Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Season Ends with a Fizzle

Not much blogging lately as it seems the end of my season was one big disappointment after another. Maybe I set too high of goals for myself, or perhaps I just blew it. Oh well, as it's just bike racing: not the end of the world.

The Ohio state championship was this past weekend, and I made the drive down to Yellow Springs with the idea of being on the podium in my head.

The race started way way mellow, and I sat in and bid my time the first 2 laps. It started to gradually ramp up a bit, but nothing too out of this world.

Then I screwed myself.

The course was a bit slippery, but I knew where the problem spots were. For some reason I didn't keep this in mind as I washed out in a 180 and lost contact with the lead group.

I was still sitting in 3rd overall in Ohio, and maybe 5th or 6th in the race so I needed to stay on the gas if I wanted to stay there. As Ernie was hot on my tail.

Staying consistent is key in a cross race. Too many mistakes and you're toast. With that being said, I made the world's biggest cat 4 mistake you can. I ate shit on the double barrier.

I got a little ahead of myself and was thinking about what I needed to do to make contact with the lead group.

One thing leads to another, and I don't unclip in time. Wham! Front wheel into the barrier, me over the bars. I was fine, but 3 people got by me and were long gone.

I had to go into the big as my stem had twisted on the fork steerer, and that was pretty much all she wrote.

I duked it out with 2 Bob's Red Mill dudes for 9th place. Which I was able to get.

That left me 4th overall in the Ohio ranks.

2 more cap city races on the horizon, but after that, a few weeks off, then it's Georgia time for the first >Snake Creek Gap TT.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Iceman Bonketh

Iceman has cometh and gone. Longer writeup when I get photos.

After dealing with some pretty pitiful traffic, which was a surprise as I was supposed to go with the fastest times from last year. I moved up to where I wanted to be with about 14 of the 29 miles down.

Time to sit in for a second and refuel... I grab my waterbottle and it's frozen solid. Water handup coming too, oh sweet, my frozen hands drop 2 handups.

I blew up spectacularly. Seeing stars for pretty much the last half of the race and barely limping back in.

1:51 for 4th place in 19-24.

Longer write-up on the horizon.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Louisville USGP

Holy late blog entry.

Louisville came and went. Disappointed with my results, but can't win them all. I had an awesome time hanging out with my dudes and that's what it's all about yo.

The course was super fun. A wild sandpit, sketchy wood sections, a few short super steep climbs. The logistics for the race definitely needed improvement. The thing that pissed me off the most was the fact that they cut our (2/3 and SS) race short because they were running late. Way to cut the biggest field of the day's race short.

I got a reasonably good start. Super duper Clif Bar wunderkind attacked a bunch, I felt good and was able to keep him in site for maybe 2 laps. Then I bit it in the sandpit. Shit.

After scrambling back on, I was riding with a dude for 4th. The top 3 were just too far out of reach.

I got outsprinted at the line by a junior, again, which is pretty much the story of my season. 5th place. I'll take it.

Sunday was a bit more fun, course-wise. They added some distance, got rid of a run up, and this lead to more fun racing.

I wanted to stay out of the wind for the first few laps, so I took the start a little easier. Bad idea. Clif Bar dude took off, and I wasn't in position to chase. No one wanted to go either, as there were still a few dude that start well and then blow up later on leading the way, so they were pretty much at their limits.

I worked my way up to 3rd, and then what do you know, a buried tree stump in some moon dust dirt. I hit it super fast and was scared that I flatted. About 2 turns later I bit it super hard going into a turn very quickly. Flat front tire rolled over.

Trashed Dugast Rhino. Ouch.

After riding half a lap on my flat front to the pit, I was able to get my pit bike. Shit! i forgot to air up my tires before the race. I probably had 15 psi front and rear. I slowly picked myself some places back up for the rest of the race and ended up in 24th I think. Oh well.

As said before, I never want to race cross in 80+ degree weather again.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Creek-less Cross

Thanks to Kevin and all the fine gents at Chagrin River Cycling for putting on a well run race.

The course was very much different. Not saying that in a bad way by any means. There was supposed to be a deadly climb / run-up and then an equally deadly descent, but I think too many people were scared and / or bitch and moaned until it was changed.

Instead we had a super technical course full of a million twists and turns. Some greasy double track and a little gravel added a bit of power areas to the course. It was unusual, but I think that's what made it very very fun.

I finally got a skinsuit, so I'm an official cyclocross dude now. I had to prove myself and show that my gut was really just belly breathing.

The lemans start was sano. Elbows were flying people tripping over each other, the whole nine yards. Some dude in town from California asked: "You guys don't start every race this way... do you...?" Welcome to Ohio dude. Jungle cross.

I didn't get a half bad start, which is nuts as I've ran about ten feet total my entire life.

Weeks got off the front, and I played the doting teammate trying to hold the man, the myth, the legend, Paul Martin off as long as I could. I was actually surprised. I was able to duke it out with Paul for probably 6 or so of the 11 laps (a wild guess to make me sound cool and because I was too gassed to see lap cards.)

After he decided he was done playing around, Paul ripped my legs off and moved up to Matt. Time for me to bridge back up.

I worked my ass off getting back up and had the gap down to maybe five seconds when I forgot every bit of techincal ability I had and washed out on a fucking acorn or something. Damnit.

It was going to be tough to move back up and I had Ernie fresh of a 24 hour race and a cross race the day before, on my tail.

Made good progress to move back up, and fell on like the easiest part of the day. A 2 mph little tight chicane thing. I think was just so gassed that my center of balance got goofy and I just fell. So dumb.

I got back up from that pretty easily and luckily was able to fight Ernie off for third place.

Third behind Paul and Weeks is first in my book. I'll take it.

UCI3 craziness

Long overdue for a write up on this. The Cincy UCI3 weekend has came and went. Big weekend for me, and it worked out pretty well.



After last year's muddy shitshow, the conditions and course on Friday were a large change of pace. The course was extremely hilly, very bumpy, and full of twists and turns. A drivers course with very few areas to really recover.

Due to my ninja computer skills I was able to procure a front row start. I was going to use this to my advantage and blow the race apart as soon as possible.

Ray Smith took the holeshot with me planted on his wheel. I bid my time and made a pass when the course allowed. Now time to attack!

Attack I did; I ended up opening up perhaps a 30 second gap and was feeling good, aside from the oppressive heat.

Life was fine and dandy until 29er crew rider Travis Mullen made it up to me. He seemed in better shape than me, and pretty much towed me around the course. To say he was smooth was an understatement, he would flow through the turns as I washed out and rode my brakes. For the last few laps I held on for deal life as he gapped me out of the turns and I had to really work to get back on. With two to go, it finally became enough. Travis got away. I was all by my lonesome

On the bell lap, I thought I might be able to close the gap on him, but a lapped rider miss interpreted my RIDER BACK for FALL IN FRONT OF ME. So that pretty much ended the chase. Travis got me by 20 seconds. 2nd place. Thanks bro.

Nonetheless pumped on my result and I didn't die of heat stroke, so life is good.


Java Johnny's was awesome last year, and the course was pretty much the same this year. The exception being the double sandpit was replaced by two tight 180s through the sand.

The race started the same as Friday. Ray leading it out and me blowing the race apart as soon as possible. After everyone settled in, myself, Jason and two Red Zone juniors got away.

The race then began to be a battle of attrition. The redzone juniors ganged up on us and would attack and then counter relentlessly. Whenever Jason or I would get away, they'd bring us back. It wasn't looking good, so I wanted to sit on the front and control the pace. I got to show my cyclocross skillz by dismounting on the driveside and taking the quick way around the sand every time and that helped to tire people out and buy me a little gap.

So after lap after lap of being attacked into the ground, one of the attacks shook Jason, so it was the two Red Zone dudes and I. I was liking my chances as they were both seeming super tired and I was opening up a reasonable gap out of turns.

On the two little humps before the paved second, dude number 2, who sat in most of the time attacked. It caught be by enough surprise. I laid it all on the line to close the 2ish bike length gap he had on me before we got to the pavement, but I couldn't.

So sprint time it was. I was able to get about a bike length away, but it wasn't in the cards. Outsprinted by a 16-year old. Haha at me.


I was out for blood on Sunday. The course was way wide open and sort of a power rider's course. Not my style, but no biggie.

What do you know, the 16-year-old dude proved he wasn't a fluke and ripped everyone's legs off.

But before that, I once more tried to blow the race apart. I hauled through the start finish and through the sandpit and got a group of 5 off he front with me eventually.

It was all about staying smooth and not crashing and conserving energy on many of the wide open areas through the course. It was 90ish degrees and I was dying.

Everything was going fine and dandy until youngman attacked right before the sandpit. I wasn't in the best position and foolishly instead of chasing, I figured we'd reel him back in. Nope.

Jason, Travis and I were together with someone maybe 10 seconds behind. It was way too hot and I was way too tired to make anything happen, so I hung on to Jason and Travis for dear life.

I finally started getting into my groove and enjoying the course a bit more. I planned on sitting in until the uphill finishing straight and making my move there after getting nice and rested up.

The course had other plans as I ate a tremendous amount of shit on the swooping left before the descent / right hand turn of death.

See ya later second and third place. Hello fighting life and limb for fourth.

I was able to recover quickly enough and rolled across the line comfortably enough in fourth, close enough to second and third to watch Jason take the sprint finish from Travis. Atta boy.

I never want to race cyclocross in the heat again.

The end.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kings CX weekend

THE GARTMAC© and I motored down to just outside of Cincy early Saturday morning to race the 2 day weekend put on by 7 Hills cycling.

The venue was pretty sweet, it was an old golf course that was taken over for cyclocross and cross country. We should do that in the Cleveland area...

Saturday's racing was pretty straight forward. The course was pretty much the least technical thing ever. A few fast 180s and a few off camber sections, but besides that, a grass crit, which isn't my strength.

I got a good start, and was with a lead group of maybe 4 dudes for 3 or so laps. It got to the point that they'd put in these gigantic accelerations out of the corners, and I eventually couldn't match them. So off the lead group I went.

It was pretty much a time trial from then. I had to hold off Kenda's Ryan Gamm behind me, and was thinking about making a move up to a Bob's Red Mill dude in front of me, but that would have required a huge effort, and with the big race being Sunday, I wanted to have a little in the tank.

I rolled through in 8th place in the elites. Not bad.

Sunday was the course reversed. Still fast and dusty. The only hard part was the sand from the first day was now uphill. Ouch.

The race played out the same exact way as it did on Saturday. Good start, hung with the fast guys for 3-4 laps, and then had to chase. As you can see in the video, I was in no-mans land.

Same deal as the previously day on the finishing end too. I was able to hold off Gamm, but this time I took the dig to try to catch the guy in front of me. I wasn't able to do it, but such is life.

8th in elites again.

NEOCX race at Kent State Stark this weekend, along with OMBC at West Branch.

Cincy UCI3 is on the horizon, and I'm very excited.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wendy Park sweatfest


The photo pretty much describes my feelings on the day... hurt and sweaty

Spin organized the second race of the NEO CX series. It was actually pretty similar to Lake Effect's setup last year, with the addition of a nice long beach section, which was rough, and some additional twists and turns.

So on to the racing: I have had a mental block this year with getting myself clipped in and getting a good start. This race was no exception. I completely blew it at the start and had a ton of difficulty clipping in, so I was probably 6th wheel or so through the first few turns.

Luckily I was able to move up by the barriers and myself, Matt Weeks and Steve Twining got a little bit of a gap. I'm not quite as super stud as they are, so I was able to hold on for a lap and a half, then had to fall back, being passed by Paul Martin and Jason Halloran. Ernie and I rode together for a few laps, and reeled Jason in. The course was pretty much a madhouse. There were people walking through it with their heads down to go fishing, stakes and tape were falling over, people were faceplanting, and pretty much everyone was getting flats.

After Ernie and I got up to Jason, Ernie was able to get away letting Jason and I duke it out for the last 3ish laps. He was riding very strong, so I new I was in for a hard fought battle. When push came to shove, he had the legs that day and I didn't. He attacked me at the end of the pier right before 1 to go, and when I went to counter, I just couldn't get back on, no matter how hard I tried. So, defeated, I was able to keep the rubber side down and roll through in 6th place. Not as nice as the Manitoc results, but the season is young.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Big Valley Day 1: CX Race

First and foremost, thanks to 331 racing for putting on another awesome year at Manitoc, and thanks to Team Lake Effect and all of our gracious volunteers for putting on a well-ran cross race.

After much anticipation, cross season was upon us. I had spent a day earlier in the week laying out the course, so I knew what to expect: some twisty, rooted singletrack, and some nice wide open grass. A U-Turn sand pit mixed stuff up a little bit. It was a tough course: if you let your guard down for a second you'd pinch flat, or do as I did, wipe out on gravel.

I lined up next to Team Jamis mountain biker Blake Harlan whose bags were lost in transit and was rocking some stylish baggies and a polo.

The gun went off, Blake got the holeshot, and I was right on his wheel. We twisted and turned a little until we got to the first bit of singletrack. It was then and there that Steve Twining made his move, and that was pretty much the last I saw of him all day.

Steve was in the lead, Blake second, and me third. The rooted section was very adventageous for a mountain bike, so I hoped that I could keep them in sight, then make up some time on the grass sections. Matt Weeks was bridging up to me, and when he got there, it was time to do some work together.

That would have been fine and well, until he pinch flatted at the very top of the singletrack section. Time to go it alone. I proceeded to bury myself to catch Blake, and during lap 3, I was able to. Sweeet.

What wasn't sweet was about 10 seconds after passing him, I got a grape vine type twig wrapped up in my cassette, and had to stop to take it out. All that hard work for nothing :-(

I then continued to try to play catch up, burying myself to catch Blake again, and keep Cameron Jackson, who was behind me at a comfortable gap. The laps pretty much went the same. Try to lose as little time as possible in the single track, and then make it up on the grass. Twining was kicking ass, so was Blake, so I figured I'd hold on for third.

Must have been my lucky day, as Blake cracked in probably the most huge way that anyone has ever cracked. I felt bad for him when we caught up after the race. He said he was hurting. So there you have it. I was able to pass him with maybe 2 to go, and opened up a more comfortable gap on Cameron. Aside from eating shit super hard in the gravel, the rest of the race went off without a hitch.

Twining rolled through in first, me in second, Cameron third, Weeks fourth (after being in dead last because of his flat).

Good job to everyone who raced, Lake Effect had a strong showing, with 4 guys in the top 10 of the A's, Julie kicking butt in the women's B's and A's, and a good chunk of B racers killing it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


For those of you who aren't facebook friends with me, check out my new found love for all things American.

Cross season starts in two and a half weeks. I've been on the warpath getting ready. Can't wait.

The local race series is posted up at NeoCX. So I'm going hit most all of those.

Doing as many Cap City Cross races as possible, along with OVCX.

Big weekends include Cincy UCI weekend, USGP Louisville and perhaps Jingle Cross Rock. Maybe nationals if I'm not broke by the end of the year?

Time to go for the elite license. Yikes.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

John Bryan 6 Hour Race for Relief

Photo lifted from Dave from the OMBA board.

Thanks to everyone at MVMBA. This race ruled!

The race for relief is a 6 hour race in the Springfield area, in which the MVMBA uses the proceeds to finance some porta-potties for their trail.

I partnered up with blogger extraordinaire, Robert to take on the men's duo division.

They lined us up for a LeMans-style start, but only had us run about 10 yards. Being the sleep deprived idiot that I am, I got out into the sea of bikes, only to lose mine.

After a few choice swear words, I found it, and busted ass to get up through the crowd into the front.

Our strategy was for me to do two quick laps of the 13.1 mile course, then pass the torch to Robert, who enjoy the advantage of a nice strung out field and minimal trail congestion.

I got onto Dane Sink's wheel, both a nice guy and a very fast local. I followed him around the first lap to try to get an idea of what lines to take. The trail was ripping fast and bone dry. I was in the big ring and my 4 lowest cassette cogs pretty much the entire time. Dane's trail knowledge was quickly apparent, and I let him go and settled into my own pace.

The first lap went through okay, Dane got a one minute gap, and come lap two, it was time to go a little faster and catch up with his teammate, Phil Noble.

Things were going well, I was hauling ass, then I leaned into a turn a little too hard, and washed out my front wheel in some loose stuff. See ya later catching Phil and see ya later hope of winning the day's fastest lap. Nonetheless, I recovered as well as I could, and finished a minute behind Phil on that lap too.

Besides that, nothing to write home about, My lap times stayed pretty consistent in the 50-52 minute range for the first 4.

Robert was movin' too, turning in 55 minute lap times. Consider me impressed.

Then things got interesting.

You'd figure a 6 hour race that started at 9 AM would end at 3 PM, right?

I did.

So when Robert went out for a lap at 2:15 PM, I figured that was it for us, and time to get on to the most important thing of the day... food!

After I pigged out on some well deserved food, I was sitting and relaxing when I remembered that at the prerace meeting they said they'd give us an extra 15 minutes of bonus time.

Shit! Robert was going to come in under the 15 minute bonus deadline, leaving me to do one more lap with a stomach full of coleslaw, pasta salad, and a veggie burger.

As the minutes ticked away, I was curious to see where Robert was. With a whole 2 minutes to spare, he came sprinting out of the woods with his bike. It turns out he flatted about a half mile out. He got to the line with a minute and a half to spare.

After seeing that, I was inspired. Pasta salad be damned. Mountain biking is unpredictable, and it only takes one broken chain or flat tire for me to catch Phil, would was out on his team's final lap.

So off I went. Man I felt lousy. I was able to troop it out with my slowest lap of the day at 55 minutes, but it felt good to do one more.

We ended up in second in the men's duo. Congrats to Julie and Rudy, who were also second in the co-ed duo.

The grand totals:

• 8 combined laps of the 13.1 mile course.
• Me with 5, Robert with 3. So 65.5 miles for me, 39.3 for Robert.
• My fastest lap was 50:30, which gives me a cool 15.56mph average.

Bring on cross season!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tour of The Valley

Fun weekend. Thanks to Dan, Erin and Carbon Racing for putting it on.

Friday was the prologue time trial. This was my first TT, so I went into it with no idea of what to expect. After some good advice from Sean I went into it excited to give it a go.

It went well. Similar amount of suffering to a mountain bike race, but no trees and stuff to crash me. Sweet.

Ended up posting a time of 20:35 on the 9.6 mile course, which was good enough for 4th. It was strangely addicting, so perhaps I'll get into the TT thing more.

Day two was the Columbiana road race. It was a 33 mile loop with a KOM 8 miles in (contrary to what the race info said!), good for some bonus points for the GC. I was feeling good about my chances, as hills and I get along.

The race started off slow, and really didn't ramp up until the KOM, which was 8 miles in, not 22. I missed the sign going up, and didn't realize it was the climb until I was about half way up. I then ramped it up a little, and in spite of this, two guys took off and got me to the KOM line. Oh well.

After that, the field was pretty much decimated. Our starting 60 was down to about 12 riders. The race then got boring, as Cat 4's are pretty good at chasing down anyone who tries to get away. I attacked a bunch, was brought back by a field that promptly sat up. Repeat ad nauseam.

It was time for the field sprint, and my skills in that respect suck. So I tried to get a good wheel to jump on and take off as early as possible. Ended up seventh which I wish was a few places higher, but oh well.

I was now sitting in 4th in the GC, so the crit on Sunday would be the deciding factor.

What do you know... I fucked up the crit.

Thanks to Julie for the snap.

After riding myself into the ground during the road race, I figured I'd sit in for the crit and jump late to save myself. Bad idea. There was all sorts of sketchy business going on in the turns, and when I went to position myself for the last sprint, I got chopped in a turn. Damnit. Mostly my fault because I waited too long to move up and got caught in the shit.

An abysmal 9th place, which left me stuck in 4th overall in the GC.

Fun weekend though. The team killed it. Julie, Robert, Rudy, Nate, Pete, THE GARTMAC™, Phil, Dick, Chris, and anyone else I forgot. Rad job everyone.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Laying low...

Not much on the race front for me in the last couple of weeks. That's good as it let me get the chance to catch up on... well, life I guess.

Cross bike is shaping up pretty well, parts are here and frame is due in this upcoming Monday.

Weekend-long race extravaganza, so hopefully I'll have some fresh content up with some cwazy racing.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Vulture's Knob Three

After a week-long sabbatical off the bike to recoup from Mohican, the Vulture's Knob race was upon me.

It ended up being a pretty shitty race for me, but it happens.

The expert class was a bit thin, with the Big Bear 2x12 going on, the field was split.

I ended up getting a good start, and there was no carnage this time, so that's good. I took the lead by the gravity dropper, and was feeling good enough. My legs didn't have much snap, but I'll blame that on Mohican. As long as I rode smart I should be doing ok.

Then something interesting happened... I was going to ride the goldfish pond skinny, and what do you know... It wasn't there! The recent rains must have floated it away from it's normal spot. I was screwed.

Everyone else went through the reroute, and I lost probably twenty seconds trying to tip-toe across the slippery, shaky skinny. Yikes!

After that I knew I didn't have the legs to chase back on the main group, so it was into survival mode hoping to stay steady and pick off people as they fell off the pace due to the heat and humidity.

Thanks to Roberto for the pic.

That was going ok until the chainsuck started. That threw a bit of a wrench in my plans. Then I flatted the 3rd lap. Crap! I put a little too much faith in my Stan's and didn't have a tube with me, so when it wouldn't seal back up, I was walking. Thanks to Tim Carson, who had a tube an extra CO2, and bailed me out from having to walk the rest of the lap.

Hopefully I can get my legs back under me this week. The Wayne Ultra is coming up in 2 weeks, so I'm trying to get back to full steam by then. We'll see.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mohican 100

This picture summarizes it...

I was feeling fantastic, sitting in the top ten-ish for the first 40 miles or so. Then I cracked in the most terrible way I've ever experienced. My stomach must have not liked the mix of high temperatures, humidty, and perpetuem, and I started dry heaving at the sign of any kind of exertion. Not good.

I rode backwards until the 4th aid station where I was going to throw in the towel. After some help from Juan(thanks!), and encouragement from Ethan, I got back on my bike after an hour and a half of sitting around feeling like death.

We braved tornado sirens, and I finished up with an official time of 10:40. I don't know if I ever want to do another 100 miler again.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Weekend

Not so good...

Was very excited for the Knob race, but that all went to shit when I got taken out in the first turn by Dave Walker. No apology either. Classy.

Worked my ass off to catch back up, but my bent rear derailer hanger finally broke my chain on the third lap, right before the suspension bridge, quickly taking me from fourth place to last. Whatever I guess. I put it back together and limped across the line.

Today I'm laying low as I feel like I got hit by a car, but Mohican in two weeks, so I'm excited for that. Time to clean off the bike, and see how broken it is.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

OMBC Grassman Quick Recap

Immature humor out of the way: every time I see grassman, I sort of think of the episode of Seinfeld where Kramer gets the ASSMAN license plate. Ok glad I got that out of the way.

The race was pretty much a battle of will. The course on a dry day would be a bit more fun, but in the wet, no thanks. It was a muddy, rooted, slippery mess.

First lap took off. Team mate Kyle Spisak got the holeshot, I was second on his wheel. Ben and Brad behind me. We stayed like this through maybe halfway through the first lap, where Ben and Brad took off, and I latched on to follow.

We stayed together for the whole first lap, Ben taking us through our local trails, me holding on for dear life. Ben's gap steadily increased, and I did my best to keep Brad in site, hoping I could make something happen on the third lap.

These hopes were quickly dashed, as I bit it on a rooted section, and Brad was gone. After that it basically became a matter of survival. I knew I had a decent gap on fourth, so I just needed to stay upright and it'd be smooth sailing.

About that staying upright... not so easy.

As you can see, it was a battle of attrition. I had my gameface on.

It began to rain pretty steadily through the 2nd and into the 3rd laps, so the initially wet trail became a greasy mudpit, and the roots became even more deadly. Kenda Karmas were not a wise choice for these conditions.

After falling about a hundred times, often times in a pretty spectacular and painful fashion, I walked my bike up the last climb, which was way too slick to ride by this point and motored in ending up in 3rd place.

My first podium in the expert class, which is neat. We'll see how it turns out when more than six people show up :-)

There were tons of people out shooting photos, so when those turn up, I'll be sure to put them up.

Kudos to Ryan O'Dell, Danielle Merry and the rest of the OMBC crew for listening to rider suggestions and making some awesome updates on the administrative end. From an organizational standpoint, this was a really well run race. Thanks!

Off to Westlake!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cohutta 100!

After a long wait and much anticipation, the Cohutta 100 was finally here.

Similar to the earlier races in the year, Rusty and I took off from northeast Ohio Thursday night, and rolled into the lovely Ocoee River Whitewater Center to get our packets Friday morning.

As normal with my luck, they lost my packet, and I had to wait about 45 minutes while they made me a new one, consisting of a number plate written in magic marker. PRO!

But seriously, the woman was nothing but helpful, and I'm cursed when it comes to any sort of race registration / results, so whatever.

7am Saturday morning came way too early. I dragged my ass out of bed and to my surprise. No rain! Forecasters were calling for an 85 percent chance of thunderstorms, so waking up to an overcast, but dry morning was okay with me.

Rumor had it the climb on the road out of the Whitewater Center was quick, and getting in the singletrack early was very important, so I made sure to be ready to go off the line. Lo and behold it was.

Everyone took off, and I got on a wheel and held on for dear life. My lockout on my fork happened to break earlier in the week so I bobbed my way up for 2.5 miles and entered the singletrack in the top 20.

I rode for a bit with the man, the myth, the legend, The Pflug for a bit, which was rad, and then we hit a nice rooty section that helped string people out. Over the infamous rock crossing pictured above, we were done with the first 20 miles of singletrack and on to the fire roads.

The race gets kind of nondescript this this point, as the fireroads all looked the same, tried to settle in with Tim and Rob from the 29er crew for a while and that was going well until Ernie came cruising by on a hill. Tim and Rob jumped on his wheel, and I followed suit. This lasted for about fifteen minutes, until I had the realization the race was about a quarter of the way over and there was no way I'd be able to keep up the pace. Bidding them adieu, I fell into my own pace.

Aid station two went by, and I stopped and pissed (thank god) and switched out my waterbottles. Little did I know, immediately after was the big climb of the day. The climb took you up Dally and Watson's gap, and just never seemed to end. You'd work your way up a mountain, get to the top, descend for about 30 seconds, and what do you know… another mountain to climb.

When I was getting close to the top of this climb, and saw aid station three. Life was good, but the wildcard for the day: the weather, started to come into play.

The temperature began to drop, the wind picked up, and some thick fog rolled in. Thunder was heard in the distance, and the descents became treacherous as you could only see about three feet in front of you at times.

Not much choice but to put my head down and go. And so I did.

After a fun longggggggg descent, the computer was reading 65 miles, and I was feeling good.

Then the torrential downpour started. Holy crap it was miserable. I was able to ride with some gents from Freeze Thaw Cycles in PA, and we traded pulls. They seemed to be a little less cooked or affected by the weather compared to me, so the time came when I had to drop back off of their wheels about 80 miles in.

No biggie.

I put my head down and went on, hoping to get myself out of my current misery. The clock was ticking and my window for a sub-8-hour time was coming to a close. I got to the last nine miles of singletrack in 6:45, and wasn't prepared for how bad of an absolute horror it was.

I was able to get through it the best I could, over the slippery roots and rocks, deep mud, and huge puddles, I made it to the end of the Thunder Rock Express in one piece. Rad!

What wasn't rad was the cold headwind I had to face motoring it back to the finish line. Shit that sucked.

Nonetheless, it was a drop in the bucket compared to all the suffering I had taken part in through the rest of the day, so I was able to cross the line without anyone passing me...

In 7:58. Hellllll yes! Good for 20th place in Men's open.

Awesome job to anyone who didn't instantly curl up and die when it started raining. It was miserable but a lot of people (Rusty, Kelly, Brian, Nelson, etc etc) were able to push through it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cohutta 100 Preliminary write-up

Rain held off for about 3.5 hours. After that it was miserable. 50 degrees, lightning and a torrential downpour. I was soaked to the bone.

Rolled in at 7:58, good enough for 20th place in men's open. Full write-up to come soon. I think I might have the flu, yuck.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mohican Wilderness: DNF!

Bummed about Mohican Wilderness yesterday.

I was feeling good, and looking forward to racing at a course that really suited my strengths: climbing like crazy, and a nice open field section to put the hammer down in.

The race started off well, I was third wheel going into the singletrack, when a unnamed person decided to chop the corner and try to cut everyone off. He got shut down pretty quickly, but it caused a big pileup that pretty much stopped everyone. I thought I was going to get around it, but in the middle of doing so, someone crashed into me and I had to dab a foot.

Nonetheless, I got out of the pileup relatively unscathed. Into the field, it was Steve Twining in first, Jeff Pendlebury in second, me in third and Ben Ort in fourth. Ben and I would go back and forth on sections of the trail.

All was going well, and I was feeling strong. Us four had a pretty good gap going, and I was feeling consistent. Then; what do you know, bike problems.

I was railing a turn right before the chute and I went down. I was a little curious why this happened as I wasn't too off balance, and the trail was super grippy. I shook it off and figured it was just a fluke.

After that, riding on, I noticed the front end of my bike started feeling a little funky, I thought maybe that I fungo'ed something on the crash. I didn't want to lose any more time so I kept going and tried to do some mid ride diagnosing.

When I dismounted for the downed tree, I had a chance to grab my front tire and give it a squeeze. Holy piss it had about ten psi in it. My tire must have been too low intially, and it folded / burped on that turn, and that's why I went down. It all started making sense.

So I had to stop, got out the CO2 cartridge, no big deal, and got my front tire inflated again. Good to go... but wait. I have the worst problem with my Stan's valve cores unthreading themselves all the time. Today was no exception. As I unthreaded my CO2 tool, the valve core started coming with it. I saw this and tried to stop it, but without needlenose pliers, I was pretty much out of luck. My next strategy was to cover my open valve stem with my finger. Get my valve core out of my inflator with my teeth (ouch), and do a quick switch by removing my finger and putting the valve core back in.

I did this, but it didn't work too well. I ended up with the same 10 psi I started with, albeit 15 minutes after I first stopped.

By this time I was pretty much in dead last, and it was a long walk back to a pump.

Resigned to my fate, I threw in the towel and moped back to the car. DNF.

Steve ended up winning, with Jeff in second. They're unstoppable this year.

Rudy killed everyone in the Sport 50 plus age group, winning by a healthy margin, and Robert was plagued with some mechanical problems too, but was able to post up a good time on a tough course.

Cohutta this weekend, if I can make it through the workweek in one piece.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Once again, thanks to Julie for braving the cold and taking some awesome photos.

RATL was a pretty good time, aside from the 35 degree temperatures and snow-like mixture. Man that sucked.

I'm still trying to get the hang of this road racing stuff, and the one thing I need to realize, especially in the Cat 4 races is to be patient.

So far I've been a bit anxious, and pretty much try to attack every lap. It gives me a good workout, as road racing is pretty much training for MTB. It also mixes things up and makes the race a little more interesting in my mind. But nonetheless, I need to work on the tactical end of things much more.

The race was so so. It was cold and windy. Windy enough that every attack I tried to launch was quickly brought back because the wind pretty much stood me up. There were a few sections of flat that I was moving 16 miles an hour at 550 watts. Yuck.

I was able to take a flyer on the Chipotle prime and hold everyone off. Free burrito! That strung things out well.

When it came down to it bunch sprint as per usual. I attacked a little further out to try and avoid this, but I waited too long, and wasn't able to get away.

3rd place. Not bad. Not a bad workout either. Mohican Wilderness tomorrow, we'll see how that goes.

Some power data for those so inclined:

Total Elapsed Time 00:55:05
Distance, mi 20.65
Work, kJ 817
Average Power, Watts 247
Average Cadence 85
Average Speed, mph 22.45
Average Heart Rate 171
Ride Time (Time Moving) 00:54:58
Weight, lbs 150.0

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Groovy / Vulture's Knob Race #1

Phew okay finally had some time to catch my breath.

This past Sunday was the first race in the Groovy Cycleworks / Vulture's Knob race series.

As many of you know, I've got some high hopes for this year. I've moved up and started racing expert with the big boys in hopes of learning from the experienced guys and hopefully being able to mix it up with them. I've been working my ass off with Sean Gilbert trying to get ready for the season, and what do you know, the season is here.

It was a beautiful day at the Knob, 60 degrees, sunny, and the trails were fast. I lined up next to Brad Wilhelm and Jeff Pendlebury (aka the future of mountain biking).

(thanks to Julie for the photos!)

The gun went off, and there we went. Steve Twining and Brad both got awesome starts, and turning into the top of the Furnace, they already were starting to pull away. Jeff got by me pretty soon after. This had me sitting at 4th place and I expected something like this, so I stayed on the gas and kept consistent.

After motoring through the prologue, I saw Brad on the side of the trail with a flat tire, right at the powerline downhill. Sucks bad, hopefully he has better luck this weekend and we can race together. That left me in third, whoa!

The new stuff built at the Knob before the race was tricky, some bumpy off camber stuff before the landfill climb, and the over / under has a drop-in to it now which makes it the earth's most scary thing at speed. I'm surprised I didn't die on the loose rocks. By then, Chip Meek, caught up to me, and we were going back and forth. He'd get a little gap on the climbs, and I'd reel him in on the flats. This went back and forth for the next lap and a half.

All was well, and I was feeling good and had my sights on Chip, and 3/4ths of the way through the second lap; what do you know I crash into a tree. Nothing gets you out of your groove quicker than that. So I get back on my bike, kiss my chances of catching Chip goodbye, and hope to stay consistent enough to keep Ross Clark and teammate Kyle Spisak from getting by. I had about a minute gap on them, which was good enough, but I started to see them on switchbacks and that put the fear into me.

I was able to hold on, and rolled across the line in 4th at 1:58:23, a little less than one minute behind Chip.

