Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Decisions, decisions

This being hurt is no good for me. In my spare time I've been checking race calendars for more races to do this year. Kinda the opposite of what my current situation is dictating - if your not riding, your not going to be ready to race, and I'm not riding. Thanks for protecting my organs ribs, now could you ease up on the pain meter. Some flexibility would be nice too. Oh, and some sleep, yeah sleep would be good. Anybody who has broken ribs knows that sleeping as well as getting in and out of the bed are a sum-a-bitch with busted ribs. You can only sleep in one position all night and not move, that is unless you want to feel like your in between two Sumo wrestlers colliding?

So anyway, back to my plans of domination, or maybe we'll just call it destruction(and by destruction I don't mean the competition, but destruction of myself). So a couple friends asked me, are you going to do the Pisgah 111K? They sounded pretty excited. I said, "I almost thought you said 111K?" Figuring I heard them wrong; I mean who does 111K in Pisgah - the most unforgiving, rugged, technical, tough, side of the mountain, side of the cliff type of remote riding you can do? They said yeah 111K. At that moment I peed my pants a little. Not in excitement, but in fear.

I just know I'm going to get roped into this. Maybe "roped" is the wrong choice of words. Tempted. Yeah, that's it, tempted. My right brain is gonna trick, and pull the wool over the eyes of my left brain. I'll be signed up and committed before my left brain figures it out and says "oh shit, what did you get us into this time right brain?" Then the panic will set in. I'll picture myself with both legs cramped up, unable to move at the top of black mountain, screaming in pain. Unfortunately the screaming will wake up this big boy:

Alright, all kidding aside this race is for a great cause and should be fun - a twisted, demented, sick kinda fun, but fun nonetheless. The race is a memorial for local adventure racer Jeff Papenfus, and all proceeds will go to his widow. I like a good cause. The 11,000 feet or so of climbing might be tough, but I'm betting that the last descent down Black Mountain is gonna make a lot of eyeballs pop.

Black mountain by itself is a steep rugged trail down the side of a mountain. In the Pisgah 111K it'll be the last part of the race. I'm imaging struggling to focus, stand on the pedals, hold onto the bars, and do much else besides wanting to lie down and take a nice nap. I'll just have to keep chanting to myself "Honey Badger don't care, keep pedaling biatch"!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

So I was just riding along

So yesterday I was out getting my ride in and was just starting to think to myself "ok, you are finally starting to get a little of your old fitness back". Legs felt strong, back wasn't nagging at me, and my heart rate was nice and low at a quick pace. I guess it's my own fault for praising myself on good work the last 5 weeks after roughly 6 months off the bike. The next thing I know I'm bouncing, and skidding across the pavement. I was in a turn and the front wheel went out from under me so quickly it was like the bike wasn't even there. My right arm blew up immediately and I had a lot of pain in my back lower ribs area. On top of it I couldn't breathe and quickly realized I couldn't move my arm. My arm swelled up so quick i could hardly get the arm warmer off. One weird thing is that my arm warmer didn't have any tears or rips on it, but my arm got tore up. Weird? So I hobble home the whole time knowing I'm yet again going to be off the bike for a long period of time. I think I was mumbling something along the lines of "are you shitting me"?

I guess the crash was worse then I thought. Later in the day I went back to the scene of the crash and saw the evidence, captured in the picture above. Best I can figure is there was something in the road and it was a little wet. I wasn't even pushing it, so it's still a mystery to me. Guess my next purchase will be a set of these:

How do I feel about the upcoming time off the bike after the 6 month forced layoff last year? I think the picture says it all. This was actually how I think my face looked when I was stumbling home mumbling "are you shitting me"?

The end result of all this is my race schedule is going to get re-prioritized. I'll still do the races, but won't be expecting much out of myself. It's about having fun though, so i have to keep that in mind. I'm going to be starting base training when I should be doing speed work. Oh well, I guess watch out for me late in the season. While all you other chumps are getting burned out I'll just be hitting my stride!

Monday, January 23, 2012

It was great while it lasted

I would like to thank everyone at Trek Bicycles for their support the last 2 seasons. I'd especially like to thank Brandon Buth, Michael Browne, and Curt George at Trek. Unfortunately Trek has decided to go in a different direction this year and they dropped the 29er Crew team and the Trek Mountain team. It's disappointing, as racers we all like to see teams with full rosters with all the big manufacturers - it's just good for the sport. I'm thankful for the last 2 seasons and enjoyed riding a quality bike. Hope Trek keeps up the good work. I'm sure they will.

As for me, I'm working with a few companies whose products I really believe in. Anybody who knows me is well aware that I don't ride junk and only represent products that I can get behind. I'd rather race for myself and not have any sponsorship then ride something I don't truly think is a good product. So when I recommend something here on my blog, you can bet it has been ridden, raced, pushed, and beaten to within an inch of it's life. 

If I say it's durable and worthy, well then, it is! Got it? Good. Don't make me come down there and go all Ronald Mcdonald on your azz! Stay tuned for more updates as things unfold team wise. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Just another day in the office.....

The weather here in good old NC has been horrible. Well, let me rephrase. We have been having a really mild winter for the most part, so it hasn't been bad, but the last couple of days have been cold and rainy. I don't mind riding in the cold or the rain, but not together. No bueno. So I have been spending a lot of time in "my office".

Gotta get the rides in somehow. Now, those of you who knew me when I was a Banker may remember that I don't like spending to much time in the office. Well, nothing has changed. Sitting still and riding is torture. I'd rather lay down face first in a fire ant pile. I can withstand some time on the stationary bike, but doing an endurance ride (think 2-4 hours) is murder for me. Got to suck it up though. Either that or be slow come Spring, and being slow isn't in the forecast.

Now, I don't really make a living riding the bike. I know, your shocked right now. Take a minute and collect yourself. I do work part time in the cycling industry at the Trek store of Charlotte, but most of you know that  my day job has really been this:
This is an old picture, but you get the idea. Call me Mr. Mom, stay at home dad, domestic dan, or captain of the poopy diaper. Just don't call me a bad Dad. I have been unbelievably blessed to get this opportunity to spend with my son. I have never taken it for granted and will cherish it the rest of my life. We have day after day of moments like the above picture. Are there challenging moments? Sure, but they don't nearly come close to all the good ones. I have had some people look down their nose at me when I tell them about staying home with my son. That's a shame. Most Dad's don't get an opportunity like this, and probably fewer would want it. Your missing out, this is what it's all about.

I got a little sentimental in this post, but once in a while it's gotta be done. I'll leave you with the view from my office.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Leaner and Meaner

The title speaks for itself right now. I'm getting leaner and feeling meaner. The meaner part is due to ALWAYS being hungry from trying to accomplish the leaner part. It's no secret that as a cyclist we want to be as lean as we can. The math is simple and it revolves around the power to weight ratio. The more power you put out, and the less weight you carry, the more leg shavers you can crush. Your saying right now, "I like crushing leg shavers - how can I get involved"? The concept is simple enough, but the work takes time. First get a coach or training plan and work your butt off. While your doing this you must also eat less than you burn - how much depends on how lean you want to get. Sounds easy, right? Wrong! To do this consistently takes a lot of discipline, commitment and hard work. How lean is too lean you ask? Great question? I have friends that are almost 6 feet tall and weigh 148 and still want to lose more.

As for myself, well I'm never going to, nor do I want to look like captain tan lines above. I'm probably at a really good racing weight in the 165-170 pound range. If I work hard through the winter like I have been and stay healthy enough to keep training, well than I may see the 170's sometime this summer? I take it off about a pound a week. Why so slow your wondering? For Several reason's:
     1. It's healthier - It's been said not to lose more than 2 pounds a week
     2. The weight is more likely to stay off when you lose it slowly
     3. All that training means I need to build up and then restore glycogen(carbohydrate stores in your    
      muscles) and protein. Let's not forget the POWER part of power to weight ratio.

Ideally by the start of race season this April my legs should start to look something like this:

Except that mine will have hair on them. You can just start calling me QUADZILLA now if you'd like to beat the rush. One thing you have to remember out there. If all this were easy than everyone would be able to do it. If you want results - or in my case to win races, you have to put the work in and it's meant to be hard.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

North Carolina Nut Herding Ninjas!

The last few weeks I have almost killed a handful of squirrels (and myself trying to avoid them) while riding my bike in the woods. Usually they wait until spring time to get crazy, but with all the warm weather lately they have been on it like a bad habit. Seems the squirrels love to duck, dive, dip, and duck then at the last second dart right across in front of your wheel or spring from the tree on your left to the tree on your right directly inches from your face. I even had nightmares that an army of these crack head squirrels were after me. The other day while riding Anne Springs (a local favorite trail of mine) I decided to take the camera and document these maniacs. First encounter the squirrel of course acted like he was going the opposite direction from me, than out of nowhere he b-lines it for my front wheel. I slam on the brakes and he zig-zags at the last instant. I stopped and said out loud "who the hell do you think you are"? He turned to me and I got my camera out to take the above picture! I thought I was seeing things until I checked the camera. No wonder they can do impossible gymnastics moves at lightning speed!

The next squirrel came out of nowhere. I never even saw him coming. I think he back flipped over my front wheel somehow and than disappeared as quickly as he arrived. I stopped and said to myself "what was that"? This ninja squirrel than appeared on a tree limb.I quickly snapped the picture of him and then he vanished into thin air. Creepy.

I started to wonder how these squirrels can be so brave. I mean they are pretty small and mountain bikers on bikes have got to seem really big to them. So why do they taunt us, and play chicken with something that will smash them like a grape? Just than I heard a noise and looked to my right and what I saw astonished me.

Those aren't Acorns. More balls then brains, that is why these flying rodents are so crazy for cocoa puffs. So, next time your in North Carolina beware these nut herding ninjas!

While these events are fictional, the squirrels here are really out of their minds. Some of them are even learning to ride bikes and apparently have been eating more than just nuts

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ready to Suffer in 2012? Yeah, me too.

