Monday, June 27, 2011


1 - XC

With a 5th row call up and the course lay out I knew I had a tough challenge ahead of me at the start. A little luck would have gone a long way, but it went pretty standard. We started and I must have been around 40th position at the first pinch with my foot out standing still. Hopped on the bike again for 1 minute of climbing only to run into the back of more chaos. I did my best to use my cross skills and make some passes, but the leaders were already well out of sight. I stayed steady the entire race until one to go when I started to fade a little. Finished 18th.

Overall impressions...its really hard to be in a mind set of riding steady instead of racing and battling. I think I ended up having to work harder by staying steady, instead of racing hard and letting some speed carry me over some of the smaller climbs. I ended up pedaling way to much and was always afraid to go over the limit when I should have at select points in the course. AVG HR for the race was 179...pretty high! Would love to be able to start at the front with those guys and race with them instead of being 2:00 minutes down 1/2 way into the first lap. Not saying I would win and not complaining about the well known start procedure rules, just wishing I could give it a go at the front with them from the gun.

2 - Impreza Short Track

18th position call up...alright now I can race with those guys at the front because I'm not burried in the field. Legs were a little tired warming up, but once we started I knew I was good. I was top 15 after one lap. Each lap happened and guys would pop and I would move up. 1/3 of the way through the race I had made the lead group! I was pumped...the superfans were everywhere and my legs felt no pain. Then the course tape got ripped in the sand pit on the back half of the course. It was floating through the air in slow motion and I had the split second visual of it wrapping in my cassette. I look down and my cassette is clear! Sweet I pedal 2 more times and my back wheel stops...I look down again and the course tape is wrapped around my disc rotor 5 times and jammed in my caliper. I jump off my bike with some hope of spinning the wheel backwards to dislodge it, but no luck. I know my race is over, but I still try to take of the rear wheel and undo the luck the course tape had melted in the caliper...I got as much as possible out and jump back on the bike....I must have lost about 1 minute. Passed a few more guys in the next 3 rounds, but the course tape was still making my bike feel like I was pedaling through sand, while at the same time not allowing my back brake to function properly. END RESULT = RIM. It pretty much felt like this for you LOTR fans.

Overall - Majorly bummed out....I had the legs, I had the start, I was ready...guess I have to wait until Cross season to give it another go with the big boys...I'll be thinking about it on every training ride until then...

3 - Super D

After a long wait I think we were all hungry and sleepy. Carl 'Rocky' Decker was the only guy still warming up and I warned him not to bonk. We started with a 100m Le Man style run to the bikes. I was 3rd to the bike and 3rd into the woods behind an Australian guy and Decker. Decker made the pass half way through and put 2 seconds on the Aussie. 2 seconds in the super D is a lot...I passed the Aussie on the next pedaling section, but couldn't close the gap to Carl. 2nd place.

Overall - Wish I had a redo on the Short Track, but at least made up for it a little with some prize money and evened up the day with 200 points for the race within the race.

Final impressions. NORBA is still NORBA. With so few races to attend you have to be a supported pro to get UCI points and start in the front. There is no way I could afford to make 3 separate trips to Cali and one to TX to chase UCI points and have a shot at racing the guys in the front row. Plus why would I want to when I can attend WORS every other weekend and the triple crown races right in my back yard and race fast guys like TS, NG, and MP.

With cross racing the big races are in the midwest with OH, KY, WI, IA, IL, & WI again. There are plenty of opps for points and prize money(two or 3 a weekend). Once I get those points its worth it to travel because I am starting in the front and have a shot to race the big boys and win prize money to pay for the trip.

I think I have UCI mtb points now, probably not enough, but the next race is in ID...its tempting, but it would probably be a $1000 plus trip with no chance to win any prize money. Hmmm

Thanks to my sponsors to help me get to the best MTB scene around....the Midwest!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

acronym racing


The Keweenaw Chain Drive was this past Saturday. We hold the Jr. Camp in conjunction with the Chain Drive weekend to let the campers test out their new skills and knowledge in the race. It's a low key race with an awesome atmosphere. We took the campers out for a pre-ride on Saturday and the course was in great condition. Towards the end Pete(super fast camper) and I took the 32 mile split while all of the other campers and coaches continued on the 16 mile. We ripped the downhill section, crossed the river, and got in a few efforts on the way back up the mountain. Saturday morning I loaded up with a Belgian waffle, plenty of Nutella, some powedered sugar and a banana. I was ready to rock....excpet for the big slice in my front tire. Luckily Snuddy and Demo Ken hooked me up with some new rubber. I rolled to The Bike Shop and slapped on the new XR3 with some Stans and luckily it held.

The race was off with a controlled start down main street, across the lift bridge & over the canal, and then down the pavement for a few miles with a big tail wind before the KOM $50 prime up the climb to the cemetary. I wasn't really planning on going for it...but nobody really jumped that hard. Pete was crushing it down the pavement and led up the climb...I was content to sit on his wheel and was hoping he had a little more in the tank to jump the last 100 meters, but I sensed the others(MA, TG, & DB) getting ready to jump so I went around Pete and snagged the cash. Pete would have won it if he would have played it a little better before the base of the climb.

I sat up after the line and followed TG, MA, and DB into the singletrack. Immediately I knew I had too much tire pressure and the new 2.3 knobby tire was a little more aggressive than I was used to. It took me about 10 miles to get comfy. MA took over in the feed zone and TG was slowly gapped off. On the next climb Mike seemed to be going a little slow so I went to the front to keep up the pace. I guess it was enough to hurt Mike...I looked back a few miles later and saw Mike waving Darrin through....I thought he had flatted. I had about 10 feet on Darrin so I picked it up a little. Looked back again and had 20ft. Cruised the next singlerack - 30ft. Crushed the next two track super hard to be out of sight out of mind. Settled in for the next bit until I realized I was back on the part of the course we had pre-rode. Then I crushed it the last 10 miles. Ended up winning by 3+ minutes! The best part was seeing Andrea, Coach Joe, Coach John & 3 campers out on course and seeing the other campers as I was crossing the finish line! They were pumped and so was I. I think I got some pretty good cheers up on the podium!

Then I found out Pete won the overall 16 mile race. Nina won the overall womens 16 mile and Emily was 2nd! Moriah won her age. Keely, Emma, and Rachael swept their respective age podium. One of last years campers Parker was 2nd overall in the 16 mile mens. Ben & Curt were 4th and 5th in their age groups. What a great day of racing. Thanks a ton to the staff of the Chain Drive for a job well done!


Home from the camp Sunday night and pinning on more race numbers Monday morning....this time it was a 80 mile road race in Greenbush. Needless to say I was a little tired, lacking motivation, lacking proper equipment & proper preparation. I don't have a road bike and haven't ridden one in 3 or so months. I've been on my cross bike, but the brakes are iffy at best on the I borrowed Andrea's bike complete w/ compact crankset. I didn't have anybody to give me bottles(and I only own 2) so I rocked the Camelbak to the pelotons dismay.

I was out of sorts on lap 1 and was almost dropped 5 or 6 times....I wasted a lot of energy. Lap 2 started and there was a crash going up a climb at 6mph that took out close to 15 guys. A ha this is why I don't road was raining, I was on the back, the pace was high, the break must have been going. 7 guys were up the road, one of them Tristan! Starting lap 3 I went to the front....ah Now I remember how to do this road racing thing! I jammed up the climb towards the upper parking lot of Greenbush. I was feeling good. 5 guys went by me and opened a little gap...Brian Schaning jumped(old school friend and team mate for the day)so I sat up and the chase group was formed. The peloton thinned by this point and continued to thin for the next 40 miles. I was feeling better and better throughout the race and crushed it up the first couple of climbs on the last lap. I think I softened up the field a little and around the next corner Tilly jumped. I waited a bit then jumped and the two of us were gone. We crushed the last lap together and started cathing the back of the shattering chase group. I jumped again after the last corner, but it was way too early and Tilford got me at the line. 13th! Not bad for my first road race in a year.

It was just what I needed to get back into the swing of things after a good race week and the jr. camp. Next up...


Monday, June 20, 2011

calling all campers

After a little WWF wrestling to get a hitch mount bike rack installed on the back of the Hyundai, camper #1 (Maja Holcomb) arrived in our driveway and we were off to da U.P.!!!

Jr. Mountain Bike Camp #2.

We arrived at 4:00pm on Wednesday night for check-in, orientation, and our first ride of the camp. It's crazy how light out it is in Houghton at 8:00pm. Andrea and I dropped off our stuff in out hotel style dorm room and hit the cafeteria for the first round of soft serve ice cream!

The camp this year was awesome. 10 girls and 4 boys. All of them had some good skills and good fitness. Even the youngest camper Blake who had only been on a bike 4 times could rip the descents.

Our first ride Friday night was pretty low key. We hit up the tech trails and everyone had a blast. From then on it was a jam packed itinerary! Breakfast Lunch and Dinner in the cafeteria. Presentations on goal setting, pro mountain biking, and a presentation from Dr. John Durocher from the Kinesiology Dept. The best though was the trails systems; Copper Harbor, the Tech Trails, and Churning Rapids.

All the campers who raced killed it! Multiple 1st place finishers in the overall and in the age categories! Trek Demo Bikes, Fireworks, Trips the the beach, and more soft serve. Highlights also included watching a dude do a backflip at the pine jumps and getting a little info session on trail building from Aaron Rodgers! We even saw Aaron Rodgers again in the race! The fun didn't end until after the last bike ride in the rain and the mud! Gotta get a little muddy at mountain bike camp!