I'm pretty jazzed on that, and I figure there's no where to go but up this season… until Dave Walker shows up, then I'll go one more place down :-)

On to the other races. Rudy kicked some but in the old-man sport category, and pretty much put on a clinic on the sharp new Cannondale Flash 29er he got. He had to deal with a ton of traffic, and negotiated it very well to win his class. Robert did not have much luck. He was in the front group (big surprise…) of all of the sport racers when his crankset decided to explode. I'm sure he'll unleash his vengeance this weekend at the OMBC race.

In the expert race, Kyle Spisak rolled in 5th, a minute behind me. Luke rolled in strong holding down the top ten. Todd Bolgrin had a good race too.

On a team-related note, huge thanks to everyone at Bike Authority: Sherm, Mike, Sean, Chris, etc etc etc for getting me up and rolling this season. My Cannondale Flash 1 29er was awesome through the rocks, the big wheels handled it with no problem, and the Lefty smoothed things out well, no deflection off of anything. My Stan's ZTR Race 29er wheels were light and snappy up the hills, and held up even better than expected down the nasty stuff of the over/under.

First crit: RATL this Saturday, and first OMBC race at Mohican Wilderness this Sunday. Looking forward to it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Good Weather

All's well on this end.

The weather has been great, and I'm trying to get some miles in the legs. Intensity has been ramping up a little bit. If anyone wants to see the e-wang (aka power files) I'll post them up, but I don't think most people give a shit.

Was out and about in the metroparks yesterday and crossed paths with the Spin group ride. After turning around and hauling ass to get back on, I rode with them for about an hour and a half. It was reasonably fast for the early season, so maybe I'll start riding those on Wednesday nights to get a little more intensity in the legs.

LT intervals and 30 second sprints today. Fun fun. 82 degrees wasn't bad though. Plan on riding Mohican this Sunday in the AM if anyone wants to come with.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Anyone want to share a cabin for the Cohutta 100?

Getting the word out there...

I'm booking a cabin for the nights of April 23 and 24 about 25 minutes from the start line. Camping / hotels in the area seem to be pretty scarce, so this is the best bet.

It's pretty boss setup, as the photos show:

I've got myself and Rusty both committed, and it's going to be about $285ish after taxes and all that. So assuming I can get one or two more people in. It shouldn't be too bad.

Drop me a line if you're interested click here for my email.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Laying Low

My apologies to the five people that read this thing that I'm not updating more frequently.

The fact of the matter, not much is going on in the cycling end. I've been riding a good bit, but most people probably don't want to hear about base miles. Sean has got me upping the intensity a bit now in preparation for the beginning of the race season, so that's good to break up the monotony.

Going to Barry Roubaix fell through, so chances are I might be doing the Malabar Farm RR, which will be my first ever, hairy winter legs and all. Should be interesting...

Trying to do some RATLs and Covered Bridge races too, to keep up the fitness for MTB season.

Besides that, got the registration cash in for the Cohutta 100, April 24th, and I'm getting ready for the first race of the Vulture's Knob series. I'm racing with the big boys this year, so I'm getting ready to have my ass handed to me. At least I'll be having fun in the process.

That's about it on this end.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Snake Creek Gap 3

After February's debacle, I thought the Snake Creek Gap had scarred me for life. The crappy conditions combined with me not being in the best shape to push a SS gear up all of those mountains put the hurt on me pretty badly.

Surprisingly, March's Snake Creek went nothing like that.

Camba race team member Rusty Brown and myself loaded up his jeep and left from Kent Thursday night. After motoring on down I-75 though the wee hours of the night, we arrived in Dalton, Georgia at about 9 am Friday morning. We passed out for a while in the hotel then woke up and took a little spin on the trails to loose up the road-weary legs, and to work as a bit of a shake down from my brand new bike.

Yes, folks, I wised up and got myself a new bike:

Yep it's got both gears (27 of em!) and a suspension fork. Thanks to Bike Authority for getting me up and running.

So moving on to race morning. It was 40 degrees or so at the start, which felt positively balmy compared to Ohio, and off we went. I think a combination of the new bike, the great weather and the work I've been doing with Sean had me feeling great.

I pretty much put the hammer down from the line, and tried to stay strong throughout the 34 mile race. This was ultimately a training race, so I tried to not go anaerobic too often, and for the most part, that worked out well.

This is me saying thanks to a little dude that was helping at a road crossing.

For once in my life, things went to plan. I was loving the ability to shift, and the fork helped avoid the dead arms that I experienced in February's race. I did fall into a giant pricker bush when hauling ass on a descent, hitting my pedal on a log, almost losing it, recovering, and then washing out on a log at low speed when I thought I saved it.

I was glad no one was around to see that as I tried to untangle myself from my bike and all the thorns that were ripping my legs up.

But back on the horse, all went well.

I rolled in with a time of 3 hours 23 minutes. Good for second place in the Men under 30 class.

This was only a 1 minute 50 seconds slower than the guy in first. I probably could have cut that time down by not stopping at the second aid station, as I was pretty okay on water and gel. Maybe I played it a little too safe, but hindsight is 20/20. I did get a pretty badass plaque for my toils:

Rusty battled through some mechanical problems, including a broken chain, and came in with a time of 4:09, good enough to put him within the top 15 in his class.

That being said, I'm super excited at how the race turned out. For riding nothing but base miles in the last few months, I'm glad to see the results in as race when I push it a little more. Hopefully this momentum will carry over to the start of the Knob series, OMBC and the Cohutta 100.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Finally talking about Snake Creek Gap

A combination of being over-stressed from work (this real job stuff is bullshit) and finally getting over the trauma that was Snake Creek Gap has me writing about it about two weeks after it happened.

Crap it was hard.

Aaron, Rusty, Mike and myself left Mike's shop in Akron at 11PM Thursday night bound for Dalton, Georgia and the Snake Creek Gap time trial.

