split in to the ones heading north and the ones heading to the condo, I found myself climbing the bridge to head north. I have no idea why I did that, but here I was. The wind was still strong and every mile I was thinking about turning around. Then I would think, just a little farther and before too long we all were turning around. I knew at that point that unless something major happened, I would get my 100 miles completed. The way back still hurt, but when I start to smell home I tend to get a little stronger. I was just ready to get off of the bike.


Friday was more of the same, but after the effort I put in Thursday my brain didn’t make me take the right to cross the bridge. I was happy to not go farther, but I was also a little disappointed that I didn’t get the 100 in. I still got in over 70 miles with plenty of head wind. I really had nothing to complain about and my legs thanked me for stopping. Saturday was going to be a little shorter day since the trailer was going to head home after the ride. I was not sure what the plan was going to be, but by this time my legs were tired no matter how far I went and my seat was not my friend anymore. We still put in 70 miles with plenty of wind, then we packed up as quick as we could so the drivers could head north. It was a great week even with all the flat tires.


Saturday night turned in to a good refueling session and a late night back to the condo. That didn’t make the 4:45 taxi pick up very pleasing, but it was well worth it. The condo was awesome and had pretty good room for 9 guys under the same roof. The weather was not as good as some previous years, but it was still a lot better than it could have been or here at home. I didn’t get in the full mileage of the 410 miles that some put in, but I am pretty happy with right around 375 miles for the week. There are always lots of laughs and verbal abuse with this group of people. I would not want it any other way.

Several days later my legs still feel the effort. I am hoping that all the pain with pay off in future weeks. Starting with the Death March and shortly after that will be a fun trip to Pisgah. Good times as always!!

Posted in Bikes, florida, Road Biking, road ride, Team Adventures, Uncategorized, winter miles | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2015 has come and gone



I seem to be a little late in writing this, but better late than never. I think overall that 2015 was a good year for me. I didn’t start the year off too strong, but found a way to turn it around and finish strong. The beginning of the year found me having a lot of calendar conflicts that kept me from getting very many miles in except for the Florida trip. Even that trip could have had more miles if I would have been in a little better shape before hand. I did get some good mtb miles in for the early spring/summer and ended up with a lot more gravel/road miles toward the end of the season.


It took me most of the year to match the total miles for the month of February, but that is hard to compare apples to apples. The trail miles usually don’t add up as fast as road miles do and Florida in February for training camp is hard to beat. If I look at hours on the bike I did have several months that fell in line. Even with the slow start of the year and all the off road miles added in I still ended up with my most miles in one year since I have been tracking them. I ended up with 2,750 miles. I know that is not a lot for some people, but for me it was a pretty high number. It makes me wonder what I would end up with if I could just have a better first part of the season.


So, the miles were good for the year and I managed to bring the weight down again at least for a while, but the part that seemed to miss out was the actual racing. I did some racing, but it felt like a lot less than previous years. There were a lot of rescheduling because of weather and that made a lot more overlaps in my calendar for races and soccer schedules. But, I feel like I did pretty well in the races I did make. Not necessarily podium type performances, but overall good showings for me. I rode my SS for the Dino race at Ferdinand and was very happy with how strong I rode. One of my better finishes at that venue. I also broke the elusive 5 hour mark for the Gravel Grovel in a year that had some of the most epic conditions to date.


I finished the year strong and have started this year off pretty well. I put in more miles in January than I did in January, March, April and May of last year. We are headed back to Florida in a couple weeks and I am hopeful to put in a few century’s down there. Shortly after that I will be making a trip to Pisgah to get some good climbing work out in. I am going to need all the help I can get for the season. I already have quite a bit on my plate. I have signed up for the Big Frog 65 and the Mohican 100k. I don’t plan on missing out on the Gravel Grovel and have a couple other gravel races on my radar. I am also thinking about finally trying out the 6 hour mtb race series and making as many XC races as I can work in.


So, with all that said, I had a great 2015 season and need to follow it up with an even better 2016 season. Maybe I will actually be able to be fast this year or at least fast for what I have been used to. I also want to thank everyone who helps make the year as good as it is. First of all my wife for allowing me to put the time in on the bike. Phil and Adventures Recreation and Gear for giving the best shop support that I could ever hope to receive. Honey Stinger and Tailwind Nutrition for keeping me fueled for all the miles. ESI grips for making the most amazing grips that I have ever used. Swiftwick for making socks that keep my feet happy hour after hour while turning pedals. Stan’s No Tubes for keeping me rolling in all kinds of conditions on the best wheels I have ever been on and without flats. SKS for all the great products that I rely on if issues happen. Mill House Restaurant for keeping me filled up and Basket Case Brewing for some tasty recovery beverages. But most of all I need to thank Brian Tuell for all the great rides together and pushing me to be a better cyclist. I would not be able to take advantage of all the help I mentioned above if it was not for your help and friendship to get me out the door and on the bike. Here’s to a lot more good times this year!!


Posted in Basket Case, Bikes, DINO, Dino Series, Gravel, Gravel Grovel, Mountain Biking, mtb, Racing, racing, Road Biking, Team Adventures | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment