Friday, March 29, 2013

New Blog

For anybody actually paying attention to this blog, I would like you to take a gander over at  It will be my new blog titled Not Just Life On a Bike.  I have been having quite a lot of fun adventures in my new life here in Eastern Washington and I hope this will be a good way to keep a lot of family informed about everything going on here.  So head on over and check it out.  No more race schedules on the sidebar, no more race recaps droning on and on (at least not exclusively) and hopefully just more excitement.

Monday, February 7, 2011

2010 Report and January Report

First of all, yes, it has been a really long time since I have put anything on here. And yes, I am about a month late on the 2010 report. But once the MTB season picked up, so did school, and I got really busy and then fell out of the habit of writing. I am still busy with school now, but I should be working on my project proposal for my comps, and procrastinating is one of my favorite things to do, so here is my tentative return to blogging.

2010 was a weird year. If I was going to describe it, I was just say "eh." No spectacular rides, and my only wins came as part of 24 hour teams. The knee injury put a damper on pretty much the whole year, and the first half of the year saw me train almost not at all (due to the injury and laziness). Once I found a temporary cure for my knee problem, I got back on the bike and got excited about riding again. This all happened about mid-July. My best race of the year turned out to be Lone Peak Revenge, something that I did not plan, and didn't really want. Capping the year with some sort of sickness at MTB Nationals and a ride that wasn't quite what I was looking for at Iceman, it was just a so-so year. Comme ci, comme ca.

The best move I made in 2010 was to start training with a coach and a structured training plan. It obviously didn't make me magically faster at the end of the year, but it did help me feel stronger, and it set me up for a good 2011. Now with my "rebuilding" seasons behind me, it is time to get serious and start winning again. Its time to get back to my form of a few years ago.

I ended 2010 with 376.81 hours of working out in some form. The most of these hours was spent on the road bike, with 143.3 hours, followed by time on the MTB at 123.39 hours. Time on the trainer was a distant third at 53.83 hours. The disparity between time on the road bike and time on the MTB was a little bigger this year, but that is likely due to not being able to consistently ride my MTB in Montana until mid- to late June. I rode 4046 miles total in 2010, about 500 miles less than 2009, and over 1000 miles less than 2008. Hopefully I can fix my knee and get back to my number of 2008.

In 2010, I competed in 20 races, up from 14 races in 2009, but down from 28 races in 2008. I only did one century way back in March, and ended with 139 days off- an average of about 12 days off per month or three days per week.

2011 already promises to be a much better year, as I had a very strong January. I trained for 39.83 hours. This is up from 33.1 hours last January, 9.6 of which I counted from skiing (almost all downhill). This year none of my training hours consisted of skiing. If I did do any activities outside of riding, such as skiing or playing hockey, I didn't include them in my training log, so I am not deluding myself or padding my training stats. I only rode outside four times in January, which means I spent way too much time riding the rollers, but I am sure it will be worth it later this year. I took seven days off last month.

The biggest difference has been having a coach. Accountability has been the reason for such a solid month of training. There were many days when I didn't feel like getting on the bike, but knowing that I would have to justify not training to my coach made me get off my butt. I have been on the rollers for 4 hour rides the past two Sundays, which have tested my mental fortitude greatly, but I have made it through both of them. I am desperately hoping I can ride outside more consistently soon, though.

So, anyway, I am sorry for not having written in so long and there is plenty I could write about from the end of last season, or vacation back in Michigan, but I really probably should get back to writing about [FeFe]-Hydrogenase maturation protein HydE.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A break from Winter

So, obviously I haven't written in a few weeks, and unfortunately, a lot has happened since then. I kept meaning to write about the races that I have done since then, but never really felt like it. So, before I get into the meat of this post, I'll give a quick recap of the three races you missed.

