Thursday, July 31, 2008

And I thought Red was fast...

Tang is way faster! (Especially with red bling on it!)

Today was my first ride on the new frame. I was hesitant. I thought maybe the Scandium (in case you don't know it is just a slightly different alloy of Aluminum) frame would ride harsh.

I don't know whether the great ride was due to one particular component but man is this a great bike! It is wicked fast and didn't feel harsh at all. Some of this may be due to the Easton carbon seatpost... don't really know. Maybe at some point I will have to try a Thompson post to compare.

I did have some issues with the seatpost slipping down. I hope that I can get this squared away. It was slipping downward pretty fast. I am going to do some research and find out what others have done to combat this.

I also had a near disaster on a 3' drop to flat. I have done this drop quite a few times on a couple different bikes and it isn't too bad... untill your handlebars rotate on the landing! Man I almost lost it! Scary! I am always nervous tightening down on the carbon bars. Well not anymore. On the way home we stopped at Sears and picked up a really nice beam-type torque wrench and a few 3/8" drive allen wrenches. Now I can finally apply the specified torque! :) HOORAY.

Since we spent all night packing up and getting ready to leave in the morning for vacation none of the pictures I took today of the new bike are uploaded. It will just have to wait till we get back. I can't wait to be camping at high elevation and riding! 12,000ft here we come! YEEEEHAAAAAAAAA!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Long time no post...

It has been a little while.

Lots of stuff has transpired.

Lets see, we have been riding lots. Last weekend we rode on Saturday with Brian and Kris. What an awesome ride! I really like them. I think they are going to make great parents for their new baby on the way. I spent a lot of the ride with Kris. Being pregnant and having to keep a lid on her HR made her concerned that she wouldn't be able to ride with us, but I had a blast just chatting with her and hanging out.

Saturday we had another awesome day. We rode Aliso-El Morro with the Mannimals. It was lots of fun. I was really bummed when Jeffe had to bail out due to worn brake pads (maintain your bike much?). After the ride we hit up The Path for some much needed parts purchasing and then went over to Jeffe's for some BBQ. Jeffe's pad is psick! He was an incredible host as well with great beer and tasty BBQ!

Other stuff going on... I am in a transition state lately. I am moving away from participating on MTB message boards as the crap that was going on there had started to effect me (and Allison too). It makes me kinda sad in a way. We had a lot of awesome times last year organizing trips and sharing trails and our lives with other riders that we met. Of course there are probably 100 A-holes for every 2 quality human beings on the planet so eventually the little utopia that we were participating in would be shattered. I will miss interacting with the people that we met as I am sure most of them will not keep in touch. On the bright side, I look forward to the next chapter of The Mann Adventure... the reduction of distractions might help us both focus on the important things in life like riding, racing, training, VACATION...

So we leave for our big vacation of the year on Friday! Man am I looking forward to it. I had hoped to share this vacation with others but it wasn't to be. Allison and I will be doing some high altitude camping and riding in AZ, CO, and NM. It should be a great adventure... that is what life is all about!!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

San Juan Sprint

So after all these miles and all that climbing I decided that if I had any legs left at all I would give myself a little test. I told Allison on the way to the trailhead that if I felt okay I was going to drop the hammer and see how fast I could get to Cocktail Rock.

Luke took off out front and led through the lower switchbacks. We were pushing a decent pace, but not really setting the trail on fire. I stayed right on his wheel. We both cleaned all the lower switchbacks and when Luke missed one higher up, it was the right hander right after the difficult rocky left, I passed him and took the lead. At this point I felt pretty good so I set a tough pace. Luke was pretty close so I didn't let up at all when the trail flattened out a bit. I had a little run in near Cocktail Rock with some guys that were descending. I was climbing way too fast and out of control, causing a collision with the lead rider. *rolls eyes*

So when I arrived at Cocktail Rock the Garmin read 58 minutes. Not too shabby methinks. Luke was of course right behind me but said that I had set a blistering pace and that he had worked really hard to stay with me. If that is true, then I am stoked. Luke is a pretty dominant Expert level XC racer in his age group!

After the sprint to Cocktail, we continued around our figure 8 loop (including Viejo Tie/Chiquito) and then descended from Cocktail back to the cars.

It was a great ride and I was stoked to see Jeff Sims on the trail! Our little group was whole again as we were joined by Dan and Steph.

I really enjoyed today's ride. Next week I hope to keep up with my training and continue to eat well. I really feel pretty good lately. I am going to have to throw a Rim Nordic race on the calendar to test our fitness levels!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Whore Catagory...

Wow, what a week!

Wednesday after work my co-worker and I rode from work in Temecula to his house in Yucaipa. According to Garmin Training Center we rode 50.9 miles and climbed 3284 ft. What those stats don't tell you was that the ride was after a day at work, and it was hot out. The route was interesting, and included a couple of miles on a dirt road, and lots of scenery in the back of Temecula/Murrieta near Lake Skinner. I felt pretty good on the ride, the first 35 miles or so were all fairly flat to slight incline with nearly all of the climbing coming in the last 15 miles. On the climb Dave wasn't feeling very strong so I dropped it down a few gears and rode with him. We did quite a bit of chatting. Overall a very enjoyable ride!

I did not sleep well Wednesday night though and we were up before the sun to head to the airport for our flight to Tucson. Thursday was a long day; up at 4:30am and we didn't return to Dave's till 10:30pm (I might have gotten to bed around 11:15). One of the cool things about our trip was that we stopped at a great bike shop in Tucson, Fair Wheel Bikes. It was a great little shop and I dare say it rivaled The Path bike shop for cool items in the store.

Friday it was time to ride home. We left Dave's house at 6:30am. Dave was in a hurry to get to work so I dropped the hammer and he fell into my draft. I pushed hard! Our average speed from Dave's to work was over 22mph and my average heart rate was 150 bpm! I was taking the day off from work to go spend it with my mom as she is having a tough time with things, so I then rode from work to home. I used the ride home as a cool down, and managed to flat my rear tire for the first time (ran over a piece of metal that had a spike sticking out). The Specialized Armadillo has been a great tire, it hadn't flatted before now and is almost completely worn out!

Spending the day with my mom on Friday was a good thing.

Today was a big day! Our route took us from Harrah's Rincon Casino up the South Grade of Palomar Mtn, down the East Grade to Lake Henshaw, then back up East Grade and down South Grade. It was brutal. Although Allison and I joked about it being a Whore Catagory, by cycling standards both climbs were Category 1 climbs. The route was about 50 miles and 7200 ft of climbing, almost zero flat. I used Allison as an excuse and rode slower than I could have (average HR of 131 bpm, kept it around 150 on the climbs, Allison was around 170 trying to hold my wheel!), which is fine considering the mileage I have done in the last 7 days (nearly 300 miles) and we are riding tomorrow as well. The views up there are spectacular, I can't wait to ride that route on a clear winter day! The temps were scorching, it was hot! I was very thankful for every bit of shade out there! Overall it was a great ride! Good to see Eric again too before he leaves for the east coast.

Tomorrow I hope to have some legs and energy as we are going to ride SJT. Should be great fun!

As a side note... I have started logging my rides on They provide a really cool service. The links to my above routes in order are here...

Wish me luck tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Death in the family...

My mom's husband died today. Sucks to have my mom going through difficulty. Friday I will be going down to spend some time with her after I get back from Tucson. Sunday's plans might change for me... we will see.

Nice flat easy road ride after work tonight. My legs still feel like crap. I am hoping they feel better tomorrow.

Oh mann...

My legs are shaking just thinking about the next five days.

Tomorrow I am riding after work to my co-worker's house. It is about 55 miles one way with a ton of climbing (I will know the details after the ride).

Thursday I am flying to Tucson and back on business.

Friday I am riding back to work in the morning (55 miles, mostly descending).

Saturday we are riding a double traverse of Palomar Mtn. (around 50 miles with 9k ft of climbing)

Sunday we are riding San Juan Trail.

Somewhere in that time I have to build my new bike so that I have a mountain bike to ride. I also will be away from home for two of the nights and unable to work on the bikes. I am hoping to get a bunch of it done tonight... but also have to pack and get ready for my business trip.

To compound my apprehension my legs are very sore today. The combination of a century on Sunday and leg day in the gym on Monday has left my legs feeling quite knackered.

What is it that my bracelet says again... :) HAHAHAHA!

Allison makes a good wrist model...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

DH and a Century...

Saturday we headed up to Big Bear to get some lift assisted fun in with the crew from STR. It was fun! I didn't feel all that good on the bike, I think the stiffness from last weeks leg workout really hurt my riding. I just felt off all day. I managed to bend my rear rotor all to hell, and then found out my rear wheel had detensioned itself! Needless to say I have a lot of work to do on the bikes between building the Orange Machine and fixing up the 'Box, not to mention all the work that Allison's bikes need. ARGH! Anyway we had a blast. The day was fabulous and even ended with getting soaking wet in the rain on the last run!

Today we got our road on in a serious way. 108 miles worth. It was so nice down at the beach. I am really envious of the people that can afford to live down there! I am really tired and want to go watch the TdF stage with Allison on the couch. So I am cutting this blog short.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Vail and the Orange Machine

Yesterday was a hard day and I am paying for it today!

At lunch we hit the gym and did back/biceps/legs. I haven't done any leg workouts in the gym in a long time. After work we did a little over an hour on the mountain bikes. This morning I could barely walk!

Last night's ride at Vail was pretty fun. Allison and I got there a little early and did a quick loop up Ambulance and down Tunnel, then we met up with Luke and Tom and set out for the rest as a group. We went up Bridges, and then the group split with Luke and I heading up to Rattlesnake. The switchbacks on Rattlesnake are horribly torn up and I could not ride them. We were looking for the new single track that Eric Carter made and rode right past it. After riding the entire length of the ridge we doubled back and finally located the single track. The new single track was really pretty cool. It was a bit fluffy in places and needs to be worn in, but other than that it was fun and had a few good steep spots and some cool turns. Luke and I then rode up Marine Corps (we both cleaned it!) and met up with the rest of the group. The group then climbed up Ambulance and then descended Marlin. Near the bottom of Marlin we picked up a short little single track that Robert Herber put together, then climbed back up Ambulance and did Tunnel again.

The last trip up Ambulance was interesting. Allison decided to attack and I was unable to catch her. At one point I thought I would make the catch, as she sat up and slowed down, I got to within maybe 15 feet and she realized I was there. She put her head down and pulled away! She is getting really fast!

So last night when we got home my new frame was sitting at the doorstep. I will try to post some pictures later when I get around to taking it out of the box! (Imagine that, I got a new frame and didn't have the energy to unbox it!)

The plan for tonight is to do a flat easy road ride to spin the legs out some. Saturday we will be going up to Big Bear and Sunday we are planning on a really long road ride. Should be interesting!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Just another week...

It is always tough to go back to work after such an incredible weekend of riding. My road rash from the silly crash on Sunday kept me from sleeping well and Monday was not such a good day. Our after work road ride was okay, not too hard and not too soft.

Tuesday we hit the gym and did chest/shoulders/triceps. After work we went to dinner with Allison's dad so we didn't ride. I have such a hard time making good food decisions when eating out.

Wednesday we did intervals after work (1:30 on, 3:00 off, 2 sets of 3, 3 north and 3 south) on the road bikes. I have been going all out on the intervals and I fade quite a bit after the first few reps. Traffic and stop signs/lights are a total pain when trying to do intervals, the last north bound interval was interrupted by a red light and a right hand turn (crappy). I am starting to think that maybe we would be better off doing them up on SRP but would have to spend a lot of energy to get up there which means less energy to spend on the intervals. So far on these intervals I am only able to get my heart rate up to 179. I am not holding anything back though as I am drooling, gasping, and nearly passing out by the end of each "on" time. My HR profile just seems to plateau just under 180 during these efforts. I think next week we will probably try out some longer "on" time intervals like 3:00 or something to see how we respond.

Tonight we will be doing some dirt miles at Vail. I am hoping to put in some hard efforts, but I will be on the 'Box so we will see how that goes.

I have been pretty frustrated with my replacement frame from Niner. I should have received it last week and I still don't have it. Without a proper race bike I am glad we didn't pre-register for the Rim Nordic Stage Race. I wanted to give this race a go, but it just wasn't in the cards. Instead we will be doing some lift accessed DH stuff in Big Bear on Saturday followed by a training ride on Sunday. Maybe Sunday will be our first road century, maybe not... Allison needs to read her new bracelet!

Vacation plans have kind of taken a back burner lately. I am not sure what we will wind up doing. I was really looking forward to Crested Butte but Allison doesn't seem to really be getting excited over it. Certainly we have to figure it out soon if we want to hit the high country. I think I will try to do some work on our camping gear in the next few days.

I think my big vacation next year will be riding the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango. I have done some research and I think it would make the perfect vacation. There are some significant challenges around taking on a huge bike packing trip like that. The adventure of it all should be pretty incredible!

Monday, July 7, 2008

4th of July: An eclectic 3 day weekend!

Or... 3 Days, 4 People, 12 bikes! (Mongoose DH, 2 Socoms, Demo7, Lunchbox, Canzo, AIR9, 575, Felt Z-25 and F1X, K2 Mach5, Roubaix)

Independence Day may not mean much other than fireworks to some. For me it is the celebration of one of the axioms of my existence... "Have the best time that I can without messing up someone else's time."

In celebrating the freedom we enjoy it seemed appropriate that we spread our passion for cycling over all three days and celebrate our cycling diversity with good friends. Our friends and training partners Steph and Dan shared all three days with us. It is always wonderful sharing time with them as they are really great people and amazing cyclists.

Friday we got our shuttle on with the DH bikes. It was an awesome day of gravity oriented riding. Lots of jumps and drops and challenging features. I conquered some demons with gap jumps and step ups. It was really hot out though and it was exhausting to have gear on so we called it quits after only two shuttles.

Allison was really throwing down too which always makes me proud! She attempted one of the smaller gap jumps and came up short. It sucked to have her crash, but I am proud of her for trying. The only way to go to the next level is to push yourself, she makes me proud by going outside of her comfort zone. When she does stuff like this it makes me sad to think that her focus is XC racing!!!!!!

Saturday we went "goater" and rode a Tour de Noble. It was a great day. I put in a few hard efforts early on trying to clean some obstacles on the lower section of trail known as Extra Credit, then railed the descent on the other side.

I paid for my efforts early on though when it came to climbing up the road. The heat got to me and I was dripping sweat and last to arrive at the Big Oak Tree, the landmark at the top of the asphault climb. Indian Creek is always a challenge, I did my best to conserve as much as possible when the trail permitted.

The descent after Champagne Pass was going really well untill I pinch flatted on the front, I now have a significant dent in that rim! The climb up to Penny Pines was uneventful and hot.

After a break in the shade and a refill on fluids we pushed on to finish climbing.

I made a few runs at a log ride, and then did some rock stunts.

The descent was filled with fun and speed, each of us embracing the moment, celebrating the day and our hard earned reward.

Sunday was a new day and along with it came yet another pair of bikes for the day's riding. We decided to beat the heat and do our "Cool and Easy 50" road ride. The weather was perfect and the four of us had a great day. I don't know if you can beat nice road ride near the beach during the summer!

What a great three day weekend. I feel really good despite a bit of road rash from a silly mistake on the road bikes on Sunday. This week I hope to get in some interval training and if my Niner frame arrives in time we should be racing at the Rim Nordic Stage Race this weekend!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Not such a good week so far...

So far this week I haven't felt so hot.

Monday the day started out very poorly. After the big ride on Sunday I took a couple of Tylenol PM's in the hopes that it would help me sleep. I don't know if that was the cause, but I was totally woozy for most of the morning. I felt a little better as the day progressed, but never really felt like my mind and body ever really turned on.

After work we decided to go on a flat recovery ride. Bad idea. Allison was complaining so much I could have strangled her. I was hurting pretty bad as well, but women have that special thing that makes them want to share everything verbally. She was letting me know how uncomfortable she was on the saddle, that it was hot, that she couldn't stay in Zone 2, I was riding too fast, her legs didn't feel good... I didn't feel well either and was irritated. That didn't help things. In any event the recovery ride went poorly although I tolerated the pain (my butt and my ears). Monday never really came around.

Tuesday I felt much better. We didn't ride into work to give our sit bones a rest. At lunch we did chest/shoulders/triceps in the gym. I am trying to lift light. Despite my attempts to keep the lifting light, I am building muscle on my upper body. It certainly doesn't help me with XC racing or training to carry extra muscle mass, but at the same time I feel that for DH it is a good thing. I also am afraid that if I neglect my upper body I will be more prone to injury in crashes and stuff. I wish I could progress beyond crashing as a mountain biker... I think that is a silly notion though.

After work we hit the hills pretty hard. I pulled most of the time, and gapped Allison at the top of the first climb but not like I usually do. On the big climb I set a nice hard pace and she held my wheel. I upped the pace a bit and she was still there. I was maxed out and was going to have to sit up, I thought that she might have fallen off... Just as I was ready to shift down from the big ring, sit up and wait for her, I heard her shift her cassette, she was right on me!!! I was broken. I dropped down and fell in behind her. Granted I was able to recover and then attack on the final portion of the hill leaving her to crest it alone, but man is she getting strong. The days are over when I have to wait for her (unless she is holding back which she seems to do often). To think that she is now nearly my equal is both awesome and terrifying. I am both filled with pride and ripped to shreds. I don't know how much longer I will be an effective training partner for her. I think she has amazing potential and hope that when she eventually leaves me in her dust that she remembers that I used to wait for her. :)

I am looking forward to the rest of the week. I want to do some intervals tomorrow after work. This weekend we have some pretty awesome riding planned. Thursday I should be getting my new XC frame. It makes me somewhat sad to retire my old trusty SIR9, but I have to say that Niner bikes is a great company and has great people working for them. I hope my new AIR9 will give me as many great miles of service as the SIR9 did. I however looking forward to a lighter XC bike!
One of my favorite shots of a dear old friend...

May you rail buff single track for eternity.