Tag Archives: Trek

2wheelers kinda run my life!

 

I think I'll go skiing.

I think I’ll go skiing.

Today, I am probably going to go skiing.  I know that sentence does not line up very well with the title of this blog entry, but bear with me through this and maybe I can make it make sense.

Winter is a thing here in Wisco.  We have winter, and it is tough to get around that.  There is snow on the ground, and the average high temperature this past week was in the single digits. It is hard to be thinking that you are going to do some sort of 2 wheeler thing in those conditions.  I did ride the trainer yesterday, but that is hard to say that you are actually on a 2 wheeler while doing that.  (You are, but the wheels are not moving so that is more like doing a track stand for an hour.)

Just a stack of tires.  Time to get the season started from Kenda!

Just a stack of tires. Time to get the season started from Kenda!

The goods from Oakley to get started prepping for the season.

The goods from Oakley to get started prepping for the season.

Yesterday I spent the day sorting gear for next season, building up 5 pair of Oakley Airbrake goggles with fresh foam, fresh lenses etc…  I inventoried all my parts and made orders for parts to get me through the season.  I pulled my suspension to send it back to Fox Suspension to have them rebuilt, and I planned the full rebuild for the 250F (frame painted, bearings, motor, new plastic, new wheels, new seat, new bars etc…)  This year I will be running the 250F for WIXC races and GNCC races.  I picked up a 2014 200XCW, and that bike will be for Enduro races and the D16 series which tends to be a bit tighter and more enduro like.  That bike will get the same treatment as the 250F and I will effectively have 2 fresh bikes for this season.

I am a list maker.  I have boards like this in my shop, in my office, cabin shop...  all over the place.

I am a list maker. I have boards like this in my shop, in my office, cabin shop… all over the place.

This is where Cross Country skiing comes in.  It gets me outside, it is an amazing workout, and it makes all the white stuff out the window useable.  But still, I do it because it ticks off the weekends towards the 2 wheeler season.

I always publish a list of 50 goals.  (Actually, that is not really true.  I create a list of 50 goals, but I only publish the non work goals.)  Most of those goals are focused around 2 wheelers.  I published the complete personal list on my other site, here I am just going to revisit the 2 wheeler list.  Here is the parts of the list that were about 2 wheelers, with gaps where the other things were.  As you can see, most involve 2 wheelers.  (Not very dynamic, I know)
3. Ride the Strade Bianche citizen race.
5. Ride Moab or Whistler or Fruita or something iconic
6. Do a MTB trip with Lloyd.
7. Learn to take tight switchback turns on my Slash. This was on my goals last year, and I failed. So…it remains.
8. Wave at all cyclists that I see.
11. Do a road bike trip. I do like riding my road bike, and more importantly it is what Liz really really likes.
12. Master small and medium double jumps on my mountain bike.
13. Learn to wheelie on both my favorite mountain bikes and my motorcycle. I have said before that this is a genetic skill. I am going to take the year and learn to wheelie, or at least just about kill myself trying. By the end of the year, I will either wheelie or it will be a lost cause.
15. Change all my mountain bikes to 1X drive systems. Time to move into 2012.
16. Ride Copper Harbor.
17. Ride at least 3 MTB Enduro races.
18. Ride a race with Noah.
19. Ride a race with Russel.
21. Ride the State Championship CX race in Wisconsin.
25. Preseason off-road training camp in late March before South Carolina GNCC
26. Ride the Loose Moose Enduro.
27. Finish on the podium at Ironman GNCC in my class. In 2011, I was 4th at Ironman GNCC, then 5th at the first Loretta’s and won the 2nd Loretta’s race. In 2012 I notched a 6th at Ironman and then 5th at Loretta’s. In 2013 I came 5th at Ironman. In 2014 I was again 4th at Ironman. Close, but not quite there.
28. Learn to use the rear brake while using the throttle on my 250F. I am still struggling with this skill. I think it is imperative for me to get this skill if I have any hope of winning a GNCC race.
29. Master flat corners on my 250F.

39. Build a little 2-stroke for tight woods races.

40. Go to a World Cup DH race.

41. Go to a World Cup XC race.
42. Go to a WEC MTB Enduro.
43. Go to Flanders and Roubaix pro races.

 

Daylight

Today there will be 9’16” of daylight where I live.  (Lake Mills, Wi.)  That isn’t very much.  Means there are actually 13’44” of darkness.  That is why we are so covered in snow, we are way north and we are tilted away from the sun.  Makes it hard to contemplate a 2 wheeler ride.

But, each day we are gaining about 1.5 mins of daylight, and tilting back towards the sun just a little bit.  By the end of the month of January, we will be gaining 2 minutes plus per day of daylight.  By the end of February, we will have 11’11” of daylight (kinda some magic right there, eh?).  Magically, on March 17, we will hit 12’01” of daylight.  Think about it – the halfway point.  Just as much daylight as darkness for the day.

That has to equal some sort of 2wheeler celebration On March 17.  I think I will go ski now and contemplate that.

That right there is some good stuff.

That right there is some good stuff.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Wow, there are leaves on those trees!

This past weekend, was round 9 of 13 race local season.  It was my 8th race of the local season, and it was a pretty good one.  All in, I am a record of 8 wins and 1 second place.  But, the numbers do not tell the whole story.  I will get back to that later, but first…

As you know I have been struggling with my eyesight this year.  I chronicled the beginning of my season and my eyesight struggles earlier here in this early season blog entry.  I solved it thus, or at least made it much better with the old goggle inserts.  What I did not tell in that early entry has been my struggles to get my goggle inserts updated to my new prescription, bear with me through this as it is a story all right.

New goggle inserts are here!

New goggle inserts are here!

So, I was doing really well with my old prescription goggle inserts, but felt that there was still something left on the table.  With my regular glasses, the old prescription was not cutting it anymore – at least in the face of the new prescription.  Wow, I could just see so much better.  So, I ordered up some additional inserts for my new Oakley favorite schweet goggles – they are different don’t you know, at least from my old inserts and the old will not work in the Oakley.  So hey  – I forked over my prescription to Drew @rxgoggles and he pounded out some new lenses for me.  Woot.

When they arrived, I plopped them into my Oakley’s, went out to the MX track to lay down some sweet laps at a pace that I just knew would be better than I have ever done before – I mean I can see you know.  But something went completely wrong.  I could not see a thing.  I was getting a case of vertigo and was having a horrible time seeing.  Things were screaming up on me from the sides and I could not see a thing.  It was way way worse than without any inserts.  I went into a complete funk.  That is it, my offroad racing passion is completely shot – I am a trail rider in the future at best.

This is me chasing Pete early in the race.

Chasing Pete early in the race.

There was a funny little EnduroX section that was trying to slow us all down.  By the end of the race it was just a jump over section.

There was a funny little EnduroX section that was trying to slow us all down. By the end of the race it was just a jump over section.

After I moped around for a while all grumpy, I decided to go and talk to the eye dr.  She measured all my glasses and declared that my base curve on the new inserts were all wrong.  I called up Drew @rxgoggles and relayed the story and he said send them back and we will rework.  (both pair – it is a long story)

So, many hundreds of dollars later I have the coolest most valuable 6.5 base curve corrective goggle inserts ever.  Ever.  You cannot imagine how much I have paid for these.

This past weekend at Cecil, I decided that I was using them and forcing myself to  adapt even if they were not right.  I wore them on my MTB while I did a loop on the course before the race and, wow – they seemed really good.

So, I set them up on the goggles and went to the line.  The gun went off and I dropped the clutch.  Nothing.  I was not running.  I hit the button again and it still did not start.  Finally on the 3rd try it started.  I went into the woods in about 15th place.  On a fast course it was hard to make up time and tough to find lines.  It took me till the 3rd lap to catch Pete (who of course got the holeshot – again.  What is it with his starts vs. mine?  I have not gotten a start ahead of him all year.)

