Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Los Gatos

Today I finally rode... er rode most of, the Los Gatos route. Steep doesn't begin to describe the hill on Los Gatos. My Garmin registered greater than 25% grade! It was so steep I was really struggling with keeping the front tire on the ground while standing and putting everything I had into it.

It kicked my butt, I wound up walking a short distance.

Here is a profile...

I hope to go back and try again, maybe I will try it on my mountain bike. Yes it is that steep!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Training Fast Forward

This is the first time I have ever trained with such consistency. Following in my wife's footsteps, I have been putting in crazy amounts of saddle time.

The craziest thing about all the training, working, life... is that when you fill up all the time in the day that you possibly can the days go into this wild fast forward haze. I guess it doesn't help any that I have been busy at work, but I have been busier than this before.

Lately I have been squeezing in two daily workouts as much as possible. Riding for an hour or so at lunch, then jumping on the trainer in the evening at home. Of course weekends always have the 2-4hr rides both days, I look forward to them all week long!

So the Training Fast Forward is not so good for keeping up with blog entries or stuff like that. The good news is that hopefully next year I will have some good post race blog entries about getting my butt kicked by a bunch of girls on pink bikes with baskets on the handlebars. :)

In the mean time, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See you on the road/trails!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I suck.

I have been dropped by the cyber peleton!!!

I can't keep up.

Just like when I get dropped while riding (with fast people, or in a race, or by my wife, or by someone's grandma) I will scramble to keep up and blow myself to smithereens. It has to be a pitiful sight: me gasping for breath, snot running from my nose, drooling on my top tube, sweat pouring down.

Here goes..

Training has been going great! I got in like 7 solid weeks!

Went on an awesome ride on Saturday, destroyed HJ, MDTT, and UHJ. Strongest I have ever been on two wheels.

Ruined all the training with 4 days on the road for work. Had fun, ate horrible, didn't sleep.

Tonight was my first ride back. I suffered. Couldn't manage my HR and nearly blew chunks.

Thats all I got.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


We got up and driving before the sun.

I ran out of gas (not the truck, me) and had to hand over driving to Allison for a bit.

Once we finally got there, the fun started. Shuttle truck was a little cramped, but it is a small price to pay.

Bootleg has such awesome trails and features. I had a blast out there and tried some new (to me) trails like Kavorkian. Next time I hope to clean all of that one.

All day out riding... I get back to the truck and I have this waiting for me! :)

(Late edit: the wife didn't want to share... sorry guys)

We have this little tradition, it involves consuming Tequila.

Once again up with the sun, the lake view from the hotel is pretty sweet!

We loaded up into the shuttle truck over and over and over...

And I fixed flats over, and over, and over.

The riding was great!

When you figure out a good thing, I feel you should keep at it. :)

The last day was a short one, and I hadn't really ridden with the wife all weekend (save for two quick DH runs). The XC trails out there are just as good as the DH and we had a blast.

Of course after all that fun it was time to pay the piper. We sat in traffic for almost 9 hrs to get home. The riding was great though. If we do this again we need to stay another night and try to miss some of the traffic!

Lots of fun was had with some real good friends. Back to riding the road bike and training. :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

2008 Season Closer: SRC Annual Southridge Challenge

2008 was our first real year of racing and training. It has been a long year, especially considering that our training for Vision Quest ’08 started long before the New Year! We attended a lot of races, met lots of new people, trained our butts off (literally and figuratively), and stood on more than our fair share of podiums. I will try to pull together a nice year in review post with lots of pictures at a later date.

Since Southridge is our “home” track, and our racing year started there, it seemed appropriate that we punctuate the end of the year with a race there. In typical SRC fashion the XC race takes place Saturday morning, SuperD races in the afternoon at the same time as DH practice, then on Sunday the DH race goes down.

Racing XC and DH is a quite challenging for me. During my XC race in the morning I am always pedaling past my friends pushing their DH bikes up the hill for their first practice runs. Then after the XC race they hold the raffle and awards during the time that DH practice is officially open, so there are minor scheduling conflicts. At the same time it is hard to get fired up about DH practice after racing XC, a big part of me just wants to sit down with my feet up and rest after all that effort!

Saturday morning we showed up early and plenty of time to warm up. I cruised around and chatted with other racers and spectators. One of my favorite things about the races is the smack talk that occurs between friends on the line right before the start. It is awesome to shrug off the nervousness that goes along with waiting for your start with some humor amongst friendly competitors!

Before I knew it we were off. My AG was called to the line with two groups in front of us so we were not on the front row. I took it really easy off the start and shadowed Ryan whom kicked my butt all spring. We kept a pretty easy pace and picked off a few slower riders before the asphalt climb. Once on the asphalt I decided to stand up and get my climb on since I have been doing so much training out of the saddle on the road bike. I can fairly say that I surprised myself by rocketing up the hill and feeling pretty fresh at the top! I had taken the lead of my AG and then settled into a nice pace passing lots of slower riders, all of whom were very courteous. Toward the end of the first lap I passed Allison, I wish she had some fast women out there to help push her.

On the second lap I spun up the asphalt instead of standing as there was nobody near me. On the first descent I pushed a bit too hard going through a corner and crashed, twisting my bars. During my efforts to straighten my bars I managed to get a nice brake rotor tattoo on the inside of my right calf. I did get passed by a rider from the next AG up, the same guy that I was chasing at Mt. SAC, and I was glad to have someone to chase and challenge me. I crossed the line in first with a time of 1:18, a very fast time especially considering the conditions of the course.

After the race I suited up for DH and jumped into the shuttle line. Unfortunately the shuttles were running extremely slow. By the time I got to the front of the line it looked like I was going to miss the XC awards. I told Allison to go in my place. I missed the XC awards, but such is the life of a multi-discipline rider! I didn’t get as much practice as I might of liked on Saturday, but the course was pretty easy so I wasn’t too worried.

Saturday night we went to dinner with Denmo and the gang before going back to Casa de Denmo for some much deserved shut eye.

Sunday we were back at the venue good and early and I was on the first shuttle truck to the top. My first run was awesome! I was flying down the course until a sandy and loose left hand turn where I pushed wide (this turn would later come back to haunt me!). I got a couple more practice runs but in the process had the chain jump from the chain guide and get twisted! DARN! I scrounged an extra chain from a fellow racer and decided to try and put a bigger front chain ring on while I was working on the bike. Further frustration ensued when I found that none of the 36 or 38 tooth chain rings I had would fit the Race Face cranks on Allison’s bike!! In the end I put the bike back together with the very weak 32T chain ring, a new chain, and a newly adjusted chain guide. As soon as I finished wrenching it was time to head up on the shuttle for my race run.