It's actually called "racing", but the formula for doing good in a "race' is 2 fold. Firstly, who has prepared the best through training, nutrition, and recovery. Secondly, how bad can you suffer? Do you shut it down when it gets hard and only go at a certain threshold or do you ignore your survival instincts telling you to slow down and say "damn the torpedoes" to push at a breakthrough pace? I like to pride myself on suffering better then most. When the pain, lactic acid, maximum heart rate, and lungs gasping for air come on I actually feed off of it and push harder. There are a lot of guys out there in better shape then me that I can occasionally beat because I suffer with the best of them. Or so I like to think anyway. Hopefully it doesn't come to me doing this in the woods:

So 2012 is here and it's time to get my planned races together. I won't bore you with every detail for the entire year, but hit you with the highlights of the Spring races.
First race of the season is going to be the Southern Classic Series race at Tsali. This is a really fun trail in the Smokey mountains of NC. There is actually a good bit of climbing - 3 big long lung busters to be exact, but the trail is really fast and fun plus the scenery is great. This is a typical XC distance race meaning it's 1-2 hours in time.
Next up will be the 6 hours of Warrior Creek. Yeah, you heard it right. 6 hours constant of doing laps on a 13 mile loop. He or she with the most laps in the shortest time after 6 hours wins. Remember what I said about suffering? Again, the trails here are great - super flowy and fun to ride. A few climbs that start getting hard around hour 3 or 4.
After Warrior it's back to a shorter XC distance race in Spartanburg SC. This is another one of the Southern Classic series races. At this distance your intensity is a lot higher and you ride close to maximum heart rate for the duration. On the longer races you have to pace yourself better and just be strong and steady.
The week after Spartanburg I'm headed to the mountains of Tennesse - to Ducktown to be exact. The Cohutta 100 miler is going down at the Ocoee whitewater center. I'm not doing the hundo, but hitting the Big Frog 65 miler instead. Never been there, but I hear there is a lot of climbing. Should be fun. Maybe I can drop some fools on the longer descents?

After the Big Frog I have a couple weeks before the Riverfront Classic. A Southern Classic race right here in Charlotte at the US Whitewater Center. These are my local trails, so I'd like to do good at this one. It's a 18-20 mile race, and is deceptively tough. The climbs are short and punchy and they wear you flat out. It's at the end of May which can get hot too. Usually it's the first real hot weekend and your body hasn't had time to acclimate yet. Last year I think there were 50+ dnf's(did not finish) from the heat. it got me too, but I pushed to finish.

As summer gets closer I'll update y'all with the summer schedule.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Honey badger don't care

I wanted to share my new mantra for 2012. Seems the honey badger has gotten a lot of publicity this past year. For good cause, the honey badger is badass. Don't believe me, check out the footage right here: Honey badger

Who gets bit by a poisonous cobra 3 times and takes a nap only to wake up and make a meal of said snake? The honey badger is tenacious and just don't care. Nothing gets in the way of his goals.

So, I have decided to take some lessons from the honey badger. Some examples: Oh it's raining and you don't want to ride - honey badger don't care, get out there slacker your not gonna melt. Intervals are just too hard - honey badger don't care, suck it up and get it done princess. I can't push myself any harder - honey badger don't care, put it down like you got a pair. Got the idea yet? I actually found myself chanting "honey badger don't care" while riding the road bike this morning in the cold, wet, fog. Hopefully there weren't any bystanders listening in - as I had my ipod cranking i was probably chanting loudly. Nuttier than a fruitcake much? If you hear me saying this during a race just move over cause I'm getting ready to stand on it and you know what the honey badger does when you get in his way, don't you?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Kicking off the new year

What a great way to start 2012 with a big win in the bowl game for the Gators against Ohio State! Dubbed the Urban Meyer bowl - he was our coach (a great one at that - 2 national Championships) then he waffled about quitting for a year, and then finally quit siting health and family. Nine months later he is taking another coaching job at Ohio State. WTF? I now call him Benedict Arnold, or just plain old, "the traitor". Left our program upside down, but we have a great coach now in Will Muschamp and I believe given some time he will get the Gators back to SEC championships and in the title hunt for the BCS.

                                        A little jaunt in the Carolina woods on New Years Day

Now on to the biking. I was lacking the last half of 2011 with the blog, I think mostly due to my lack of riding from injuries, illnesses, and my surgery. I've been updating my page and will do my best to keep the blog posts coming in 2012. My training has been going great - I'm still slow as all get out, but the weight is shedding and I'm getting my workouts in. Feels great being healthy and pushing it again!

For 2012, I'm going to be doing some racing on the single speed mountain bike. That's right, one gear. No, I have not lost my mind. It is actually really fun. You have to carry momentum and just charge it, there is no cruising or downshifting to spin easily. I'll be racing all the Southern Classic Races in the SS (single speed) class. Stay tuned for the secret weapon I'll be unveiling for my domination, err destruction (possibly self). Some new space age materials from my sponsor Trek and some crazy ultralight bling from Industry Nine.