1. Leverich Canyon Crank Up:

I actually hate this course. It is so steep going up and so steep going down, and since those are the only two things you do on this course, there is never a moment of relaxation. The first lap was so bad for me, that I actually walked a section. And did my awesome manual derailleur move when my front would not work (get off the bike and manually put my chain on the small chain ring). After the first lap, I started feeling better, but still ended up getting last place finisher. It also rained and stormed and hailed at one point during the race, and I got so hypothermic that I started thinking some really weird things (like the loudness of my breaks was making the thunder louder).
This race also started the in-house challenge: The CAF Bozeman chapter has three guys in it and we have a weekly race challenge and the loser has to do something weird or stupid that is decided on before-hand. I lost and had to deliver a heart-shaped Jello mold to our neighbors that we had never met before.
8 Hours of Labor:
This race was kind of fun, but mostly disastrous. I was doing really well the first lap, leading the pack, when all of the sudden I had to stop for cows. They did not want to budge, so by the time they finally got out of the way, I had lost my lead on second and third. Then came the big cow shit piles. I ended up getting cow shit in my nose. That makes for some pretty bad racing when you can't get that smell (or the shit) out of your nose. Then on the second lap I took a wrong turn and got lost. Then once I got back on track I flatted. After my break and Trevor's laps, I went back out with new optimism. Unfortunately, it's Montana. And racing in Montana just wouldn't be the same for me if I didn't get hailed on at one point. So I did. Then on this same set of laps I got another flat. When I came in for that lap, I decided I was going to be done before anything else bad happened.

By the way, the CAF weekly challenge was whoever had the fastest first two laps, which is why I was going so fast in the beginning. The challenge was neutralized, though, due to cow stampede and me getting lost.


Finally a good day to race in Montana. I felt pretty junky my first lap, probably due to lack of sleep all week due to first week of school partying, but I recovered and it ended up being a great day and a really fun race.

Now for the really fun part. The collegiate race that was planned for this weekend was canceled, so the original plan was to finally have a weekend with no racing. But the weather on Friday turned for the worse (big surprise). So at 9 pm, some friends and I decided we couldn't handle the weather any more and chose to go to Utah instead. We ended up getting in at 5 am, with a 7 am race start for a 12 Hour race. The race was at Sundance resort; here is a picture of the sun rising up on the mountain:
Even though the sun was coming up on the mountains, it was still dark at the start line, with Zach taking the first two laps:
Since, we did not sleep at all the night before the race, any of our time off the bike was spent trying to sleep under the truck and the tarp. Its actually pretty amazing how comfortable concrete is when you are really tired.
The race was really awesome. The course was so much fun, with a lot of awesome singletrack and no really big hills. The Maples were starting to change, so the first couple laps when the sun was rising, the trail was pink with the sun coming through the red leaves. This trip was exactly what I needed after riding in wet, cold weather for the past few weeks. I am actually averaging once a week for getting hailed on during bike rides. But it was sunny and warm and the leaves were starting to change and the trail was awesome. I was happy.

Then after sleeping for 12 hours, we went for a fun ride outside of Salt Lake City. We shuttled, so the ride was almost completely downhill. Once again, the trail was sweet and the leaves were changing. The aspens were all turning yellow, and they smelled so good. Once again, I was happy. This was the most fun I have had since I was back in Michigan in May.

This weekend is the Bangtail Ballbuster, the race weekend I am hosting. It includes a point-to-point XC, about a 15 minute downhill Super D, and a short track XC.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Wednesday, Jason Lummis of the Bell's Beer MTB team was hit by a driver who never stopped. He is currently in the ICU at Michigan. Keep him and his family in your thoughts.

The police are looking for a FORD F250, F-350, or EXCURSION with a BROKEN PASSENGER SIDE MIRROR. PLEASE BE ON THE LOOKOUT. Especially in the DEXTER-PINCKNEY AREA. Anyone with information about the crash or the driver of the vehicle that stuck Lummis should call the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department tip line at 734-973-7711.

Updates on his condition will be posted on the Bell's MTB Team facebook page

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bangtail Blast, Smashing Glass, and a drink with Neptune

This past Saturday was a really good day.

It started with a MTB ride with some GAS/Intrinsik Architecture guys on the Bangtail Divide Trail No. 504. This is the trail that I will be hosting the MSU race on next month. Because of this, I have ridden a lot of the trail at different times for route planning, but Saturday was the first time I got to ride the whole thing this year- and it was just as much fun as I remember it. The beginning and the end of this trail are about 7 miles apart from each other on paved road, so unless you have a shuttle car, you have to ride a little on the road, and we started on this part on Saturday. The MTB ride starts up the Stone Creek switchbacks, which makes for about a 45-50 minute pure climb. Most of the rest of the ride is along the ridge, and we had a tailwind for this section, so it was very fast. The ride ends with about a 20 minute pure downhill that is so much fun. Riding the trail got me very excited for the race next month- it is going to be epic. Below is an elevation profile for the course. The whole ride, including the road portion, took us 3 hours and 1 minute. The race for the A's is probably going to be about 2 hours.

After the ride, I had lunch at MacKenzie River Pizza with Rich and Lizzie, who were stopping through Bozeman on their road trip across the country. They actually spent a good amount of time in Canada and now they are (roughly) on their way back to Ann Arbor.

Then came time for a job that my friends and I had not been looking forward to for a long time. Bozeman does not recycle glass, and the nearest place to recycle it is in Livingston, a town about 30 minutes away (they don't actually recycle it either, they crush it and reuse it in roads and other projects). So we filled up the bed of my truck with all the glass we had been saving for the past few months and started driving.
None of us really knew what to expect, but I think we were thinking the recycling center was just going to have a big dumpster for all the glass. It turns out it was an area of pavement blocked off by cement road barriers (stacked two high and probably 3 long). It looked like most people simply backed into the area and brushed all the glass off their truck, which we were about to do as well. Then Tyson threw one of the bottles into the back of the pit and it shattered, and we realized how much fun this task was going to be. We threw each piece of glass in one by one (except when we wanted to try doubling or tripling up). At one point another guy came and dropped off his glass rather gently and gave us a weird look. We got especially excited with bottles such as Pendelton, which is really thick glass. I am pretty excited for when we get to return our glass again. The only disappointing part was thinking that all this glass probably could have been worth about $150 in Michigan.

On the way out of Livingston, Brad spotted a hole in the wall on a side alley called Neptune's Brewery. I had never heard of it, and it sounded excited so I turned around and we checked it out. It turned out being the best beer I have had in Montana. They had 11 beers on tap, and all the ones that I tasted were absolutely amazing. They also sold one of the coolest growlers I have ever seen, so naturally, I had to get one of those and fill it up. I filled it with an amazing Chimay. I wish I had a picture of the growler to show, but maybe I will post one soon just to show it off because it is so cool.

The day ended with some grilling over at 422 N. Fourth and a bonfire. Oh yeah, did I mention I had originally planned on going into work for about 10 hours after my bike ride. I am glad I got distracted.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lone Peak Revenge XC

It was a cold, rainy, October August. I woke up in Bozeman and it was raining and 40 degrees F outside, but had promised that there would not be any rain in Big Sky. As Trevor, Lydia, Christine, and I were driving down, this turned out to be partially true, and stayed partially true all the way through the race. There was a good amount of sun, but it also was drizzling, depending on which side of the mountain you were on.

It actually turned out to be a perfect temperature for a bike race. I had to wear knee and arm warmers while warming up, but during the race, it was not too hot, and everyone raced in shorts and a jersey. Minus a bunch of mud, the conditions were perfect (and actually the mud made it kind of fun- the downhill was very reminiscent of riding out east).

As for the race, it started with me getting the hole shot, but I am pretty sure that is just because nobody else wanted it. I soon got passed by three of the top four, but then I had a pretty good gap on everyone else behind me. Then another couple miles into the first lap, Louis and Lydia passed me. Louis decided the best place to pass me was through a mud puddle- he tried to bunny hop it, but ended up landing right in it and making about a 5 foot wake, that splashed me entirely. With the exception of a little leapfrogging on the second lap, I maintained 5th place in the Men's class for the entire race (6th overall since Lydia beat me- Lydia is competing at the World Cup and at World Championships in the next few weeks, so I am ok with it).

I felt so much better than I expected to feel, since all week my legs were still sore from the hike up to Granite. And a couple parts of the course were redone since last year to make it so much more fun that it was last year. This year I was able to stay in the middle ring the whole race (as opposed to last year, when I spent a decent amount of time walking because some of the sections were so steep).

Overall, it was a very fun race. I have not felt this good and have not had as much fun during a race since Iceman last November. I hope that this is a sign that I am returning to form (faster than expected) and that I can keep improving. My knee was bugging me a little on the last lap, but I am happy about that because it has been hurting a lot since the hike, because all the boulder hopping just destroyed it last week.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Granite Peak

As promised, here is a post about Al's, Andrew's, Brad's and my trip up to the highest point in Montana.

At one point during the trip, we figured out that apparently this was my idea. I think it is one of my not as sane ideas in my life. Overall, the hike was ok, but the 7 hours hiking over boulders the second day really left a bad taste for all of us.

The hike started out with a nice gradual climb up to Mystic Lake, shown below.

Then after the lake, we began a pretty steep climb on a trail that had 28 switchbacks. On this section of trail, we gained about 2000 feet of elevation to get us up near the Froze-to-Death Plateau. Below is a picture of what most of our hiking looked like once we got onto the plateau. At this point, there ceases to be an actual trail (you just walk in the general direction of the Peak). It is roughly marked my cairns (rocks piled on each other). The only problem is, most of the time, the fog (or I should say cloud, since we were actually up in the clouds) was so dense that we had no idea where the cairns were, thus our hike across the plateau took a lot longer than planned.
Eventually we got to a point where the sun was starting to go down and we needed to set up camp. So we tried to find the smoothest spots possible, which involved moving a lot of rocks (and in the end just sleeping around the rocks underneath the tent). Before we went to sleep, the clouds around us cleared for a little bit, and we were able to see some peaks across the way sticking out of the clouds. So, we slept above the clouds for the night.
Here is a picture from our campsite the next morning. Luckily, our second day was already turning out to be much nicer (at least in the beginning).
So we kept hiking across the plateau, and along the way ran into a lot of goats. The goats came very close to us, as the one the picture below is only about 3 feet away from me. They also kept us up all night digging at the rocks for some reason right outside of out tents. I was tempted to spray one with bear spray because he would not go away.
Then was time for climbing the actual peak. Most of this time, I was more scared than I have ever been. I was more scared on this climb than I was when I was climbing over Panda, the bull. The first major scary part was what is called the snow bridge. It is a section of snow over a saddle that is about 20 feet long and only about 3 feet wide. And the snow drops off right away, so falling would results in about a 1000 foot slide to death. I went across basically scooting on my butt.
Then, after the snow bridge, the entire rest of the climb involved scaling up rock faces that are really high and very vertical. It was pretty unnerving for me, since I have absolutely zero rock climbing experience in my life.
Eventually, about 200 feet short of the summit, we all decided it was getting way too scary for us and we decided to turn around. Here is a nice Michigan Cycling picture of us as high as we got.
Then came the way down. We decided we wanted to explore a different way down and not take the plateau back. When we looked out at the next ~3 miles of what we had to do, for some reason we didn't register the fact that there appeared to be absolutely no trail across the boulder field that extended further than we could see. I thought that there would be a trail once we got a little lower. There wasn't. The picture below shows much of what we spent about 7 hours hiking over. Sometime the rocks were really loose, so we had to be careful not to start rockslides (which we were not always successful at). Sometimes the boulders were the size of cars and trucks and were also difficult to find a way around.
Finally, we found our way to a river, which led us back to a very primitive trail. Here is a good picture of a waterfall along the river.
Like I said, overall, I want to say that I enjoyed this hike. But the second half of the second day was just miserable for all of us. Brad is still having trouble walking because the bouldering put humongous blisters on his feet. And it started storming and downpouring on us when we were still trying to get out. And we had to hike the last three miles in complete darkness. So, if I was to ever do this again (I'm still telling myself I will never do it again), I will make sure to stay away from the way we went the second day.