My DH race run felt really good until I hit that same loose left hander that caught me off guard on my first practice run of the day. I pushed hard on the front end and it let go sending me into the dirt. In the process I slammed the bar into the ground causing it to twist. I jumped up and rode a little ways with the bars VERY crooked before stopping, jumping off, and straightening them (being careful not to burn my leg again!). I jumped back on the bike and finished off my run as quickly as I could. I crossed the line in 13th place with a time of 3:08.

After my race run I went up to cheer for my friends and fellow racers. It is great to see so many of them riding so well. I am proud of their improvements this year

I had a great race weekend and have come to terms with the fact that I won’t be spending much time on the podium next year racing in Expert XC and DH. I am very much looking forward to the challenge of trying to keep up with the fast guys. I also hope that I find a good group of fellow Expert racers that I can joke with at the start line. I will miss my racing buddies that stay in Sport, but will hopefully see them all taking podium spots next year!

On a non-racing related topic: I am excited to be taking a trip to Bootleg Canyon with a few friends for Thanksgiving weekend. I am glad that we won’t have to break the piggy bank to pay for fuel for the trip… this photo was taken Sunday on our way home.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Three years ago my wife said I was getting a little fat, in an attempt to help get some fitness into our lives we went out and purchased an '05 Specialized Stumpjumper Expert for her, and an '05 Specialized Enduro Expert for me. Lots of people probably said we were crazy for spending so much on bikes. From my perspective it seemed that it would help motivate us, no way were we going to waste all that money and not ride our bikes. How much did I underestimate us!? (or for that matter how much we would eventually spend on bikes!)

I bought the Stumpjumper for the wife because I felt that it would give her a nice quality ride, maybe make the transition from couch potato to mountain biker a bit easier. The Enduro was a nice burly bike, and since I was such a burly guy it seemed appropriate.

Allison seemed to like climbing, but had no confidence descending. The first few time she rode down this fire road she walked it, she slowly graduated to tripod down it...

I on the other hand had no problem descending and liked to get my tires off the ground. I was lucky when my fat carcass didn't cause a crater!

What a difference three years makes eh?

Allison is now not only an incredibly fast XC and Endurance racer, but she hucks with the best of them.

With 60+ lbs. gone off my frame I get up the hills a bit faster, but my love for going downhill and getting some air under my tires hasn't changed at all!

It would be impossible for me to put a price on the improvements in health and life that both of us have made. Really that is what it is all about. Riding my bike, with my wife, enjoying life to it's fullest because you never know when it might come to a screeching halt. I am sure glad I didn't put all that money in a savings account, because a savings account won't buy you anything when all is said and done.

Monday, November 17, 2008

2 Legit to Quit

Last week was super hectic.

Wife's birthday, prepping bikes, life, work, everything. Late in the week the frenetic pace and some horrible demons were wreaking havoc on my poor wife's psyche. She had completely convinced herself that she was not prepared for the 12hrs of Temecula. True her bike was not in the best shape, something I remedied some time just before midnight on Friday night, and the previous week consisted of too little training and too much bad eating... not to mention the fact that we hadn't done a training ride longer than a couple of hours since I don't know when...

Despite all these things I knew one thing, she has the best fitness she has ever had. She is stronger, leaner, and faster than ever before. Could she go hard for 12hours, we didn't know.

Now we do!

Lap 1, minus the prologue, was 58 minutes and she had a major race on her hands! Siren Mary (of Tour Divide fame, she rode 3000 miles in June!) was leading the pack of three with Shalyn Gates and Allison right on her wheel. Allison turned lap after lap after lap right around 1 hour in length and Shalyn held a 5-10 minute lead the whole day, a lead that had unfortunately developed when Allison crashed twice on Lap 2. I don't know what happened to Mary but she wasn't with the leaders. It was amazing to watch the two of them. Neither was giving up. Allison kept telling me that there was no way that they could maintain this pace, but they did.

Lap 7 was where the race turned for us. Shalyn stopped to change clothes and Allison left the pits ahead of her. Shalyn was unable to bridge the gap and they never got close on the course that I know of. After 8 laps Allison begged me to find out if she had to do 10, I told her that they were definitely on pace for 10 before she left for Lap 9. The meeting of the men then ensued, I asked Jason if they were doing 10 and he said they were. It was a huge gamble for me to send the shell shocked Allison out on the 10th lap, we didn't know how far back Shalyn was. I joked with others that if Shalyn didn't go out for 10, I would ride out on course and have Allison pull the plug. Shalyn left for lap 10 with around an hour and a half till the cutoff.

I can't imagine how hard it must have been for both of them to go out after nearly 11 hours of very fast paced racing and suffer up the climbs, it was hard for me to watch.

Allison finished her 10th lap with around 15 minutes to spare, Shalyn came in with about 4 minutes to spare. Awe inspiring!

The top three Pro Solo Men had completed 11 laps.

In any case, these girls are legit! They are fast and strong and they don't friggin quit!

Since I am a photo whore and just got some photos of me from our trip to Utah (courtesy of Liz), I figured I would post them up to add some color to this post. I was riding my Intense Socom out at Gooseberry Mesa (not the best bike for that ride, but it was all I had)... Good times!

A couple of steep rollers...

And me showing the girls how to climb a steep ass rock on a 40+ lbs DH bike with a 36T chainring and a road cassette...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What a day!

We took the day off for Allison’s birthday. It is after all a national holiday!

It was great to meet up with some other folks that we haven’t ridden with in a while and ride some trails we hadn’t ridden since right before the big fires a year ago. All the damage from the fire crews, and some damage from the fires, really changed the face of that area dramatically. The ride was good and the company was great.

After the ride we hit up The Path, REI, and a local Temecula restaurant for dinner.

Special Note to Allison: Happy birthday, you make everything in life better!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tomorrow, tomorrow,

A day off, tomorrow! (great now I will have Annie tunes stuck in my head all day)

A huge HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my favorite riding partner in the whole world! She turns 28 tomorrow and we will be out riding in the dirt to celebrate.

This weekend was pretty good! Saturday we rode a new route on the road bikes. We have named this route after the steeper than hell (25%) grade in the middle, Los Gatos. We rode the route “backwards” so that we were descending Los Gatos, but I fully intend to ride it the other way in the very near future. It is almost like mountain biking when you find a road route that is so hard you don’t know if you can “clean” it! How cool is that!?!?! The route itself is 28 miles and took us almost 2 hrs at a pretty mellow pace.

After this early morning ride we headed over to the motocross track in Lake Elsinore. My good friend Brian was racing his quad and we went over there to cheer him on. After his race one of his first comments to me was, “So when do you get one?” I have to admit that all motorsports have a certain allure for me, I am certain it has something to do with the fact that I am such an engiNERD, but I won’t be getting one any time soon. I simply don’t have the time or money to put toward a new hobby, but more importantly a move like that would precipitate another decline in my physical fitness. I really do struggle with being a fat ass, I am not sure introducing another “lazy” sport would help me with that. It was however awesome to cheer for my friend and see him kicking some ass, way to go Brian!!!!

