Looking back and going forward

It was 366 days ago that I entered my 2nd race since my 12 year hiatus off the bike.  I was somehow talked into the Vision Quest race by my good friend Chas, and managed to transfer a spot at the last minute.  I had only been mountain biking again for about 4 months, most of the time on a single speed too, and I had never ridden over 40 miles, and there I was about to race 56 miles with over 11,000 feet of climbing.

For some reason when I started riding again I wanted to do these longer ‘epic’ races, looking back I feel a lot of people getting into racing are interested in this type of racing for the accomplishment of completing something great.  I got lucky and managed to finish the 2011 VQ top 20, and 1st in the single speed category, it was a great experience and I learned a lot.  I will never forget seeing Tinker and the lead group a switchback ahead of me on the first climb in the dark, it looked like they were doing 25mph uphill!  At that point I really kind of realized how slow I really was, and started to think what I could do to start riding faster.  Just ride more right, HA!

I did a few more races last year, with some decent results but just couldn’t figure out what it takes to start getting to that next level.  I recalled the first time Len told me he had a coach, Im pretty sure I laughed out loud at him.  A coach for mountain biking?  Seriously? 

It didn’t take me too much longer to realize that I wanted to step up my game so there I was asking Len if I could get the number for his coach.  I have only been working with Trevor Glavin about 4 months and in about two weeks I’m about to race one of the biggest races of the year in Cat1 and am feeling pretty good about it.  I have been wanting to race sea otter since I worked in a bike shop 12 years ago, and now that I live in CA its a pretty feasible task.

Its pretty awesome to look back and see how far you have come in a year, what has changed and where you plan on trying to go.  I am super excited to keep working with everyone and see how far I can go, big thanks to everyone at this point!

From this(haha)…

http://www.photoreflect.com/pr3/orderpage.aspx?pi=0EFA006G000022&c=&e=

To this(haha again)…

US Cup Fontanta, aka Fontucky


I dont know whether it was the multiple trailer parks we passed, the fact that there was a nascar race going on right down the street or the threat of rain I just couldn’t get over the fact that I was going to a mountain bike race in Fontanta, aka fontucky. The biggest thing on everyones mind on the way to the race was the rain, no one really likes to race in the rain, and no one could tell what was going to happen.

Len, Dave and I got up there with plenty of time to register, gear up, and check the weather report 10 more times. 40 minutes before the race we started our warmup and checked out some of the course, and we’re bummed to see the fact that ‘the elevator’ climb wasn’t included in the course this year, as that is all Len has been talking about for the past two weeks.

I toed the line with the 30-34 and 35-39 age groups, and while waiting around to start I realized how unmotivated I was for this race. Not really sure why, maybe it was the overcast skies, or being tired from last week but I really wasn’t feeling it, which was quite apparent in my start. The super fast 35-39 guys took off fast and I was sitting probably around 18th out of 25 or so in the group going into the singletrack, which is no bueno. The first climb is pretty narrow with basically no room for passing. It eventually opened up to a road where I noticed I was in about the third or fourth pack back. I put in a little harder effort and bridged the gap to the second pack but was still prob only around 10th overall between the two age groups.

The road eventually turned back into a single track climb and I finally started to settle in. Unlike normal races where if someone goes by me I stay on their wheel and eventually try to pass once they tire, I was more keen on letting people go by, as I knew it was only the first lap and we still had three to go.

The rest of the laps were pretty standard and I rode pretty much the same pace, managed to pick off a couple more riders and have fun on the technical course. I tried mixing some cola in my second bottle this time around and started pounding it on the last lap. I was feeling pretty good at this point, with some slight tingling in my quads as a warning sign of some possible cramping. About halfway through the last lap I ran into another guy in my category (he finished 3rd) and he thought we were right around podium potential, this kinda perked me up a little. As you have no idea who is in your category the whole time since no one got their legs marked. After I heard this I got a little fire lit under me, dropped him on the single track and caught another guy in front of me who also said he was in my age group, I asked him what about the guy in front of us? He said he was a pro and we werent racing against him. Perfect! At this point we were only about 2-3 miles from finish. I put in a good hard effort on the climb and got in front of the pro, which was good to keep the guy in my category a place behind.

I could see the another guy (1st place) not too far ahead down on the flats, and thought I had a good shot, and had about 30 seconds on the guys I just passed. I lost a little bit of concentration on a little rock drop and my front tire slid out, I was up and ready to go before the guys behind me caught back up, then I looked down and noticed my chain was off, NOOOOO! With the MRP guide I was running on my 1×9 its a bitch to squezze the cahin back through the guide and get the chain on the ring. I lost about a minute here and the three guys I just passed were now a good distance in front of me. I finally got going and managed to make up some time and hang onto forth and lost out on the podium by only about 8 seconds.

All in all it was a great day of racing and the heavier rain held off until the end. Dave S ended up with an awesome finish at 2nd place and Len G with a solid 4th which is pretty awesome considering he just had a broken tibia about a month ago. Lesson learned here, run a real geared crank and front derailleaur up front from now on!

Monkey pedals bike up hill, drifts down, hydrate, repeat!


One of those super nice days after work today. Headed over to the La Costa area and got a nice little 2 hr. mtn ride in. While cruising around I ran into good ole’ Dee Folse, and then my co-worker Mark! Didnt have much time to chat with either of them as we were both heading different ways.

Finally picked out a hill to do my workout on, ‘bomber’ which is on the backside of the dump climb. Went up and down the hill a couple times, had a hard time pushing it too hard as legs were kinda shot. Climbed up shotgun, throwing in one more hard effort then descended down switchbacks as the sun was setting. What a great workout and perfect way to end the day!