Thursday, May 19, 2011

making the most of it

productive days tuesday and wednesday hunting morels and 45 minutes of trout fishing this morning contributed to a tasty lunch and is taking the sting out of not being able to ride. shoulder is definitely healing to the point that i'll probably be on pavement and gravels again soon and just need to get the last bit of pain gone and range of motion back and i should be riding trails again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

placed on the 10-day DL

bad crash on the trails immediately following "i don't think this is a good idea" led to falling headfirst for what seemed like three stories into a ravine full of downed trees and landing squarely on my shoulder has me out of commission. phone call from the doctor just confirmed x-rays negative/normal so nothing torn or damaged but still lacking most of my range of motion with significant pain when not using the arm and worse when i try to use it. doctor's guess is 10ish days off the bike with lots of ice and range of motion exercises. legitimately could be worse and was planning on taking a couple of weeks off the bike after the royal 162 this saturday. timeframe has obviously been moved up but disappointed there's no way i can do the race.

Monday, May 9, 2011

royal 162

so, the last 2 weeks can be boiled down to this: finish transiowa riding 33+ hours, bartend 98 hours, race the time trials somewhere in between. i'm tired and legitimately considered skipping next weekend, but i'm not that smart. i have a week to get "ready" for a the royal 162, which is a 162 mile gravel race for those that could care less about the gravel scene. i don't even know what getting ready means. the miles are there. i think i just want to sleep more and work less. might ride my bike a little this week also. then i think i'm going to lock my bikes away for a month and not allow myself to ride.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

transiowa video

youtube limitations forced me to split the video into 4 parts so follow the links below to watch it in order. this was definitely meant to be a bit of a scrapbook for me but figured there might be a couple people interested in what its like to go through one of these things.

DISCLAIMER: i swear. a lot. especially during transiowa. don't let your kids watch it if that bothers you.





Monday, May 2, 2011

time trials recap...

here's my time trials recap as best i can remember...there might even be a few pictures as evidence. some of what i remember might not be entirely accurate...

chad wilson needed facial reconstruction surgery after somehow running headlong into a tree in death valley.

dave lunz is temporarily paralyzed after the greatest choke slam ever.

brad wicks required 30 stitches in his forehead although we're not actually sure he ever hit his head.

jesse reyerson required skin grafting on his face after messing with the unicorn and getting the horn.

jeff o'gara needed his arm amputated after having it broken in so many places that saving it was no longer a viable option.

i chased a woman with my beef stick.

i have a perfect handprint bruised into my ass. you can count jeff's individual pygmy fingers.

i demonstrated the proper way to eat unicorn meat.

gus white (shaun white's redneck cousin) is my other brother from another mother.

at least 5 people took beer hand-ups, the best being pat who slammed half my sam adams imperial white which is 10.3% alcohol.

oh...and some people raced. trevor kicked everybody's ass. nicole killed the women's race. evan hartig has grown 3 feet and should be feared in the years to come. i took 8th overall and am not disappointed at all considering how my body still feels following transiowa.

a few pics of my race. lots of pics of localish riders getting posted on the bike decorah blog.

Friday, April 29, 2011

because i'm tired

i don't have much of a postrace write-up. and because i'm having trouble wrapping my head around this year's transiowa or putting it into words. i do have a pretty cool video that i'm almost done putting together that should be posted here soon. for now, relax, recover and check back often cause i know you're dying from the suspense.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

another transiowa in the books...

and thankfully another one finished. 322.8 miles (race idea how many we actually rode) in 33 hours and 11 minutes. absolutely brutal. never felt worse during a transiowa than i did from miles 30-50, which is a horrible way to start a 300+ mile race. took a video camera this year instead of stills so working on patching the videos together. not very high quality but more of a scrapbook for me anyway. might do a full write-up like i have in the past but struggling with motivation. after spending such an extended amount of time swinging like a pendulum between despair and elation its hard to feel normal emotions or to stay focused on anything. body feels pretty good. some numbness in the hands and might have done something to my achilles but we'll see in a few days. hopefully have something left in the legs for the time trials this weekend.
THANK YOU!!! barely seems to cut it, but that's all i've got right now. the lincoln/omaha crew are some of the best people you'll ever be lucky enough to meet. the friendship, support, hotel room floor, determination, riding ability...these men and women have this stuff down. congrats to the first ever women's finisher and last minute roommate janna vavra, also to the man of the weekend and overall winner dennis grelk, and most importantly to cornbread for continuing to roll to the end through diversity and to my fellow single speed champion aaron gammel. couldn't have done it without you guys.

