Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's Official

I am legit online now. all blog posts as well as photo updates and many other items will now be found at www.katstatman.com Check it out!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Site Coming Shortly

For the past couple of weeks I have been tooling around in iWeb on my wonderful macbook. I am not the most computer savvy person in the world. As long as it is logical I can generally figure it out but I have not spent enough time trying to learn basics like HTML to be really good yet. For me iWeb has been great. I can either mess around or use a template and build a complete functioning website that doesn't look like I put a blind fold on my face and typed with my toes (oh Kevin James you make me laugh sooo much!). Now that I own my domain and have hosting in the next day or two you will be able to find all updates on http://www.katstatman.com. I hope you enjoy and watch Twitter for when the official change comes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rejuvenation

The past year so far has held a lot of ups and downs. From a lack of motivation at school to a lack of motivation on the bike over the summer I have in general been feeling beaten down. However the past month has been a huge turn around. For the first time in a year I am motivated to actually "do" philosophy and be actively engaged in the issues, not just get by. I am also more motivated than ever to race and train. In fact I am pretty giddy about the remainder of my season with Pioneer Racing.

On the racing front being a part of a new organization that really has all of it's ducks in a row has helped. Knowing that Travis, Dave, Brian, and Anna are doing everything they can to make things happen for us is awesome to say the least. The new partnership with GT Bicycles is super exciting as well and I can't wait to get my hands on the CXi.

As far as school I don't know if it is the need to write my thesis this year or if it is that I took last year so easy that I am now able to really get behind my course work and non-course work with all burners. Regardless it is a nice feeling to not dread a paper being due or having to accomplish reading before class each week.

One down side is definitely that I have been a lot more tired in general. Between heading out on the bike nearly every day of the week and racing a fair bit while accomplishing a very significant amount of school work and tutoring 4-5 days a week takes a lot out of me both physically and mentally. Maybe the sheer pressure of everything is weighing down on me, but I seem to be slightly short tempered of late. I hope that Shannon can forgive me when I finally get a break and can relax. And if you're (Shannon) reading this I'm sorry, you definitely deserve a better attitude from me since without your eternal support I would never be able to accomplish all I have up until now. Maybe I should slow down on the coffee a little bit and that will slow things down just a hair for me.

The weather is looking sketchy for cross racing this weekend down in Broomfield. I guess I'll finally get a chance to have a muddy cross race (oddly in the 2 years of cross racing I have done I have never raced in the mud, just slick conditions) and if not, well it'll be fun anyways.

That is all for

Friday, October 2, 2009

Finally Truly Ready for Cross Season

After last weekend's attempt to shake out the legs a little bit at the Boulder CX Series #1 and Cross at the River I knew my bike had a significant amount of work that needed to be done in order for me to be really ready for cx season.

First step: get rid of that silly shimano shifting. I've been running sram shifting on my mountain bikes for about 3 years now and have found that when the going gets tough Sram always comes to the rescue. So with my sram rival shifters from the destroyed road bike and a new force derailleur I was ready to roll.

Second Step: drop the double front chainring. Since the end of August I've been running a single ring setup on the mountain bike and have found that it is far superior to any system that requires shifting in the front. Front shifts, at least as far as I'm concerned, are always super sloppy and definitely kill momentum when making fast changes from downhills to uphills. With a double guard set up, extra long chainring bolts and spacers, and a 42 tooth single ring I was rolling (granted it did take some thought on how to make the double ring actually fit my frame, but I solved it and am stoked now).

Third Step: New saddle and seat post. With my physical proportions I am forced to ride straight seat posts (i.e. no set back) and 100 mm stems on all of my bikes. It allows for better comfort and my arms to not have to completely lock just to reach the bars. Plus, as many racers are, I am picky about my saddles. For me WTB saddles fit the bill and I have found that the silverado is by far my favorite, so I tossed one on for good measure.

Final Step: New bar tape and brake/shift lever hoods. With some nice white fi'zik bar tape and hudz clear sram brake/shift hoods I was ready to go with some awesome matching technique (it's not how fast you are, but how fly you look, man I wish this were true).

Well here's the final product:I apologize for the grainy image, my camera is still not into my macbook, so....

If you're in the boulder area you can see me ripping around the course on this in our brand new Pioneer Racing skinsuits on October 11th and 17th at the Boulder CX Series #2 and the Valmont Bike Park Ground Break Party/Cross race. Anyone and everyone should come out to these events with beer tents and good times to be had by all!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Too much to do, Way too little time

Things have been pretty ridiculous around here recently. School is starting to get to that point in the semester where I have to do more than spend a few hours a week reading. I actually have to think and write about stuff. I really should be thinking and writing about stuff more since my thesis is going to be up for review at the end of next semester, but... alas....

I have been working pretty hard on a weekly basis. In fact for the first time since college I actually have real consistent work to do that pays me money, which is pretty cool. Day in Day out is pretty much wake up, eat, walk dog, ride (hopefully in the am), tutor student-athletes, read, got to class, go home, ride (if I haven't already), walk dog, eat, sleep.

I also got my cross season under way for Pioneer Racing this past weekend at the Boulder CX Series #1 and Cross at the River in Buena Vista. It felt good to really hammer again after skipping cross season last year. Unfortunately I have not made the physical adaptations to cross that are necessary to actually riding fast yet and suffered pretty hard. Probably didn't help that it was 90 degrees on Saturday and in the 80's on Sunday. Long sleeve skinsuits and bikes without bottle cages with a super high heat factor really don't go together all that well.

Last night I finally got my cross bike dialed to where I want it. Switched out the Shimano shifting for some smooth operating Sram Force. Also got rid of that silly double chainring thing up front for a single ring set up.

Gave the new set up a quick spin/shakedown at the Wednesday Worlds Cross Ride in Boulder (the 8 am version, not quite up for the working man's edition at 6:25). Was throttled pretty hard during the course part and then Brandon Dwight had us do some super painful intervals (sprint to hill, dismount, run up, remount, sprint down hill, stop, sprint up hill riding and back down - rinse, repeat). Then to top off the pain cave aspect a huge group decided to ride up and over Poorman's road outside of Boulder. I was amongst that group, that really hurt. Maybe I'll actually ride quickly on the 11th with all this training?

That is pretty much it. Some short ramblings about life to catch up the very few who actually read this.

Till then....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Made It....


This past weekend was the Mountain States Cup Fall Classic. The Fall Classic is supposed to highlight true mountain biking in and around Breckenridge over the weekend and that is what it did. With a 3 race stage race in 2 days we did plenty of mountain biking in Breckenridge mixing it up with the trails in town, above town, and much farther up in the mountains as well.

Overall I would say the weekend was a success to end my first professional mountain bike season. I struggled in the circuit race (the cold rain and insufficient warm up did me in), pulled it together for the Hill Climb Time Trial, and then killed it for Sunday's Epic XC race.

The XC on Sunday was the best race I have had all season, minus one thing, my epic flat. For the first time this year I think I actually rode intelligently instead of blowing myself up in the first 45 minutes of racing. By the time we reached the heinous climb up French Gulch my legs were really ticking and I just motored away from the group I was in and bridged up to Tim Allen. After jockeying back and forth all day with Tim I eventually dropped him on some tight singletrack climbing and left him behind until I hit a rock hard at the beginning of the final descent bending my rim and causing a sudden lose of tire pressure that would not seal (I am still not sure that I will be able to use these rims tubeless anymore). Tube in, tube valve stem broken, aaaargh! Ok, well cross season is coming up I guess I can go for a bit of a run, right? As a ran down the trail with bike in hand I remembered that I still had close to 5 miles of course left to get around before the finish line.... Here comes Nick Truitt. This guy is awesome, after a flat in the circuit race the day before he had to fix it and finish the remainder of 5 laps in order to get a time for the overall in the stage race. Well, he stopped, threw me his saddle bag and went on his way. Tube in, air in, off we go.... I didn't finish dead last it turns out, but man that 10th place I was in would sure have been nice.

All in all, I am happy with the race regardless of the result. I ended the season on such a high by mixing it up with guys my age that are mad fast for the first time ever. I realized that I definitely do have the power and the skill to ride in the pro field after a number of disappointing weekends. To top it all off, now I am even more motivated for Cross Season and next year! Sweet!

The Cross bike should arrive soon and I am looking forward to donning the kit of my new team Pioneer Racing. These guys are awesome and it is going to be a sweet program with some sweet teammates!

Cheers all!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

An Update on Life

As per usual with the school year in full swing there are not enough hours in a day to accomplish as much as I need to accomplish. This leads to the slight lag in posts as well as my ability to misinform those that follow me on twitter (@KatStatman) that I would post an update about this weekend on Tuesday. Clearly that did not happen, so here it is and then some....

This weekend was a bit of an odd weekend of racing at the Mountain States Cup (MSC) where instead of our typical Saturday-Sunday race scheme we did a Sunday-Monday race scheme (in honor of labor day I guess!?!) Sunday was the XC. The race plan, see how long I can handle another one of these silly Colorado ski resort climbs that goes on and on and on while not hating the Patriot Trail at Sol Vista Ski Resort as much as I did for Nationals. Turns out I hated the Patriot Trail a lot more while enjoying the rest of the course a lot. Though there was a lot of climbing it was not particularly sustained. In fact we would climb for a bit and then descend and then climb for a bit more ride flat, descend, climb, descend, flat climb, descend. There were some really cool and challenging sections of singletrack mixed into all this too, which made for a fairly good course. Unfortunately the legs weren't responding and once again I did find myself bringing up the rear. Turns out though I did not finish in dead last, apparently someone came in 5 minutes after I did, that was pretty cool to see! All in all Sunday wasn't much to talk about.

Well Monday morning rolled around I went through my normal routine at home (man it is sweet being to sleep at home between race days!) and then loaded up and headed off to Sol Vista. The Short Track course was much less than exciting, especially considering the super fun course we got to do at Nationals with a brutal short and steep climb and wicked fast but fun descent! Regardless I warmed up and toed the line against 9 other pro men from Colorado. Well it turns out I was feeling pretty darn good and I ended up finishing 7th of those 9 riders and the one rider I finished in front of in the XC on Sunday wasn't there, so these were guys that clobbered me the day before. That was pretty sick for sure, I was stoked in fact.

Maybe it was the 1x9 set up on my bike that allowed me to save some time and energy or maybe I was just on the ball for short track this past week.

Well since then things have pretty normal. The game plan for this week is to rest up as I have a monster weekend of racing coming up (3 races in 2 days!). Just a chill mountain bike ride in Nederland yesterday, hoping to get out for another chill hour and a half this afternoon, though that depends on the efficiency of my bike shop changing tires for me (with a full school and work schedule I unfortunately don't have time to do much of my own wrenching anymore) and possibly replacing my bottom bracket (not sure yet on that).

Happy trails!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Quick Update

So a lot has happened in the past week. Made it safely through the first week of classes. Finally decided what classes I was going to take for the remainder of the semester. Raced a short track and cross country race up at Copper Mountain. Discovered that with the training I have done all year I am far from prepared to race 40 minute climbs at race pace without cracking. Did some training. Snapped my front derailleur power cordz cable. Switched to a 1x9 set up with the MRP 1.X and an MRP 34 tooth podium chain ring (don't worry the 36 is on it's way). Dropped nearly a pound of my bike doing this. Drank some quality beer while enjoying a peaceful evening with my sweetheart at a belgian restaurant in Copper Mountain. Was rained out from riding my bike, so had to ride late again. Signed up for Master's Thesis hours, I guess my time as a CU student is slowly nearing an end. Well anyways, here are some photos:





Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beer Review: Rogue Brutal Bitter vs. Rogue Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red


As some, or many, of you may know I am into beer. Let me rephrase that I am into good beer. There are some beers that I absolutely refuse to drink (e.g. Coors, Bud, etc.) due to their lack of flavor and quality beer merit. I am not saying that I only like darker beers, though this is by far my preference when choosing a beer in the liquor store, I do enjoy many lighter beers. However the key to a good light beer is still flavor and complexity in my view.

In addition to liking beer a lot I was also brought up in a home that not only encourages but supports wholeheartedly trying new beers and seeking out the most interesting beers one can find from around the world. Additionally, I have also begun to dabble in my own craft brewing with my lovely fiance so have learned about many of the techniques used in brewing beer to accomplish specific flavors. Because of this I feel as though I am fairly well qualified to discuss the various merits of one beer over another.

So now on to the meat of this post, a simple comparative review of Rogue Ale's Brutal Bitter and Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red Ale.

Let me start with the Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red Ale. When thinking of a red ale a reasonably standby that comes to mind is Killian's Red. A red ale tends to be on the maltier side of ales with a crisp sweeter finish. Something that is not bad and definitely an enjoyable beer. What Rogue has done with this beer is in addition to adding hops during the initial brewing process they also added more hops during the first fermentation process, called dry hopping. By doing this it allowed that "bitter" flowery, grapefruit flavor to really invest itself in the beer. Because of this, in addition to the solid red malty nature of this beer there is a strong and salient hop flavor that comes through with every sip. I think the complex nature of this beer that they have created definitely makes it a great one to keep in the fridge and to match up with strongly flavored foods like barbecued or smoked fresh sockeye salmon.

Now onto the Brutal Bitter. Let me start with quoting the Rogue Ales website with regard to their Brutal Bitter:

"Dedicated to Justin Fisch, the Shade Man, and the official beer of the Rogue Nation. Brutal combines Oregon hops with English Malts. The Oregon grown Crystal hop is a triploid variety developed from the German Hallertau aroma hop variety with contributions from Cascade, Brewers Gold, and Early Green. Crystal is the only hop used in brewing Brutal and it provides a massive amount of aroma without dry-hopping."

This description is easily spot on. Rogue has accomplished something very interesting in this beer. By taking a traditional English style beer, a bitter, and creating something wholeheartedly American and amazing out of it. They do this by using English Malts and then using a highly refined American hop in order to create a wonderful mixture of sweetness to bittnerness throughout all while keeping with a beautiful aroma.

I don't think I could pick a favorite of these two different beers at all. In fact it would honestly depend on my mood for the day. However, if you are capable of purchasing these or any of the fine beers made by Rogue Ales I strongly suggest you do. They are worth every cent and every sip.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

And the winner is....




As I've mentioned on Twitter a few times I received a new fork for my Yeti ARC recently. Granted this is not a brand new fork, in fact it is 2007, but it is in new condition. When it arrived last night (well really when I arrived home last night and it was sitting on the couch) it took all the mental strength I could muster to not break out the work stand, toolbox, and work rags. But I held off until this morning.

Above you can see photos of the build, final product, and the weight of my complete race bike (this is more because I made a cassette upgrade while I was back east and knocked off a considerable amount of weight there). Yeah, just under 24 pounds is not super impressive for a hard tail cross country race weapon, but, this is one durable cross country race bike! Not to say there aren't changes I could make, in fact, I am still toying with the idea of going 1x9 with the mrp 1.x to drop a little bit over 300 grams as well as get rid of chain suck in bad race conditions and just make the bike that much more durable. We'll see though...if I do that I might have to spend a little more time on my singlespeed over the winter to build up the strength to push a 36 tooth front ring up some of the climbs we have on the US Pro XCT circuit.

Back to the build. This was the fastest fork change I have ever done. Though pulling the crown race off of my old Reba Team was a little difficult. Yet, putting it on the Fox 32 F100 was a piece of cake - a sign of what was to come.

Well the build was done, the brakes were set up, my rotor was re straightened, and now to set up the fork pressure. Looking over the Fox manual online I gathered that I should set the pressure to roughly 65 psi for my weight and see how it handles. I did the necessary work to do so and thought the fork felt a little squishy compared to what I was used to.

Ok, well now that I am talking about how the fork feels I might as well dive right into it's first ride. Since my legs have been feeling slightly fatigued from a solid weekend of back to back 3 hour mountain bike rides I opted to head out for a semi-short endurance ride at Marshall Mesa to test out the new fork and give my legs a little spin with the option of giving it some gas if they were feeling it (by the way, they were!)

Marshall Mesa is not terribly technical. It has some more technical bits but overall it is pretty smooth and just fun. I also rode the Prairie View trail, Dowdy Draw Trail, and Spring Brook Loop on the other side of the highway for good measure, some solid mountain biking. Fun, good fun fast and slightly rocky singletrack.

Even though when I initially set up the fork I thought it was soft I discovered quickly on the trail that though at first it feels soft this is the way Fox forks are designed. For a 100mm fork, a travel length I have been running since last august, this fork feels bottomless. The travel starts out being super responsive to the slightest trail alteration and as you move through it becomes progressively stiffer. What this means to us mountain bikers, go and rip it.

My Reba has never felt this way in the year I rode it. It was always a consistent feel from beginning to end. Not to say that is bad, but I could clearly tell when I was bottoming it out, not so with the Fox. In addition to this I felt as though the Fox definitely allowed for more input from the rider.

As a hard tail rider it takes a certain amout of bike handling skills to handle technical terrain smoothly and fast. Something that has taken me a year to really get the handle of and I still can't do it 100% of the time. One thing about the Fox with it's amazingly smooth feel and quick reacting rebound it really helps you make those late big bunny hops over boulders on the outside of corners you would have otherwise plowed into and certainly endowed. When this happened today it was great how quickly the fork reacted and I was up and over the boulder without even touching my tire to it.

You might think that I just didn't have my Reba set up properly in order to have that kind of feel. I have owned 2 different Rock Shox forks as of now and no matter how well I set them up and work to make them feel the best they can they never felt like this new fork does.

So, today not only is the winner my bike, but the winner is also Fox Suspension, you guys really know what youare doing.

As a quick side note a good friend of mine is starting a huge part of his racing season this weekend at the Suicide 6 race in New York to tune up for the Shenandoah 100. Best of luck to Jason Hilimire as he heads out to rock a series of super hard and awesome events! If you click on his name you can follow updates on his blog of his training, racing, and life in general. Definitely well worth it.

Till next time....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Career Change

Typically people go through a career change somewhere in their 30's or so after spending numerous years slaving away at something they are not in love with. At least that is how I always saw it. After college (well really during my senior year of college) I thought about what I wanted to do with my life and what seemed to be the best option was to continue studying philosophy and see what kind of job I could do with that at the very least. Very quickly I packed up, moved to the Boulder, CO area and started as a master's candidate in Philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

I love philosophy. I love the reading, the thinking, the curious problems we spend time dealing with. Most of all I love the diverse range of topics studied for philosophers along with our ability to use what is happening in other fields as fuel for thought.

Unfortunately it seems that not only am I less motivated to continue with philosophy as a career move but I have been missing one aspect of my college career far too much, design. As a student at Bard College though I was a philosophy major I spent a large amount of time in the theatre working for the electrics crew. My capacity was doing everything from hanging lighting instruments to focusing and finally in the last couple of years to designing for various dance and theatre shows around campus. My greatest accomplishment by far was making the Spanish Dance Concerts in the Multi-Purpose Room (MPR, though we called it the NPR, No-Purpose Room, for it's completely useless layout for anything whatsoever) look good. Which is nearly impossible if you are remotely familiar with this room and the constraints one must work with.

Not having done any design work for over a year now I realize that maybe my love for philosophy is slightly trumped by my love for projects that involve interesting physical challenges to design around, like working on dance concert lighting designs.

After talking with many family members and friends as well as my other half (Shannon) it seems that after I finish my master's in philosophy I will be making a drastic shift to the world of engineering.

Yes, this is a huge shift from my previous academic exploits. However, I was never a philosophy major because I was a weak math and/or science student (very important subjects for engineers). In fact I have always been a very good math and science student. Unfortunately this also means I have to go back to Undergrad to make up a number of courses I neglected while being an undergrad at Bard College in order to apply for Grad School again in another year or two.

Well, I guess it is back to the books in the next week. Time to figure out what to write my Master's Thesis on before I start thinking about remembering how to do Calculus.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back in Colorado

It's been a little over a week since my last post and quite a bit has happened as well. Since I left my parents up in the adirondacks of New York and headed back down to the familiar catskills I spent a lot of time just relaxing and preparing for the Pro XCT finals at Windham Ski Resort in Windham, NY.

Of the 5 days of the normal work week I spent 3 of them up at the mountain riding the course and trying to get a rhythm on it. Turns out it paid off pretty well, unfortunately you can't see that from my finishing results, but during my brief interlude in the race I knew things were going well.

Quick Race Report: knowing how short the course was and how much I would really need to be have my engine running on all cylinders for the start I opted for the slightly longer warm up, something that has definitely helped me in the past for the harder events. Fortunately I also was able to stay cool during my warm up by staying in the shade and not really pushing too hard at all until my ritual pre race efforts roughly 15 minutes before call ups begin. I was feeling good and ready to go by the time we lined up.

Race started in the parking lot on the pavement at the front of the resort building this year. Unfortunately something that has always bothered me is the fact that so many mountain bike racers (whether they are pro or not) seem to have difficulty riding fast in a large group. After nearly being wrapped up in 2 crashes before even hitting the dirt (maybe 500 ft of pavement total at this point) I started to make my way up the hill and towards the first bottleneck where my two years of cross racing really paid off. Hit the bottleneck running and just booked it by a bunch of guys trying to figure out what to do. As we kept heading up the mountain I noticed my legs started to feel better and better and I was just crushing the gears and feeling really smooth as a bike rider, while all the while hacking up copious amounts of dust and mucus from the start and feeling in general pretty asthmatic in the long department.

After a solid 5-7 minutes of climbing up the mountain we hit the last climb up a short exposed fire road before the ripping fast descent. I set about setting a blistering pace for the group I was with and then suddenly I felt that warm fuzzy feeling all over the body. From experience I knew my body was overheating. Quickly grabbing for my bottle I slugged back some Heed and backed off quite a bit trying to save some and get cool before having to head back up the climb again.

After riding the descent conservatively on the first lap I came around and proceeded to hit it as hard as I could without overheating again like on the first lap. I cleared the top and started heading down. When you are not racing at the front of the race and just trying to survive one great tip is to remember why you started racing in the first place - it is FUN! So I started jumping off stuff on the descent and having a generally good time.

As I reached the bottom I thought for sure I was going to be pulled for falling below the 80% rule and at the same time saw a few riders just ahead soft pedaling, ok... definitely going to get pulled might as well make up every spot I can in the last 1000 meters. I really laid the hammer down coming around the parking lot loop and up the subsequent power climbs catching 2 guys and just cruising only to come up over the last little power climb to the finish and not hear the whistle.... Oh CRAP! I have another lap to do and I just burned every match I had left.

Last lap I thought, just stay alive.... that is all you have to do, stay alive. I cruised the last lap and ended up with a 60th place finish of 63 finishers and somewhere in the realm of 70-75 starters, on par with the rest of my Pro XCT results.

Even though this was not a great result it was definitely a race where I felt like I really deserved to be a professional on the race circuit. My legs felt good, I could actually ride up the mountain, unlike at Mount Snow. The biggest hurdle of the day was the heat, something I have struggled with consistently for the last 2 years and have had to spend multiple races sitting on the side of the trail trying to get my body to cool off.

I am coming into the tail end of the season now with some unfinished business at the Mountain States Cups before Cross season officially begins, maybe I can pull something out for the last couple of races and score some USA Cycling rank points before the end of the year.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thanks Mom and Dad

Another year and another Mount Snow is in the books. I have definitely had a love hate relationship with this mountain. Last summer at the Root 66 Kenda Classic at Mount Snow I was rocking it and after destroying a front wheel and being able to fix it I rode to a 4th place finish only seconds off 3rd. A couple of week later I could barely get myself up the climbs and finished in 10th, embarassing.

This year was quite a bit different. The day before I was feeling awesome and powering up the climbs super well. Unfortunately I was not flowing the technical stuff too well that day. Race day rolled around the next day and I was climbing like a small child. It was really embarassing. I just could not ride up hill with any speed whatsoever, so sad. Fortunately I was actually able to clean the technical parts of the course like none other, I was definitely stoked on that! Alas, with not being able to ride uphill on one of the hardest uphill courses in the USA I lasted for 2 laps of the 5. By far my worst performance of the year.

But if now is a low point then things can only get better from here. After the race I made my way up to Lake Placid, NY and spent the next two days with my parents enjoying the adirondacks.

Before I continue I would like to thank my parents for being the coolest ever. While at Mount Snow the sole of my shoe began to tear off leaving me to attempt to super glue it back together the night before the race. Though it looked like it was going to hold I definitely finished the race and found it farther disconnected than before. When I arrived at Lake Placid and announced this misfortune to my parents they said they would take me around to the local bike shops in order to solve my problem. After much searching we were able to find a pair of Shimano M182 shoes and some new Crank Brothers cleats on sale for an awesome price. Thanks mom and dad you guys are the best and always keep me rolling when times are tough!!!!

After solving my shoe problem I headed out for a ride in the Adirondacks. In the Lake Placid area if you want to ride at White Face Mountain you are required to pay and sign a waiver. Though I am totally down on signing a waiver (I do it every time I have to race) paying to ride my bike when I am not using lift access is pretty ridiculous to me. I quickly got some beta that you could ride this trail from White Face over to the Flume Trails outside of Wilmington. These trails are sick. They really aren't all that technical (there are some more technical bits) but they are super fun. There are parts that are like riding down a pump track. Just pump it and you accelerate down the mountain, can you say Wicked!!!!

Overall even though I raced horribly on Saturday I would say it was a pretty good weekend. Now to regroup, get fit, and try to rip it at Windham. Though I would love it to be wet and sloppy I highly doubt that would happen.

Cheers and happy riding.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Making My Way Back East

After spending a few days at the parents house in Pennsylvania I loaded up the car and headed to Round Top, NY; the home of an old friend from my NY living days Seamus Powell. The drive was pretty uneventful but once arriving it was such a welcome atmosphere that I felt right at home.

Seamus' parents are awesome! After one of the best dinners ever of lasagna, salad, and homemade italian bread I was ready for a huge nap (bed time for the night) before the short trip up to Mount Snow the next day.

The short trip to Mount Snow as definitely an adventure to say the least. It took roughly an hour to figure out how to load up the car with 3 bikes (only 2 bike racks) and 6 wheels. Solution, tie our wheels to our bikes on the roof rack and put one bike in the backseat. Overall it worked out pretty well until Macky picked up another frame when we arrived at Mount Snow that Colt from Cyclingdirt was holding on to for him. Hmmm.....

