Monday, December 12, 2011

2012 Season

No Training equals No Posts.

That pretty much sums up my last two months, no real training just a bike ride or a run here and there. I have to admit that I enjoyed the time off but enough is enough. I went for a 2 hour casual paced mountain bike ride last week and it near killed me. I was sore the next day and took a couple days to recover. I've been riding a few times after that debacle last week and feeling a little better about my relationship with my bike. Today was a 35 minute trail run and I am optimistic that I will not be sore come tomorrow morning as I have a short mountain bike ride scheduled after work. Let the 2012 season begin!

As in years past, I am checking several websites in order to nail down the races I will participate in this upcoming season. Xterra hasn't finalized the 2012 season yet, but it does have a few races posted that I am interested in racing. About a month ago I started fantasizing about big races in exotic locales. First up was XTERRA Guam. I've always wanted to go to Guam after hearing my Dad talk about his trips there while in the Air Force. However, the Guam race was to early in the year and I didn't think I could save enough money to get there. So then I looked at XTERRA New Zealand. It was do-able being a month later than Guam. I really started looking into the logistics. Then I came back to reasonable thinking. There are many race I would like to do here in the states before I start racing on other Continents. Moreover, my ultimate goal is to get back to Ogden and race well, my extra resources should be funnelled to achieving that goal. Next year Guam is on my list.

So far this is what my schedule looks like. I included some races that I don't have a date for yet but included them in order according to last year.

03/11/12 Du it in the Dirt Off-road Duathlon Hot Springs, AR

04/??/12 South Central Champs Waco, TX

05/06/12 XTERRA Gator Terra Ruston, LA

05/20/12 South East Champs Birmingham, AL

06/??/12 XTERRA Eureka Springs AR

06/24/12 XTERRA Dog Days Arkadelphia, AR

After this the schedule gets a bit hazy. As for the 2012 XTERRA races in Arkansas, there are no more. I'm eyeballing a couple races in TX to complete my XTERRA schedule but at this point I am undecided on which or how many I want to do.

I am excited about the two Championship races on my schedule for a couple reasons. First being a bit longer course, much like the one that kicked my ass in Utah. Second being much faster competition.

I've got my training schedule planned out through January, now it's time to do work.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Still haven't found the right words to describe the Xterra Nationals experience.
All I can say is that I had a great time and learned a lot.
Lance was inspiring.
Beautiful Scenery

I will be back for next year's Nationals in better shape and a bit wiser. A big thanks to my Pops, you were awesome, couldn't have done it without you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

XTERRA Lake Degray

This past weekend was the inaugural Lake Degray XTERRA and my birthday. This was the rescheduled race from early spring, moved due to massive flooding. As a bonus, my parents were able to make the trip for the weekend. A race on my birthday with my parents, it was a good weekend.

I arrived at the race venue on Friday afternoon and was greeted with 100+ temps and downright nasty humidity. I had planned just a quick 45 minute ride on the bike course and then a short t-run. The bike course started with a 1.75 section of paved road over the spillway/dam, this offered some great views of the lake.
This was the first time I had ever ridden this trail and I didn't quite know what to expect. The first mile and a half left a bad taste in my mouth, it was wide enough for a truck. That section didn't last long as after the trail crossed the paved road the real singletrack began. I really liked the trail, it was fast and flowing. I finished up the 45 minute ride and headed back to my vehicle. Being as hot as it was, I decided to bag the run and jump into the lake for a quick swim.

Race Day:

The possibility of racing in 104 degree temps had me a bit worried. The race start time was 5pm, terrible time to start a race in my opinion. However, we caught a huge break about 3:30 in the afternoon when the clouds rolled in cooling the temp to a manageable 90. There were actually some showers in the vicinity. During my swim I caught sight of a rainbow off in the distance.

My race went pretty smooth, I ended up 5th in my age group 20th overall. I had a great swim as I was 8th out of the water. I went out on the bike maybe a bit to conservatively, my rationale was to save a bit in the tank for the run. I did finish strong and I'm somewhat pleased with my effort.

Next up, I hope is an invitation to Nationals in Utah Sept 24.

Big Thank You's go out to my Mom and Dad. Thank you both for making this trip such a success. I had a great time.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

XTERRA Little Rock

That's my bike in the middle, I got there early

My second Xterra race is in the books. Although I didn't get the result I really wanted, I left this race feeling better about my chances in future races. Again, I think one of my biggest hurdles is nutrition during races and in everyday life. I know what I need to do with my diet outside of racing, it is just a matter of putting it into practice. During races I am still a bit perplexed. I've got a few weeks until my next race so I plan to experiment with some different liquid calorie drinks. In the past races I have relied on Carbooms and water. That combo has worked for me in the past during training rides and runs, I guess it just isn't working for race efforts as my energy levels dropped late in both my races this year.

I put together 3/4ths of a solid race, here is the re-cap:


After getting beat up during the start of the Eureka swim I was feeling a bit nervous that I may not be a good open water swimmer. I scoped out the swim course the day before and was feeling better as the distance looked short. I was in for a rud
e awakening as what I thought was the start of the straight line swim was actually only the second of four buoys. No big deal. This swim was a water start versus a beach start, I heart water starts! I picked my spot as the furthest swimmer to the right, strategery at its finest. I'm a left sided breather and was able to keep an eye on the competition and the shore the entire swim. I finished the 800 yds in 14 minutes.


I was really looking forward to a much easier bike course than Eureka, it didn't happen. Although there weren't massive climbs like Eureka, this course made up for it with numerous rock gardens. Adding to the toughness of the course is that it is newly cut and very dry. Finished up the 13 mile bike feeling strong in an hour 12 minutes.


I started the run like gangbusters. I felt really good straight out of transition. I passed a fellow age grouper on the first climb which put me in third place out on the course. For the next two miles I was on cruise control, I passed one guy puking on the side of the trail. At the first aid station, I got a water and a sports drink, the volunteer told me I was half way finished. He was wrong, I was cooked. All the fluids and gels I had taken in just seemed to by sitting in my stomach like a brick going nowhere. My feet didn't want to turn over quickly, I had hit the wall. All I could muster was a slow jog the last two miles. At this point I started to get past by several people, at least six and three in my age group. I slipped from third to sixth in my AG in the last mile. Frustrating. This brings me back to fueling during races, I've got a few products I am going to try out in the next couple weeks.

Overall this was a much better race than Eureka and again I learned a lot about myself and what it takes to race Xterra. Less than a month till the race in Indiana, I'm really looking forward to it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Races, Diet, and New Shoes

Four XTERRA races in just over two months. Here is what it looks like:

6/25 XTERRA Dawg Dayz Little Rock, AR

7/23 XTERRA DINO Versailles Indiana

8/7 XTERRA Iron Will Jonesboro, AR

8/20 XTERRA Lake Degray Arkadelphia, AR

To put it mildly, I'm stoked. I got some time off from work in July and I picked the closest race I could find, an xterra in Versailles, IN. I have never been to Indiana and have no idea what I am getting into but that's half the fun, the unknown. I just wish I could have gotten my vacation approved for a week earlier then I could have made the trip out west to the XTERRA Mountain Championship. Oh well, I'll take what I can get. From here on out I will have a race every other weekend, then off for a month till, hopefully, the US Championships in late September.

I've been watching some clips from races on, great for motivation if you are struggling to gear up for a workout.

After last weeks race, I have been trying to focus on my diet a little closer. NUUN tablets in my water at work, replacing one meal with a salad, and more fruit have been instituted in my daily routine. My goal is to be back down to the low 150's by mid July, I'm sitting in the mid 160's right now. Here is one of my latest salads, cold Quinoa gives any salad "legs" so hunger doesn't follow shortly after the salad is consumed.

Smoothies in the morning. A great way to get a headstart on your servings of fruits and veggies

Start with this:

End with this:

One more item. I switched back to Brooks Cascadia running shoes. I still love my Zoots, but for serious trail running the Zoots just don't hold up. I'm still going to use the Zoots for short road sessions or track running, but I am going to race in the Cascadias.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

XTERRA Eureka Springs

Not exactly the performance/result I was hoping for, but it felt good to actually get to a race and finish after the set backs I have had. My alarm was set for 630am, but when the first bit of daylight came through my window at 530 I couldn't sleep. I was on the road with all my supplies loaded headed for breakfast at my wake-up time. At the race site plenty early, my transition area was set up with still an hour left till race start. Plenty of time to get really nervous.
I'm not one to be long winded so I'll make this race re-cap short and to the point.
I got knock around by other swimmers, had a tough time catching my breath, swam almost half the course breast stroke, found my stroke half way through, ended strong passing at least a dozen from the half way buoy.
I know the course well and today rode it well. I did have heavy legs coming out of the swim and struggled up the first climb. Everything was going well until about two, three miles to the end of the bike leg. While dismounting my bike, my right hamstring cramped. Not a big deal for the bike, but the cramped leg would end up really slowing me down on the run.
Pathetic. My cramped up Hamstring slowed me to a virtual crawl. Ended up taking me almost twice as long to finish the 5 mile run. I almost didn't leave T2 because I knew what layed ahead of me, miles of suffering. I worked through the cramp and found some sort of form somewhere between mile 3 and 4. I hung in there and finished the race which now I am really glad that I did. Total time of 3:34, I was shooting for around 2:50.
I learned a lot today and I am hoping I have a better race in two weeks down in Little Rock

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Almost Race Time, Finally

A little over two days till my first XTERRA race of the season, Xterra Eureka Springs. This season definitely hasn't gone the way I had planned, I've missed a few races for a variety of reasons. My first race was supposed to be the South Central champs in Waco, but a conflict with work kept me from getting the time I needed to make the trip. My second race of the season was Xterra Lake Degray but it was cancelled due to flooding rainfall. Third race of the season was Xterra in Ruston LA but car trouble left me stranded for the weekend and set me back financially.

So now it is June and I have yet to secure any points towards the National Champs in Sept.
That's all about to change. I have four races here in Arkansas scheduled between this weekend and my birthday, Aug 20th. Also, I am looking to add a race sometime in the middle of July. I have three races in mind, all are about 11-13 hours away. Not sure which race I'll attend but I am leaning towards Xterra Dino Versailles. First things first, I have to get the time off work.

More frequent posts to come and hopefully a race report on Sunday.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fighting Mother Nature

So far this year, training outdoors has been a real challenge. Don't get me wrong, we have had our share of nice, fair weather days, but they have been hard to come by if you are a working stiff like me. It has seemed like the weather, for the most part has been optimal while I am stuck at work. The last two weekends have been a complete bust, in the last 10 days we have received about 16 inches of rain, that is more than some major cities get in a year. Along the same theme, early in the year we had three major snow storms dump more snow and cold air than I have ever witnessed in NWA. Trails are in terrible condition and the ground is saturated. What little tan I had is gone. Please bring on the Sunshine.
I did manage to get on a bike ride today. My schedule called for a three hour mtb ride with some hill climb efforts. I had the day off work so when I woke up to rain showers and thunder I wasn't to bummed as I had all day to wait for the rain to stop. So, I got some housework done, surfed the internet, cooked some breakfast burritos, wrenched on the road bike, drank some coffee, surfed the interwebs(again), more housework, etc... You get the picture, it rained all day.
Finally at 4pm I decided I couldn't take it anymore. I suited up and headed out on the mountain bike. The temp was 45 with a windchill of 40, no big deal as I have ridden in much colder weather. The issue came when I cruised under the
I540 bridge and hit a foot deep puddle of water. This soaked both feet 35 minutes into a scheduled 3 hour ride, not good at all. I was dressed appropriately with wool socks but an hour into the ride, I was ready to go home to get warm and dry. My feet felt like blocks of ice as I pulled into my driveway and I was oh so happy to pull of my cycling outfit and put on dry clothes. I got a solid two hour ride with several sustained efforts/sprints on my way home.
If you are wondering about the XTERRA race in Arkadelphia, it was cancelled due to weather earlier in the week. Once again fighting Mother Nature

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ugh, So Much Rain

So much rain has fallen here in NWA with rain in the forecast through Wednesday. Yesterday I was watching constantly to find a window to get Smuckers a walk and myself a run. Finally about 2pm the radar showed no immediate threat of rain so I grabbed my dog and her leash and we hit the pavement. It was misting a bit but not enough to get us wet so we pressed onward to the park. As my luck goes, we got to the furthest point from the house and the clouds just fell. Hard rain, large raindrops. After about 10 minutes in the pouring rain, my dog turns her head to me and I swear she gives me the "stink eye" As if to say "why did you drag me out in this foul weather?"

This upcoming weekend is my first XTERRA of the season. Yesterday I had plenty of Internet time to work out the logistics of the trip, scout the race course, etc. The swim is in Lake Degray, I have been there once as a child with my Dad and I remember the lake to be exceptionally clean. Of course at that time I was used to the waterways in Louisiana so most any other body of water would appear pristine. 800 yds in Lake Degray. I couldn't find much beta on the bike course other than it consists of a two mile paved section, two 5.5 miles singletrack loops, followed by the two mile paved road back to transition. The run, 3.4 miles, will be a mix of singletrack, doubletrack and forest service roads. Should be good times and if I have enough energy left on Sunday I will ride the XTERRA Dawg Dayz bike course in Little Rock on my way home.

I've been awake now for about 3 hours, it was raining before I got up, it has rained the entire time I have been awake, and the radar shows rain for at least the next few hours. Rain

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Craigslist Word of the Day

I'm a daily Craig's List follower. I love to see what kind of deals pop up each day, you never know what will come up for sale. Another hobby of mine( thanks Mom) is checking grammar. Craig's List is a cornucopia of spelling/grammar errors. Here is my latest find "tacmonitor" What? Really? Just take the easy way out and call it a computer.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Successful Weekend

Had a great weekend down in Hot Springs, I didn't win and in fact I wasn't even close. Going for the win wasn't the plan for this race. This was my first race in a really long time and I just wanted to get back to racing. Mission accomplished.
I got to pre-ride the bike course late on Saturday, a little later in the day than I would like but I couldn't have gone any earlier as the 6 hour race didn't finish until 4:30. So, I got out on the course at 5 and did a leisurely lap, 1.13 for the 10.5 miles. I've got to say that I absolutely love this course, nothing technical but it is tight through the trees at times. Not a lot of climbing just short ups and downs and lots of opportunity for speed. I will be back later in the year for a mountain bike race.
The time change coupled with partying till 1130 with my sister didn't help with the 630am wake up call. I actually felt better than I thought I would and as soon as I got to the race site I was feeling good and ready to race. It was a small field of 40-50 participants with most looking like they have done a multi-sport event before.

I lined up third row with about 10 people ahead of me. We had bout 400 yds of pavement before singletrack. When the gun fired a lead group formed and I didn't feel comfortable with their pace so I stayed back and ran at my pace. Over the 2 mile run I lost about 3 minutes on the leader. My bike leg was consistent, I passed a few riders and no one passed me.

Here is where my race got a little interesting. At the very end of my bike leg I notice someone getting closer to me. About 800 yds to the end of the bike the trail does a switchback and I was able to see who was closing in on me. It was a chick. Damnit. It is one thing to be chicked when she is way ahead of you, but to be caught is a whole different level. We entered and left transition together, basically we were running side by side into the singletrack. She let me go ahead and stuck close. We pass a guy right before the only lengthy hill of the course. I slowed a bit on the hill and she passed me with a half mile left in the race. I really couldn't keep her pace and she got me by 30 seconds. In my defense, she was the overall female winner. However, I was the first guy to get "chicked."

Me about 5 minutes post race.

I ended up with 2nd in my AG and 11th overall. Not to bad, next race there will be no adult beverage consumption for me. I had a great time and the whole experience really let a fire within me. I feel more amped to train and I can't wait till I can line up for another race

Post race fun at Oaklawn

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hot Springs Duathlon

Lc and I are heading down to Hot Springs today for the Du it in the Dirt duathlon. Race kicks off at 9am Sunday. Hoping to get in a quick lap of the course today as I have never ridden Cedar Glades. Race report on Monday.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ode to Zoot Shoes

I am a self proclaimed running shoe fanatic, I simply love running shoes. However, this does not translate to other footwear. I could care less about dress shoes, I own only one pair of flip-flops, one pair each of dress shoes in brown and black. On the contrary, I am in possession of seven pair of running shoes. One for each day of the week, I guess.

Going through so many shoes gives me some right to voice my opinion, so here goes. My current favorite shoe is the Zoot Ultra 4.0. I gave this shoe a go after finding a pair on closeout online. There is no retailer carrying Zoot here in NWA and buying a then $130 shoe without trying them on seemed ludicrous. So finding a pair for $80 online I decided to risk it.

The shoes fit straight from the box. One thing I really love about these shoes is there is no break-in period. I wouldn't be worried to go out and run an hour in a brand new pair of these shoes. The first generation of the Ultra TT were not great off-road shoes, but the latest version is a bit more "beefed up" in the sole which has made for a great lightweight, off-road runner/racer. I'm hooked, great fitting and looking shoe that keeps my knees happy

Saturday, February 12, 2011

2011 Race Schedule

My 2011 race schedule is finalized and I couldn't be more stoked. Racing begins in exactly one month from now in Hot Springs at the Du it in the Dirt Duathlon. This will be a great way to kick off the 2011 season, a 2.5 mile run 10 mile bike and another 2.5 mile run. The distance, I think, is great to test my conditioning but not over-tax me this early in the year. I have been getting in some great training despite all the terrible weather here in NWA. The storm this past Wednesday dumped about 20" of snow with some areas receiving 2 feet of snow. All the snow is almost a distant memory as our temps reached close to 50 deg today and this next week has highs in the 50's everday.

Back to my schedule, I have 6 XTERRA races on my schedule and that is pretty much it. I may try to fit in a local running or mountain bike race if it fits my schedule, but my main focus will be the XTERRA races with my ultimate goal of qualifying for XTERRA Nationals in late September.

2011 Races:

March 13 Du it in the Dirt Duathlon

April 17 XTERRA South Central Championships

April 30 XTERRA Lake Degray

May 14 XTERRA Epic Ruston, LA

June 11 XTERRA Eureka Springs Eureka Springs, AR

June 25 XTERRA Dawg Dayz Little Rock, AR

August 7 XTERRA Iron Will Jonesboro, AR

September 24 XTERRA National Championships

I am lucky with so many races here in my home state, four XTERRA races in a state as small as AR is awesome. Big props out to the race promoters for putting on these events, it take lots of time and work and I thank each one of you. Thats all for now, bedtime is soon as I am ready to get out tomorrow and enjoy some spring like weather.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter Sucks

Big change from Saturday's 80 degree temps to today's snowy weather and temps in the teens. When does summer arrive?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Warm Weekend

Weekends like this in January don't happen very often. Saturday was beautiful with a high temp in the mid to upper 70's. friday was nice as well, I got to hang with the dogs in the backyard in shorts and a t-shirt. I also got my race bike for this year assembled. The Stumpy 29er is hands down the best bike I have ridden, more on that in another post. Here are a few pics from the weekend.
Not looking forward to this week's weather

Smucker's hanging out in the backyard playing with her favorite toys.

My new bike at Slaughter Pen

Looking down at some riders, love this time of year on the trails, no leaves equal great views

Monday, January 10, 2011

First Snow Ride of the Year

We didn't get as much snow as expected and most of it was melted by Noon, even though the temp never even got close to 32 degrees. I made it out to a local trail for a 2.5 hour ride on frozen, snow covered trails. It was awesome, there was about an inch on the trail which is about the right amount in my opinion. Followed up the ride with a 45 minute transition run with my dog. Smuckers is loving the cold weather and getting out for long walks and runs. She really is starting to get in much better shape as she made the entire 45 minute run with me today and was still out in front at the end of the run. Normally she has been crapping out around 30 minutes or so. I love having her as a running buddy, got to log the time now because as soon as the weather gets warm Smuckers just can't hang