Thanks to Joe Haggenmiller and the MTU Summer Camp Program for putting on an awesome camp! Thanks to all the campers...I had a blast. Watch out for the Pro Womens WORS field in 10 years....its going to be smoking fast! Andrea and I are both already really excited to do it again next year!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Battle Royale


I can't beleive another race at Wausau came down to a three man sprint and was decided less than 5 ft from the line.

Here is the photo sequence from last year. What's crazy is last year we soft pedaled the entire race. Nobody had great legs so we all came to the line together....this year...a different story.

I was coming off of a rest week. Sometimes you feel awesome, sometimes you feel stale. I thought I was feeling pretty good in the warm up, but as soon as we hit the first climb I went was a shock to the system. Luckily there were still enough guys that I jumped in at the end of the train and made the first 5 man split. Mr. Tree was at it seems like its always at Wausau that he is off in the woods taking down sapplings... he slowed things down for me when he was over the bars and into the woods on the first it was Eppen who was showing me a hole in his arm as we were starting lap 2. Then the fun and games stopped....

Tristan was ready to race and started attacking early in the 2nd lap. To make a long story short he must have attacked 15 - 20 times on slight climbs or steep climbs. He had the snap that I didn't have...must be all the crit racing he's doing....but I had the Top Fuel and closed the 15-20 attacks each time in the singletrack. Towards the end of the race I wanted to get to the singletrack first, but Tristan wanted to control even more and wouldn't let me lead. On two occasions I was able to pass him before the singletrack and came out with significant gaps, but didn't have the power to stay away. My max HR was 193! That is pretty high for an old man like me....T was hurting me for sure.

In the end it was a perfect mountain bike battle of skills vs fitness and it came down to a sprint that was decided by a bike throw and the fact that my tires were a little knobbier than his....and it helps that he attempted his bike throw with one hand in the air! Good thing I swapped to the DT XR Carbon again this year!

mike phillips deserves some good props, one because he made fun of my power balance bracelet and two because he might have been dropped by tristan more times than me, but still made it back every time and was there for the sprint at the end. nice racing old man!

Thanks again to all my sponsors...and now that its finally summer check out this new Gear Grinder product...made from recycled tubes and tire tread!

Monday, June 06, 2011

with a Cherry on top

Finished up 2 months of base and realized if your birthday falls on a Monday and your good you can make a a "birthday weekend" and party for 3 days!

Ended w/ a 100 miler on Saturday and an early birthday celebration at Hildebrands. Filet Tendorloins on the grille and home made Strawberry Shortcake! It was good.

Resting up today w/ a massage and a pint of 'Fair Goodness Cake' Ben & Jerry's. Mmmm

Dad got me a Pittsburgh Pirates hawaiin shirt and then told me Don Cherry was the coach of the Bruins in the Cup Finals when I was born! Now watching the Cup Finals...only thing that could make this birthday weekend better would be if it was the Wings in the Finals. It was probably Don Cherry's Coach's Corner on CBC growing up in MI that got me hooked on being a hockey fan.

Lovin' the rest week!

Friday, June 03, 2011


I haven't thought about the blog in a while, figured a better do an update. I've been busy rolling on the bike and getting the coaching gig rolling.

Training has been going good. All on the road bike except for my recovery days when I get to ride the coolest/most comfy commuter bike ever. Now that I'm back on Shimano my 700C disc wheels fit on the mtb again!

I'm almost done with my second month of base miles. 17 hours last week and 20+ hours by the end of this week. I've been feeling really good and I'm in a really good routine of stretching and doing some pushups and situps after each ride! I think 20+ hours will be my biggest week since I lived down in Tucson back in 01 and 02. The biggest difference now though is that I am putting in 17-20 hours of pure quality on the bike. In the early years in Tucson I was just pluggin away miles in hopes to set new records of longest day on the bike, and most miles in a day. I wasn't training with any purpose or didn't have a goal behind all those miles.

Also rolling good with my first couple of clients at Momentum Endurance. The coaching has been awesome so far and I can't wait to see the positive results from the athletes in a few months. I just signed up for the Momentum Endurance newsletter and you should too.

Click here to sign up now

It's a great way to get all sorts of good quality information on diet, equipment, mental preparation, training, and racing.

I'm looking for just a few more clients before I reach my set limit for the season. If your interested in details shoot me an e-mail at

After the weekend I'll be hanging up the road bike for a while and hitting the dirt. WORS #3, Jr. Mtn Bike Camp, and the Subaru Cup. Can't wait for this..

It's gonna be sweet! Don't drool on your keyboard watching the rest of the copper harbor videos on youtube.... Only 13 days till I'm there....if you know a young mtb'er they can still register today for the camp.