Eventually I figured out how to go fast, but not for the whole race.

Eventually I figured out how to go fast, but not for the whole race.

In general these days, I have a bad case of office hands.

In general these days, I have a bad case of office hands.

Pete stayed in front of me for about 3 more intense laps, then made a mistake and I got around him while he was on the ground.  I think I taunted him went I went by, not nice but we have a fun rivalry going between us.  At that point I put my head down and did a couple of hard laps and got a gap on him.  Unfortunately, at that point I kinda ran out of gas (3 weeks in europe eating crap food, not sleeping well and drinking too much beer, had left me without enough energy).  I cruised from there and managed to finish about 2 minutes ahead of Pete in second.  Pete had banged his knee, as he said trying too hard to go fast.  Felt bad for him.

OMG!  I could see so much during the race!  I could see leaves on the trees even.  I found myself riding along saying to myself “Look at that, a hole.  Oh look, there is a line over there I could take.”  It is really amazing how much more you enjoy the race when you can see the trail.  Cecil was actually way more fun that I thought it was going to be.  It was fast, but felt a lot like a short GNCC course.

So with 4 races left I have a handy 35 point lead over 2nd.  That will get gobbled up a bit as I have to miss one of those races yet this year.  But, I am feeling good about the way I have been riding I hope I will be fine and will finally achieve my goal of winning the overall for a season.

Joe

The video below was taken by Monty Griffin.  He races my class, is a class racer with a big heart that always takes a nice little video of the course.

 

Maybe I cannot go fast – but at least I will look good!

As you know, I am not having the best start to my season.  I am not really upset by that, as any day racing is better than not racing.  But, after a couple of bad races and 2 big mudders – I am really searching around.  Time to get after this.

How I am feeling about my riding lately.  Not sure what it is, but I will get it figured out.

How I am feeling about my riding lately. Not sure what it is, but I will get it figured out.

Last weekend was another muddy muddy race.  It was pouring down rain for most of the race and it was an absolute mud pit.  Ugh…  I hate mud, and I think when you are not riding well it is even worse for you.  Not complaining mind you, everyone out there had to ride the same conditions.  I think that maybe I just suck at it extra hard.

So I am going to try to get myself somewhere to ride in the next days.  I just need to set up a small 1:30 loop and go round and round.  Get comfortable, change settings get comfortable again, reverse the direction, change settings, get comfortable – rinse and repeat.  I will get it figured out.

In the mean time, I have all new graphics coming for my bike.  They are the sweetest thing that AJ at Victory Circle did up for me.  They will showcase my sponsors, point people to my website and try to put some thoughts around my love of everything 2 wheels.  As I said, even if I cannot go fast I am going to look good trying to.

My new graphics.  Look for me at the races.

My new graphics. Look for me at the races.

See you at the races.

Joe

 

Under Mountains of Snow!

Snow! What the hell can you do with all this snow? It has just continued to pile up all winter.   Here in Wisconsin, we do not have the vertical to do much with gravity and snow combined. If I lived in the mountains, or even in the UP, maybe there would be gravity. But, we have plenty of gravity here just no vertical and it is not doing it. Hmmmm….

Ok, gravity skiing isn’t an option. What about XC skiing you ask? Well, I like it plenty when I am doing it, but somehow it just isn’t lighting a fire for me. I used to spend a lot of time doing it. Driving every weekend to find a good spot, chasing snowfall and looking for grooming etc… But that sport is just more gear and wax technology that baffles, standing around in the cold waiting for the start, trying to find warm clothes after, and you cannot do it most times with your dog. Nah, I’m kinda over it. As I said, I’ll do it but I just cannot get up the ambition to chase it.

I could build a motorbike set up for ice racing, but again some how that has not bitten me either. Tires with big spikey things sticking out, you need fenders with coverage so that you do not shred into your own or someone else leg, wacky methods of trying to keep your hands warm etc… Hmmm again more gear and limited usage.

Ok joe, but you have to do something with all this snow you say. You would be right. Enter, the Farley.

IMG_8255

That’s my Trek Farley. Digging that thing.

I know what you are thinking, “snow bikes are a freak show”. You would be right, btw. But wow, what a fun freak show. I mean they go slow, they bounce way to much, the handling is a bit unpredictable, they are heavy feeling… Yep, all of that. But somehow they transcend that. They end up being really fun. In a goofy back to basics kinda way, they really do deliver. It is winter, and you are riding an Offroad 2wheeler after all. That IS what it is all about after all.

One of the misconceptions people have is that those big fat tires can just ride over anything. They cannot. The snow has to be packed down reasonably firm. If the snow is soft, you just sink in way to much to pedal through it. Snowshoeing a trail down works, but you will need about 6 or so people to pass on snowshoes to make it work. A snowmobile trail is rideable, but not very exciting because they are pretty wide. Additionally, one of the great things about being Offroad on a bicycle is dogs. Dogs and snowmobiles do not really mix well.

Mountain bikes and dogs are always a good combination - even in winter!

Mountain bikes and dogs are always a good combination – even in winter!

But, get yourself to a purpose designed and maintained singletrack for snowbikes and, wow. Fun fun fun. It is still not fast like summer mountain biking, and the handling is quirky, but it is fun for sure. Because you are on a singletrack, it is a reasonable substitute for summer riding.

There are a ton of snow bike trails popping up all over Wisconsin. I have not found a definitive source for them all, but look around on Facebook etc… You will find them.

Time to go ride! Spring will come!

Out

Joe

Mashup Weekend!

Screen Shot 2013-04-27 at 8.23.16 PM

It is Saturday night when I am starting this post.  That is exactly how I feel about things today.  It is nice for crying out loud.  Makes me want to quote Pearl Jam or something or other.  Afterall, when was the last time you drove with your windows down?  Ok, if you do not live in Wisco, you probably have done it a bunch.  I haven’t, so f’off if you have.  But, it is all good now.  Although it is a weird weekend, with no Liz, no kids around the house, not even Stella. (As she is wrestling with the cat at the pet store for the weekend – that is a weird dog…)

I think that both Ali and Hanna are riding their road bikes somewhere.  I am riding dirt bikes, man.  Dirt bikes.  How long has it been since that was all I did for the weekend?  A long time, I can tell you.

So to celebrate, I am listening to mashups.  Give this one a listen while you are reading the rest of the post.  It is good.

Dead Flowers

When you’re sitting there, in your silk upholstered chair.

Talking to some rich folks that you know.

Well I hope you won’t see me in my ragged company.

You know I could never be alone.

I did not write that, nor did the kid on the corner.  It makes me think that maybe the end is near.

Bob Kau told me that this bike is so Italian.  Over engineered, pretty but will take alot of maintenance.  "Just like Italian cars and woman".   Haha.  Love that guy.

Bob Kau told me that this bike is so Italian. Over engineered, pretty but will take alot of maintenance. “Just like Italian cars and woman”. Haha. Love that guy.

I can tell you this, the race on the 13th at Adams County is going to be incredible.  I saw a bunch of the trail today, wow.  It will be big fun. Lotsa new trail, some great fun in the cranberry bogs and a bunch of tight trees with about 872 logs to cross.  yop.

IMG_6201

Might not mean much to you, but if you are in Wisco this was heaven.

I am so much in love with my new bike.  The boingers are incredible, the motor is special, the seat is good, it goes it turns it stops it is incredible.  Makes me feel like the fastest old guy alive.  (I put that in for Chris Bach)

Ok.  So tomorrow off to do a silly little race down in Illinois.  Gotta do it.

Have you checked out the new Oakley Airbrake?  Scott had a pair, and they looked so sweet...  I had to go out and get some myself.

Have you checked out the new Oakley Airbrake? Scott had a pair, and they looked so sweet… I had to go out and get some myself.

Holy cow.  That is an open window while driving.

Holy cow. That is an open window while driving.

Number 303, again...