A quick preride of the new* Mount Snow course and we were on our way. Our new gracious hosts for the weekend were Andrew Freye and his girlfriend Haddey, Mike Joos, and John Burns. They've rented a sweet house (with wi fi) for the weekend and cooked up an awesome pasta dinner.

Today is race day and it is time to fix my nerves (a problem I was having at Nationals a few weeks ago) and see how things go. The course is tough in terms of climbing but not overly hard in terms of descending this year. I think when Mount Snow shortened their course the descents (though very similar and the same to last years) lost a large part of their technical nature purely because you don't go have to go down for as long making things much more interesting than years past at least on the pro race side.

We'll see what happens, the goal today is to hold on for 5 laps, legs feel good, so.....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Western Pennsylvania Singletrack


For the past couple of days I have been hanging out at my parents home in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Though I grew up here in the quaint and very small town of Meadville my cycling heritage is very Colorado centric. I spent 4 summers during high school riding my mountain bike in Colorado. Because of this I have never really known where to ride in Western PA, until about 2 years ago.

2 years ago on my way through town I knew that I would be stopping by for a week or so and couldn't imagine a week without mountain biking. First things first, rolled down to the local shop and asked where to go. Answer: nowhere.

Ok, that doesn't really seem true, we're in the middle of the Allegheny Mountains only 30 or 40 miles from the Allegheny National Forest, hmm....

After a quick internet search I found this place called Moraine State Park outside of Slippery Rock, PA (BTW there is a really good brew pub there if you are ever in that neck of the woods that is worth checking out if you are into amazing craft beers!) I loaded up and headed down with the intent of getting pretty lost in the woods, and I did so.

Since I knew I would be coming back through town for almost a week I figured this would be the perfect way to prepare for Mount Snow and Windham, ride super sick and super tech trails. Well to say the least my memory was a little foggy from 2 years ago of what the trails are like here and man are they tough, but that makes them fun!

What is interesting is that for many areas of the network the trail is really just a series of rock bridges from one van sized boulder to the other. During a dry summer this isn't so bad, you just have to have some good point and shoot skills while you bounce around and try to float. This summer has been exceptionally wet and with the thick foliage cover the rocks (covered in a slick lichen) have not particularly dried at all, making things very interesting!

To say the least I love trying to ride these trails. There aren't the ripping fast descents or the high alpine singletrack that has made Colorado famous, but you can never go wrong with a slow techy ride where just cleaning a 10 foot section of trail is all the exhilaration you need!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Man I need to get some pictures up on this thing

Well now that I am getting back to blogging on this site I should definitely get some pictures up on this thing asap. Unfortunately I don't have any at the moment, hmm.... Well when I go back to Moraine State Park tomorrow I will make sure to stop and take some as this place is pretty ridiculous an awesome.

Currently I am relaxing at my parents in Northwestern Pennsylvania enjoying the uncharacteristically cool weather, however, it is ridiculously humid, and riding my bike a fair bit as training has fallen off slightly last week unfortunately.

Yesterday I drove down to Moraine State Park outside of Slippery Rock to session the most ridiculously technical trails one will ever ride short of Rothrock Forest in State College, in fact I would say these trails are harder purely because the climate is just slightly damper.

The name of the game at Moraine is rocks. Though it is the east coast and there are plenty of roots they are not really a problem here. From beginning to end of these trails there are monstrous rock gardens where every rock is damp and covered in moss making it ride like an ice rink. To make it more interesting there are car and bus size boulders that have rock bridges and wood bridges built on and off of them to facilitate interesting riding. If you can find a rhythm here and flow these trails you can rock any race course. I guess I'll be heading back down again tomorrow, maybe if I ride super tech trails all week I will be ready for Mount Snow and just rip it so fast that I scare myself.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Getting back in the Swing of Things

This blog has been a little stale recently (well that is a bit of an understatement, it's really been completely dead). With the hope of bringing things back around and getting regular posts up I will start again.

The past 2 days have been exceptionally stressful and tiring as I made my journey from Longmont, CO to Meadville, PA. Originally the plan was for me to drive solo (well with my dog, Lucas) but at the last minute Shannon was an angel and decided to come with me as my driving companion only to fly back to Colorado immediately (she should be arriving momentarily at DIA) and then fly to Albany, NY and meet me again for my return trip. With this change of plans this meant that we would leave a day later and several hours later than originally planned.

Day 1: meet Shannon at work (roughly 4:30) drive one car to DIA parking lot and then get on the road with the ultimate goal of making it to Omaha, NE (500 miles away from our starting point). After many slight problems with leaving on time we finally were on the road and on our way. Though the drive was uneventful we arrived at our hotel in Omaha at roughly 2:30 in the morning completely worn out and then find the box with our key for our room wouldn't open with the code we were given. Fortunately the woman at the front was able to get us set up and into our room. After a beer and calming Lucas down (he has a hard time with hotels for some odd reason) we were able to get to sleep.

Day 2: woke up at 9 am. Though this seems late with the amount of sleep we got it was unfortunately ver early. However, with 900 miles left to go before we got to Meadville, PA we had to try and get on the road. By 10 we were loaded up and heading out only to find that no fast food restaurant was still serving breakfast. A couple handfuls of grapes, an apple, and some coffee and we kept on trucking (I am a firm believer in eating breakfast food for breakfast no matter what time of day it is, in fact breakfast food is my favorite food so I will readily eat it any time of day, but most importantly must consume it for breakfast). Once again this was only another uneventful day of driving across the middle of the United States. Once again we arrived in the early hours of the morning to promptly sit down for a beer before going to bed.

Now it is time for me to try and relax and keep me head straight for the upcoming races at Mount Snow and Windham. With fast and challenging courses these will be some of the toughest races of the year. Let's if all that time up at altitude will give me some sort of edge.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Until this Bike Racing Thing Pans Out

School is pretty much over for me for the year. I have one paper to write for my environmental philosophy course on the ethical decisions we ought to make concerning the Mount Emmons mine, but I will wait another day or two to work on that and get my brain refreshed after a horrendous week last week.

In the meantime the big thing that has been going on is the attempt to find a job or choose a career to eventually go into, until this bike racing thing pans out. Unfortunately I don't have a trust fund to fall back on from my parents (college professor and high school teacher's salaries do not quite provide enough) such that I could pursue bike racing full time with an attempt at making it big in the next couple of years. This means I have to work. As time rolls on and I continue to study philosophy at the graduate level I become less and less certain as to what I want to do.

I've considered many options. For example, marketing. This seems like a blast. Having to come up with a different campaign all the time for different clients. Work would never be dull. It would be exceptionally creative and challenging. Then again it means going back to Undergrad for some communications/marketing classes, which at this point in my life I am not too keen on. I think I need a break from school.

I've also spent a fair amount of considering architecture/design. In college I spent a lot of time doing lighting design at the Bard College Theatre and Dance departments, where I would do everything from technical work to creating designs for various shows. I loved it. I loved learning how to use VectorWorks and do computer drafting of lighting plots. All the different design elements you had to think of and the different challenges that every project required. Even talking with the many lighting designers and set designers we had come through the halls of the Fisher Center were great. In order to do this I would have a huge amount of schooling to continue with. While an undergrad at Bard I steered away from the sciences and math courses because I thought my interests were primarily in the humanities, maybe I was just rebelling against my parents (both scientists) or maybe I was just another lost college student soul. But I would pretty much have to make up years of engineering, physics, and design/urban development classes to accomplish this goal. Another aspect I would need to consider is my interest in sustainable living. Today we MUST begin and continue to grow sustainable houses in the United States and the world in order to solve or ameliorate our growing energy needs. This would require even more studying into sustainability practices and the sciences of solar power, water treatment, geo-thermal heating/cooling to understand better how they work, allowing me to incorporate them together.

Still, wouldn't it be great if I could make a good living racing my bike? No school just dedicated training, resting, and racing. Free time to pursue any interests I might have while not on the bike and the ability to travel the world for work. That certainly would be a great job, just might take a long time.

Until then, the job search continues for any career that looks promising so that I can pay the bills and get to the next race.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Weekend in the world of Spencer Penrose

So this evening Shannon and I just returned to our cozy home after a weekend of wining and dining at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. This place is pretty cool by the way. There are employees all around tryng to help you out and take care of anything you need. Every morning when I would leave for my ride out the front door the door men would ask if I needed anything, way cool. Not only that, but everyday when they came to clean your room they refreshed the ice bucket for you without asking. No need to find the ice machine, we couldn't as it was, they just do it.

Other cool things about this place is the history of the building. It was built in 1918 right after World War I by this guy named Spencer Penrose. He made a bunch of money investing in mining and hit the jackpot with a copper mine in Utah. In so doing he and his wife decided that they wanted to bring the east coast luxuriousness found in New York and Virginia to the Wild West, and the Broadmoor was born. Lots of cool history all around the halls.

