Friday, February 27, 2009

There is a reason I like Lance Armstrong so much...

"I Don't Drink During the Season." ???????

What a lazy week its been. I got a ride in on Monday but that's about it. Its been nice to rest some. I've got everything planned out for the month of March. It looks like I'll be racing a lot. Coming up this Sunday, I'll be sweeping the back of the field in the Rocky Road Rash Hash. This isn't really a race (at least not for me). The following weekend will be an off weekend as far as the bike is concerned and I'll be backpacking with the wife on Cumberland Island. The 2nd weekend in March I'll be riding in the 6 hours of Heritage race. The 3rd weekend I'll race in the opening race of the Georgia Championship Series in Macon, Ga. Then the last weekend is going to be dedicated to a benefit ride in Pisgah National Forest for the Sorba chapter in that area. So March is gonna be a fun filled month. And to top it all off, the Tuesday/Thursday road group rides are starting back up. I've gotta figure out some time to spend with the wife.

Now, on to discussing the topic of this post. I was in the local bike shop this afternoon when one of the local riders came in. I don't want to name any names but he's a pretty cool guy. From what I know of him, he's a fast road rider as well. He is on the premier local road cycling team. So we were discussing the Rocky Road Rash Hash that's going on this Sunday. I asked him if he had a mountain bike or a cross bike and he stated he did. I told him that he should come out and ride with us. His return comment was that he had to get a 4 hour training ride in on Sunday. I said, "Take 4 hours to complete the 50 mile hash ride." He replied, "I don't know." I then opened the invitation and said, "It would be lots of fun. Bring your bike and bring some beer." That's when I got this look. He looked at me and was like, "Beer, during the season? You mountain bikers are something else. I don't drink during the season." I left it at that. Even if I quit drinking completely, I honestly don't think I'd ever notice a difference in my performance. Its just like shaving my legs, its ain't gonna happen. Like I said, this guy is actually a pretty cool guy but I just found it funny the way he responded to our event. The day cycling becomes a chore is the day I quit.

And if for some reason "you" are reading this post, here's an e-beer just for "you".

Keep the rubber side down!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rides for this weekend...

I'm still trying to figure out what to do with my weekend. Sunday, I'll be riding in the 2009 Rocky Road Rash Hash in the Piedmont Wildlife Refuge. This is a 50 mile forest service road ride. Apparently there will be several rabbits that the pack will have to chase. If you catch the rabbit, you get some kind of prize (knowing the guys who are hosting the event, there's no telling what the prize will be). I've rode these routes a couple of times and there is quite a bit of extended climbing out there. So this ride is on my calendar.

As for Saturday, I'm still up in the air as to whether or not to go to the Biking Bleckley Metric Century in Cochran, GA. The weather looks pretty shitty and scattered T-Storms are on the forecast. From what I've heard, the past few years have always had rain. I'm not the biggest fan of riding the road bike in the rain. I've got till Friday night to decide. If the weather clears up, I'll go. If not, I'll thrash around town on the fixed gear. I need to ride that bike more anyhow.

On other news, the wife and I are planning a pretty stellar trip to Cumberland Island next weekend. The tentative plan is to go backpacking for two nights and three days. This trip is tentative as well because we will only go if the weather is nice. We both have thrown the idea around for the past few years and never got around to going. We figured we should go soon before the bugs start coming out. I'll post more about this trip as we get closer to that weekend.

Keep the rubber side down!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I'm back from Santos...

So as I've raved about for the past few weeks, I went to Santos, FL over the past weekend for some mountain bike racing. All in all, this was a great trip. I was able to take Friday off from work and loaded up my gear. Monte and I hit the road for a five hour trip to Florida. We stopped about 45 minutes out of Santos in Gainesville, FL where we met up with Monte's brother-in-law Mike as well as two other guys from Macon, GA., Chad and Jeff Clayton. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and said our last goodbyes to the bustling civilization.
Once we arrived at the Santos Mountain Biking Trails, we unpacked the gear and setup camp. Our good friend Dean Thorton was already there and had his camp setup when we arrived. Thanks to Dean, we were able to get a spot right next to the race course. This made pit stops easy during the race. After shooting the shit and changing into our riding gear, we hit the trails for a quick pre-ride before sundown. This was the first time I had been to the Santos Trails. It was definitely tougher than I expected. To start off the lap, the trail takes you on a series of sharp ups and downs with tight twists and turns that follow the banks of what was supposed to once be the Florida Canal. Of course the canal was hardly started so all that was left is a big hole in the middle of Florida. After figuring out some good lines along the technical trails, we were then on some flat twisty trail. For about another 3-4 miles, the trail winds in and out with hardly any elevation gain. This area was a good spot to unleash the speed and make up some time. Unfortunately, during the pre-ride, I took a pretty good spill. As the sun was setting, a blinding ray of light was shining right in my eyes and I came across a set of roots. I cleared the 1st and 2nd set but did not see the 3rd. It was the 3rd set that stopped my front wheel and over the bars I went. From what my riding buddies stated, I claimed I was ok while still flying in the air. After dusting off my body, I got back on the bike and we finished our pre-ride lap. This lap was a good awakening for what was before us on Saturday.
On Friday night, we cleaned up a bit from our pre-ride and were hungry for some carbs. Monte's brother-in-law, Mike, cooked up some baked ziti. We heated it up on the grill and ate like kings. Word was spreading around the camp that fires were banned due to a county wide drought. This was upsetting to us since the temps were dropping fast as soon as the sun went down. Word has it that the temps reached in the 20's. I wouldn't doubt it. On Friday night, we huddled around a propane heater that Monte brought along. After some beers and a little whiskey, we hit the sack for some rest.

Saturday morning I woke up to someone blasting "Smoke on the Water." That was before 7am. Waking up was hard to do since it was soooo cold. We all eventually climbed out of our warm sleeping bags and got ourselves ready for the race ahead. I made my way down to the staging area around 9:30am. I got my bike placed in a good spot for the Lemond start. Shortly after 10am, the horn sounded and hundreds of gutless mountain bikers were in an all out sprint to their bikes. This was a problem. When you have hundreds of people riding their bikes towards a narrow single track trail, you are bound to have a traffic jam. By the time I reached the actual trail, everyone was in a near standstill. I got off the bike and shouldered it around all the stopped riders. This worked to my advantage to get around all those who couldn't figure out how to pedal forward.Now I'm on the trail racing at the beginning moments of a 6 hour race. Everything was going pretty well till lap 2. You remember I mentioned the beer and whiskey from Friday night? What a stupid move. The temps were beginning to rise and my body was feeling it. Not only was the bad descisions from the night before hitting me, I was feeling pretty sore from the fall I took during the pre-ride. In the pits, Mike caught up with me and I decided to slow my pace a little and ride with him for a while. We rode out our third lap together but I just wasn't feeling it. My mind wasn't right, the body wasn't right and the fun had stopped. After the 3rd lap, I started coughing pretty hard from all the dust in the air. I coughed so hard that I ended up blowing some chunks. This created another problem for me. After throwing up, my throat became raw and it felt like I had something stuck in it. This affected my breathing. With all the problems I was facing, I decided to call it a day and to just sit back and root my buddies on in their efforts to compete in the race. This was a decision I'm not ashamed of. It just wasn't my day. I made some bad choices and it affected my race. I have learned from those decisions and will think twice about what I do the night before a race. I still had a good time getting a few laps in and watching my friends race their race.

After the 6 hour race was over, we all just rested around the camp for a while and watched the 12 hour guys run their laps. We fixed some good food and shot the shit with each other. It was good times. On Sunday, we woke up and packed up the camp. We all were tired but didn't feel like leaving without getting one more ride in. We got on the bikes and rode out for a 20 mile ride out to the land bridge and back. This ride was over some really easy trails. The land bridge is a pretty cool bridge that crosses I-75. It is designed specifically for bikes, hikers and horses. After a couple of pictures, we headed back to the Santos trailhead and got in the truck and hit the road back home. Good times were had. I'm already looking forward to getting back to Santos for more rides.

Keep the rubber side down!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Headin' To Santos...

The bike is greased and lubed, the bags are packed and I'm ready to go. I'm headin' out the door right now. Time to head to Florida for 12 Hours of Santos at which I will only be racing the 6 hours of Santos. Have a good weekend everybody!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Trainer Training....

After work I headed over to Bike Tech to figure out what size kit I needed to order. After acting like a teenage girl in American Eagle, I figured out what size to order. I'm really impressed with how good of a job Matt and the crew are doing with Bike Tech. Business has been looking pretty good over the past few months with more and more people getting into riding. Its great to still have Nate working the wrench. This is a shop I'm thankful to have in my local community.

By the time I finished sizing up my kit, I headed home for some dinner and relaxing. Since it still gets dark fairly early, I decided to hit the trainer tonight. The trainer can become my biggest enemy at times. I ride the trainer for the workout but sometimes it just bores the shit out of me. Tonight I did high paced intervals to get my heart rate high. I've gotta get this body weight down so I'll look smooth in my new kit. The entire time on the trainer, I couldn't keep enough water in me. I think I sweated more water than I took in. As for my training, my goal is to at least get on a bike everyday whether it be the trainer or actually riding outside.

Keep the rubber side down!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rode To Work Today...

So today I decided to get some base miles by riding the bike to work. Normally I would ride the commuter bike that is decked out with fenders, rear rack, comfy Brooks B17 saddle and panniers. But today I decided I was gonna ride the road bike. I'm am really addicted to my Madone. The bike just rides so smooth and has great response. I packed up my messenger bag and hit the road for a 12 mile ride to work. The ride there wasn't too bad. I did have to stop half way there to take off a layer since there was quite a temperature increase once the sun came up. The route that I have to take can be a bit sketchy in sections. There are a couple of bad neighborhoods I have to ride through and there is about a three mile stretch of road which scares the shit out of me. This stretch of rode is where I just clutch tight to my handlebars and pedal as hard as I can praying that I don't get struck by a car.

By the time I made it to work, I had just enough time to take a rinsing shower and get dressed. Around two o'clock, I was getting pretty ansy to get away from the desk and get back on the bike. Once five o'clock rolled around, I was out of the office so quick. The ride home, the wind had really picked up and was presenting quite the challenge. Not only that, one of my supervisor's drove by and beeped her horn which scared the shit out of me. Also, my messenger bag seemed to be more full on the ride home. I guess it was cause I didn't pack it as efficiently and had a few extra layers in the bag instead of wearing them. After getting home, I realized I am not going to ride my road bike to work anymore. The commuter bike is much more comfortable for navigating the downtown traffic and potholes. It sucks to dodge every crack and pothole on the road bike. Its also nice to carry everything in some panniers instead on my back. The load dispersment isn't as good on the back.

Overall it wasn't a bad day. I'm just thankful to get a nice ride in while we have such beautiful weather. Another positive note is that the club sizing kits are going to be in tomorrow. As soon as I get off work, I'll be heading down to the Bike Tech to figure out how fat I am and to order the appropriate size. The kit design looks awesome. Much applause goes to Brett Baron and Kristie Andrews for getting this stuff rolling. Brett has really put a lot of time into organizing the club. Its nice to have an open invitation club that is about riding. The Macon Chain Gang isn't only about racing or becoming the next Lance Armstrong. This club is for whoever likes to ride their bike. Its a diverse group of riders from all levels of experience. I'm really looking forward to the group rides that are going to start up soon.

Till next time,
Keep the rubber side down!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Weekend Adventures.....

So this weekend wasn't too bad. I wasn't as focused on riding as I have been the past couple of weekends. The weather was kind of shitty which called for more relaxing than anything else. Of course Saturday morning was Valentine's Day which is nothing more than Hallmark's way of getting more business. Aside from that last comment, the wife and I traditionally go to IHOP for a VDay meal. So Saturday morning we got up pretty early and headed for some pancakes. After stuffing ourselves with some awesome pancakes, we headed over to the local bike shop where one my buddies hooked me up with some awesome red and black Vredistein tires. They look great on my white/black/red Madone.

So by mid day, I'm just itching to get a ride in. All day long there was a light drizzle. I couldn't take it anymore. I had to ride. So I did what I haven't done before and I actually took my road bike out for a wet ride after putting the new tires on. The tires looked and performed great. I was pretty impressed with how little rolling resistance they had compared to my stock Bontrager tires. The only bad part about it was I think I pinched the front tire while I put it on which caused a tube blowout on the ride home. This sucked as I was left on the side of the road during the hardest part of the rain. Luckily, it didn't take long to change out the tube and I was back on the road.

By Saturday night, I was ready for some beers. I headed over to Jake Corwine's house to catch the Prologue stage of the Tour of California. The tour roster is pretty impressive this year. There is a lot of American talent in the cycling arena now. There is actually so much talent, its hard for me to choose a favorite. Of course Lance is one of my favorites but Levi, Zabriskie and Floyd Landis are on my list as well. Levi and Dave Zabrikie had impressive finishes in the Prologue TT. Lance wasn't too off either with his 10th place finish. Too bad he got the TT bike stolen from the team trailer the next day. Hopefully the jackass that took the bike will get whats coming to him. Unfortunately, Floyd Landis didn't have the best TT results. But I'm not really the one to critique a guy as good as Floyd and who has come back from such an extensive hip surgury. I'm glad he's back into the cycling community again and I look forward to seeing what kind of performance he is going to have this year.

So as Sunday rolled along, the wife and I decided to make an impromptu trip to the coast. So we got into the Jetta and hit I-16 for the two hour trip. The weather wasn't the greatest but it wasn't horrible either. Once in Savannah, we decided to try out a restaurant we hadn't been to before. We went to the Pirate House Restaurant. This place wasn't too bad. Its basically a southern style buffet in an old pirate lounge. The was a lot of cool history to the place. After a hearty lunch, we headed to the coast of Tybee Island (where we got married). The wind was unreal on the beach. We spent about 20 minutes just walking around and taking a few camera phone pictures before heading back to the car. We hadn't been to the beach since we got married over a year and a half ago. It was nice to have this quality time with the wife. This was especially nice for her as my weekends are going to be filled for the next few weeks with bike events.So once we were back in Savannah, we hit up Broughton Street. This place has really boomed in the past year and a half. There are a lot of new retail places that have opened up. This is great to see considering the state of the economy. After a few shops and a cup of coffee, we decided to head back home. The day was great! I was glad to spend the quality time with my wife and visit the beautiful low country.

Not as much riding was done this weekend but I can't complain. This week I'm gonna work on getting some base miles in when I can. I think I'll use the road bike a couple of days to ride to work. That will put about 25 miles per trip on the books. Then on Friday, its off to Florida for the 12 Hours of Santos. I think I'm gonna be ready.

Till next time, keep the rubber side down!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

22 Mile Night Ride

Today was a long boring day in the office. If any of my superiors are ready this, I apologize for my public rant. Its not that I dislike my job. Considering the economy, I love my job. Its just everyone wanted to call me today and bitch. So when 5 o'clock finally rolled around, I was fast to hit the door. I brought the bike to work today with plans of heading up to Juliette, GA (set of the movie "Fried Green Tomatos") for a long night ride with some friends

We all met up at the Monroe County Fire Station which is on the same street as the movie set. Around 6pm we geared up and hit the road. As you may have read in some previous posts, these roads are nothing more than a bit of dirt and some gravel here and there. For the first 30-45 minutes, it was just beautiful evening skies with the open road below the rubber.

Once the sun set, our lights turned on and the fun began. I was riding my single speed mountain bike while everyone else is spinning the gears. It can be tough at times to maintain the same pace as the geared guys because I will just spin myself to death. The climbs feel great on the single speed. I just hop out of the saddle and climb. As stated in the past, the Piedmont area is great for climbing.

This was the first time I've rode out here at night. Night riding is pretty stellar because you don't really notice the climbs nearly as much as during the day. We also did a different route than what I've been on before. At around 7pm, the temps really started to drop. It was around 70 degrees when we started and about 50 degrees by 7pm. These temps didn't help very much when we had to cross about four streams. That is another cool aspect of this area. Its pretty much wilderness. It is a true escape from the city.

So all in all, we road pretty hard and kept the heart rate up. Once we got back to the trucks, he had covered 22.24 miles in under two hours. That includes a few stops. I'm really starting to feel the difference in my riding strength. One week from tomorrow, I'll be heading to the Sunshine State for my first race of 2009. I'm so stoked, its hard to contain myself.

Till next time,
Keep the rubber side down!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Weekend Over and Weekdays Begin....

So you really could not have asked for a more beautiful weekend. The weather was just amazing. Got a lot of riding in over the weekend. I am now 337.58 miles worth of riding for the year. I am a little behind schedule but we have had some cold days in January that I just couldn't stand to go outside for a ride. I'm hoping to start riding between 400-500 miles a month once Spring starts. More daylight means more riding. I'm just thankful the wife is on board with my riding schedules. I thought she was going to be a bit annoyed with the amount of riding and racing I plan on doing this year.

So today I decided to start incorporating weight training into my regular training regimen. I went to the apartment complex gym and did some leg workouts on the weight machines. It actually felt pretty good trying something new. I'm hoping this will work some different muscles and helps build my core strength. I'm also concentrating pretty hard on my nutrition. I'm watching the foods I eat with the intentions of dropping some weight. Its time to be in complete control of my body.

So tomorrow, I plan on doing some good base miles on the Piedmont forest roads. I think 30 miles on a single speed mountain bike on these roads beats just about any other workout I can do. There are some awesome sustained climbs that work the legs just right. I plan on getting a couple of these rides under my belt before the Santos race next weekend.

Till later,
Keep the rubber side down!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Gotta love Saturdays. You really gotta love those Saturdays when the temps hit in the 70's for the first time of the year. I lot of riding was done on Saturday and I'm thankful for every mile that I rode.

At 6am, I briefly woke up, hit the snooze button and rolled back over in the bed (Who wakes up at 6am on a Saturday). The thought of my warm bed made me want to sleep longer but the thought of hitting the trails only to see a gorgeous sunrise was an even stronger temptation. So I packed up my gear and headed for the trail. The weatherman talked about how warm the day would be. I checked the temperature outside before leaving and it didn't feel too cold. But once I got to the trails, I realized I was not dressed properly for an early morning ride in February. We hit the trail around 7am and not even a mile in, I went through a creek bed with water in it only to get my feet wet. This sucked! Temps in the 30's and miles of riding left with wet feet. So the ride was a lot of fun. It was just three of us battling out on the single speeds. When I got back to the truck, I literally couldn't feel my big toes. When I took my shoes off, they were swollen pretty bad. I wasn't till noon that I actually started to regain feeling.

Around 11:30am, I suited up in my road gear and took Madame Madone out for a road ride. I decided to ride to the group ride meeting location instead of getting into the steel coffin. Most guys seem to always drive 5 miles to then ride 40-50 miles. I don't really understand it. But once I got to our meeting spot, the parking lot was full. Temps were getting into the upper 60's and everybody was out on the bikes. This was a huge motivation/inspiration. I didn't know there were that many cyclists in the Macon area. So I met up with some of the guys I normally ride with and come to find out that Brett Baron, a local rider, I starting up a new social cycling club. Everytime he introduced the idea to everyone, he would make it known that it is for us guys who just like to ride and socialize with beer. This sounded like my kind of club. He invited me to join up. Hopefully we'll get some pretty cool kits soon. So after the pre-ride socializing, we hit the road, rubber side down. My buddy Jake and I stayed with the group for about 18 miles then we branched off to do some hill repeats for about 6-7 miles. I can't emphasize how beautiful the day was. It wasn't too hot and certainly wasn't too cold (while on the road bike). We got about 30 miles in on the road bike.

The body is starting to feel pretty strong again. The hills aren't as tough and I still have a large reserve of energy at the end of the rides. I am slowly increasing my mileage as I go. Hopefully, I'll be ready for the Santos race in two weeks. From what I hear, there aren't any hills but there are some pretty tight technical sections throughout the course. I like these kind of trails because it challenges your riding skills, not just your endurance.

Till next time,
Keep the rubber side down!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Another Great Training Ride

I was fortunate enough to be able to get away from the desk early today. I was sitting in my office around 3pm and took a glance outside to see the clear skies. That was it. I had to put my foot down to Mr. Corporate and take some personal time for myself. I left the office and headed for the trails.

I hit up a local trail on the East side of town with a buddy and we did fun fast lap. This trail doesn't really have too many sustained climbs but its just up and down the entire way. This place is a great training ground for me as I'm working on getting those race legs ready for the Georgia Championship Series as well as a few endurance races.

It is official as of today. I will be racing at Santos on the 21st. We'll be heading down on the 20th for some course preriding and camping. I'm pretty stoked about this race. This is going to be my first race of the season. February and March are gonna be busy.

See you guys on the trails!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Weekday MTB Ride

So work has been flying by so fast this week. Monday sucked so bad!! I was so busy with customer's calling me expecting me to snap my fingers and wallah!! I've been itching to ride so much this week. Its just been too damn cold. So today I packed my gear up and threw the bike in the back of the truck and headed off to work. After work, I met up with some friends at a local trail and hit a lap. It was pretty nice to stretch the legs out. I really miss the long warm days when you actually have time to ride the bike after work. Its finally starting to get dark later. Soon enough the time will change and more riding will occur.

So now I'm thinking of heading downtown to do a few hill repeats and finish the evening with a good beer. Its just getting pretty cold now that the sun has gone down. I'm hesitant to get on the trainer but that may be what I gotta do.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Training Starts...But I Will Have Fun Doing It!

So its time to get serious on the bike. There are several rad mountain bike races coming up soon. This year I plan on hitting more endurance races. I am planning on adding a few 12 hour races to my calendar. I've been bitten by the road bike bug as well. To add to the fun of the year, I plan on doing at least one century a month on the road bike.

The road bike has been a great way to knock out those base miles lately. I mean, I really enjoy riding the mountain bike but it can be rewarding to knock out 60-70 miles in one day. Although, this past weekend I hit the mountain bike for a 30 mile ride in the Oconee National Forest. There is a group that meets once or twice a week for some long mountain bike rides on some killer forest service roads. Living in Middle Georgia, its hard to find any good climbing but these forest service roads offer several sustained climbs. This is good for training as it keeps the heart rate up.

So speaking of the ride plans, I am going to start February off with the Biking Bleckley Metric Century. This will be a good road ride to add some miles to the log. Once March rolls around, its going to be all about the mountain bike. March hosts the kickoff of the Georgia State Championship Series. I am glad the first race kicks off in my hometown of Macon, GA. The race is going to be held at East Macon Park. This trail is short (5 miles) but it offers some fast singletrack with plenty of room for passing. I still haven't decided what class I'm going to race this year. The Singlespeed class is always tempting but that is a pretty hardcore group of guys that race that class.

The next race on the list looks like its going to be the 12 hours of Santos in Florida. This has sounded like a pretty cool event. Its hosted by the folks at Gone Ridin' which always host some pretty cool events and do an awesome job keeping times.

Hopefully I'll add some more rides/races to the calendar soon.