Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ice Day

Just a touch of freezing rain fell last night and this morning. Woke up this morning at 730, no power means no alarm clock. Roads are fine except for the bridges and over passes. No work for me today. Limbs and power lines are coming down but I have electricity, at least for the time being.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Icy Ride Home

Don't have a lot to post at the time. Had a decent week of training last week, weather has been playing havoc with my schedule. Ended up with 8 hours on the bike, 2 hours running, and 2 hrs in the gym. Still not what I had planned. This week is shaping up just like last week as I had to skip my 2hr MTB ride today due to rain/freezing rain. I was at work this morning praying for snow so I could ride this afternoon, no good, just soggy rain.

During my ride home from work today I said hello to the pavement in the most personable way possible. It was about 28 degrees and raining, the bike trail was rideable, just wet. I did notice that the trees, bushes and grass were showing the signs of freezing rain, but it never occurred to me to check my speed heading into the first bridge. Minor oversight, as soon as my front wheel hit the ice covered bridge, I was on the ground and my bike skidding ahead, nearly traveling the entire length of the bridge. No serious injuries, thankfully, just maybe a bruised hip. Lesson learned, bridges walked thereafter. Upon returning home, a layer of thin ice covering my entire body had me shedding clothes immediately post commute and dreaming of warm Spring days.

Added another race to my schedule, the Spa City Du. I'm really excited about this race, been wanting to participate for a couple of years but it never has worked out. This year I am putting it as a priority race and I will make the start line.

As I type, freezing rain continues, I hope power doesn't go out.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Spring Like

Today's high hit 60 degrees! It hasn't been this warm here in a long time and the bonus was that the wind was light to non existent. Went outside for lunch today and really seriously thought about hopping on my bike and just riding away. I ended up cutting away from work 30 minutes early, Smuckers and I had a solid run. A few pics:

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Solid Week and a New Look

I was growing tired of the look of the blog so I decided to do a few changes. I wish I new a little more about computers so I could really customize the look, right now I'm stuck with the pre-made templates.

The new pic on the header was taken today during a ride on Kessler. There is a tree that lays over the trail at a height of bout 6 feet, just perfect height to take self photos. I think it turned out ok.

This past week was absolutely terrible for training, Friday was the only day above freezing with a couple days only seeing highs in the low 20's. I still managed 6 hours on the bike(all outdoors), 3 runs(2.25 hours total), and 2 weight training sessions. Not near the volume I wanted, but given the circumstances, I'll take it. This week I have gotten off on the right foot with a 2.5 hour mountain bike ride at Kessler. I threw in a few hill repeats to test out the legs. They responded better than I expected. I climbed strong and cleaned several technical sections I usually have to dab once or twice.Headwaters Challenge is just two and a half weeks away. I need my climbing legs for this ride. HC is an awesome ride through some really rugged country led by How Kuff and Ira White. How lives in the area and Ira grew up there. They have both constructed some really killer trails. The ride is just over 34 miles but will take close to five hours to complete, you have to earn every mile here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Where's My Money?

The Bicycle Commuter Act. A step in the right direction. I'm going to ask my employer to participate, I encourage you to do the same, let's get the word out.

One of my favorite websites, Copenhagen Cycling Chic, shows commuting as it should be.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


This past week I posted the lowest training volume I can recall. I logged 6 hours on the bike, no running, no swimming, and only two short dog walks(sorry Smuckers). That's it. I felt like I was behind the eight ball all week after getting in late Sunday/early Monday from the race in Shreveport. I really didn't sleep that night, I'm not sure why, my mind and body just wouldn't settle down. I was zombie like the next day at work. Next time I will schedule a vacation day for the day after a race. I did manage to commute to work everyday last week with some extended trips on the way home, no intensity.

I had big plans for this weekend, a long slow mtb ride at Lake Sequoyah to scout a route for the FTS group ride that will start next spring. I woke on Saturday morning to 30 degrees and a strong north wind, I cracked. Just had no motivation to get out and ride. My body still felt a little fatigued, so I decided to just rest. I ran a couple errands and cooked a good dinner, other than those two things I did pretty much nothing. I did take a nap, that's something, right? I guess I just needed the day to fully recover

Today I woke up feeling great. I had two things to accomplish today, ride my mountain bike for at least 2 hours and get my dog on a long hike. The ride came first, I got to Hobb's at 1030 and it was cold but I wasn't going to let that stop me. When I left my house it was 25 with a wind chill of 17, brrr! I was dressed appropriately with only my toes being uncomfortable by the end of the ride. Hammered out two large loops of 10 miles a piece with a ride time of 2 hours feeling really good. Next came the dog, I took Smuckers and Randi out to the trail and let them loose for about 1.5 hrs.

After the hike, my legs were feeling a little heavy so I went home and broke out the new recovery aid. I have to say I am impressed so far. About ten minutes with the Stick and then 30 minutes stretching have my legs feeling snappy. I was surprised when I worked on my calves, I found several spots in both calves that needed much attention. Also, my new hydration pack worked well. I didn't notice it at all and that's a good thing.

Time to get ready for the work week. Here are a few pics of the trail at Hobb's, sweet singletrack.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A New Era

I don't get caught up in having the latest, greatest equipment. I ride a bike frame from 2002 and only replace parts when they break or stop functioning properly. Ride it till it breaks has always been my motto. My lack of current technology really was magnified this past weekend as both my travel companions were sporting brand new bikes. I immediately felt the need to procure a new ride, however, I have come to my senses. My Scalpel is more than adequate for my skill level. As long as this bike is functioning properly, I will continue to ride and race my Scalpel 1000.

This brings me to the reason for the title to this post and the motivation for typing. I won a new backpack hydration system at the raffle drawing at the Dustbuster MTB Race. It's a nice North Face pack, solid black with a lot more storage than my old Camelback MULE. The extra storage will be welcomed in the summer when long rides from work are the norm. I feel that I need to say something about my outgoing pack. Yeah, I'm a little nutty. It has been a great pack and nothing is wrong with it. It has been bombproof. Me and that pack have been through many adventures, some good, some bad, and some unforgettable. The pack is a very important piece of equipment and I hope my new pack performs as good as the Camelback.

Old Pack: Trusted, Proven, Still Kickin

New Pack: Unknown, Flashy
I plan to put the new pack through some long rides this weekend to see how it performs. Gonna hold onto the old CB till then.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Goin' Down to Shreveport

Sing the title in your best Waylon Jennings voice. I headed down to Shreveport with a couple of friends, Max and Mike, for the Dust Buster mountain Bike race at the Monkey Trail. River City Cycling and Fitness put on the race and did a fantastic job.
We took off from Fayetteville early Saturday morning with a pit stop in Van Buren to pick up Mike. About five hours later we arrived in Shreveport and the mid 80 degree temps seemed suffocating in pants and fleeces. However, I was stoked to ride in shorts and sleeves and to show my friends this absolutley awesome trail. It didn't disapoint. They both loved the trail, it was fast! The race loop was 8 miles, they cut the last two really technical miles out. At first I was mad they had shortened the loop, race day I would be thankful. After two laps, we headed over to my parents house for some awesome eats and some well deserved rest. Mom killed the dinner, sauteed veggies, Steak Tornadoes, squash casserole, cranberry salad, rice with spinach and capers, grainy wheat bread and more, I am sure I left something out. Bottom line it was great, thanks Mom.
Race Day:
It is both a blessing and a curse to have a race start at 2p. We had a very chill morning, talking bikes, telling race stories and drinking plenty of coffee. We made it to the race site by 1145, plenty of time, no rushing around trying to get ready. This year I have to decided to do more focused warm-ups. Previous years I just got out there and moved around for 15-30 minutes, I always felt like crap the first thirty minutes of a race. For this race, I warmed up for a solid 45 minutes with a few race pace, short climbs that really taxed the legs. The result, I had one of my best starts. By best start I mean I was able to hang within sight of the leaders without feeling like I wanted to puke. My class(sport) had two waves, I was in the first. The race starts, vigorous pace, and I enter the singletrack 11 visible riders ahead of me. In the next 3 miles I manage to pass eight racers due to them not being able to handle the technical sections. They were very gracious to move out of the way when they dabbed a section. For the next five miles I hung on to a wheel of a fellow racer only to pass him at the start finish line. I felt good for most of the second lap, only passed twice, once by the eventual winner, only to fade in the last three miles. Both my legs and my upper body became fatigued, also a nagging pain in my lower back. I was out sprinted at the line, actually I didn't even respond, just watched him ride past me to the finish line. I finished 7th and only two minutes off of 2nd. I was pleased. I didn't have high expectations for this race, I just wanted to get in an effort, mission accomplished.

Edit- results are posted here

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years Day

I took it easy last night so I would be ready for the group ride today hosted by Chris of Highroller. You never know what you will get on these rides, sometimes there is a large group of very fast mountain bikers and then sometimes it is a mellow relaxed ride. Today only three showed, including me. The pace stayed mellow and I ended up with right at 20 miles total in 2.5 hours. Kessler will wear you out, it is a technical trail with a lot of climbing. I am feeling the effort in my entire body. I need to ride there more often.

Chris showed us the man-made cave he found while scouting a new section of trail. He thinks it was used as cold storage many years ago for a nearby resort. This thing is amazing, I can only imagine the hours of hard labor that went into building this. On top is about 4ft of dirt, so much that full grown trees have enough to anchor themselves. Both ends are open now, but you can tell that the cave used to be closed on both ends. There is also remnants of a trail that leads in the direction of the old resort.
The race is on for this weekend! It will be a quick trip, leaving Sat morning and returning on Sunday after the race. The problem with this is that the race doesn't start until 2p. Ugh! Should arrive home sometime around midnight. I haven't raced my mountain bike in a long time, I have almost forgotten what it feels like. My division will be racing 2 laps of an ~8 mile loop, the race website says 8 miles but I remember it being 9 miles. Any way, should be fun. I'm just looking to throw down a solid effort.

Happy New Year!