Friday, April 22, 2011

transiowa v.7 arrival and updates

in grinnell. relaxing and re-introducing. audio updates are gonna be HERE during the race. not intended to cover everyone the whole way so just cause you don't hear my name doesn't mean i'm dead. doesn't mean i'm not, either.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

requisite pre-transiowa mental collapse

fuck. how much longer do i think i can do this? i've questioned transiowa more this year than i ever have in years past. i don't even know where to start. it makes me feel like a mental fucking midget. all the questions that only have answers buried somewhere in the middle of nowhere on a gravel road in central iowa. how will the weather affect it? am i strong enough? did i train right? what about my nutrition before? during? who will i ride with? can i do it alone if necessary? will my knee hold up? will my mind hold up? will my bike hold up? how much pain am i willing to put myself through before pulling the plug this year? how long will my stubborness overpower my desire for physical comfort?

its really hard to explain this race to people that haven't done it or anything like it before. and that's not meant to sound arrogant about myself and those that choose to do it. it is what it is, and its brutal. the wilderness trail 101 out in pennsylvania was physically the hardest race i've ever done. this is just different. the combined mental and physical suffering, the sleep deprivation, the rollercoaster affect of poor nutrition maintenance, the fear of letting myself down, the fear of making all of the sacrifices made over the last 6 months of training seem wasted...i dunno. i feel like i go through this every year but this year it seems worse. maybe time just makes it harder to remember how bad it was the other years. maybe this year i'm just more willing to be honest about it.

i've got a few days. and chances are i'll be fine. i don't really have a choice. i know i'm stubborn and i know i'm competitive and i know that if its within my abilities to finish this year that i will. i just could have done without some of the mental body blows that i've gotten recently. the poison ivy i picked up at sylvan island isn't healing as quickly as id like. the weather is absolute shit. the forecast looks like it might be a coming around a bit but this snow is fucking ridiculous. and then there's the scotty issue. i can't say enough about scott and his impact on my transiowa training from day one back in the fall of 2007. he's the one guy that's always been there when i needed someone willing to train/ride/race even when no one else was stupid enough to do it, let alone enjoy it. then he jumped into transiowa last year and i was ecstatic about riding with him. then the rain dumped on us and the race became something else entirely and we pulled off and grabbed some beers. this year felt like the year. he's way stronger than he's ever been and after riding the spring training with him i knew he was strong enough to finish. this was going to be the year we crossed the finish line together. sunday, 6 days before the start this saturday, he fucked up his knee playing soccer. ugh. it took a bit for me to realize what i was feeling was obvious sadness for him and his lost opportunity especially with all the time he's put into getting fit for this year's attempt, but that what i was also feeling was a personal loss. i had allowed myself to become mentally dependent on the idea of having him to ride the entire 320 miles with and now i'm having to wrap my head around not having him there. yeah, i'm selfish. you don't train for or ride a 320 mile race for anything other than selfish reasons.

then there's the bike issues. all my plans of spending this week fine tuning the bike and making sure everything was dialed in is getting snowed over by this ridiculous weather. so instead i'm stuck inside overthinking and second-guessing everything. i know that ultimately this is simply "pre-race jitters" magnified proportionately to the size of the race. the fact is the race is going to happen. and i'll be there. and i'm not very good at doing anything half-assed. i know i'm strong enough to finish as long as the bike, body and weather hold up just enough to allow for the possibility of finishing. maybe i just wanted to offer a glimpse into the toll something like this takes on my mental state. maybe i'm just being a baby. maybe i'm just taking it too serious. choosing to suffer like this just begins to seem absurd on some level, but ultimately i wouldn't do it if i didn't enjoy it. but holy god this whole process is mentally exhausting before it even begins.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

monday funday

celebrated my finish at sylvan with new ink and some trout fishing with the little man. yeah, it has nothing to do with sylvan but was a perfect post-race day off.

bobber fishing at lake meyer didn't work out so well
so we headed for a trout stream and larsson pulled this guy out on his first cast
caught enough for dinner
this guy didn't make the cut but larsson thought it was hilarious