Number 303, again…

Artsy

Artsy

We will see how that whole racing in Illinois thing will go.

Joe

One last thing.  If you are not a Prince fan, you’re wrong.  Watch this video, and pay attention to the last 3 minutes.  Damn.  What a badass.

Round and Round we go – Rhinelander 2 – The HS thing.

The Double Weekend.  Yip.  Gotta love those.

Overnight it had rained and the dirt was just primo.  The place is mostly sand, so having some moisture in the ground made it all good.  But, before we talk about my race, let me tell you about Hank.

Hank

Hank was a little guy on his bike.  He rode his 50cc race, then never stopped.  He just kept shredding the parking lot.  He went round and round for about 2 hours after his race.  His mom finally had to come and get him to tell him that he had to stop and eat.  It was beautiful.

We got to the race early.  It was really nice staying just a few miles away and getting there when the grass was still wet and lotsa moisture in the air.  It is always kinda nice to see the air you are breathing.

Love my new trailer. It is really cool to be able to have all my stuff there, inside and able to stand up in the trailer. Woot.

Our race started at 11, so getting Scott’s front end problem sorted was the first order of the day.

Once we were all sorted out, it was quickly time to get signed up and check to see if the course had changed any from the day before.  The WIXC races start at 11 on the nose.  Rick prides himself on starting on time.  I like that about these races.

In warm up my bike was not running well, but I assumed that was just the warm up.  I got myself to the line, and was all ready to go at 5 mins till.  My bike started on the first kick, but I did not get a great jump from the line.  I managed to quickly move into 2nd after leaving the MX track, and then into the lead shortly after that.  But, my bike was running like poop.  It was ok for the 1st lap, and some of the 2nd, but it went quickly downhill for the rest of the race.  Eventually, towards the end of the race I could only use about 1/8 throttle.  Anything more than that, and the bike would bog and not run.  Rick told me at the timing tent that I could slow way down as I had a huge lead after the 2nd lap.

The day became an exercise in corner speed.  I could not use the gas, so I did my best to not use the brakes.  It is amazing how fast you can actually take corners if you just do not have any brakes.  I found that I was actually way faster in the woods riding a bike without any power, than normal.  Follow the arc of the turn, squeeze the brakes, squeeze the throttle, carry momentum.

I still won, but in the end I was just ahead of the 2nd place guy.

Unfortunately, Scott did not have such a great race.  He had a big get off in the woods, and ended up with a broken toe and a badly swollen hip. It ended his day early.

Below is a short video of about 1/2 of the 1st lap.  Enjoy.  Joe

Dawn, Oatmeal, Pearl Jam, Burrito’s and Two Wheelers!

Love this time of day

My best days have always had a combination of starting early, Oatmeal for breakfast, Pearl Jam on the stereo, a Burrito of lunch of dinner, and the day is centered around doing something on a two wheeler.  Those are my best days.  They are hard to beat.  They do not happen enough.  Best days…just sayin.

I really like that time when the sun is not up over the horizon yet.  It is a nice cool part of the day in the summer and a brisk part of the day in the winter.  No one else is up yet, sometimes it will be a bit foggy, other times a little bit misty even. The sky gets red a light to the east, there isn’t any traffic to speak of yet on the road…  Ahhh.  Those mornings usually start with an oatmeal breakfast.  My friend Chris Bach calls it “Joetmeal”.  It is about 1200 calories all by itself.

Joetmeal – 3 big scoops of Oatmeal, 3 big scoops of vanilla yogurt, a huge amount of sliced up strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and sliced up peaches, a handful of almonds, a handful of walnuts.

Half eaten “Joetmeal”

Today was the 2nd race day since being back from Europe.  As usual, I spent most of June and July in Europe.  Kinda fun, but it means that I cannot race my motorcycle.  And I NEED to race my motorcycle.

I raced at Hixton last weekend and then at Kewanee today.  1st at Hixton, 2nd at Kewaunee.  Reasonable results, but in fact I actually felt much better at the 2nd place ride.  What if it kept progressing that way?  I mean what if the placing kept getting worse, but the race felt better each time.  Think of it, you could eventually be last place and be ecstatic.  Nah…

The Hixton race was the typical district 16 race.  They are always too tight and do not really flow.  The Kewaunee race was fast in parts, tight and technical at other parts, and it rode a creek bed, had roots and rocks both.  In fact, it was a miniature GNCC race.

Race ready. Looks badass.

Kewaunee may actually be the best race I have done in a long long time.

Doesn’t look as good after the race though.

No Burrito today.  That does make it not as good as it could have been.  But, it was still pretty good day.  Might as well end with a bit of PJ.

Enjoy, Joe

#PM24 – Just 19 days away now! – Yikes

I get kinda nervous and freaked out just about every time I think about it.

24HourChallenge

I am down to the final real week of training and into the last weeks of prep.  Real effort will have to happen over the next “less than 3 weeks”.   Confirm the RV, Get plane ticket for Liz, confirm arrangements with Noah and Russ, prep the motorcycle, catalog and organize all the supplies, take inventory of extra parts, redo all of that again…  Yikes.  Seems like it is really upon us.

I do not really like the way it handles with the big light on the front, but I cannot argue with the amount of light.

Yesterday, I went up to Dyracuse and rode for like 5 hours, then drove (in my boots) to Bob Kau’s place where I met Scott and did a couple of hours of night riding.  Sounds simple enough, but it never is.

I arrived at Dyracuse and realized that I had committed the most bonehead move of all time.  I drove up to Dyracuse and got completely dressed fueled and ready to ride.  Started up the bike with helmet and Go Pro on, pulled in the clutch and smashed my foot down on the imaginary shifter there.  Unbelievable.  No shifter.  I had forgotten that small reassembly point.

I assumed that my day was done.  But, just on chance I went down the row and asked people if they happened to have a KTM shifter.  Ken Deiss was there and  guess what – he had an extra shifter.  I happily paid him whatever he was asking for it so that I could still go riding.  Unbelievable.  What are the odds of that?  Crazy.

Scott putting lights on his bike.

Not the complete Perry Mountain set up, but you get the picture.

After riding there, we met over at Bob’s and rode in the dark for 2 hours.  I put in about 7 hours of riding time yesterday.  I am pretty sure that physically I am as ready as I will ever be for Perry Mountain.

I have to thank Cyclops lights for the sweet setup on the bikes.  I do not think we will have a problem with not enough light this year.  Now, if we could just get someone to do something about the 100 degrees thing.

Sign up now if you want in on the fun.  24hours, heat, dust…

Joe

If that was a REAL harescrambles – Holy Crap!

Took us a while to find this parking space. Isn’t it perfect?  Look, the van matches the bike graphics!

This past Sunday was the 1st D16 harescrambles race here in Wisconsin.  It was a doozy…  Pete Laubmeier said “This is the way REAL harescrambles used to be.”  I do not know about that, but he was right that after about 35 log crossings, I was definitely cussing Pete and Bob Kau.  (I suspect that this is what I deserve for calling Bob a crusty old guy with a beer in his hand.)

Scott and I arrived early as we normally do.  We parked up the van, registered, then headed out for a course walk.  All we could do was gush about the course.  A bunch of fresh trail, what looked like good dirt, but – a ton of logs down and buried in the grass.  Hidden, lying in wait and just ready to grab your front wheel and slam you to the ground, where you will lie there wondering what in the hell just happened to me?

Lots of virgin trail cut through the woods.

The course was about 8 miles around.  It had some great dirt in the trees, used a couple of old cranberry bogs which were totally beach sand, then had about 4 miles of virgin trail in the sort of open woods that were part of where a tornado had a few years prior ripped through the woods.  Lots of logs down at a pile of toothpicks crazy angles.  It must have been a hell of a tornado.  Pete and Bob had chopped their way through a bunch of the trees that were down, but left a bunch strategically as well.  A LOT of bunch.