In addition to this Mr. Penrose invested in a large number of different projects around Colorado Springs to attract people to it as a vacation destination of class. The road to the top of Pikes Peak was his doing. Refurbishing the cog train up as well. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is and was created for the many exotic animals he kept and then was given to the public. Finally the Sun Shrine a shrine to Will Rogers above the Zoo. All very cool things to go check out while you are in Colorado Springs.

The food at this place is pretty cool too. This morning, after exploring the mountains the some and wishing I had more time to get lost on many trails up above Seven Falls and Cripple Creek I went to sunday brunch with Shannon and her parents at the Broadmoor. There was so much food I did not know what do with myself except eat a lot. So breakfast/lunch was: 3 egg omelette with green chile, mushrooms, onions, and cheese; potatoes; cheese blintzes; eggs benedict no canadian bacon; chocolate croissant; assorted berries and other fruits; coffee; orange juice; and baked alaska.

After a very tasty breakfast we made our way to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, a place I grew up going to when I would spend my summers in Colorado Springs while my dad worked at the Air Force Academy. They have done some great improvements, especially the habitats for the Rocky Mountain animals and the Asian Animals. Well worth another visit if you have not been there in a long time.

The other thing that I got to do was check out the Sun Shrine or Will Rogers Memorial up above the Zoo. I have never been up there, and it is well worth the drive up the steep mountain road. There are great views and you learn a bunch about Spencer Penrose and Will Rogers.

Well that is all for now.

Cheers.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

News, Notes, and a change of venue

First things first. Starting today I will not longer be posting about cycling on this blog. If you are interested in those cycling adventures I constantly have, well go check out my teams blog (until we finish building our website) at http://transparentracing.blogspot.com. There you will find cycling related updates, photos, videos and more from the Transparent Racing crew, so head on over.

This weekend (the final weekend before school is out for the summer) I am down in Colorado Springs spending time with Shannon and her parents at the chic Broadmoor Hotel. This place is definitely super cool and fun! The food has been awesome, the wine (I don't even remember all the different wines I had last night alone) is fantastic and well I just feel fancy when I am here. Which is definitely cool.

Unfortunately while I am here though I have had to spend a large amount of time in our hotel room, which is gorgeous. You see, I have my final papers due this week (in fact I should be writing them now instead of doing this) and that means I am camped out up here looking out the window while attempting to get work done.

Well here's too more coffee, good wine and food tonight, and hopefully a successful attempt at finishing out the semester with something intelligent to say!

cheers!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

1st Pro Race here and gone

So I did it. I finished, well sort of, my first race as a professional mountain bike racer. Today as the short track, of which I had no expectations on a good result. Not only because I haven't raced yet this year but in addition to that I was called up dead last of 100 or so racers meaning bad things were going to happen. Next step in my misfortune was an inopportune crash at the start directly in front of me, this led to stopping and trying to get out of traffic. Finally with 100 guys trying to ride single track all at the same time, well the possibility of moving forward at a race pace are pretty much non existent. So I stood on top of the course for awhile, kind of like sitting in LA traffic, weird huh!?! Eventual result, 2 laps completed, 5 minutes 21 seconds of race time, 73rd place, ouch!

On a plus note my legs felt great and I was able to really get the HR up there, so hopefully the good opening ride will have me all set for tomorrow to have a good race. Still once again no expectations tomorrow. Race fitness isn't quite there yet and I am just getting used to this pro field, so going to give it my all try to stay with a good group and see what happens.

Until then....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

On my way to Cali

Sitting here at the gate waiting for the plane to San Jose to let me get on. I think this is the first moment that I've actually felt professional as a cyclist. Chilling out, waiting for a flight and on my way to my first race. Though the first race of the season is always a nerve racking experience I think this year is even a bit more so. I've always been one to jump in head first and man am I doing that now. No training races and I'm flying to line up next to Christoph Sauser, well not really next to him more like 15 rows behind him, but still, it's a pretty crazy thought to have.

The past couple of hours, walking through the airport and thinking about this trip I've realized that the one thing I want to really accomplish is to be a paid professional cyclist. Ever since I was a small child playing t-ball or swimming my dream was to compete at the professional level and make this my career. Well I am one step closer, now let's make that next leap and get a paycheck to train and show up to cool places around the world to race my bike.

Out for now, check back for lots of updates from Sea Otter this weekend!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gearing up for Sea Otter

The decision has been made, the plane tickets have been purchased, hotel and car reserved, registration done. I am going to Sea Otter to make my career debut as a professional mountain bike racer. I have a funny feeling it is going to be rough. The pro XC field, as of this morning, is at 145 racers so there will probably be another 15 to 20 added before now and Sunday which means it is going to be pure chaos.

In preparation for this trip, as far as training goes, I have been ramping up the intensity pretty hard. With my new training zones close to 20 beats per minute higher than a few weeks ago that means I am killing myself when I go climbing or sprinting or anything for that matter. Thus, making me very very tired. The other preparation piece of this puzzle was a mock race. The reason for this is primarily that I haven't raced at all since the Boulder Cup cross races in November, a very long time ago. Essentially I need to remind my body what it is like to go super hard for 2.5 hours. That hurts, especially when you don't have a carrot in the form of another racer up ahead, in front of you. Well 3 hours (warm up and cool down added to 2.5 hours of killing myself) later and 40 miles of mostly dirt roads and trails I was shot, I hurt, I was tired and all I could think about was nap time.

In other fun news Shannon and spent yesterday chilling and having a good time together before she had to head back to work for another back breaking 40 + hours in 4 days this week. We took our first trip to the Denver Zoo and looked at all the awesome animals they have. The Denver Zoo is definitely not the best Zoon I've been too, but all in all it is really good. They have some cool creatures, particularly the polar bears and brown bears, my favorites by far. They also have some cool birds, especially the penguins, Shannon loves those little guys.

After a good 4 hours walking around we hopped in the car to head back up to Longmont, taking a little detour at the new REI in Westminster. This is a pretty sick REI, not on the scale of the Seattle or even downtown Denver one, but it's pretty good. Arguably better than the one we have in Boulder. The plus side to this REI is it is in an outdoor mall with other stuff to go check out too, like a huge IMAX movie theatre and some pretty good restaurants, chains all be it, but good ones not the normal applebee's. The restaurant of choice for a late afternoon beer was the Rockbottom brewery. They have a pretty good ESB, I was fairly impressed and their Coyote Howling Pale Ale was quite hoppy, though not on the level of a Dale's or an Avery Brewing, so...

Yesterday was a great relaxing day, perfect for getting all geared up to head to California in 2 days!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Back to Northeast Style Suffering

After our long bout of amazingly warm weather where the trails were dry and I spent a solid week mountain biking exploring new places (Buffalo Creek, Colorado Trail, White Ranch Open Space, etc.) the weather turned for the worse and just doesn't seem to want to become spring here. Of all the cold days I've had while out training I would have to say that Sunday turned out to be the worst of them by far. I had a great plan though.

I was scheduled to ride for 3-4 hours, which when I have to ride for long periods of time I like to explore new places, new roads, and go see pretty things. All in all it just makes for a better experience, then the boring flat rides along the I-25 feeder, something I have never done and do not plan on doing ever, too much boredom there!

Well my plan was to drive to the base of left hand canyon and ride up the canyon with my mountain bike set up to ride the dirt, i.e. put the knobbies on. After about 10 miles of riding up Left Hand there is a well known steep dirt road that heads directly out of the canyon into Gold Hill, Lickskillet Road. I was going to head up there and once you reach Gold Hill there are numerous dirt roads for wondrous mountain exploring. There are also many trails up there, however, with the recent snows we got I knew I was not going to be able to ride them, but snow covered dirt roads are quite a challenge regardless. The amazing thing I had never expected happened. Riding up left hand, even though it was snowing, the road was not particularly wet so I stayed very dry. Even heading up LickSkillet it was snow covered keeping my bike and my body clean and dry, a nice touch. Well I got to the top of Lickskillet and lo and bhold it seemed that everything over 8,000 ft in elevation was soaking wet and muddy, UGH! After going for a bit farther west and getting very cold I decided to bail and just book it down to Left Hand Canyon and back to the car. That was the coldest descent down Left Hand I have ever gone through in my entire life and never want to repeat it again. My derailleurs were frozen in place from mud ice, my jockey wheels froze so I couldn't pedal making the 16 mile descent awful as I had to just sit there and let gravity do the work.

Upon finally reaching the car, rather than changing, putting the bike on the rack and doing my normal stuff I just got in the car turned it on, rocked the heat all the way to HI and turned the seat warmers on full blast until I could feel my fingers and toes again.

Of all the dumb ride ideas I've had in the past I think this one is by far the worst. It was definitely the coldest, most dangerous, and insanely stupid rides that I have ever done. Thank God I didn't have to ride the extra 11 miles home from Left Hand after that!

Here is a pic of the roads before they turned to nasty wet mush. When they were still fun!







