Monday, March 26, 2012

Barry - Michigan

Nothing like driving across the country, racing 4 days of muddy singletrack and gravel roads, then driving the rest of the way home Wednesday only to realize that after 2 months of vacation the temps in Sheboygan are warm, but the temps in the water heater are frigid.  A quick call to the pumber on Thursday for a new water heater and Friday I was loaded up again and heading back for more gravel roads.  Good thing with Gas Prices so high I am rolling in style w/ 32.0 + MPG fully loaded!

The Cronus CX was ready to rock, I still had some HED wheels w/ tubulars glued up, in fact I hadn't touched the cross bike since 10 ft past the finish line at I figured it should be good.

I drove over to Plainwell, MI and crashed with old school MI rider Marty Minka!  It was awesome to have a comfy couch to crash on and a good hearty breakfast of Bacon and Eggs the morning of the race.

I had to laugh before I loaded the bike up for the trip as I was lubing up the chain.  For 6 or 7 monhts I had been telling Bruce at PRO GOLD that I really didn't like the ProGold Xtreme chain lube - it just made things too dirty with the thicker lube, and the normal stuff lasted plenty long for a cross race.  Barry Roubaix was a different story though - 3 hours in the saddle of nasty gravel roads, deep puddles, and huge sandpits.

After some early moves on Sager Rd. the group swelled a little too much for my liking so I threw out the first major attack.  I hovered out there for a while and as soon as I got reeled in Mike Andreson countered...I was pumped...some mtb'ers, both riding Trek cross bikes, attacking the roadies on road sections!  As Mike was getting realed in a Bissel rider jumped across and I had a free ride up to Mike...right away I knew this was the move....we had some power and some other Bissel guys sitting on in the group.  2 others bridged up and we were 5 strong and started rotating right away - 45 miles later we hit Shaw Rd. and Mike A was killing the sand section...not on his bike, but on his feet.  It hurt but I suffered and stayed with him for the Mike Anderson going downhill on sketchy stuff skills clinic that I always love.  After the section we were clear and worked together towards the finish.  My chain was silent like the night with the Pro Gold Xtreme, and Mikes was squeeking away!  In the end Mike had a little more power and got a good jump at the finish for the W.  I told Thom from cyclingdirt that it was the file treads that helped Mike year file treads and I'm dropping the Camelbak!

For whatever reason I was a lot more motivated to do this race compared to last year - Maybe I wanted a little redemption after suffering for 65 miles on the Top Fuel last year.

After the race I headed over to Pinckney where I grew up and went to High School.  It was awesome to visit with some old friends and check out the old neighborhood.  The drive back home Sunday was a bit long and painful, but I made it and I'm looking forward to 2 weeks of R&R at home before officially starting the season.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Well the Gravel Rouser is all finished up! Saturdays Stage 3 was epic as always and they Rousers Brain Trust even threw in a serious river crossing!

Sundays Death March was the final stage and we were lucky enough to get in some riding before heading to the Columbus airport for a quick flight home so Andrea could start a new job!

I was lucky enough to be able to go back to Athens after the airport run and chill out for a few days with mom and dad before driving home Wednesday.  It was an awesome visit with plenty of NCAA wrestling and NCAA B-Ball.  Mom was pretty pumped that the Bobcats made it to the sweet 16.  Thanks to Athens Bicycle for another great weekend of rousin'.

It's super awesome to be back home after almost 3 months...but, now that I've been home for 24 hours I'm thinking about rolling out again for Barry Roubaix.  Haven't touched the cross bike since Nationals, but I think its ready to rock!

Monday, March 19, 2012


After a long drive from Tucson to Athens I was pretty done for...luckily no matter how tired you are, a person will always find the energy when the best event of the season is going on...welcome to the Gravel Rouser Classic 2012:

Take this job and shove it TT Stage 1.

An epic mtb ride Sunday in Tucson - Three days in the car and straight to Jim's back yard off of Simm's Rd up on the ridges in Athens.  My ribs were still really sore from the crash on the Milagrosa trail, but Jim and Company layed out one of the best TT courses to date for the Gravel Rouser and I was going to let 'er rip.  Check out the video for some great action:

In the end I lost the title by 2 seconds!  Luckily I had a little redemption when all the guys wanted to do a mass start 1 mile race after the TT - no clock on this was for blood!

Stage 2 was the Grab & Git -

A 5 stop Scavenger Hunt around town with a map and then a mad dash to the finish.  It really all comes down to the stop where you draw a cork with a number out of the bag.  The number on the cork can be a time bonus or a time penalty.  Veterans of this race also know the funny article of clothing stop can be critical - you never want to get something that would cause overheating, get caught in the chain or cassette, or in any way interfere with aerodynamics!

Check it out:

Stay Tuned for Stages 3 & 4

Monday, March 12, 2012


Well I'm rolling out of AZ today and headed towards more fun in OH.  We finished things up with a crazy week with lots of non-stop action!  Gotta go out in style!

We had a blast hanging out with all of our friends this year.  BBQ's, Birthday Parties, Supper Club dinners, and of course tons of bike riding.  I can't wait to do it again next year.

The last 5 days were extra crazy with Bill Street 'Player' in town.  We tried to cram in as much fun and riding as possible.  It started with an epic failure out at the Pistol Hill section of the AZ Trail.  First time on Bill's new bike and a piece of housing under the BB was a little short.  Every time the suspension moved the bike would shift and it eventually lead to a broken chain.  Lots of hiking, jogging, skateboarding, to get out of the dessert in time for the Dr. appt w/ Bill Peterson.  Luckily we made it without to much craziness.

We all wanted a little work done with Bill Peterson as he is one of the best in his business.  Bill is an awesome guy who is fighting lung cancer and is very well known in the cycling community as the go to guy for cycling orthotics and bike fit issues.  He is the man who helped Andrea with a leg length discrepency and is pretty much the sole reason she is still riding today.  Street Player has the same problem and is now all squared up on the bike and has some custom insoles en route to Sheboygan.  I wanted to get Bill's opinion on my cleat position now that I have new Bontrager shoes and I also picked up a pair of insoles.

It was also pretty interesting talking to Bill about his cancer treatments.  It was awesome to hear that he is a huge fan of drinking alkaline water!

Saturday Street, Andrea and I did an epic up Mt. Lemmon.  Andrea turned around at the highest elevation at mile marker 21.  Street and I dropped down to Summerhave tomake it tothe Cookie Cabin.  Andrea made the right call as it was frickin cold up there.  Chili, Hot Apple Cider and a cookie were not enough to warm the soul a fear was setting in for the cold descent.  Street Player had to shove a Pizza Box under his jersey to protect him from the wind and then with an unprecedented move put a paper plate under his helmet to act as a cycling cap!!!

We finished things off yesterday with a big mtb ride.  We even talked Cole 'the roadie' House into joining us!  We climbed up Mt. Lemmon to the 12 mile marker from Le Buzz.  Then we descended Bug Springs, Prison Camp, climbed up and over Molino Basin, and then down the AZ Trail and down Milagrosa.  4:00 hours of ride time, 6 hours of total time. 

It was pretty sweet.  I was also joined by John Beck, Chad Sova, Bill Street, and Andrea!  I had to laugh at Le Buzz when some other roadies were giving Cole shit about mtb'in.  He clearly has some skills and hopefully we have some good video footage from the GoPro.

After the big ride it was out for one last dinner at El Charro with the crew.  It's going to be tough to go another 10 months without Carne Seca!  Now I'm going to need to take an off-season from my off-season  leaving Tucson with 1850 miles in the about after Gravel Rouser!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

10 to Go

10 days remaining in Tucson.  Snow back home, 85 degrees tomorrow in the desert.  Before heading home we will swing by Athens for another Gravel Rouser Classic.  Athens is always a good transition to prepare for the bad weather that Sheboygan is sure to have for the next 2 months!  I always question my reasoning for vacationing in Tucson and then going home to start the training for the year....seems kind of backwards.  So I'm actually kicking around the idea of heading back out to Tucson for the month of April for my first block of training....that might make me a little too soft???

This week I did cheat a little and partake in two pretty serious training rides.  Not that I really wanted to go training but the Kenda 5 Hour Energy Pro Cycling Team pb / Gear Grinder training camp is going on about 50 meters from my front door and I couldn't pass up on the opportunity for a new learning experience.

So last Wednesday I suited up and joined the team for a big day out to Madera Canyon.  120 miles w/ a 15 minute TTT up Helmet Peak Road 2 hours into the ride and then a pretty tough 45 minute climb half way through the 6 hour day up Madera.  I felt OK sitting on the back of the TTT and AVG'd 372(whoever was pulling up at the front was frickin' strong!), but 45 minutes later on the climb I was hurting a lot and got popped before it started to get steep.  My HR was jacked from the first real effort of the season and never wanted to go back down after hitting 190 on the run in to the climb.

I was pretty thrashed after 120 so I took it pretty easy on Thursday and then joined the guys again Friday for the big day up Mt. Lemmon.  Whats kind of cool about road riding w/ the guys is that before hitting Mt. Lemmon they go out for a 2 hour loop.  Normally my training rides are two hours!  So I just sat on the back of the train and enjoyed the scenery.  We rolled to the bottom of Mt. Lemmon with 45 miles on the legs(nice and warmed up) and divided into three groups for the climb.

Group 1, Group 2, Group 3 all decided by team director Frankie Andreau.  I jumped in the back of Group 2.  G1 got a 5 minute head start - then our group - then G3 another 5 minutes later.  We were racing to the 14 mile mark on Mt. Lemmon.  We were off and I knew it was going to hurt.  I was in the group w/ Paul Mach, Jim Stemper, Jon Murphy, Roman Kilun, and last years Elite road race National Champ Max Korus.  I was hoping I gained all my fitness back after Wed's big ride and was ready to climb with the best of them....My best ever time to the 5 mile mark was 18:41 - we rolled through at 18:46 but still had 9 miles to go.  These guys were crushing it....I took one pull early on, but that was all.  At the 8 mile marker Frankie drove the Hyundai by the group and told us to stop holding hands....the group shattered and I had to jump across to the front of the group...then I was over my limit..I was able to hang on for another 2.5 miles but popped around mile 11.  The last 3 miles were solo and hangin on for dear life.  I did 356 for the first 40 minutes until I popped and then 315 for the last 15 minutes.  Even though I slowed down my HR was still jacked from the effort and the altitude and stayed at 180 for the 56 minutes of climbing!

It was awesome to go and jam with the guys, but now its back to the off-season and time to enjoy the last 10 days in Tucson - on my Top Fuel!  Thanks KendaProCycling for the great rides.