Monday, April 11, 2011

clean up on lap 5

sylvan island stampede went down yesterday. as promised i showed up on my pugsley for the single speed race for two reasons: one being that this race is always a ridiculous mudpit and i didn't want my 3rd real ride on the superfly to be a bike-trashing of that magnitude and the other being less than 2 weeks to transiowa i figured racing the pugsley would force me to not race like an idiot and possibly blow up and wrap myself around a tree. this race and this course are a lot of fun and a good mental break from t.i. training. 2 problems... 1. the course was in perfect condition and the superfly would have been a great choice. 2. i am an idiot and can't hold back when i race no matter what bike i'm riding or what my intentions are going into it.

in the end, the race was as fun as ever and as is now expected. hooked up with the iowa city crew who are always very welcoming as well as trevor and fuhrman. got in a little preride with some of these guys then headed for the start. the start was an unfortunate debacle for everyone but the ss class which helped relieve the tension as we laughed at everyone else. ready set go and i hammered the pugsley through the opening straightaway and got the holeshot onto the singletrack. held the lead til near the end of the second lap when the eventual winner passed me and simply rode away. during the 3rd lap i passed robin williams who proceeded to latch onto my wheel. her conversation was a very welcome break as i was beginning to reel from the effects of something adam blake and i have discussed when riding a pugsley as a mountain bike. the cumulative weight of a pugsley effect. you can hammer a pugs for a short amount of time and it more or less feels like any other bike. then you hit a point where it all starts to add up and get exponentially more difficult. picture a tractor pull with the weight sliding toward the vehicle and therefore getting heavier. my upper body was getting shattered and i was beginning to catch glimpses of 3rd place.

having robin in tow was perfect. our conversation allowed the end of the 3rd lap and the 4th lap to click off despite my fading strength. somewhere along the 4th lap i dropped my water bottle. dad was there taking pics and doing water handups so i got another bottle going into the 5th and final lap. after drinking way too much i informed robin i was probably going to throw it back up and i recommended she stick to the left side of the trail and i would puke right. i held it together for a while but as we made our way onto the dike we began to hammer and pass an expert rider when i lost it. unfortunately i felt compelled to keep my promise and puke right, which is exactly where the slower expert was, leaving me no choice but to just unload most of the race worth of hydration down my own leg. yep....clean up on lap 5. robin and i rode most of the rest of the race together until the last couple straights where she politely asked to come around then proceeded to completely drop me. a minor crush to the ego considering i finished the race comfortably in second. on my pugsley. yeah...i'm alright with that.

after the race 3rd place, a rassy guy from des moines (jubil?) asked me if i was sandbagging. maybe? i've had my expert license for 2 years now. last year the only expert race i did was boone following a 3 month knee injury and i took dfl by like 5 or 10 minutes. and i raced this race on a pugsley. i guess sandbagging isn't for me to decide but i'm comfortable with my decision. big thanks again to the iowa city crew (kyle, kevin, tom, robnett, nick, etc.) for the company and beers and to robin for joining me for the last couple laps.

almost got the back wheel off the ground...
rolling laps and chatting with robin
36 pounds of bike but i think the back wheel did get off the ground this time
sylvan island trails were in phenomenal shape
o'gara modeling the skinsuit on the little big horn logride
sylvan island training=chasing the custom indy fab on the left with the pig on the right
in more important news, larsson had his spring concert and...
his first day of spring soccer which begins my second season of coaching

Thursday, April 7, 2011

transiowa v.7 gravel weapon

this is my fourth year making an attempt at transiowa. so far i've ridden noticeable different setups each time and i've been successful once. this year is no different and is probably the most radical change i've made going away from a cross frame and riding an xc frame. i love the geometry of the jabber when riding an endless amount of hours. pics then specs:

frame/fork: vassago jabboerwocky/odis
hubs: hope pro II rear and hope xc front
rims: stan's arches
tires: ritchey speedmax 35c run tubeless at 60psi
headset: hope
stem: raceface cadence
bars: bontrager big sweep alloy flat bars w/serfas barends and esi chunky grips
seatpost: thomson masterpiece
seatpost clamp: salsa
saddle: oe specialized from singlecross
cranks/chainring: white industries w/32t
cog: cheap alloy 15t
bottom bracket: shimano square taper
brakes: formula oro bianco
pedals: shimano A520's
bags: epic ride research feedbag, jandd frame bag, epic designs mountain standard seatpack, camelbak mule
lights: princeton tec corona extreme (older model) headlight mounted to fork, princeton tec quad led head lamp on helmet, planet bike superflash tail light