Saturday, April 4, 2009

Work, Work, Work

So after a great week of Spring Break where I got some good relaxation time and Shannon and I were able to catch up with Macky Franklin as he returned from Argentina and his winter down south I am back at it and finding a new sense of enthusiasm for all of the projects I am working on. The one downside is suddenly I am running out of time to get anything done. So here is what is going on:

Training - I am hitting the bike hard recently as race season is getting closer and closer. This is an extremely odd feeling for me as normally my race season starts the first week of March. Though it is definitely a welcome break from the 10 road races my body is used to putting in within in four weeks before I hit the mountain bike circuit As far as my first race goes it is either going to be the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, CA or I will be going to the first event of the Mountain States Cup in Fruita, CO. My decision will primarily be economical, but we will see. I would really love to test my legs out at the national level, as the main focus of the rest of my season will be the US Pro XCT and both Marathon and XC national championships. Regardless, I am just very excited about finally getting back to racing.

School- after a really low point with school the past couple of months I've had a breakthrough and am getting a little more energized about what I am studying. Maybe it is the extension for my environmental philosophy course and the changed final assignment in my case. Regardless, I am definitely not ecstatic about school. I think the past 8 years of working hard through high school and college are definitely burning me out and I am ready to focus my energy on other endeavors, hopefully a new job with a great company (Bikes Belong????)

Work - I have finished my first research project with Bikes Belong and am working hard to get my next one done at the moment. It feels good to be putting time and energy into something that matters and is for a good cause, getting more people riding bikes more often.

Home Life - Shannon and I have been having a lot of fun together recently, goofing off and laughing, watching silly movies and enjoying some new wines and beers. I found a great new local beer, that Shannon isn't as fond of as I am, but it is still good. It is from the UpSlope Brewery in North Boulder. Lucas is still on restricted activity from his bout with pneumonia recently, which has definitely been trying our patience, as he thinks he is completely better and therefore without taking him on the long walks he is accustomed to he is trying to run around all the time, which results in him spending a lot more time in his kennel than we or he would like.

Well that seems to be a pretty good update, I will give more as life progresses and continues here in Longmont, CO.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Time to Catch Up

It's definitely been awhile since the last time I sat down to lay down a post and since my last one so much has happened that I am going to have to put in brief bullet points to get you all caught up. So here they are:

  • Went to Phoenix, AZ for some family time with the grandparents, parents, brother, aunts and uncles. Brought my mountain bike and tires, ripped some desert singletrack and found my shoulder is doing pretty well on the recovery process. Still not tearing up the descents though.
  • Carbon bike is fully built and raging. Since I still don't have a road bike I am training on this and loving every minute of it, soooo.... smooth
  • Been riding the trails in the Front Range of Colorado a lot recently and getting lost. Here is a list of places I got myself lost this week:
  1. Dirt Roads above Boulder around Gold Hill and the many unmarked singletrack offshoots that go straight up the sides of mountains
  2. White Ranch Open Space - dear lord the climbs there are tough and the descents are ripping, want to work on tech riding skills ride here!
  3. Buffalo Creek Open Space - this is by far one of the best places to go mountain biking in the front range. So much singletrack, I was out there for 4 hours and still have not hit every trail. Plus you can dip into the Colorado Trail, super big bonus!
  • Lucas got sick this weekend with pneumonia, have been taking him back and forth to the vet for the past two days and sleeping on the coach while he sleeps on the other coach to make sure he is hanging in there. He is such a trooper!
  • Working hard to find a job for the summer and beyond. It is definitely time I become a working stiff so I can afford to live, eat, and race my bike until one day when I get paid to race my bike (definitely a long shot but you never know!)
  • On spring break this week, so I get to chill at home all week and get work done without the hassle of having to go into Boulder or do anything else. So very relaxing!
That seems to be about it, I can imagine other things have been happening, but I they are either not that exciting or really not that important cause I can't seem to remember what they are.

Til next time....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Been Awhile, but Man I've been keeping busy

So things have essentially gone crazy since I last posted. Let me lay it down nice and simple for you. Have had super amounts of work to do with school, bikes belong, insurance companies, and just everyday stuff around the house. To top that all off last weekend and this weekend are travel weekends. Normally I am game to travel, if there is a race involved, but sometimes you gotta do the family thing and make trips that don't involve races. So this past weekend Shannon and I loaded up and flew down to Houston for a rather somber trip, but fun in that we got to see the whole family (her side). In order to do this it requires packing clothes, bike, and sending the dog away to the kennel. So we arrived, I unpacked my bike, put in a total of 3 hours of ride time, and then packed it back up to fly home only to unpack it again the next day. Now because I am going to Phoenix this weekend for my side of the families function tomorrow after my training ride I have to pack the bike back up, put in 2 rides, and then pack it again, fly home and unpack it. Normally just to train I wouldn't have to pack the bike so much, but unfortunately I am still down to 1 bike, which means I am constantly packing and unpacking.

But in other awesome news all my componentry and my new frame for racing showed up at the end of last week, which meant, yesterday I had an intense build going on and now it is done save for the last minute fitting motions. Here she is:She is just about 23 lbs, maybe a little under as my scale is a bathroom floor scale and I had my hands on it to hold it steady, so... But that is far lighter than anything I've ever ridden in the past, so it should be fun. If you are wondering why only one bottle cage, well the answer is quite simple, there is only one set of bottle cage mounts, which may sound a little fishy to many of you out there, but I only use one bottle cage during a race and I've been riding full suspensions for at least 3 years with only one bottle cage, so it is no different in that respect. Additionally I just bought myself (yeah REI dividends) an rocking camelback for those long rides in the woods, that is also big enough to keep me going for an over night trip to say... Winter Park from Boulder this August!

That's the news for now, cheers all!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Back at it!

I know this is not a very good picture, but this is my training bike for a bit as I don't have another bike right now. The road bike = totalled, the cross bike = recently sold and shipped on ebay so now it is only the mountain bike. That would not be so bad if my shoulder was not up to the demands of mountain biking, which is why you see the skinny slicks on this baby. But all in all they work great and keep me rolling and not going nuts while out on training rides.

Today was my first real day back and it turned out well. I got the greenlight from the orthopedist yesterday to resume training as long as it wasn't hurting my shoulder and the coaches said to head out and get some time in outside after two consecutive short days on the trainer. So I went out rode the St. Vrain Greenway from my house cruised from one end of town to the other without dealing with traffic and then rode the Left Hand Creek Greenway back across town till I got to some roads I recognized and cruised on home. Man it felt good to be back outside and pedaling while moving. Standing up on the pedals to crest little climbs and just not be stuck staring at the tv spinning for 30 minutes.

so all in all I am moving back to the normal world of training again. Only if my new bikes would just show up soon so I can really enjoy it! Actually I will just enjoy being outside again.

Now to get ready for a consecutive two weekends of travel. This weekend: Houston. Next Weekend: Phoenix!

Till then....

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Recovering = Sitting on my bum getting fat

Since the accident my role in life has been pretty sad. I wake up, make coffee and oatmeal, sit on the coach in the living room and stay there pretty much all day except to get more water, food, and to go to the bathroom. The past two days I've been pounding Advil during the day to keep the pain at bay and the swelling down and Vicatin at night to allow me to sleep through the night and get ample rest. Otherwise I sit on my bum, watch TV and stare at the internet getting fat or fast!?!

In good news I feel as though my recovery is coming along well. Yesterday I was able to walk much more comfortably and my shoulder started to hurt considerably less. As I woke up this morning I found that my stiff left leg limp is almost gone, in fact I have near normal walking motion now, not normal walking speed, but at least the motion is coming back. Hoping to take the mountain bike out tomorrow for some easy bike path spinning and trying to see if I can get the legs back to at least moving properly again!

I've also recently ordered a new road bike, check it out:


I was originally going to go for the full carbon Sram Red Felt F3, however, realized that I am not a road racer in any sense of the form and what I use my road bike for is training through crud conditions in the winter and maybe a few early season races, though the Gateway ride may replace that in the future as I get race pace riding without paying to be there! So, aluminum and carbon it is. As it looks like my brake levers/shifters from my folded in half bike are still good I will also be pruchasing a new rear derailleur and switching back to Sram Rival for it's amazing function and awesome comfort!

I am still waiting on my new mountain bike that was ordered only a week ago, full carbon beauty, no labels so I will be decalling it up as soon as it arrives. However, I have set up my basket on the build for it and it is going to be pretty sweet the build spec/frame photo are as follows:

-Full Carbon 12k frame 1250 g
-Rock Shox Reba (Thanks Macky!)
-Cane Creek IS3 Inetegrated Headset
-FSA 110 mm stem (not sure which model)
-Race Face Evolve Flat XC Bars!
-Avid Juicy 7 brakes
-Stan's Olympic Rims with Sun Ringle Hubs (man these are awesome and light)
-Truvativ Stylo OCT crankset (will be setting up as a true 2x9 in the coming future!!!)
-WTB shadow V saddle to repalce my well worn Devo saddle!
-Hutchinso Python tires (thought about going for some Maxxis Ridgelines, but I have had such good experiences with Hutchinson's and I know them very well thought they would be best)
-Ergon GX1 grips (man these are sick uber comfy, definitely help descending, and Long term comfort)
-Carbon Post (came free with bike)
-Sram X-9 drive train with Shimano XT front derailleur
-crankbrothers Eggbeaters SL pedals (nicest eggbeaters I've ever owned!!!!)

Unfortunately I don't have pics of the destroyed bike, but will soon, so keep checking back!
Until next time....

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What the !#$@%^*&@#$@# were you thinking?

Those were the first words that came out of my mouth as I lay on the side of the road shocked that my worst fear had just come true, I had been hit by a car.

Yesterday evening on my commute home I had good luck and made the 6:08 bus, which is a first for me. This means that I would get home 30 minutes earlier than usual and would not end up eating dinner nearly as late as the past couple of nights and weeks. Well, all that turned bust pretty fast.

I had ridden my bike to the bus stop at the Twin Peaks Mall in Longmont, CO. A strange turn of events for me, as normally I drive the 2 miles down the road, for convenience and time (often I have to stop by the supermarket on the way home and my messenger bag definitely cannot hold that much stuff and I only own racing bikes, so no panniers). My reason for riding was because I had a 12 pm lunch ride meeting with the Bikes Belong Crew, a non-profit advocacy group I am doing a research internship with and am hoping to get a job with in the future. This necessitated riding my bike to the bus.

After booking it down the bike path from CU's campus to the Boulder Bus Station and just making the bus, I settled in for the 30 minute ride back to Twin Peaks Mall and then my 10 minute ride up Sunset St. back home. Hopped off the bus, grapped my bike, secured my messenger bag, and helmet and went to the nearest intersection to wait for the light to turn green so I could ride the loop road around the mall and avoid as much traffic as possible in the dark.

Part way around the loop as I was heading North I saw to my left a Big Red Jeep Wrangler with those crazy big tires for offroading coming flying out of the parking lot area. Twin Peaks Mall parking was designed fairly well regardless of the uselessnes of this mall. There is an inner circle to drive on, parking, and then an outer circle which is two lanes each way. Not being interested in riding through the parking lot or the innner circle as I was travelling fairly briskly, about the speed limit (20 mph) I rode the outer circle. Well the Jeep came flying out of the parking lot towards an exit as I was about to enter the intersection of this exit. He neglected to slow down show any sign of looking both ways or do anything until I was lying on the ground and my bike had been dragged under his car about 10 feet away from me. No matter how hard I slammed on my brakes I was not able to stop in time. One thing that people may note is I should have stopped if it were an intersection. Well, this is a very under travelled intersection and thus the city has not put a stop sign for travellers on the outer loop of the mall but rather only on the entrance and exit ramps of this exit. Leaving me with the right of way.

Now I am laying on the ground in pain, angry, and looking at my mangled road racing and training bike on the side of the road as well as my bleeding elbow and knee. In my lack of being able to think rationally I only got the drivers name, phone #, and address and he left. Had I been thinking more clearly I would have called the police and had a report taken down then. Instead, not thinking, I had Shannon come and get me and take me to the nearest Hospital.

5 hours later I found out, thank God, that my leg was not broken nor my collar bone. These were my two biggest fears being a bike racer and being the type of person that does not sit still very well. Only injuries were some road rash, a severely bruised left calf muscle, and a partially separated AC in my left shoulder. This last injury I think is the worst, as the doctors didn't seem too concerned about my leg and were much more concerned about my shoulder overall. It is looking like it will take between 3-4 weeks to heal, which means though I will probably be back on the bike before then it is very unlikely I will be back on the mountain bike before then, hopefully on a new beautiful full carbon whip!

Bike damage, nothing is savalgeable except for maybe the shifters/brake levers a sad day as I had just rebuilt the whole drive train only a few weeks ago. Pics of the bike will be up shortly after I retrieve it from the back of Shannon's car. Unfortunately my injuries are not visibly serious so I do not look worse for the wear and thus photo's of that would be useless.

Now, time to recover, get these injuries healed as soon as possible and hopefully get back on the bike within the week, assuming I am feeling that much better, don't want to be a hero you know!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Another good weekend in the books


Weekends are the time and place for relaxation and training. Consequently they both go hand in had very well. Train a lot in the morning hours and then relax through the afternoon. Though, I was not very productive with respect to school or any other project I may have going on I was very productive with respect to training and relaxing.

After talking with my buddy Jason on friday about a possible training ride saturday and then consulting with the coaches it was determined that at 10 am Saturday morning I would meet up with the Gateway Ride in Boulder. I was also tolled that the Gateway ride heads up to Carter lake for their trip and as this is about an hour north of Me I figured if I have Shannon drive me to Boulder and drop me off at the stop point I can just bail on the group as I get close to home and then save a lot of time driving to and from the ride. Unfortunately this led to me not having any warm up in my legs at the beginning of the ride as we briskly set out from Boulder. I have not ridden a group ride in quite some time and the closest I have come in the past 2 years has been collegiate racing back east. This turned out to be very similar to racing on the road but in a more fluid and fun way with far less possibility of crashing. The pace was hard and fast, we reached a typical landmark of mine only 10 minutes past what it would take me to get there from home and I live closer to Carter Lake than Boulder is! I could tell from the very beginning that this was going to be a good day, the legs felt good, and I felt like I could definitely conquer the world. Part way through the ride I came to the front to take my turn pulling over a small roller and found I had gapped the group pretty good suddenly, which set off the day of attacks. Then as we moved towards Carter Lake and started heading up the approach before the final ascent the group became disorganized while chasing down another attack. During this disorganization I ended up on the front a lot and by the time we hit the steep switchback ascent I found my legs were pretty dead and not willing to really do there job anymore. I fell off the pace up the climb, but was not the last to crest the top, which made me feel good. By the end of the carter lake before you descend back down the group regrouped and I was able to get back and sit in for awhile, work on the front, and even felt like I had the legs to go after one of the late attacks, but mistimed my move and couldn't get it going. Then the last little short steep kicker came and I lost contact hard core. It was tough and I was definitely way in the red. Not sure what was up, but maybe on these types of rides I should get back to my use of gu's every 30 minutes, like in racing, and that might keep the legs rolling a little stronger and faster. Spun back to town with Jason and definitely felt worked over by the time I got home. By the way, the ride started out in the nastiest wet conditions possible, leading to my face looking like this when I got home:

Almost as if I'd just had a muddy mountain or cross race!

Well, after spending a nice evening with Shannon resting and relaxing and then getting up bright and early sunday morning, can't seem to sleep in all that late anymore!?! I decided that my many weeks on the road bike without hitting the dirt were getting a little old and I needed some time ripping some singletrack. With temps nearing 60 and trail reports for Devil's Backbone and Blue Sky Trail being dry I loaded up the car and cruised up there. Man it was beautiful yesterday afternoon. Warm, sunny, and the trails were definitely in perfect condition. Maybe a little crowded for the first couple of miles up the first climb but by the time I hit the technical trails I was good and things were pretty empty. I cruised down the blue sky trails and the descents and then decided that I should get in some good climbing hours, which in this area is pretty easy. As I headed around I went up the Indian Summer Trail, good rip roaring fun with a nice switchback climb to the top, and then kept heading on to Horsetooth Res. I've never ridden the trails at Horsetooth Res, but have ridden up to it and definitely heard some good things. When I arrived I headed out on the main fireroad trail and then kept cruising up the Tower Trail, which is a beast of a fire road climb. If anyone has ridden this you know what it is like, just brutal. But if you want a comparison, the second set of climbs at the Breckenridge Fall Classic, or the second to last descent of the Firecracker 50. Basically, stupid steep. After a good 10 minutes of this I figured I should hit some singletrack and crusied down some trail I don't know the name of, but it was sweet!!!! I would have to say that of all the trails I've ridden in the Front Range Horsetooth definitely has some of the best!! It was beautiful, a good mix of in the woods and open field riding, technical but a good flow and definitely challenging!!! After finishing out a little loop at Horsetooth I headed back the way I came and found myself riding like a man possessed. I was cruising up climbs in my big ring and just laying the hammer down. Even made the return ride 7 minutes faster than it took me to get out there going the exact same route in reverse! But I did stop to take a photo, as I was about to head up the final climb back towards Devil's Backbone this is the view I had through the valley:

this photo really doesn't quite do it justice as it was with my cell phone, many I need to get a digital camera for this stuff!

All in all a good weekend with some definite fitness gains. Now for a day off, and back at it for my last week of training in this 4 week block before the cycle begins again and race season really starts on March 22nd!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Weaknesses

I believe that we all have our weaknesses and that for the most part we ought not judge people for their weakness. My personal weakness is sweets. I love sweet food, whether it is a donut (I avoid those as much as possible), a muffin, cookies, pie, cake, ice cream it is tasty to me. So when I walked out of the supermarket with Shannon a few days ago and saw the little girls holding boxes of cookies, that is right girl scout cookies, I caved a little. Oh man girl scout cookies are good. So now, my kitchen has a whole bunch of yummy sweet things that I enjoy with chocolate, peanut butter, mint chocoloate, coconut, short bread, you name it I've got it. One thing I do have to say though is that I am very good about not overdoing it. When I eat sweets I tend to be good about just a few. Regardless it is probably good that I am a bike racer where training and racing allows me to burn off those extra calories.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Busy As Ever

Recently, I have been exceptionally busy with school and training!! This past week I have split my time between reading exceptional amounts of philosophy, particularly, ethical theories and training. Which has been good as this is what I love to do. The down side to all this is that my house turned into a disaster area with bike stuff strewn about and books all over the dining room table, it was brutal and I was going nuts. Finally, yesterday during Valentine's Day Shannon and I proceeded to clean, of which she definitely did more of and now the house looks great! Thanks sweetheart! But all this just makes me think about what life would be like if I could ever ride my bike for a living. Things would not be so tight with time and I would not have to rush around after my rides trying to get to class and get my reading done. I definitely love the challenge of school and cycling together and it does allow me to not procrastinate as much as I may otherwise, however, sometimes there is just so much to take care of that I go nuts!!

Unfortunately, I don't have any good pictures from recent training rides. This week has been the start of intensity, and that means my rides are much shorter and I tend to not go to as many interesting places. So far this week I have ridden to Carter Lake and back twice. I love the Carter Lake ride, it is beautiful, fun, and definitely has some good solid climbs, however, you can only do the same ride so many times! Maybe today I'll head up to Ward and back for my ride or explore and ride up to Gold Hill?? I don't know.

Another exciting thing has happened this week though. The beer that Shannon and I made a number of weeks ago is finally ready to drink. We cracked open a bottle for Valentine's day last night and were very happy, we pulled it off! we made a great beer. I wouldn't say it is the most flavorful, but is a nice hoppy, but smooth Ale. Nothing like a dry hopped ale from Avery or Boulder Beer it has it's own special characteristics. Shannon and I are really happy with it and it was definitely a good way to kick off the Valentine's evening festivities of cooking fancy french food (Crepes, Lobster Bisque, and Baguette) and wine/champagne!

Until next time....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Racing Schedule 2009

So for the past couple of months I have been thinking about my racing schedule for 2009 and there is a lot to think about. I've decided that I want to branch out a little bit more and do some more longer events in addition to the shorter events that I am accustomed to competing in. So here it is the tentative 2009 race schedule (everything except Cyclocross!):

Date Race
March 22nd - Coyote Classic, El Paso, TX
March 29th - Koppenberg Circuit Race
April 10-12 - MSC Rabbit Valley Run
April 18-19th - NMORS Tour of Socorro
April 26th - NMORS High Altitude Classic
May 2-3 - MSC Chalk Creek Stampede
May 9th - Front Range 50, Lakewood, CO
May 23-25 - MSC Chile Challenge
May 30th - Pajarito Punishment
May 31st - US Pro Cup Bump and Grind, AL
June 4-7 - Teva Mountain Games
June 13th - Winter Park Series Hill Climb Kick off
June 21-23 - MSC Wildflower Rush
June 27th - Winter Park Series XC
July 4th - Firecracker 50 - Marathon Nats
July 11th-12th - WPS Valley Point to Point/ Super D
July 16-19 - National Championships Granby, CO
July 25-26th - NMORS Frazer Mtn Madness
August 1-2 - Crankworx Colorado
August 7-9 - MSC Blast the Mass
August 9th - NMORS Cedro Peak
August 8-9 - US East Cup Mount Snow
August 15th - WPS XC
August 15-16 - US East Cup Windham
August 20-23rd - American Mountain Classic Stage Race
August 29th - WPS King of the Rockies Finale
September 4-6 - MSC Sol Survivor
September 11-13 - MSC Fall Classic
September 18-20 - Cactus Cup
September 20th - NMORS Horny Toad Hustle
September 26th - High Desert Screamer
October 4th - Road Apple Rally
October 10-11th - 24-Hour Nationals at Moab

As one can see there are a couple of conflicts listed here and as is obvious as well there are some long runs of a race occurring every weekend. I garuntee that I will not do every race on this schedule, however, these are the races on my radar that I would like to do so there is a good chance that if the race is happening and there is not a conflict I will be there! See you all out there!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Riding at Angles

Well today I was venturous, really venturous. The winds were howling and it was sunny and in the 50's. As I am accustomed to freezing for about 4 months every year and taking every bit of sunshine I can get I still have this nagging urge to get outside when the sun shines and not put myself on those indoor attempts at training (they really don't seem as effective as a good ride outside!). This turned out to be a not so good idea, the winds were really coming strong. Luckily as long as I headed west or east it wasn't much of a problem except for the occasional gust from the north, but I didn't do that. I meandered around in every possible cardinal direction and thus exposed myself to some sandblasting, a tail wind of epic proportions where I would spin a 120 cadence in the biggest gear on my road bike (53x12) or a insurmountable headwind where my cadence was closer to 70 in the 39x25. The hardest part of the day was the keeping upright or in a straight line while heading north or south. the winds would blow as hard as you can imagine off the mountains and rip my sideways, it was a very odd experience, then stop, so I would get my bearings get my cadence back and all of a sudden there they are again. This all amidst some traffic, not making for good times.

Lesson learned: when it is windy and you see the full trash cans in the alley behind your house blowing around like an empty plastic bag don't ride outside, it makes life a little scary!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

25 Things....

So I posted this on facebook a couple of days ago after being tagged in many other people's 25 things notes, but some of you may not be online networking nerds or are but don't check facebook so here it is:


1. I'm a college graduate and in graduate school for philosophy but still don't know what to do with my life.

2. Some of you may know this, but this year is my first year as a professional athlete, hopefully it goes well!?!

3. I am very good at wasting time, particularly on the internet when my reading is on the computer and not from a book.

4. Design and Architecture really interest me, especially lighting design and architectural design geared towards it, so many pretty things.

5. I have a 2 1/2 year old cat and a 7 month puppy that cause annoyance, aggravation, and laughter all at the same time.

6. I'm engaged to the most wonderful woman in the world! - she puts up with my cycling addiction and even encourages me!

7. Religion is confusing and difficult for me to know what to think about it. I really would love to have a religious mindset, but it is very difficult for me. I think I think too much about stuff - hence the bachelors in philosophy and soon to be masters.

8. I often regret not majoring in physics or engineering as they are far more practical fields.

9. My family can often be very difficult to deal with, but I love them regardless and look forward to family gatherings whenever we can all manage to be in the same place at the same time.

10. I love to travel, around the US, the world, wherever I am living. It is very hard for me to sit still - a problem when it comes to effective training as an athlete.

11. I enjoy all types of movies no matter how ridiculous and inane they are, I can always find something to appreciate in it.

12. I often do not believe I am as smart as my peers.

13. I really enjoy extended periods in the mountains with friends, regardless of the trials and tribulations one goes through, it is always fun. Spencer and Kate - last saturday was pretty awesome!

14. I am a very shy person. It takes a lot of mental preparation to call the pizza guy.

15. Weather greatly affects my mood. If it is gross and rainy out I tend to be very grumpy, unless I am lining up for a bike race (cross or mountain preferably), then I am smiling and laughing!?!

16. I love to cook food and eat food, it is one of the greatest pleasures I have.

17. I am a big fan of craft beers and expensive wines, but very rarely do I like any hard liquor.

18. Doing things from scratch, like making pizza, pasta, beer, wine, etc. is far more enjoyable than purchasing those items. There is a greater sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Typically, the challenge is what intrigues me.

19. I am not much of a manly man. I like beer, I like sports (kind of, only when I actually go to the game), and I like cars (but not from the normal guy's perspective, I don't know anything about how they work nor do I understand it, I like the ones that look cool and can do cool stuff e.g. Subaru WRX, Honda Element, etc.). I enjoy reading, writing, cooking, playing music/listening to music, and going to the theatre (ballet, opera, etc.) much more than most guys do.

20. I love getting lost in new places. It is the best way to learn anything about where you are.

21. I am obsessive with my blackberry and feel the urge/need to check it every time it buzzes because I have a message of some sort.

22. Leaving Meadville after High School was the best decision I have ever made in my life, but I miss all of you who are still living in PA and wish we could hang out more.

23. I have the worst memory on the planet, I can be asked to do something and within a minute completely forget what I was supposed to do. I can also tell myself that I have to do X and forget soon thereafter and get very confused as to what I was doing.

24. I wish I was a better driver in traffic and didn't get so nervous, especially now that I live in a large metropolitan area.

25. I gave up being a vegetarian because: a) I love food b) I am poor and can't afford to feed myself as a vegetarian c) eating all natural and organic animal products are healthy