After ten hours of driving, we finally arrived in Dalton and all promptly passed out for a few hours. After getting up, we ate some Panera, unpacked the bikes, and got all of our stuff ready for the next morning.

Waking up Saturday morning, we were greeted by rain and temperatures in the mid 30's. Woohoo.

We make the 5 minute drive from the hotel to the race registration area. After suiting up and getting the bike ready, we all hopped into buses and vans, and the organizers put our bikes on trailers and drove us to the start about 45 minutes away.

Luck had it that our van was the last to arrive, so I was pretty much the last person to start the 34 mile ride. I was warned about a creek crossing within the first 3 miles or so, but nothing could have prepared me for it. Waist high and freezing! Yikes!

Only way to beat hypothermia was to keep on moving, so on I went. The trail was absolutely beautiful, but by far the hardest mountain biking I've encountered so far. 5200 feet of climbing in 34 miles, and since I'm currently without a geared bike, I was on the singlespeed pushing 32x19 in the mud. Ouch!

After some absolutely killer climbs and equally bad descents, I was along the home stretch. Everyone warned me that it'd be hard, and my friends and I actually hiked it the day before, but after 3 and a half hours in the saddle, I didn't want to deal with these huge rocks anymore. But all good things must come to an end, so after much mental anguish, I was treated to a 40 mph road descent, and I was done!!!

I rolled in at 4 hours and 4 minutes, which was only slightly above my goal of 4 hours flat. It was good enough for 5th in Singlespeed Open behind 4 locals. I'll take it. Hell of a job to Mike and Aaron for finishing that beast. The sport class won't know what hit them this year.

Rusty and I are headed back March 6th to do it again. Should be some good stuff. I've got myself a geared bike again, just picked it up yesterday. So the read question is, do I bring it, or the SS?!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Snake Creek Gap

See ya Northeast Ohio. Snake Creek Gap this Saturday.

Doing it on the singlespeed. Should be fun. Race report and photos soon to come.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mohican and Lumberjack 100

Got the registration in for the Mohican 100 miler. I'm beyond looking forward to this.

Here's a recap from last year. I'm doing everything in my power to not get lost, and I actually have a bit more of a clue what in the hell I'm doing. So it should be good. First peak of the year, so I'm really working up to it.

The ultimate bummer for me is that the Lumberjack 100 sold out in 12 hours. Registration opened at midnight when I was fast asleep, and I was going to wait until I got home from work to fork out the dough. Well isn't that just swell. Hopefully I can score a transfer.

Not sure how close Mohican is to filling up or anything, but might be a good idea to register sooner rather than later...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Laying Low

Not much going on in blog-land. Working a ton, putting in a shit ton of base miles, and avoiding the cold.

I'm working with Coach extraordinaire Sean Gilbert this upcoming season, and I'm really optimistic he can help me work towards my goals this year.

The 6 hour rides start soon to get the base built up nice and big. Looking forward to it.

My bike stable is getting a bit revamped too, after things settle down with that, I'll post some photos of the goodies that are coming through.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winter Trophy Cross Finale

You know a race is tough when a solid two days later you still feel like crap.

As of 9:12 AM, Tuesday, Jan. 12, I can safely say I still feel like crap. My legs are so unbelievably sore that getting out of bed is a little bit of a task.

On with the race report: myself and some other brave souls make the trek out to the last Winter Trophy race.

The turn out wasn't too bad, considering the freezing temperatures and solid foot of snow on the ground. There were seven people in the A race, which made things fun.

On the line, people were advising us to run our bikes from the get-go. I figured they were messing with us or something, and didn't listen too closely.

I quickly learned they were serious. I took about two pedals from the start and came to a dead stop. I ended up shouldering my bike and ran like the dickens.

Thanks to Julie for the awesome photos as per usual...

I'd very quickly get used to shouldering my bike, as I had to do it a shit-ton throughout the hour. This created a pretty hilarious dilemma for me. I've got little chicken legs, and even though my leg warmers are size small, running causes them to fall down.

And fall down they did. (Sorry for subjecting you to this)

Not very pro at all.

So I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. After running my bike, I'd get out on the road section, which was a great time to put the hammer down and try to close some gaps. I really never had the opportunity to do so, as I was too concerned with riding no handed and pulling my leg warmers up. It was freezing and without them I think I would have died.

Besides that bit of hilarity, things went well enough. It was a very singlespeed unfriendly course, as the road section was good for my gearing, but I was wayyyyyyyy overgeared for the snow, hence my dead legs two days later from pushing a 42x17.

This look of agony on my face was pretty much maintained the entire race:

I ended up rolling across the line in third behind Garth Prosser, who I think had some secret to riding the snow and lapped the field twice, and Matt Weeks, who was having all sorts of mechanical problems.

I'll take it.

The race schedule should be done for me... but surprisingly it's not.

Next up is the Vulture's Knob cross series for a couple of fun races, then it's back into the base miles.

Monday, January 4, 2010

You Should Have Stayed in Bed CX

Turns out the name was right... Sorry Rody :-)

After having the Winter Trophy Cross race cancelled, I figured I'd man up and go to the Groovy Series out at the Knob.

As I went outside to start loading stuff up in my car, I realized the accuracy of the name, made a prompt 180 and went back to bed.

When I finally awoke from my slumber, I ended up realizing my mistake and regretting it all day. It was freezing, yes, but I should have still went. It was too late to pack up and get to the Knob, which is an hour away, so I was resigned to my house for the rest of the day.

Or was I?!?!?!?!?

After much bugging via text message, I somehow convinced Scott to get out of his house and go for a ride with me, -10 degree windchill be damned.

So off we were. We ended up with 30 rolling miles around Hinckley. Me on the fixed gear, Scott on his cross bike. It was cold, but actually pretty managable once you were moving. I am going to invest in some winter shoes though, as my booties don't want to fit over my shoes, and are very quickly giving up the ghost as a result.

Here are some snaps from the ride: