Saturday, August 25, 2007

Big Crack

Swim, bike, run. The three disciplines required to complete a triathlon. I did a sprint distance triathlon back in the day, maybe 1983ish? Ended up finishing something like 9th overall, 1st in age. It was one of the most painful experiences that I’ve ever gone trough. Ranks right up there with doing a marathon off of training that consisted of 2 miles a day, three or four days a week, or maybe even the gut wrenching hangovers that I used to get back in my college days… Kinda gets the gag reflex goin’ just thinking about it.
Nowadays I don’t swim, not sure why because it would make for some great cross training in the winter. Anymore, when I try to run, I can’t do it without throwin’ a rod or blowin’ a gasket. I guess my old body is a little too frail to handle the constant pounding that one’s body is subjected to when running. So how does one participate in a triathlon when the threat of drowning or a blown out calf muscle seems imminent? Find a couple of peeps that like to run and swim and do the team competition!
At last years Big Creek Tri, my friend Terri asked if I would be interested in doing the bike leg for her team. The weekend was open and I was in need of a good, high intensity workout, so I accepted the invite. She’d also asked another friend, Kristy Feldman, to do the run. In short, we ended up winning the coed team competition and agreed to defend in 2007. We ended up getting the same team together and even though I had a mountain bike race the day before, I was still hoping to crack 25mph for an average speed.
The race started and Terri came out of the water in just under 35 minutes in around 140th place, strapped the timing chip to my ankle and I was off like a scalded dog. I don’t have a tri bike so I borrowed some jammers from my buddy Michelle and clamped them onto my handlebars. I did a short trial run with them and didn’t feel all that comfortable when I was in the aero position. Once I got onto the open road of the bike leg, I dropped into the aero position and felt really comfortable right away, sweet! I was really surprised at how good my legs felt and was able to peg my HR into the mid 170’s. I held the effort throughout the ride and finished with a time of 57:17, good for a 26 mph average over 40k and ended up being the 2nd fastest bike split behind TJ’s smokin’ fast 53:41. I managed to pass a lot of peeps on course and brought our overall placing up to around 10th overall. I passed the chip off to Kristy and she left the transition area with smoke comin’ of her shoes. Kristy clocked a 41:31 10k split, which ended up being the 11th fastest split of all of the men and women! The end result, not only did we win the coed division, but we were the fastest team overall!

K-Dawg bringin' home the bacon.

Team Vitruvian Triad on the podium.

A lot of work went into putting on the event. My good friends Craig and Jenny are the race organizers and relied heavily on a lot of volunteer support. I helped out a little a couple of days before the event and also helped out after I finished the bike leg. Volunteering was a lot of fun, it’s a great way to spend time with good friends and meet new people. It’s also nice to know that I helped in the success of the event and the event was just that, a huge success!

Next up is the season finale of the Psycowpath series which also doubles as the Nebraska state mountain biking championships on August 25. I won the race last year and look to do the same this time. I’m in the drivers seat for the series title, all I need to do is win the race or finish one place behind Aaron Grady. Stay tuned for a full race report.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, August 19, 2007


So here we are, mid August and I’ve been the bridesmaid at every Psycowpath race this season. The competition is, without question, a lot tougher this season with McNeil resurrecting his good form and the arrival of the surprise of the season, Aaron Grady. I usually always come back from Colorado with good form. 60 hours of riding over a two week period, when done correctly, will result in some pretty substantial fitness gains.
After 3 hours and 15 minutes in the car, I finally arrived at Lake Maskenthine in the middle of Nowhere, Nebraska. It’s actually a pretty nice area, a nice lake, some nice trees and nice people. The word on the street leading up to the race was that the trails were not that great. It’s really too bad when rumors like that start to spread. The folks at Elkhorn Cycling Club put in a lot of work to get the trails built and put on a race. When a course gets a bad rap, it always has an adverse effect on the turnout. As was the case at this race with about 60 or so in attendance. It’s too bad because those that didn’t show missed out on a really cool course.
The drive took a little longer than I had expected. I arrived at the course about an hour before the start and didn’t get a chance to do a full recon of the course. I suited up in the Rassy camo and rode the first mile or so to get the start dialed in. The plan for the day was to get into the singletrack 2nd wheel and stay there over the first lap to get the course dialed in. If I felt good after the first lap, I’d take the lead and try to bag the win.

Rollin' to the start.

The race started on a gravel, slightly uphill road. I let Grady slip into the lead and about halfway up the hill another dude passed both Grady and I and led the way into the singletrack. Not sure who the dude was but he was kinda holding up the train until we hit the first open section. Grady and I passed him and started to gap the field a little. Grady kept the pace pretty slow and shortly after we had gotten away, MG caught up, then Kevin Limpach, then JP. Towards the end of the first lap, MG went by me and tried to get by Grady, but Grady was having none of that. MG told Grady to pick up the pace a little because there were a few cats that were catching up to us. He kinda slit his own throat because Grady turned the screws a little tighter and began to gap MG off. I passed MG and bridged back up to Grady and we both began to pull away from the rest of the group.
Grady and I began the 2nd lap with a nice gap and as the 2nd lap progressed Grady began to slow a little. I could sense that a few of the cats that we had just gotten rid of were beginning to close the gap again. So I passed Grady with a pretty hard acceleration and was able to gradually gap him off. My gap continued to increase throughout lap 2 and 3. After the start of lap 4, I could see that I had about a 3 or 4 minute cushion. I decided to put myself into energy conservation mode in an attempt to save my legs for the next days race, the Big Creek Triathlon. I put it into cruise control and ended up winning with a time of 1:36:45. Kevin came in 2nd with a time of 1:39:21, Grady finished 3rd in 1:39:53, JP came in 4th in 1:40:09 and MG rounded out the podium with a time of 1:42:42. Nice job to all on a dreadfully hot, humid day.

The Pro / Semi Pro / Expert mens rostrum

As I had mentioned before, the course was a pretty cool course, with some fun singletrack, some pretty fast rollers and a few sections that had us rolling through some pine groves. Two other cats from central Iowa made the long drive, cancer survivor Sean Meyers and Bruce Brown. It’s always great to see folks from Iowa making the trek across the river to do some raging in the Psycowpath series.
So with one race let I’m in the drivers seat to take the Psycowpath series. I hold a slim 10 point lead over Grady, 309 to 299 with one race left. Grady’s been riding really strong all season and I expect him to be just as strong at Swanson. Kent McNeil will be there also along with a lot of other fast cats. It’s gonna be sweet!

Tomorrow I’m doing the bike leg of a three person team at the Big Creek Triathlon. I’ll have the same teammates that I had last year with Terri Juhlin doing the swim and Kristy Feldman doing the run. We won the coed team competition last year so we’ll be looking to defend!

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Another off weekend for the local mtb racing scene… what am I gonna do this weekend? Sit around my pad, maybe get some good long rides in…. or road trip to the Land of Oz for some high caliber regional mtb racing. Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS) race #7 in Franklin, WI, on the south side of Milwaukee just happened to be this weekend. So on Thursday I loaded up the car and headed to the QC to visit my Mom, sister and 3 month old niece. It’s always a good time visiting the fam, it’s especially nice now that my little sis has a beautiful little daughter!

Scooter (sis) and Kennan (niece)

Friday morning I hit the road early for Madison. My plan was to get there early enough that I could get a nice, long endurance ride in on the some of the sweetest road riding in America. Arrived in Madison by late morning, unloaded the car and suited up for an awesome epic ride. Ended up doing part of the Ironman Madison bike course and some other miscellaneous roads and logged a total of 100 miles for the day with an average HR of around 150. What a ride! My legs felt great, the roads were incredible and there were a lot of great hills, some kicking up to as steep as 17%.
Saturday morning Terri and I hooked with a few of her tri friends for an easy active recovery ride of 90 minutes. Another great ride on some really sweet roads. All of the rural roads around Madison are paved / blacktop. Most of the rural roads around Madison are paved, unlike Iowa where most are gravel, very nice!
Sunday finally came and I loaded the car up with my race gear and hit the road. Stopped by Barriques for a very large cup of joe and a sweet roll as an appetizer for the main course, my usual box of Mueslix. Talked to my buddy, Gregasaurus, who’s the race director and he said that it started raining at around 6pm Saturday and finally stopped at around 6am this morning… great… another mud race.
I arrived at the course in time to watch the Citizen (beginners) race and their bikes were caked with peanut buttery mud. It was incredibly humid out, 147% humidity I think is what the radio said? It was overcast with little to no wind and very muggy. So the course remained pretty muddy throughout the day.
Back in the day, when I used to do all of the WORS races, I’d do a course recon on Saturday because it’s against the rules to pre-ride on Sunday, too many races going on throughout the day. Didn’t get a chance to recon this time, it’s all good though, I kinda remember a lot of it from racing there a few other times in the past. A lot of tight, twisty singletrack, perfect for the locals.
My plan for the day was to get a decent start, didn’t want to kill myself trying to get to the front as it was an uphill start and with 50 or 60 peeps in the elite field, along with the muddy conditions, I figured it was gonna be total chaos. Series director Don gave the command to start, “Gooooooo!” and we were off like a pack of wild banshees. I got clipped in right away and kinda took it easy as we rolled up the hill. Once at the top, I took a look around and saw that I was near the back. We hit the field section, which is about a mile long? The trail was full of deep mud puddles, just waiting to suck the wheels of unsuspecting mtb’rs in and cause a pileup. There were a few pile ups, but I was close enough to the back ‘o the pack that I could avoid it all.

Heavy D, one of my bro's from back in the day

I passed a few cats and made it to the singletrack unscathed. We started weaving through the tight and twisty singletrack that the Franklin course is known for and was surprised at what little effort it took to hang onto the wheel in front of me. As we transitioned from one section of singletrack to the next, I was able to pick off a few riders at a time in the open sections that separated the serpentine singletrack.

Workin' the peanut butter

I passed Scott Cole, one of my 40+ competitors and he said that I was sitting in 2nd place for the 40+ category. I kept the pressure on, my legs felt great and I was handling the muddy conditions surprisingly well. I was surprised at how quickly I was able to reel in racers that were in front of me on all of the technical, muddy sections. About midway through the race, I caught up to the leader of the 40+ race on one of the flat, open sections. As I passed him, I hit the throttle pretty hard in an attempt to blow by and maybe demoralize him a little, maybe dissuade him from trying to go with me. I heard him react and he was on my wheel until we hit the next section of singletrack. Once in the singletrack, I was able to gradually pull away. As the race progressed, I was able to pass quite a few others and in the end I managed to claw my way up to 14th overall and 1st in the 40+ elites.

The men's podium, Jesse Lalonde (1st) Marko Lalonde (2nd) and Brian Matter (3rd)

I was extremely happy with the result for quite a few reasons. I usually suck in the mud, but today, I felt like I was handling the conditions better than most. Because the course is in Milwaukee, there are a lot of peeps that have a huge advantage over the out of towners. Lastly, I had a pretty lousy start and had to expend a lot of energy working my way up. I didn’t really mind though, my main objective for the day was to get a good workout in, finish the race and not destroy my bike. Mission accomplished!
From what I can remember, my best ever WORS finish was 10th overall. I think I had a couple of 12th place finishes in there also, so this was definitely one of my best results on a tough course. I plan to head back up and do the season finale in Sheboygan on October 7. My goal is to finish within the top 10. If my form is still good I think that I’ve got a shot at it. It’s a good course for me and I’ve had a lot of good finishes there.
Next up is Psycowpath XC #5 at Lake Maskethine on Saturday. I have no idea where this place is, somewhere in northeast Nebraska. Looking at the map, it looks like it’s gonna be a pretty dreadful drive with little to no cell phone coverage. Thank God for iPods! On Sunday, Terri, myself and Kristy Feldman will be defending our team co-ed title at the Big Creek triathlon in good ole’ Des Moines. Should be a fun weekend!

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Durango Day 7 – 7/20

Decided to give the road ride to Silverton another go. I could tell as soon as I started rolling that my legs felt a lot better than they did the last time that I did this ride. I finished the ride about two minutes quicker than earlier this week and my average HR was 137, about 4 beats less than earlier this week. A good indication that I’m getting a little more acclimated to the altitude. The ride back from Silverton rolls in a southerly direction and as I was heading back up to Coal Bank Pass I was riding into a pretty stiff head wind, something that I don’t usually encounter on this ride. I ended up fighting a head wind for the better part of two hours while heading back towards Durango. The weather was also a lot cooler with temps hovering around the lower 60’s and dipping as low as the upper 50’s at the higher altitudes. Very nice for such a long ride. I also noticed that my throat was getting a little irritated from breathing in all of the diesel fumes from knuckleheads that would pass me by and accelerate leaving a massive black cloud for me to ride through. Mean people really do suck.

Durango Day 8 – 7/21

Felt pretty lethargic today, so I decided to listen to my body and take the road bike out for an easy active recovery ride today. Had a big breakfast with the old man at a local greasy spoon, said our goodbyes and then I headed back to the cabin. Rode back into town and headed east on Florida Road. Ended up being a very enjoyable ride with some beautiful scenery. Florida Road follows along side the Florida River, your typical mountain stream with crystal clear water that tumbles over rocks and other obstacles, very picturesque. Retraced my route back into town and ended up getting a little over two hours in. Felt a lot better afterwards, looking forward to another epic ride tomorrow!

Durango Day 9 – 7/22

Decided to do a road ride today, headed east out of town on Florida Road down to Ignacio. The plan was to get 100 miles in today and by the time I got to Ignacio I only had about 42 miles in. Doubled back up to the turn off for the road that heads up to Vallecito Reservoir and rode to the north end of the Reservoir. Turned around and rode back to CR 245, then to CR 240. Took CR 240 back to Durango, rode through Durango and rode back up to the cabin. The beginning of the ride was pretty much the same as yesterdays ride. I enjoyed the road so much that I decided to do it again today, only further to do a little exploring on some roads that I’d never ridden before. Ended up being a great ride, lot’s of beautiful rolling (by Colorado standards) hills / mountains. I call the hills rollers because I ‘only’ netted about 4,500 feet of climbing. My legs felt great today, the effort was mostly Zone 2, though on a few of the hills I ramped it up to Zone 3 a little.

More to come later,

Thanks for reading,