Saturday night we drove out to the desert (Palm Desert) and had a great dinner with cake at Allison’s mom’s place.

Sunday was a pretty cool ride. We got up early and fought a driving headwind all the way to Palm Springs. The wind was positively brutal! The coolest part was on the way back we were hardly pedaling and going FAST! Lots of fun!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I don’t do politics…

So I am super glad that this whole election thing is over. I will be way more glad when the lemmings and sheeple stop talking about “change” at work and everywhere else. The second law of Thermodynamics guarantees that things will change. Funny thing is, things will change, but they won’t get better!

Since this is my blog I will talk about what I want, riding bikes. Unfortunately I can’t seem to do enough of that lately. Since the race last weekend I spent two days in the gym (Monday and Tuesday), one day was a nice lunch ride (Wednesday), and last night was the usual night time dirt fest.

Spending time in the gym is a touchy subject for me. Since I was in high school I have spent tons of time in the gym lifting. My primary source of exercise for years was lifting. Unfortunately my body tends to build muscle fast, and I have been working on cutting weight not adding it. In order to try to make sure I don’t add unnecessary bulk I have stayed off the weights. I have a really hard time with this, I really like to lift. But it is all for the best. So my workouts in the gym consist of: the stationary bike, the treadmill, dips, pull-ups, abdominal work, and stretching. Pretty weak stuff, and it probably makes me look like a ninny, but going fast on my bike is a higher priority right now.

Last night’s ride was pretty awesome. I felt really good on the climb and pushed myself hard. The weather was great and the sunset was really pretty thanks to the Santa Ana winds. My light kept moving though, need to tighten the screws on it, and it was keeping me from really hanging it out on the descents.

On one of the single track sections I was pedaling through a corner and caught my inside pedal on a stump. I was going fast and crashed, but was relatively unharmed. My poor left grip didn’t fare so well and needs to be replaced.

I am also really having a hard time with my pedals lately. I guess my Crank Brothers Ti Eggbeaters are worn out. Even with new cleats, I am having issues losing pedals on both my road bike and my XC bike. I have accidentally pulled my foot free during sprints and hard climbs on the road bike, and last night my foot came free while I was in the air on a really steep descent nearly causing a crash. I think I am going to try out some Shimano pedals. We don’t ride/race much in the mud so I think the Shimano’s are probably a good choice.

It was also pretty cool to spend some time during the ride to talk to EC about his race this weekend. He is feverishly preparing for this event. Hopefully he gets some momentum and some much needed assistance with getting the bike park up and running.

So looking forward…

I hope to ride the trainer for a while tonight. Exciting stuff eh? The wife and I will be doing some good miles on the road bike this weekend. Should be all flat stuff, so nothing really exciting, but spending time on the bike with the wife is a good thing. Even better though is that we are taking the day off on Tuesday to do a nice big ride in the dirt. Allison gets to pick the location since it is her birthday, but I for one am looking forward to a nice long ride in the dirt. Since her training for the 2009 race season has already started the pace will be really slow. We will see how this whole ride slow to race fast thing works out…

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mt SAC Fat Tire Classic

Near the end of last year Allison and I were figuring out that we wanted to try out the whole XC race thing. We had completed the Warrior’s Society Counting Coup in the spring but that event was decidedly un-race like. In the fall we raced at Bonelli and Mt. SAC. These races were extremely hard for us and marked yet another transition in our lives.

I had dropped a bunch of weight (approximately 30-40lbs) in the two years prior to these first XC races. I felt like I had really turned my health around. I could go out and ride my bike 30 miles in the mountains and be pretty comfortable, but I wasn’t fast. Although DH racing is maybe something that fits my physique better, XC racing is where Allison feels she can excel at so our rides turned from slow group rides to long training rides. This year we raced lots. We spent lots of time on our road bikes. There were very few group rides. We got faster, leaner, and more fit than ever before. Personally the best way I have to quantify this change is a further 20lbs weight reduction.

Sunday marked the first day that I had the opportunity to race for a second time at an annual race/venue. Bonelli would have been the first, but you can read about that here. My first attempt at Mt. SAC was a good experience, but was very painful. On the third and final lap my legs cramped up horribly. The steep HAB really hurt, with tears flowing from my eyes, groaning and writhing in pain, I somehow held on to a podium spot.

This time around was much different.

It was raining in the morning during warm up. My tires caked up horribly with mud and my bike was rolling like the brakes were on. I wore my glasses in the hopes that they would help keep stuff out of my eyes, but it was very hard to see out of them with the rain drops and mud on them. This was going to be fun!

I was still warming up when most of the people lined up at the start so I worked my way through the crowd to the second row. At the start I pedaled fast and moved toward the front. On the first climb there were three of us at the front, I passed everyone and was first down the first descent. My plan worked out well and going onto the first single track I was first in my AG, and in second for Sport Men. The rain and muddy conditions made things slick, and I wound up sliding out on a painted section of concrete. The guy in the lead started pulling away and would be out of sight before the end of the first lap. I ditched my glasses on a climb and regretted it horribly on the next descent when some cow crap got kicked up into my eye!

I am pretty sure the rain stopped some time during the first or early on the second lap. From that point on the course got gradually better and better for traction and rolling resistance.

On the second lap I picked up some weeds in my RD/cassette that forced me to stop and extract them. It was very disheartening to have to stop and fix my bike, seeing the lead I worked hard for destroyed as people were passing me. Once rolling again I put my head down and tried hard to resume the pace I was on before. I wound up riding much of the rest of race with a fast racer one AG above mine. I was very accustomed to him passing me in XC races at Fontana like I was standing still, and was shocked that we were so evenly matched at this race. We chatted a little during the race and it was great to have someone to work with out there.

On the third and final lap I once again had to stop and pull a weed out of my RD/cassette, and in nearly the same location. I have to figure out why my bike is such a weed magnet! This time it was not as bad though and I didn’t lose as much time. I did have some twinges of cramps in my calves during the last lap but was able to work through it.

I placed first in my AG! I was bummed about the primitive timing methods and do not have any idea where my overall time was compared to other racers. All they had was finishing order for each AG. I had a great time after the race cheering for some people that I know racing beginner! Next race, Fontana!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'm not complaining...

Just saying.

Can anyone explain to me why it is that when I feel I am reaching new heights in physical fitness I seem to always wind up with a new ache or pain? It really is bothersome.