Thursday, March 31, 2011

std recap

CLICK HERE for words and pics over-dramatizing a weekend of gravel abuse.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

superfly debut

finally got out and rode the superfly on trails. didnt break it yet after two rides so happy about that. need a longer seatpost and maybe flip the stem back to a positive rise to accommodate my lack of racerness. otherwise happy with how tight/light/fast the bike feels. never ridden a bike this small so getting used to a very different feel/geometry than anything else i've ridden. pics complete with snot on the toptube to prove i actually rode it. biggest problem right now is the bike is a fuckton faster than i am so it'll be a while before i feel comfortable really commenting on my impressions of it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

spring training update

CLICK HERE to check out the latest on this year's std...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

trails, gravels and snowdays

got out on the trails with ogara again recently. interesting the way the conditions change so significantly during this time of year. it was a lot of fun, and then it was nasty/icy and almost impossible to even walk. great time though.
scotty showed up this weekend and we got a little std recon done in some pretty mild weather despite the strong headwind we were greeted with saturday morning. ended up riding the first 30ish miles of the saturday century as well as the final 10ish miles plus a hanful of miles thrown in between the two.
today brought a snow day which meant larsson and i got to hang out all day. after doing some work on donkey kong country returns we hit the trails for a solid day of hiking. perfect snowball day, found a cool shelter, a geocache we weren't even looking for and a whole lot of fresh air.
ogara on upper ice cave trails
glory hole rest stop
gravels went from fast and frozen to thawing and sloppy throughout the morning
stop 1 of 3 nursing a slow leak
downtube mohawk
somebody else's shelter
larsson hiking above ice cave
me and the king

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

pugsley worlds and random rides

easy excuse but seriously have just been way too busy riding and working to get anything up on here for a couple of weeks. gonna dump some pictures with a few words. most importantly was the pugsley world championships. hit the link for some good pictures of that. not a huge field but a ton of fun. conditions were equally fast and sketchy. if you don't know this about winter is FAST as long as you're vertical. i rode with the lead group long enough to make me happy then failed to keep it vertical. two spills in about ten yards trying to cross a farm field covered in ice with no real line left me unable to get my legs back under me and i tiptoed the rest of the way across. by the time i got to the other side the top 3 (hollywood, trevor, charlie tri) had put a gap between us. ezra was behind me after dumping his modified big dummy/pugsley shortly before i did. a little over 10 miles of icy/powdery snowmobile trails brought us to the prairie farmer trail which is a lot like triple d. i buried myself trying to catch back up to the top 3. as i did ezra slowly caught me. we hit the checkpoint in ridgeway and they were still well within eyesight and we hopped back on the prairie farmer. no snowmobiles here, just iced-over drifts undulating like a pump track from hell for like 3 more miles. id start to gain on what was now the top 4, only to lay it down on an ice patch again. this happened a couple of times before we inevitably hit the gravel. id say i was within 200-400 yards when i saw the four of them turn off and i knew it was over. 1 man alone (presumably weaker to begin with) is not going to catch 4 men pacelining on gravels. i'm thrilled with how the body felt and how close i was to hanging on. i'm not sure if i could have held the pace and stayed in line on the gravels but i would have liked the opportunity. ultimately my fault for failing to ride cleanly when others did. finished 5th as trevor beat out the rest near the end for the $500. awesome race, great course, stupid fast conditions/finishing times. ended at the bar for high life tallboys and ensuing shenanigans including failed teeter totter attempts, king of the hill, derbies and i don't really remember what else. resounding success for sure.
prior to the race i've gotten some solid rides in, although everyday seems to be a different story. crazy/scary fog, icy gravels, thawing nasty sloppy gravels, snowmobile trails, county blacktops, and best of all a few days of actual mountain bike trails. this crusty ice allowed ogara and i to take a look around and found one hell of a good time. rollercoaster, rocky road, little big horn, both sets of pines, north 40...all in various states of rideability and worth the trip. spent a couple days riding up there and probably heading back up again today. photo dump in no particular order cause i can't remember now what days i've ridden what. reminder std is coming up end of march...more info soon.

little big horn
ogara thinking the log ride seems appropriate covered in snow and ice
could be worse i guess
started fog ride on blacktops, scared the shit out of myself, opted for gravel
sloppy gravels
van peenen
little big horn
picking a good line was important
sloppier gravels
gravel weapon
alternative gravel weapon when gravels thaw