The knee is still not 100%, it is quite painful to crouch down or kneel and it still feels a bit "loose" when moving about. I don't know if it is related or not, but now my Achilles on the same leg is inflamed, swollen, and painful. I hate taking pills and just did a Vitamin I regimen for the knee, so I am not going to do more of that. I so wanted a nice race at Mt. SAC, as redemption for the last couple of races, and now it looks like I will be plagued with pain. I am most worried about that horrid hike-a-bike and how my Achilles is going to feel on that section. On the bright side it is hard to imagine it being much worse than the cramps I suffered through on the last lap last year. I am so displeased.

On a positive note, this week has been nice with a hard effort on the lunch ride on Tuesday, and a nice easy ride yesterday at lunch. Best of all, tonight is the night I look forward to all week, I get to play in the dirt. So Happy It's Thursday! I will try to restrain myself this evening though, I really don't want to aggravate my injuries more.

As though I didn't already complain enough in this post...

My manager is trying to ruin my Thursday happiness. He scheduled a meeting until 4:30pm today. I usually try to leave between 4 and 4:15 so that we can get over to the trail head by 5pm. CRAPPY!! Doesn't he know that I won't be any good in a "Brainstorming" meeting when my brain is occupied with images of lizards and kangaroo rats scurrying in front of my HID? meh.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Weekend recap

Saturday we ventured south and east to go ride Noble Canyon (plus some other trails). It has been quite a while since we rode there which sucks because it is a fabulous place to ride. Luke rode down with us in The Max and we met up with Alex at the trailhead.

We had the pleasant surprise of running into Mark in the parking lot. He is really a great guy to ride with, and he is a great companion on road trips as well. We also saw Steve who is less of a fan of us than we are of him. No worries here though. I don’t spend any time worrying about the haters. 

I wish my Lunchbox was in good working order, but it isn’t so this was the maiden voyage for my XC race bike on Noble. I had previously ridden the SIR9 with 80 and 100mm of travel so I had an idea of what I was in for. The AIR9 with 80mm of travel would never be the first bike I would choose for this ride, in fact riding it was a bad idea as you will find out shortly.

The day was pretty much perfect. Trail conditions were great compared to Idyllwild. In all honesty Socal really needs rain, but all things considered the trails in and around Noble were quite nice. At first I was taking my time and chatting with Mark but when we hit the asphalt climb I poured on some coal to see how the motor would respond. The pedals ticked over quickly the whole way up. I was first to the tree so I dropped back down past Allison and then climbed the top section again with her.

Shortly after this is where my day started to go awry.

On the descent towards Indian Creek Trail my bottle popped out of the cage. My King cages have never failed me before. This was a first and now I will be nervous during races! I didn’t notice the missing bottle, but luckily Allison saw it and picked it up.

As we started climbing up Indian Creek I noticed a strange sensation, it seemed like maybe my cleat was moving around a lot on the pedal. I made a mental note to check it out at the top of the climb, but things went pear shaped before I got there. Just after clearing a rocky section the trail kicked up and I turned up the pedal pressure… SNAP! My left crank arm popped free and rotated. WTF?!?! So after some time screwing around it turns out that the bolt that holds the left crank arm on my new XTR cranks had worked free and now I had sheared off a portion of the splines. Major bummer. I got it all back together (good enough for now) and finished off the climb.

At the top we all regrouped and then started down “Pinball”. I took up the last spot, dumb move. I wound up flatting near the bottom. By the time I got it fixed I was quite a ways behind the rest of the group.

We refilled our water up at Penny Pines and then continued up Agua Dulce after Big Laguna. When we started down Middle Earth I rode over a rock and my butt contacted the saddle on the landing… POP!!!! My Easton EC70 seat post had snapped. Good thing most of the climbing was already out of the way! I slammed the post into the seat tube and continued on (not something that is good for my knee, but what could I do?).

Now it was time for some quality descending. We headed down Noble Canyon and the fun meter was pegged. I stopped to chat with a rider that had taken a hard fall and hurt his arm. He was looking for a bail out and I gave him directions. Back to pegging the fun meter until…
Yeah you guessed it, another pinch flat for me. Good thing I had three spare tubes with me!

Descending Noble Canyon is a blast especially when you add the challenge of doing it on a little bike. I didn’t have any further problems descending. The straw that broke the camel’s back happened while climbing. I was climbing up Organ Donor and was right near the top when I managed to get my front tire hung up and my weight all wrong. I went over the bars (yes you read that right, OTB on a CLIMB). Granted Organ Donor is pretty chunky and technical, but I wasn’t expecting to crash going uphill! In the tumble I managed to put a big gouge in the lowers of my pretty white Fox F29 fork, and bent the RD hanger enough to put my RD into the spokes. CRAP!

For the rest of the ride I didn’t push my luck. I kept the pedal pressure light and walked the uphills. I still managed to ride the steep switchback and Stairway to Hell, but bailed out shortly afterward to ride down the asphalt to the parking lot. I wanted to ride Whore and Extra Credit, but they are always there for next time.

After completing the ride we were cleaning up and I talked to the riding partner of the guy who had fallen and hurt his arm. He didn’t have a key to the car so I drove up the road and picked up his fallen friend. They were both very thankful, I just figured after the day I had I needed to try and get some good Karma!

Sunday Allison and I rode at Daley Ranch. It was a great ride and I was so proud to see her clean Cardiac and all the other really steep pitches.

What a great weekend of riding with the wife and friends. This is what life is all about!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Lights, Trails, Action?

Last night was a typical Thursday night. The bikes were on the truck and we rolled from work headed to Vail for our rendezvous with Luke and some dusty fire roads and single track.

We arrived in the parking lot and started to prepare for the ride. I was feverishly mounting lights and batteries on the bikes. We were getting dressed and hurrying around. After a bit of time Allison went to take her bike off the rack and asked me to get the keys to open the lock.

The keys weren’t in the door of the truck. Uh oh. They weren’t in the middle compartment. Increasing concern. They weren’t in the back seat. On the verge of panic. They weren’t in the gear bags. Panic sets in.

When did I have them last? Did I leave them on the bumper (I had done this and destroyed a set of keys two years ago on our way to a training ride)? Are they gone for good? That cluster of keys is so important! It has my only set of keys for the Utah house, for our home, for the mailbox, for my mom’s house… AND FOR THE LOCK TO GET THE DAMN BIKES OFF THE TRUCK!

So after cursing myself for a minute, we leave to drive across town and see if dumb Justin has lost the keys for good, or if they are simply sitting in some innocuous location at home.

Don’t worry faithful readers, all was not lost. The keys were indeed left in the garage and what would have been a horrible night, turned out to just be an inconvenient delay in our evening ride.

So when we finally made it back over to start our ride the lights were required. We turned them on and headed out to get a bit of riding in before Luke had to head home (he had been riding for quite a while already).

Allison found that she was really struggling with her vision. It seems that although she can get around during the day, and ride quite well under well lit conditions, at night she becomes the female equivalent to Mr. Magoo.

I was riding with a single HID, she was riding with an HID plus a Halogen. Her pace while descending was pretty painful so when we dropped Luke off at the cars to head out on solo lap I swapped my HID with Allison’s Halogen. This swap seemed to help some, but she still wasn’t feeling comfortable so we didn’t ride the race course and stuck to mostly fire road. I am concerned though, I don’t think we can do much better than the two HID setup for night time racing.

In any case, I was having a blast out there! I was going fast uphill and down when riding with the HID, and then after dropping Luke off decided that I would ride with the Halogen off as much as possible. It was great fun! Allison had the equivalent of the Sun shining in front of her, so even with my light off I could still see pretty well. I felt really good and it had been a long time since we rode after dark. It was a beautiful night and I had a fabulous ride! You just can’t beat mountain biking with good friends.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Weekday Road Riding

This has been a pretty good week so far! I often take Mondays off, this week was no different. A recovery day after a bunch of mountain biking on the weekend is a good thing.

Tuesday I did a nice easy lunch ride with the wife and one of the guys from work. The pace was very casual as I held back and chatted with George. Actually, to be completely honest, he wasn’t chatting so much as gasping. Today he told me that his brain didn’t process most of what I said due to oxygen debt. In any case, I was at conversational pace. It was a nice ride, the weather was great. I do wish that our air quality would pick up. The smog has been kind of nasty lately.

Today I decided that Allison and I would ride the same route but I would hit it hard. I went all in a few times and was left waiting for Allison at the top of every climb. My legs feel strong and my cardiovascular system was keeping up nicely. Just another beautiful day in Socal.

I have been debating whether or not I should race Mt. SAC. I really want to go race and test my fitness, Bonelli was such a huge disappointment. At the same I don’t want to spend the money on the entry fee. Money isn’t super tight for us right now, but every bit I save is money that can be put toward Allison’s “XC Assault ‘09”. I think maybe I will just go and drink a beer and cheer for her. I need to get used to doing that!

So Happy It’s Thursday tomorrow! Looking forward to using the lights!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Long day, just what the doctor ordered!

“You can't always get what you want,
no you can't always get what you want.
But if you try sometimes,
you just might find,
you get what you need.”

-The Rolling Stones

Sunday we started riding nice and early. Brian, Luke, Allison and I set out from Hurkey Creek campground for a long day in the saddle.

As it turns out, Dave Turner was doing a demo day and was setting up his wares as we took off. I stopped to say “Hi” on our way out of the parking lot.

The route:
We rode up Keen Camp, through the Meadow, up the fire road to Buena Vista, down that all the way to the crappy HAB, up to Lower Southridge, up that to May Valley Road, down Sunset Trail, up to Ernie Maxwell, out and back on that, up to “Cherry on the Top”, down Southridge, down Snake Skin, up to Tres Hombres, down that, down the 24hr course and back to the cars.

So the totals for the day were around 30 miles and 4500ft of climbing. I have to say that I am totally wiped out from chasing the two skinny guys all day. Luke and Brian are both over 20lbs lighter than I am and trying to keep up with them on the climbs really takes a toll on me.

I tried for most of the day to push my pace and hold onto their wheels, but more often than not I wound up in no-manns land between them and Allison.

I did notice that all the climbs seemed shorter than the last time I rode them. That is a good thing, as I figure it reflects directly on my fitness level.

The trails were in horrible shape. There has apparently been a ton of horse traffic, and nearly every trail up there has had the trail tread pulverized into deep sand. The added difficulty of riding in 4” deep sand all day is an inconvenience, the real tragedy is that the sand makes it impossible to ride the fun technical stuff while climbing.

I managed to ride a few things, but was saddened at the shape of the trails. It seems that without some rain, a Pugsley will be the bike of choice for the trails up there.

While out riding we did have one major problem. On Lower Southridge there was a fallen pine tree across the trail. As we started to pick our way through the broken branches we realized there were horses on the other side.

I guess the horsemen had decided that since a tree had fallen in the trail they were going to blaze a new trail around it. They set about cutting a huge swath for their beasts of burden through a forest of living Manzanita. Seeing as how the huge group (more than 20 horses) was blocking the single track, we were forced to stand and watch as they hacked and sawed through living Manzanita trees. Finally after standing around for 10 or 15 minutes the horses stomped through the new path and we were able to move on.

It crazes me to think of the irony, the fact that people on horses have so many more legal places to ride in the designated “Wilderness” areas, yet their impact on the environment is so much more severe.

In any case, I got exactly what I needed. :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Vail preview and Items for sale...

Today we did around 20 miles in the dirt. It was great getting out there with some friends! Luke, Zippy, and Eric joined Allison and I for two laps of the 12hr of Temecula course and some extra credit stuff at the end. Allison is trying hard to tune back up for another solo attempt. She doesn't have the volume of training for this one that she had for the last one. I know she can rock it though, I just hope she figures out that she can!

It was a bit hot out there, but all in all I felt great on the bike. I was really railing on a few sections. I haven't felt that in tune with my bike for a while. Those moments when you really get in the flow are pretty special!

My knee didn't hurt too much, although this evening it has been a little uncomfortable.

I love riding my mountain bike. Tomorrow will be a long day in the saddle with good friends. I am looking forward to it! Maybe I will bring along the camera for a change, my blog could really use some nice pics!

By the way, if you know anyone that needs an Intense Socom, a Camelbak, or any R/C stuff check out my stuff that I have posted on Ebay. I need to sell this stuff off to help pay for Allison's 2009 race bike.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Vitamin I to the rescue!

So the other day I was discussing my knee problem with one of the mega atheletes here at work. He informed me that his regimen to work through pain similar to what I have been having is to take three Ibuprofen three times a day.

I guess that to maximize the anti-inflamatory response that is the necessary dosage. So I set about taking the pills. If you know anything about me, I hate taking pills. I dislike most things like that: doctor visits, vitamins, bandages, medication. It seems to me that humans evolved without such things, therefore I don't need them.

We will see how this all turns out. The pain in my knee is gone due to the Vitamin I. On last night's ride I went hard on the first lap. I stayed on Luke's wheel for the entire first climb. He wasn't feeling too hot and a few times I thought about passing him, but I was getting a good enough workout. On the second lap I just rode with Allison so the pace was much more human.

This morning the knee didn't hurt, despite yesterday's efforts. Good stuff. Hopefully in a week or so I will be able to stop taking the Vitamin I and have my knee be good as new!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


So Monday, after a good ride on Sunday, my knee felt crappy again. It felt so good to go on that ride. My legs have that familiar feel to them, I know I worked hard, but my knee hurts when I flex/extend my leg. Monday night I tried to ride after work but pulled the plug prematurely. Yesterday I didn't even try, I just set about working in the garage and doing the things I couldn't do when my knee was hurting worse. Did I mention I hate not being able to ride?

So next year it just so happens that the race I felt would be the most important race of the year for me, conflicts with the race that Allison felt would be one of the most important for her. I have been wanting to race Downieville for two years now, Allison thinks she can really tear it up at the Marathon Nationals. I think her racing priority trumps mine. I don't think it matters much that she would probably really kick butt at D-ville, the Marathon Nationals is on the USAC calendar. On the bright side Marathon Nationals is in Colorado. I really love Colorado. Also it is doubtful that we would actually be able to sign up for the All Mountain at D-ville since it fills up in like .5 seconds. Maybe next year...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Feel the burn!

Last night my buddy talked me into doing a road ride with the Cal Pools team this morning. I was aprehensive because of my lack of riding and recent injuries, but Brian and I have always had a "healthy competitive" relationship and it wasn't hard for him to talk me into it. My knee had hurt pretty good yesterday on my solo flat ride so I made arrangements with the spousal unit pick me up if I had to bail out mid-ride.

The temps this morning were really low, when we started riding I think it was down around 40F. I had selected the right clothing thankfully, but it was still really cold.

My knee held out fine despite the fact that the ride had some pretty crazy hills. According to my Garmin we had a few climbs around the 15% range and a few descents that neared 20%. It was really great riding with new people and seeing some new places. The route was awesome and went through some really great rural roads and even a few orchards. I am glad for the Garmin though, I would never be able to find the route again without having the GPS!

Riding in a pack like that makes me pretty uncomfortable. I think I have decent bike handling skills, but it is unnerving to rely on others to make the right decisions. Twice during the ride people in front hit the brakes without warning and I was okay, but people behind me nearly crashed into me despite the fact that I yelled "Brakes".

Despite my lack of fitness I was able to hang on or near the front which was pretty nice. This isn't to say that there weren't guys in the group that could have dropped me in a heartbeat, but they didn't so that was good!

I returned home expecting Allison to be icing her knee, I come in the house and hear the whirring of the trainer! She had the trainer set up in front of the TV so she could spin while watching football. Crazy girl. There is no stopping her. What an animal. If she stays healthy this winter next year will be very interesting!

Friday, October 10, 2008


The wife and I sitting on the couch, both of us with ice on our knees. Last night's ride definitely left my knee more sore today. Maybe I can get a few miles this weekend, but there will be no big rides.

If you see something on the news about an athelete couple in Murrieta that strangled each other for no apparent reason, it isn't only my fault. We both need to be heavily sedated to be this inactive!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Good and Bad.

Oh man, the joy of being back on my bike was overwhelming! It was great to go out and ride with a few friends, no matter how slow my knee forced me to ride. I did test it a little and it let me know that I shouldn't be testing it! Anyway the ride was short and slow, but it was great to be out there.

In life there are many times where bad news accompanies good news.

Allison had a horrible high speed crash tonight. She managed to not break any bones, but has very big areas of abrasion, a big knot on her head, both of her knees are probably as bad as my knee, and various other aches and pains (I am sure they will be worse tomorrow). According to her GPS log she was traveling around 28mph when she crashed, the high speed crash was the result of picking a bad line at speed and hitting a few large loose rocks on a fairly easy fire road descent. She laughed it off by saying that she "was due for a good crash". I am proud of her as she pedaled all the way back to the truck and never shed a single tear, TOUGHNESS. Man I hate to see her hurt so bad.

Good news and bad news. Life goes on.

Time off the bike.

So I have not been on the bike at all since I messed up my knee last weekend. In some respects I probably needed some time off the bike, at the same time I would have preferred to be more mobile to get other stuff done. I have forced myself to sit and watch TV with ice on my knee, so the spousal unit has been doing intervals on the trainer. It may sound crazy, but even the whirring of the trainer in the next room makes me wish I was DOING something... even if that something is as sucky as riding on a damned trainer!

Today I saw this quote from a VeloNews interview with Tyler Hamilton:

"... Your friends are your friends, and your acquaintances are your acquaintances ... A lot of acquaintances are there in the good times, and not there in the bad times, but you know, that’s normal, that’s life. I’m not bitter about it, and I’m not bitter towards anyone, but tomorrow I’m probably not going to be going to dinner with them, either."

I consider myself lucky to have a few friends. It is interesting to note that it is often the stupid things in life (like a drunken joke, for instance) that causes someone to dislike you. While your friends either don't care or will laugh at what you did in a 3 minute window while intoxicated on vacation, your acquaintances might act like it's some huge scandal. Add to that the fact that often people make dumb assumptions based on second hand information and some silly thing can really snowball! I would be willing to bet that the individuals who are the best at blowing up and pointing out someone elses mistake have themselves made much bigger mistakes (especially when intoxicated!).

You know what the coolest thing is though? All that crap, all the lame people, all the stupid problems, it all goes away when I am out there on my bike. The things that really matter come to the forefront and the joy, the freedom, of riding my bike is all that matters. It is like pressing the reset button. So cool.

Fuck the haters! They can suck it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Injured reserve...

Yesterday's race was not so good. I wound up breaking my chain and smashing my knee up on the first lap and took my first DNF. Plain old bad luck has struck me twice in the past two races. Hopefully this cloud will now go away and hang over someone else.

My right knee is trashed. As if the fall on the road bike last week wasn't bad enough (twisted knee, ligament pain, bruising, road rash) with damage to the outside of the knee, yesterday's chain snappage damaged the other side. The point of impact on the fork crown was just to the inside of the kneecap for maximum soft tissue damage. Last night my knee was ubber swollen even after icing it. Luckily it didn't need stitches, I hate those damn waiting rooms. Scraping a chunk of flesh off the adjuster on the top of the fork crown is now one of my least favorite pieces of bike maintenance.

So I will be off the bike for a few days. It totally sucks not being able to ride. Things that normally frustrate me become unbearable, people that bother me suddenly look like punching bags. Hopefully I will be able to ride later this week. More frustration, I could have used time off the bike to clean the garage. It really needs it as I have not re-organized since we returned from Colorado! Unfortunately I can't even do that. Knee and back injuries can now be classified as worse than shoulder or arm injuries in my book.

To try and distract me from the agony that is not riding, I checked into the viewers of my blog. I was quite surprised at who was checking it out. For those of you that don't know much about the interweb, the service that gives me that neat little counter at the bottom of the page also records a bunch of data. It records the IP address of those that are viewing the page, where they came from, where they went afterward, where they live(or work if you view from work), their ISP, what operating system they are using, their screen resolution, how many times a day they look at the page, etc. Anyway, I was surprised to see who was following my adventures. Enjoy! ;)

Maybe I will go through all our pictures later and find some of my favorite shots to post up. I am hoping to talk the spousal unit into going to the movies (we have free tickets) but neither of us care much for the aggravation. Just need to waste time till I can ride again.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Not 100% but not bad!

So today on our mountain bike ride I went pretty hard on the climbs, it is really nice to have someone fast to try to keep up with! It had been far too long since I had gone on a ride with anyone other than the spousal unit. I push myself pretty hard when I ride alone, but nothing is quite like that competitive spark to drive me to dig a little deeper and today really drove that home with me.

Unfortunately I had spent most of the day standing at work and my knee was sore before the ride. After the ride my knee is pretty swollen and quite sore. My goal on Saturday is to go out and have fun, it would suck if the fun is dampened by pain eminating from my knee!


I don't normally clog up my blog posts with stuff about work but today something happened that I want to record, something to look back on.

Lately at work things have been pretty crappy. I have been coming up with good ideas and in the past year or so quite a few of them have been ripped off. Even when they aren't ripped off, others have taken credit for my success, you wouldn't believe how blatant it has been! I have run the gammut of negative thought and emotion regarding this issue, lately I have just been angry.

Today a world famous person came to our work as a key note speaker for an internal technological exposition. At this exposition one of the ideas that I had generated won someone else an award (both recognition and cash). Needless to say I was feeling pretty bitter.

So after this famous innovator gives his speech it had been arranged for me to meet with him regarding some possible collaboration between his company and ours for the project I am working on. Lots of people have glommed onto this guy, we have very high profile people following him around like love sick puppies! It is rather disgusting because this guy was talking over all their heads and they just stand there and nod and hope that somehow being close to him they will suck up some of his power. At first I was pushed into the back row of the meeting (it was taking place in a laboratory) but eventually I pushed my way through the bobble heading managers and had quite a good technical discussion of the problem with this famous inventor. In any case as the meeting is coming to a close he looks at a Director and motions toward me, "We need to get your smart people with my smart people to work out the details." For some reason having that guy acknowledge me in that way made my head spin. It was the coolest proffessional thing that has ever happened to me. Anyway, for the first time that I can remember I walked out of work with a real smile and a feeling of accomplishment, not that I don't accomplish things, but that someone acknoledged me for excellence in my field. In any case, it felt great. Then I went out and rode my mountain bike. Can't beat that for a good day!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Testing, One, Two...

Tonight I decided I wanted to know if my knee would hold up for the race this weekend. Went on a nice 1 hr. flat ride but stood up and hammered a little to see how everything would hold up. Other than a little soreness I think I will be fine. My plans for the week as far as rides is all messed up, but tomorrow we do the last dirt ride before the race. Should be fun, this will be the first ride we bring lights on in a long time!

Wish me luck!

Monday, September 29, 2008

And before you know it...

SMASH you are on the ground!

More about that later though.

Saturday I did some exploring on the road bike. I would like to find some new routes to ride and it is easier to explore without Allison (she has no patience for my route finding). So I ventured west on Rancho California into De Luz, very nice riding up there. I wasn't sure how to connect the route I wanted to and couldn't find the right road on the GPS screen, but now I know how to connect up a nice 2hr ride with some good climbing. There is really some great road riding up there and I can't wait to tap into it some more. I also found some dirt roads that make me really want a cross bike! Anyway I got a nice 2+ hrs. ride in.

Sunday morning I started my ride in Palm Desert (we stayed the night at my mother in-law's house) and rode over to Palm Springs. It was a very pleasant ride and I pushed my pace pretty hard for most of the 2+ hrs. It was really nice riding over there in the shadow of the big mountain. I couldn't help but look up at the rocky slopes and craggy peaks and imagine the trails that could be built up there and accessed by the tram. It is a damn shame we don't operate more like Europe and Canada!

My muscles were very sore today so I wanted to do a short 1hr ride after work to loosen up a bit and get the blood flowing before dinner. I once again was scouting new routes and checked out yet another cool dirt road that led up onto the plateau (with more than one dirt road I can now piece together a nice bit of riding, almost enough to warrant taking out the MTB). I stopped and spoke to a mountain biker for a bit about my routes before getting back on the asphalt. I was quite pleased with the beautiful evening ride and thinking about the new route possibilities, I was also scouting out a new connector through the back of Murrieta, as I made a right turn onto a street.

BAM! Before I knew what was happening I was literally skidding on my head. As I was making the right turn I ran through a rivulet of water on a concrete gutter. It must have been slicker than puppy shit on a linoleum floor because my front tire was gone before it registered in my brain. My right knee must have smashed onto the ground with great force as it is sore and unstable feeling, and the road rash is pretty deep in two spots (front and outside of the knee). I didn't even look at my beautiful carbon Felt bike other than straightening out my now scarred Dura-Ace levers. There is some cosmetic damage to my Giro Atmos helmet from sliding on it, and some road rash on my right hand, arm, and shoulder. I am also doing my best to ignore a pain that is eminating from my back, it is probably just some muscle spasms...

So now my training plan for the week is up in the air. I had it all figured out so that I would get my intensity early in the week and taper for the race this weekend. Now I am just hoping my knee feels better. Training on the road is supposed to keep me from hurting myself on my mountain bike! Ridiculous!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Over heated and blown up!

Today I went for a lunch ride with the local fast guys. Bruce and Sergio are a pair of managers from here at work that have done a bunch of Iron Man races, Xterra races, La Ruta, BC Stage Race, and countless other races. Needless to say these guys are serious motors!

I went out with the goal of getting a high intensity workout. I should have gone out with the idea of just hanging onto their wheels. They were happy to let me go on the front any time I wanted on the way out to the real hills. There was a pretty stiff headwind and I probably should not have pulled at all.

(Begin aside)

Why is it that when I ride with someone faster than me I for some reason feel like a total slacker idiot if I just sit on? I mean really, I can't keep up with these guys with a rocket pack shoved up my ass! Yet there I go, pulling on a slight incline with a stiff headwind with two of the biggest cardiovascular monsters in a 30 mile radius on my tail! WTF was I thinking? I am the dumbest person to ever wear SPD shoes!

(Back to the story)

We got out to the hills and Bruce pulls up next to me and says, "Now do your intervals, we have four hills up ahead." I put my head down and cranked hard. I think I made it over the first two hills OK. My memory is a little fuzzy now though because it was almost 100 degrees out there and I cooked myself big time! By the time I got to the top of the fourth hill I could no longer see the two of them up ahead. I had goose bumps all over, was shivering a little, and had maxed out my HR twice, maybe three times. I was tapped! Cooked! Blown the eff up!

Bruce and Serg waited for me on a side street, and then they expected me to tuck in behind them on the flats. I couldn't even hold on. I dumped some water on my head and was able to hang within 30 yards or so... they wound up waiting up again to let me catch back on. The rest of the ride I did my best not to hold them up, but I felt like crap.

Anyway, it was really cool to see what real cyclists can do. I have a long way to go to even hold on to the wheels of real riders. After the ride in the locker room I did ask if they were going to come out and try DH racing. :) I think it is only fair, right? :) Not sure if I will ever have a big enough motor to hang onto the likes of those guys on their turf, but we all have our strengths.

Tomorrow I hope to get a nice long ride in. Should be different to be out there riding by myself for a change. Not sure how I will feel after blowing up today, but I definitely need the hours on the bike to prepare for the upcoming races. I hope the wife is ready to get back on the bike soon. I miss riding with her!

Maybe next week I will get bored at some point and do another installment of my gear selection stuff.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gear Selection Part I

“I am bored I got nothing to do. I’m gonna take a retard to the zoo!” - The Dead Milkmen

Not that I am an expert by any means, I figured that maybe I should document the loads of crap that I have purchased as I stumbled my way to what works for me. In order to give some sort of order to this, I will start with my head and move downward.

Helmets – Since a helmet goes on top of your head it falls first on my list. I have had the pleasure (?) of owning several helmets and breaking a few. Most helmets available will “get the job done” most of the time. The helmet’s job is to sacrifice it’s life in hopes of reducing the grade of your concussion during a crash. Helmet fit and fashion is a very personal topic. What works for one person may not work for others.

For trail riding my helmet of choice has been the Giro Xen. It has nice vents for cooling and fits my head well. I have owned a few of these helmets and they have protected my head well. The adjustable visor is handy but tends to fall down at times (read during extremely bumpy fast descents). The retention system is good, but I have had some issues with the “snap” where the plastic attaches to the helmet. When the helmet is tight they can pop loose. Being someone with a receding hair line (no not quite as bad as Leipheimer) I have had the problem of “vent spots”. These are dark spots that correlate with the location of vents in my helmet, they can be embarrassing and are probably the most conspicuous tan lines one could have. I have also purchased a Specialized Decibel helmet for my wife. She seems to like the helmet. It has a removable visor so you can look like a roadie if you like. Her biggest complaint about this helmet, and most helmets for that matter, is that her sunglasses don’t seem to fit quite right with the helmet on. Her complaint has something to do with the earpiece/helmet/strap interface. The only reason I mention this is because it is aggravating for me when I want to ride and it seems like she is messing with her glasses/helmet for like forever! (or 4 minutes, I am so impatient!)

For playing around or jumping I had purchased a 661 Dirt Lid. This helmet seemed to fit like shoes that are 4 sizes too big. It wasn’t very comfortable and flopped around on my head. It is a strange coincidence that I only wore it once to go to the local BMX track. I crashed on a big table top and my head slammed on the ground. The foam inside compressed and did it’s job. I don’t think I will buy another one to replace it.

For DH racing I have a Giro Remedy. I guess I own this helmet for a pretty dumb reason. It was cheap. Lots of my racing friends have Troy Lee helmets and claim that an expensive helmet will protect their heads better. I don’t know if that is true, but if it is I should have a Troy Lee also, but I have a hard time spending money on something you throw away after one good crash. I also owned one of the early Specialized Deviant helmets. It didn’t last very long as I crashed in a practice run at one of my first DH races and broke it. I suffered a pretty good concussion so I don’t rate that helmet very high.

There are several items that we have worn under (or over) our helmets for one reason or another.
-Halo makes a sweat band that is designed to direct sweat away from the front of your head to keep it from going in your eyes. I have found that they work, but can be ineffective if you sweat like crazy (me).
-I have also made some makeshift head/neck covers to aid in reducing sunburn. What I have done was to cut an old T-shirt so that the sleeve would fit over my head, while a portion of the front or back of the shirt would drape over my neck/ears. I call it a “Fake Mullet” and it works but looks funny (kind of like a real mullet).
-During the summer when the flies are really bad we have used bug nets (purchased at the local camping store) placed over the helmet/head to keep from having the bugs drive us mad. There is nothing worse than suffering up some ridiculous climb in the heat of summer and having 1,000 flies swarming your face and ears. We almost always have bug nets in our packs during the summer!
-In the winter on really cold or wet days I have used a shower cap placed over my helmet to reduce the chill. This can be quite effective although it does look funny.
-Another cold weather must have is a Pearl Izumi Skull Cap (don’t know if that is what they call them but I will call it what I want in my blog). These little items can really save your head and ears on long cold descents in the winter.

I have also seen cyclists using hats under their helmets. I am guessing that they do this to eliminate sun burn through the vents and on their noses, but I just can’t wrap my head around wearing a hat under a helmet. It seems to me that it would completely negate the effectiveness of vents in your helmet?

To round off this blog I will discuss eyewear. In my opinion eyewear is an absolute must have for riding. On the trail there are all sorts of sticks and objects that could get into your eye, which is painful but most likely less so than the high speed crash that would most likely follow! On the road there is always some sand or gravel being kicked up from wheels in front of you and once again the ensuing crash is worse than the grain of sand that got in your eye. So for most of my riding I have a pair of Specialized sunglasses. They work well and were cheap. For night rides I like to have the cheapo glasses with interchangeable lenses. I also have a pair of regular clear safety glasses that I can use at night. For DH racing I usually use goggles (although sometimes I wear sunglasses because they are more comfortable). Goggles seem to be pretty much the same across the board, but having tinted lenses is usually a plus, as is having the ability to run tear-offs for muddy conditions.

So that about covers the head stuff I think.

Monday, September 22, 2008


So the big weekend has come and gone and neither of us came home with a new jersey.

What happened? After blowing up early and making a dumb mistake, I fought my way back to second and then blew it. I was pushing too hard on the descent, riding my XC bike like a DH bike and double flatted. With only one spare tube I didn't even stop, I rode the last bit of the race with two flats and held onto third. Honestly third felt like last. It sucked horribly.

I waited around for a long time at the finish line, hacking and coughing my brains out, waiting for Allison to finish. After watching all the girls I knew she was in front of come through the finish line, and asking everyone I saw if they saw someone wearing a green argyle jersey, I found out that she had flatted. Whew! I thought maybe she crashed.

Turns out she had a really hard time trying to fix the flat rear tire and spent about 40 minutes on the course working on it/begging for help. It sucks pretty bad because when I passed her earlier in the race she had dropped every other expert woman and was not far behind the Pro women. Kudos to her for sticking it out though, no DNF for her. She was the last participant to cross the line and I am proud of her for that.

Now what? Nothing changes. We train and prepare for the next race. Like a machine with no emotion we will continue on despite the loss. We have a few more races before the season is over and each one of them counts. After that? You guessed it, training and preparing for next year! Who needs down time? Harden the fuck up!

Friday, September 19, 2008

My blogs have sucked lately...

And I figured out why. NO PICTURES! :)

From this last weekend's race...

From The Vacations...

Ahhh... Thats better. What a good summer! Fall is upon us!

So you think you can keep up?