I am on a new plan for this year.  Even though I am 51 years old, I have decided that I am going to try for this year to race with the kids.  I signed up for the Open A class, which pretty much commits me for the season.  I am generally more than twice the age of the rest of the field.  It will be fun.  I probably will not win much, but I hopefully will get faster and faster and closer to the front during the course of the season.

This is going to be a mess once the race starts.

The course was crazy tough.  I did not expect it was going to be that tough.  The log crossings were pretty rough.  On top of that, there were more than 3 really bad muddy spots on the course.  It was pretty dry most places, but I of course managed to get completely stuck in the mud on 3 occasions.

How does that happen?  Stuck in the mud at a dust race.

So I consider myself pretty experienced at this harescrambles racing thing.  I learned a long time ago that you do not get into a rut.  Shit happens though.  You make mistakes as a rider.  I can understand getting stuck once, there is bad luck,  but stuck 3 times is just stupid.  I am not talking just a bit stuck also.  I am talking stuck above the back tire depth.  Stuck so that you have to put the motorcycle up on its back wheel, then push it over sideways – just to get it out of the rut.  3times!!!

So, this was not my best effort.  I have ridden better than that.  It only get’s better from here.

I can hear Pete yelling at me already!  “Get your skirt out of the chain and learn to ride, you pussy”.

Out,

Joe

Hurry! Hurry! Time is running out! Perry Mountain is just 38 days away!

Yikes!  I just cannot count that fast!  Seems like just yesterday it was only 39 days away.  Don’t worry, if you cannot count that fast, the Perry Mountain website is counting for you.

I feel a little like Janet’s boyfriend Brad here.  My world has been invaded by a bunch of weird acting musical dancers.  I am waking up in a time warp.  We are just 38 days out!  I cannot get fit enough in 38 days! OMG!

There is training to be done.  Long bike rides, gym time, riding at night, getting my lights sorted, amassing gear, plane tickets for crew, the RV, trailer, van etc…  Yikes!

No more time to write.  I need to get after things.

Here is a video of last years lap of the course.

Out,

Joe

 

Georgia (Geow Ja) GNCC – 2012

On the way down

“Pick me up at 7, we will beat it to Nashville, take a look at the van you want to buy, get to Chatanooga for the night then get to the course in the morning on Saturday”.

I didn’t even see the “tennnn seconds” text that Mat sent me when he was in the driveway. I came outside to get the garage open and turn the lights on. Mat was already sitting in the back of the van with the doors open, the ramp out and waiting for me to load up.

At the edge of Nashville, we veered off and wound our way through the neighborhoods of east Nashville. Eventually we found the house with the van parked out front.

Mat's new abductor van. The 414 Motorsports team will be arriving in style this year. I'm jealous.

Another view of the new Mat rig.

I am going to need some big ass black wheels for my truck.

The Day Before
We arrived out at the race course at about noon. When we got there, the first reaction was “Holy crap. That is muddy.”. Since it is a GNCC race and I am there, it is going to be muddy. It was not shaping up to be a John Penton muddy, but nonetheless it was looking to be muddy. Yuck.

If you look closely, you can see some strange things in small town America.

Georgia is all clay. Red clay that stains your outfit (yes Scott, I did say outfit). Stains your bike and sticks to everything. It is soft and really ruts up. Really.

Race Day
You can bet that it is going to rain for race day at a GNCC. This day did not disappoint. We woke up to deep puddles everywhere. Ok. It’s mud. Deal with it, don’t be a wuss Joe.

On top of the mud, it was also a humid 85 at the start.

I continued my string of crap starts. Dead frigging last off the start. Dead last! My bike started perfectly on the practice starts, but on the line I flubbed it. I suck. I found myself in 25th first time through scoring. I managed to get myself to 12th at the finish. Not super happy with that.

The course at Georgia gets super rough, rutted, big huge braking bumps, lots of roots, lots of holes. My hands lost patches of skin to blisters. My back is really sore. My arms were cramping at the end of the race. My quads were also cramping. I was quite the tourist at the end. Was having trouble charging.

The Weekend!

What an amazing weekend of racing.

– Great great great Milan San Remo. Fabian was the man, Simon Gerrans rode the perfect race.

It was a really exciting opening classic.

– The MTB XC world cup race. Holy cow, Emily Batty break out race with a 2nd in the womens class.

– The quad race at the General was a nail biter all the way to the end.

– The GNCC bike race. I was in it so it isn’t really fair, of course I think it was bitchin. But it was pretty epic. Our friend Adam Bonneur was 2nd in Open A. Nice work.

– The MTB DH world cup race. Minaar has stepped up to Aaron Gwinn’s pace. They are going to have a bunch of epic races this year. Greg won, Aaron was 2nd. But, they were right on each other.

In my dreams I can do this.

Now for the long drive home. We are in a hotel in Chattanooga for the night. Home on Monday eve.

Cheers
Joe

Just sayin.

Wow, That’s A Bright Light!

Daylight Savings Time is here! This is normally the best day of spring. You wake up late, the day somehow feels different, it’s still light out at almost 7pm… Wow. All of a sudden…

Today, it is already 7:30 as I write this – doesn’t feel like it is but it is. It’s going to be 68degrees out, the first GNCC race for quads is today. I do not really miss being there, it’s Florida after all. Palmetto roots and sand, yuck. But at the same time I do miss being there. It’s racing after all.

But it is spring. Did you catch the First part of that second sentence? It’s going to be 68. 68! I am heading out for a 4 hour ride on the road bike this afternoon. In the mean time, take a look at the video I found from the 9hour race that Scott and I did.

Out,
Joe

Why Is That Clock Moving So Slowly?

It is the 4th day of March.  March is an interminable month.

in·ter·mi·na·ble

Adjective:
1.  Incapable of being terminated; unending                                                                     2.  Monotonously or annoyingly protracted or continued; unceasing; incessant.                                                                                                                              3.  Having no limits.

Origin:
1325–75; Middle English  (That means it is from the Middle Earth in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy – we all know that went on for too long.) 

I particularly like the use of the word “unceasing”.  That pretty much sums it up.  Unceasing.  You wake up and it is still winter.  It has snowed again.  The nice days only come during the week, it rains or snows on the weekend.  You clean the bike and redo the decals – again.  Unceasing.

Continue reading

The Curvy Line

M – I – Curvy Line – Curvy Line – I – Curvy Line – Curvy Line – I – Hump Back – Hump Back – I, that is pretty much all I know about Mississippi.

But what do any of us really know about Mississippi? I know there are swamps there. I know that people from Alabama go hunting there. I know that New Orleans is nearby, where they almost speak French and have jazz music and have had more than one terrible hurricane. I don’t think there are any professional sports teams (baseball, football, basketball etc… All games that I really do not know anything about anyway, so why would I bring that up?).

I don’t think it snows there, and that gets us to today’s story. It is February. I live in Wi, so that means we are under a blanket of snow normally at his time of the year.

Back in the fall, Scott and I knew we were going to be stir crazy at this time of the year. Normally in February, we are under a blanket of snow here in Wisconsin. So, in the fall, we heard about a 3 man 9 hour Harescrambles race called The Offroad Cup. Immediately, we decided we were in. But, being the gluttons that we are, we decided that we would just do it with 2 people. Fools, some people would call us. (At least that is what I get called at my house.). I mean think about it, it’s February, we haven’t normally ridden since November – much less raced – why wouldn’t we just decide to do it as a duo?

We both thought, new bikes, new sponsors, all new program, it’s winter, let’s just go down and get some seat time while sorting things out. So we did.

Funny thing happened though… We started going fast somewhere in there. Scott’s lap times came down into the 12 min range and mine came down into the 13min range. Not earth shattering, but good enough that about midway we found ourselves in 2nd place in our class. So, we just kept going… And going…and going!

Video is of my 1st lap.  We did not know if we were going fast, I had not seen the course… I got faster, but you get the feel for the course.

We are pretty proud of the effort. We went there out of riding shape, put in a bunch of riding, got ourselves up to about 95% of summer pace, broke in and became intimately familiar with 2 new motorcycles, placed 2nd in our class (+40A) with just 2 riders, and raised a lot of eyebrows. It was super fun.

As usual, Noah Mitchell (@noahmitchell424) helped us out as our mechanic and coach and team manager. We met Noah before last years Perry Mountain Challenge, and we would not take on one of these races without him. Everyone should give a huge shout out to Noah on twitter, but do not try to steal him from us.

In the end, we were super pleased with Mississippi.  Didn’t expect that.

Next up for me is a local HS race in northern Illinois (unless it is too cold), then the Georgia GNCC on March 18. The season has a medium pace start from here, and gets full on when I get back from Belgium in early April.

Peace out,
J

The Offroad Cup!

Scott and I signed up for this race.   It is called the Offroad Cup.  It is a 9 hour 3 person team race in Mississippi.  Even though it is a 3 person race, we are just going to do it the 2 of us.  I know we will not be that fast as a result, but we are going down to get time on the new bikes at what is meant to be closer to a race pace.  We still have a long way to go to truly be prepared for the season, so this will be good.

Liz thinks I am stupid for going all the way to Mississippi to race, but you have to do what we have to do.  Hopefully @noahmitchell424 will join us there and help us through the day.

My bike desperately needs to be raced!

Here is the promo video from the Offroad Cup 9 hour race.

Here is the video from the race last year.

I cannot wait!

I don’t care if it is 106 degrees again…Watch out Perry Mountain

Scott and I have been super focused on this season.  New team, new sponsors, new bikes.  We are doing our best to get ready.  If you want to know what that means, here is a taste of a lunch time workout.  Enjoy.

I wish we were racing already!

Out,

Joe

Go to St.Joe man. Burn some laps on that thing, and smile yourself silly.

So we did! And dang was it fun.

Yep. That is us. Old - offroad - dorks. Handsome bike though.

If your like me, you just cannot be bothered with the whole big reading thing. I mean, get to the point Joe. What is up with the title to this blog entry anyway? Well, we all know that math is hard, (or if your English “maths” is hard – whatever.). Just because you invented the English language, doesn’t mean that you do not do some left handed things with it.  You can skip to the 3rd/4th para and get the gist of this whole blog entry thing.

As I sit here in the post burrito bliss of the glow of a day of riding my motorbike, bookended by 5lbs of burrito before and after (hence the term bookended). Wow, that was a good day.

Scott and I have a new Offroad team. You probably saw the press release, or if you didn’t you are really wishing you had. It’s that whole fulfilled life thing. Yep, it’s new. We aren’t, but our team is.  We are the same crusty inane Offroad riders (slower than most <me>, faster than some, but happier than most every time we get to ride) that we were/are/is.

That is me trying not to look like a pud.

That of course is Scott looking cool.

My bike had a really good time also.

We took the 2 new KTM’s to St. Joe, burned a bunch of gas, took photos, sorted some gear and basically shook down a bunch of shtuff. The greatest thing about St. Joe is that it is huge. It has sand and rocky stuff in the woods. The terrain and ground in the woods is a lot like Loretta’s GNCC. (I won that…but you already knew that…duh!).

Scott is on a 300xc these days. I am on a 250XC-F. The 250F is the bike of bikes. Now Scott is going to tell you over on his section that his 300 is treating him right. It may be. But, the 250XC-F just might be the perfect perfect bike. It has a button, can run for like 17.6 hours on a tank of gas, it’s light, it makes really good noises, it is fuel injected so it never needs jetting advice and it makes me smile more than big. Plus, it is handsome. (maybe that is just because I am on it).

So that’s about it for this update. There are pictures, oh and a video. No parting gifts though, but on your way out could you order me a burrito?

Cheers, Joe

That is like 5lbs of burrito about to be dominated.

It’s Not Just Riding, But It’s Awesome!

IT, is being out of Wisco when it is cold there and snowing.

It finally turned to winter at home. I saw it coming, so I got the hell out of there. Cannot really say I have anything good to say about winter these days. Everyone out there should realize that snow and ice are actually water in a few of its various frozen states. I don’t want to go all science on everyone, but in order for water to get into that state the temperature has to be below freezing. WTF?

We are going to dominate this trail.

So Arizona it was. Pretty much certain that it wasn’t going to freezing water and slapping that stuff down on me there. Loaded up the family, mountain bike stuff and supercross watching paraphernalia and headed to the frequent flyer website. Cashed it all in and beat it to AZ.

Before you go all J. Alfred Prufrock on me, just remember…it’s cold in Wisconsin. Damn cold. Freeze your boogers cold. Humans just were not meant for that kind of cold. If we were, we would have a lot more hair. And don’t start with the “where’s your hair dude jokes”. If I could grow a mullet again I would. Dang that was a hairstyle for the ages. In fact, I saw a chick with the most spectacular mullet, maybe ever, just yesterday. Yep, kinda makes you want to go and listen to some Journey or old Metallica right now. (not that newer shaved head Metallica either).

So, Arizona. Sunshine, cactus, girls with less clothes on, MTB riding, burritos, more riding, sunshine and burritos. Yes, I did put up burritos twice. I just put it up twice, because putting it up 5 times would be really redundant.

We really didn’t have a huge plan when we left, but we did have MTB shoes , sunscreen and a credit card along for the ride. So here is the summary.
Wednesday – MTB ride, Mexican food
Thursday- MTB ride, Mexican food
Friday – MTB ride, Mexican food (I think it is a law or something there)
Saturday – MTB ride, Mexican food, Supercross race.
It was nearly the perfect few days. Almost, but there wasn’t any Moto riding.

I think it is a law there or something.

The Supercross race always delivers also. Lots of great people watching, immaculate bikes etc… Saw some old friends there Shane Nalley from Suzuki (@suzukishane) etc… Oh, and Dungey won. He rides a KTM and a Trek, just like I do. Hmmm… a pattern?

Supercross view from our seats. Pretty cool

There is always a light show.

Ready for a good time

Looking forward to doing it again.

Now off to Brussels Belgium for work for the week. Back home for the weekend next Saturday. I pick up my new 250F and have just a few days to prep it to be ready to head to Randy Hawkins to shake it down and race it at the first National Enduro at Sumter. Ugh…, can you say 4 hours of sand whoops? (of course you can, right…you just said it to yourself.)

Out,
Joe

Basking in afterglow of the GNCC season

Just up this morning thinking that I wish there were more GNCC races to go to yet this year. So, since there aren’t, I’m consoling myself and reliving by watching GNCC race videos online. (it’s amazing how you can waste a lot of time doing that- I mean a lot of time, as in geez it’s like 3 hours later now). Continue reading

My most Awesome day at Loretta Lynn’s GNCC!

I won!  If you want to stop there, you can.  You can figure where this is going from here.  I am just going to go on and on about how much fun I was having and how awesome the whole thing was.  I did win, after all.  Hard to imagine not having fun when you win.  I mean, winning tends to make that course one of the best ones you have ever ridden, and it is hard to say that you didn’t ride very well when you win etc…  It was pretty much awesome.

Like I said, if you want to stop reading now, you should.  But, if you carry on, I hope to bring around at the end and make it worth it for you. Continue reading

Ironman GNCC video

Have you ever wondered what it is like to start the afternoon race from the last wave.  Well, now you will see.

This is my start and a bit of the course for the Ironman GNCC race in Crawfordsville this year.  I got a crap start, but redeemed myself by the end.  It is hard to boil a 3 hour race down to just 15 minutes, but here goes.

out… till Loretta’s.

Joe

How do you spell – Bonehead?

“No matter where you go, there you are.” – Buckaroo Banzai

Random Buckaroo Banzai imagery!

I know that was really random, and has almost nothing to do with how to spell Bonehead, and almost nothing to do with this blog post.  But, it is one of my favorite quotes from one of the best movies of all time, and I am having taco’s tonight.

I raced my motorcycle today.  It was rough.  On my way to the race I checked Weather.com, and the heat index just said “Alabama”.  It was pretty much Alabama hot, minus about 5 degrees.  Just near 100, instead of over 100.  Ouch.  I burned.  At both ends.

You see, I have been in Europe for a month.  Europe = crappy food, too much beer, no exercise and not enough sleep.  Pretty much, I am out of shape.  And I can tell.  I pretty much started out slow, and then got a bit slower.

Seriously.  I got a decent start.  There were more than 25 on the +40A line, and I was about 6 into the woods.  But, it kinda fell apart from there.  The woods were so much just one line, that there was no passing.  I made a few wrong turns and each time I did, I lost at least a place or 2.  I was pretty much going backwards.  I figure I was spending most of my time in about 4th place, but I was working my butt off just to get back there after each time I would mess up.  Wow, that was too much work.

A few really good movies to think about:

  1. Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension.  It pretty much could be the best movie of all time.
  2. Earth Girls Are Easy.    The name pretty much says it all.  Yep, an alien comes down to earth and chases girls around.
  3. Naked Lunch.  You might need to be stoned to watch this.  Lord knows the director was.  wow.

How do you spell Bonehead ?

Answer: JOE…  I got caught late in the race by Pete Laubmaier and John Strangefeld.  They started a minute behind me on the Vintage class row.  But, both of them are AA riders, so it does not surprise me that they caught me.  But, when they did catch me just before the timing tent, they had decided to pull out and stop then.  I was so out of it when they caught me, that when they turned out of the timing tent to go back to their truck, I just followed along like a little puppy.  I got back to the truck, sat down and could not figure out why no one else was done with their race.  Are those guys on the course just warming up for the next race?  huh…

Duh, you idiot… the race was not over. It still had another 20 minutes to run.  I quit the race 20 minutes early.  Holy crap, am I missing some brain cells or what?  Jeez, I am just a knob.  I was pretty much doing my Beavis and Bonehead imitation.  I really cannot figure out which one is smarter, Beavis or Bonehead.

In the movie the Wrath Of Khan, Ricardo Montalban who played Khan, is known to have superior intellect.  (But, there was no Corinthian Leather, and Tatoo was not even there.)  For sure someone needed to laugh at my superior intellect or lack thereof today.  Damn, what a moron.  I am not sure if I was Beavis today or Bonehead.

I hope I do not have to take the Kobayashi Maru test today.

Out.

To infinity and beyond.

Summer break – :<(

I like racing.  I am not always good at it, but occasionally I am and that keeps me coming back.  Unfortunately, so far this year I have not been very good at it.

I am off for a month now though.  Sort of a forced break.  Everyone has to have a job, even me.  I am in Europe while writing this for basically the whole month of July.  On my way to Luxembourg today, for a meeting there on Thursday.  Then off to the Tour de France for a day (LeMans) to see the 2 teams that Trek sponsors.  Then to a citizen race called L’etape du Tour.  (It is a 9000 rider race/ride over one of the big mountain stages that the TDF will do later in the race.  This year it is up over the Telegraph climb, over the Galibier climb and then up to the top of L’Alpe d’Huez – ugh… I live at sea level, so it will be really tough.)  After L’etape, I will be at our European dealer event in Mayrhofen Austria from the 12th – 22nd.  From there, I will go up to Paris over the weekend of the 24-25 and see the end of the TDF.  Finally, I will go and visit my daughter Ali in Madrid, where she has been living for the past year.  A long packed in month.

As a result of all of that, I will miss the next race in the D16 series.  That will most certainly kill my chances for the overall in that series.  Although, I would tell you that I was probably in a hole that was already too deep.

This year, John Buechner has really poured it on.  He got a new bike this year, and that seems to have made him faster.  We both got a year older, but his new bike seems to have negated that year for him.  I just got older.  I am on the same bike as last year, with very little changed.  Last year, we were finishing right on top of each other.  Literally, at the end of 2 hours we would be bumping tires into each other at the finish.  This year, I cannot keep up with him.  Not sure what that is all about.

I still love racing though.  It will be a hard month without any racing, and almost not physical activity.  Last year in July, I separated my shoulder in a MTB accident.  I worked out hard at the end of July and through August and came back really strong from late August through the end of the season.  I am hoping for the same thing to happen here.

Regardless, I hope that your next month of racing and riding goes great.  See you in August.

 

Out,

Joe

Which line is the +40 class?

Hixton double double!!!

Hixton.

A storied place.  I have had a lot of good races here.  But, the trail has gotten a bit beat.  This year, Mat Herrington (@matty_racer414) and Brian Terry (@Bterry15) took it upon themselves to make a new trail on the CMJ raceway.  It rocked.

Here is a little video of most of the 1st lap of the +40 class.  This is from Saturday.  I did ok on Saturday.

The course was way more up hill and down hill than the video leads on.  But, it was super fun.  I had a good race and finished 2nd.  But, John got away right away in the first lap, while I struggled to get up to that speed.

Scott and I stayed at Black River Falls on Saturday night, and had dinner in Black River Falls at Rozario’s Italian in BRF.  I was ok.  Kinda cool to stay overnight in a small Wisco town.  I love summer here.

Sicily. really?

Here is a shot of Scott doing some bike surgery.  Seems like these things always need this.  This is just before Sunday’s race.

Time to go racing.

As always, there seems to be a hillclimb going on while we are racing there.  It is whacky stuff.  Here is a shot of what I thought the best dedicated hillclimb rig was there.

Nothing.

Out,

Joe

Perry Mountain Challenge video

If you have not seen this short video, give it a viewing.  This is the best Perry Mountain video I have found.  From this you can see the dust etc…  I wish our lights had been that good (or maybe that my eyes would have been as good as this camera showed).

 

 

There is also a second good video I found.  this is Brad Brackens chest cam video.  He was on the #1 pro team.

http://vimeo.com/24780044

 

Enjoy

Consumed at Perry Mountain Challenge

I have been thinking about how much fluid, food and calories I consumed at the race. You have already heard me talk about how hot it was (more than once, jeez Joe shut up about it already), and how much fluid it takes to stay ahead of that heat. So, I thought that I would try to add up just how much fluid that was and how many calories I consumed.

FLUIDS
– when I would come off the bike, I would first drink a large bottle of water. Then I would drink a large bottle of SDM Anytime mix while pedaling the bike to the camp. At the camp, I would drink a bottle of recovery drink and a bottle of water. After eating, and changing I would drink another bottle of water on the way to the pits. While riding, I would drink about 35 ounces of SDM exercise or GU brew. That is a total of 175 ounce per ride session. A total of 1050 ounces during the event.
(8.2 gallons of fluid
or
31 liters)

LIQUID CALORIES
– the bottles of water listed above contain zero calories.
The 28 ounces of recovery drink contain 175 calories.
The 28 ounces of SDM anytime contain 40 calories.
The 35 ounces of SDM exercise/GU brew contain 90 calories.
That is 305 calories each riding session from liquid sources,
or
1830 calories from liquid sources for the event.

GEL CALORIES
– I was generally eating a gel while riding my session. Matt would zip ty them to the inside of my chest protector. I could tear one off while racing and suck it down. Those say 90 calories on the outside of the package, but I suspect I only got 70 in as they are tough to eat while riding.

That is about 420 calories from gels.

FOOD CALORIES
– after each session of riding, I would make my way back to the camp, where Liz had food ready for us to eat. During the day, we had sandwiches and fruit and Nutella, and peanut butter, and cookies and M&M’s etc… At dinner time, Liz made a really great couscous meal and grilled chicken. Since a PB&J sandwich is about 300 calories, and the smallest amount of food that I had was a PB&J and some Nutella and fruit, a conservative estimate would be about 600 calories from food each time at camp.

That’s about 3600 calories from food at camp during the race.

I would also normally eat another Honey Stinger bar back at the pits while prepping goggles and helmet. Those are 190 calories.

That’s about 1140 calories from food at the pits.

TOTALS
8.2 gallons/31L of fluids

– 1830 liquid calories
– 420 calories from gels
– 3600 food calories at camp
– 1140 food calories at the pits
6990 calories consumed.

I am pretty sure that I lost weight during the event.

The definitive post on my Perry Mountain Challenge – 2011 version

Ready to go.

There is hot, and there is “Alabama Hot”

If you missed my first shorter post on the race and the effect of the heat there, you can read about it here.  If you do not want to go and read that, just know this.  There is hot, and then there is “Alabama Hot”.  Holy crap.  I do not think that you can get any hotter than what it was there.  In the shade it was 100 degrees, and it was fleeking crazy high humidity.  Like 90% or something like that.

Imagine this, put on your winter clothes – sweatshirt, blue jeans, socks, boots, ski hat, gloves, goggles etc…  then, put on your camelbak and go into the sauna.  Turn the heat up to about 120 (remember it was 100 in the shade, so who knows how hot it was in the sun).  Don’t forget to bring a kettle ball in there with you.  Now, while you are in there – workout with the kettle ball.  Oh, while you are at it, have a friend throw shovels full of powdery dirt and sand at you, covering your whole body in a film of it.  Do that for 1 1/2 hours.  Rest for another 1 1/2 hours, but the rest is done in a 2nd sauna that is only 100.  Then do that all over again for 24 consecutive hours.  You get the picture.  Yep, it was like that and it was harder than anything you can ever imagine doing.

I have done a lot of difficult things in my life,  GNCC races, National Enduro races, 10 hour road rides in the French Alps, 200 mile road bicycle races, 12 hour solo mountain bike races etc…  None of that compares to the Perry Mountain Challenge.

We are planners.

2 old guys from Wisconsin

Yep, that would be Scott and I.  We started planning to do this race almost 1 year ago.  I can remember reading about the Perry Mountain Challenge race last year.  I can remember thinking “Damn, that sounds like fun!”  Boy do I have a warped sense of fun or what?

So we planned.  We started having meetings about the race way back in December.  When the registration for the race first opened up, we were the 2nd duo team to sign up.  We built workout plans all targeted at being prepared for the race.  We organized a crew to go to the race with us and help support us.  We set up our bikes specifically for the race.  We drove our families crazy.

I can remember my wife laughing at me.  “You guys are such dorks.  You are having meetings about the race and it is 6 months away”.  There was a lot to organize.  We had a pit area that had to have lights so that it could function all night, it needed fans as it was going to be hot, it needed a separate generator etc…  We needed a mechanic, so we could focus on the riding and the hydration.  We also had to organize a camp area, away from the pit across the river.  It needed a full kitchen set up, it needed its own generator, it needed to provide an area for us to lie down away from the rest of the crew…  It was complicated.

We also planned our ride schedule.  We had intended to go for 2 hours each, and then do a long 3 hour stint each during the night.  Of course that did not really work out, and we changed the plan before we even got started.  We ended up riding for 1.5 hours each, or 3 laps each.

We planned when the lights would go on, we planned how we would drive down there, we planned what we would eat and how much we would need to hydrate.

Of course, none of the plans really worked out.

We had a fantastic crew.

Hanna doing her thing.

Hanna Vadeboncoeur – documentarian and back up chef. She ran all the cameras and got a ton of great video and photos.

Liz in the middle of battle.

Liz Vadeboncoeur – chef. She stayed up all night, she kept food coming for the crew and riders. She kept the camelbaks full of cold beverage. She made dinner at breakfast time, breakfast 4 different times during the night, peanut butter and jelly when that was all we would eat etc…  Liz and Hanna are family, so they kinda had to do the crew thing.  But, they did not just do it – they really did it up right.

Matt is in charge

Matt Pickersgill – logistics. He ran the big white board that kept track of all the riders lap times, how many laps done, when the rider was due back in, when the next rider had to be back to the pits, ran the sign board for the rider etc…  It was always comforting to see Matt on the side of the trail or at the start finish area, with the sign board and a smile and encouragement.

Chris taking over.

Chris Garrison – crew chief. She did everything. A little mechanic work, handled keeping the riders cool, handled my dirty snotty sweaty helmet and goggles, disgusting slobbered on chest protector, Scott throwing up etc… She was a saint through it all.  Chris has handled the crew chief for a bunch of mountain bike races, and it shows.  Chris and Matt are from the UK, and they actually spent vacation time to come over to the race.  I owe them a lot of fun times somewhere else for all they did for us.

Noah with his hands in the belly of the beast.

Noah Mitchell – mechanic. Noah was the man. He did not sleep, he cleaned bikes, he never missed a beat and our bikes were perfect every time. He cleaned carburetors, mounted and dismounted lights, changed tires, changed oil etc… Scott and I only touched the bikes to ride them. Indispensable.  Noah found our website add looking for a mechanic for the race.  I cannot tell you how glad we were to have him.

We could not have done it without them – all.  If we go back to do it again, I will be bribing them all to be part of our crew again.

Alabama was surprising.

People are really friendly in Alabama.  I guess I really didn’t expect them to be UN-friendly, but they surprised me at just how friendly everyone was.  Sure the accents sound funny to me, and at times are even hard for me to understand.  But, they genuinely wanted to help at all points along the way.

In addition, Alabama is hilly.  I am not talking rolling hills of Wisconsin either.  I am talking HILLY.  Like as in Pennsylvania hilly.  Bordering on mountainous.  I already mentioned it was hot.

It is really interesting how people view Alabama.  Actually, it is really hard to find information about Alabama.  If you watch the national news, and watch the national weather presentation, look closely.  There is never a mention of Alabama.  There is not even a city noted.  If I tell people here that we did a race in Alabama, they usually look at you with their head cocked sort of to the side.  Like, “Hmmmm…  I hear what you said, but I cannot imagine what it is telling me.”

The course.

The course was 10 miles around.  It was much like a GNCC course.  It was ATV wide in places and fast, and had some technical singletrack sections and a super fun outdoor MX course with fun step up jumps and a couple of big table tops.  The biggest problem with the course was the dust.  There were 200 plus bikes on the course, and it had not rained in Alabama in some time.  The dust was so thick that it was hard to see through at times during the day, and hung in the air all the time.  Don’t even ask about how it was at night (more on that one later).

Since it was so hot and dusty, when you finished your riding stint you were just covered in a layer of mud.  The combination of your sweat and the dust equaled being covered in mud.

The Race.

Here is how our race unfolded. We had decided that Scott would ride first.  We knew he would be fast, so we thought that we should see how he could go at the beginning.  The start was a Le Mans style start.  The gun went off, and Scott ran to the bike while I was holding it up.  He then proceeded to kick the bike 6,7,8,9,10 or more times.  It did not start.  He was dead last going into the woods.  At the end of the 1st lap, Matt reported to me that Scott had moved up to 8th place.  Pretty good – 26th to 8th in one lap.

Scott getting ready, me the umbrella girl.

Scott did 4 laps, before he pulled over and let me have the timer.  I went out and did 3 laps after that.  It was 11:30 and it was about 95 degrees.  I could not believe how hot it was.  There was mud flowing inside my goggles.  My arms and skin were completely brown with mud.  After I finished 3, I pulled in for Scott to take over.  Noah and I talked about my back brake feeling bad, but decided that it did not really feel bad and he left it alone.  We were in 3rd place.

Scott giving it all in the morning.

Scott went out at roughly 1:15pm.  It was getting hotter.  He turned 3 laps in about 76 minutes.  He was back at 2:30, and I was not ready.  I did get out at about 2:45, but we were still just in 3rd place.

2nd place getting close to 1st.

I went out at 2:45 and managed to hold onto 3rd place, all the way through my ride.  It was crazy how hot it was, but we were holding up really well.  I am amazed now just how fast things went wrong for us out there when they did go wrong.  Scott went out at about 4:15 and absolutely poured it on.  When he came back in at 5:30 we were leading.

I went out at about 5:45 and I lost the lead.  I fell back to 2nd place during my ride.  I gave it over to Scott at 7:15 and he went out first with lights on the bike.  He did not really need to use the lights, but they were on his bike and running.  It was starting to get dark in the woods when he was finishing though.

Me, looking a bit awkward already

I went out again at about 8:45 and here is where the wheels came off for me.  I did the first set of laps that were completely in the dark.  I needed lights from the get go.  I noticed just how difficult it was to see when I left the pits.  On the very first hill, I was already noting that i could not see anything.  When I really got to racing in the woods, I could not see a thing.  My lights were too white, and they just reflected off the dust.  I got an immediate case of vertigo.  The dust was so bad, that I could not tell if I was going uphill or downhill.  I would find myself speeding up when I did not expect it, I was on a downhill.  I did not know where to put my weight on my bike, I was screwed.  I could not read any of the trail.  I crashed 4 times on one lap.

By the time i had finished 2 laps, the vertigo was bad enough that I was really struggling.  I found the whole thing scary.  I did manage to keep us in the lead, but not by much. I had to get myself back to the pits, and lie down.  I closed my eyes, and Liz was immediately waking me up, although it was an hour later.  I was cooked, and was not sure if I could go back out.

Scott took over from me at about 10pm, but the wheels came off for him as well.  He had been struggling to stay up with his hydration, as he had gotten sick and could not keep things down.  Once you get behind on hydration in an event like this, your really screwed.  Scott managed 3 laps, but he was done after that.  He told Noah, “I cannot do anymore night laps.”

So, while being in the lead and contention for the win, we had to sit down.  It was a shattering realization. We both got a bit of sleep and then I got myself organized to go back out as things were lightening up.

When I went out at 4:45, we were a long way down in 7th place.  I told Matt that we were going to be fast.  I gave it over to Scott at about 6:15 and we were in 5th place, but we were more than a lap down on 4th.  Scott did 3 laps.  I do not know how he managed it, as he was severely dehydrated.

pushing it in the morning hours.

We were 15 minutes down on 4th when he handed it back to me at about 8am.  I did 2 laps and had us to about 5 minutes behind 4th and then handed it back to Scott.  He was spent at that point and could not go nearly as fast as he was the previous day.  But, he still finished the race just 3 minutes down on 4th place.

But, by now the damage was done and Scott was in a bad spot.  As we broke down the pits area, it was crazy how hot it was.  The crew was toast and Scott and I were almost no help.  We tried to help pack the van, but it was just so hot and we were both so toasted there was not much of a sustained effort that we could put out.  We all could tell Scott was in a bad way, so we sat him in the shade in front of the fan and got the van loaded.   When we had it all loaded, we put him in the passenger seat with the AC on high.

Back at the camp, Liz and Hanna had most of the camp broken down.  We sat around the little kiddie pool we had with us with our feet in the water and had lunch.  Scott laid in the shade and was really struggling and that is when we decided he needed an EMT.

The EMT’s loaded him in an ambulance and took him to the local hospital, where they admitted him and kept him overnight.  During the course of the next 24 hours, they pumped 8 liters of fluid into him to kick start his system and get his kidneys functioning again.  Meanwhile, I took the crew to Birmingham and got them on their separate ways home.  Chris and Matt on a plane to London, Liz and Hanna in the truck back to Wisconsin.

Into the ambulance

The Trailer ordeal

At this point you are thinking, “Wow, what else can be added to this adventure?”  Well, the next morning I was on the phone with Scott at the hospital, pulled over to the side of the road.  He was predicting when he would be ready to go.  After the call and a plan was made, I pulled back on the road and looked back to see that the trailer was being drug along behind the van – sideways.  The drivers side leaf spring on the trailer had snapped.

The trailer ordeal

Couple hours later the wrecker truck company picked it up, and to my surprise said “No worries, we can fix that.”  And even more surprising, they said they could fix it that day!  They took the trailer to the shop and told me to come back at the end of the day.  I had my doubts, but after driving back down to Clanton to collect Scott from the hospital we returned at 5:30 to see the trailer sitting level and ready to go.  They were miracle workers.

Off we went to make the 15 hour drive home to Wisconsin.

Closure

Of course that is still the short version of the story.  I am not sure the complete version can ever be told.  It was epic.  Not epic racing, but rather an epic experience.  I can get pretty philosophical about the experience and what you learn about yourself after hours of pushing the limits of your abilities.  I can get pretty philosophical about a 2 old guys and a little offroad racing team.  About all I can tell you that you will almost understand is that putting a big goal down, like this, and then seeing it through is a pretty positive experience – not matter what happens.

I do not know if we have closure on this event though.  I suspect we are both wondering our finish would be if:

– if we solved the lighting thing for Joe

– if we helped to make sure Scott was able to stay ahead of his hydration

Stay tuned, maybe we will go back.  I wonder what our crew would say?

Might have to go back and be here for real next year.

Other stuff

Photos from the weekend here.

My shorter post here.

Scott’s blog post about the event here.

A few other points to note.

1.  I was trying to ride at 80% effort.  I think I was doing that.  I know that there were a few laps that I really pushed and tried to go faster.  If we call those 100% efforts, they only netted a 5% faster lap time.  Interesting how that last 20% is a supreme effort, but in my case it only netted such a small gain.

2.  Guys from Wisconsin, where it is rarely over 85 degrees, really can struggle at 100 degrees and high humidity.

3.  #perrymountainchallenge.  The offroad community is great.  We come from all parts of the country, we talk differently, but we all love the same things.  Challenging ourselves on an extreme offroad condition.

4.  Brave Soldier on the hands – not a single blister.  DZ-nuts chamois creme on the butt – no problems.

5.  They have a rogue saturn rocket along the highway in Alabama.

That's where that old Saturn rocket ended up.

6.  All roads lead to Crawfordsville Indiana for me.

7.  We all drive along the highways, and when we were younger there was a chain of restaurants called Stuckey’s.  They were restaurants in the gaps between cities and towns.  They are long gone, but the buildings are still there.  The natural progression of an old Stuckey’s building is – Stuckey’s to antique mall to fireworks outlet to Adult bookstore.  In most of the south, they have hit the Adult book store phase.

Out

Joe

5 days to go!

Hi Everyone,

As you know, the Vesrah Suzuki Offroad team will be taking on the Perry Mountain 24hr Challenge.  We hope to make a good show of it.

At this point, we have done all the training hours, we have built pristine race bikes, we have sorted all the gear etc…  Not much left now, other than to load it all up and drive to Alabama and get after it.

From the start of the drive, you can follow along with us.
– You can follow along with us, minute by minute with our Twitter feeds.  We will post up pictures, and notes and wacky things that we see along the way.

@vesrahoffroad

@joev3

– We will update our blog site more than once, and may have a couple of guest bloggers with us who will be helping crew for us.
www.vesrahsuzukioffroad.com
Scott’s blog
Joe’s blog

– We will post up photos in a mobile me gallery site all weekend long.
http://gallery.me.com/joevadeboncoeur#100048

It is going to be a huge adventure, and we plan to have more fun than anyone could possibly imagine.

Thanks for the help from:
– Vesrah + Suzuki
– Victory Circle Graphix
– Factory Connection suspension
– Kenda tires
– Moose Racing
– Bell Helmets/Easton components
– GPR steering dampers
– Rekluse
– Magura
– Zipty

Thanks for following along,
Joe + Scott

Light testing – 7 days to go

Did a little light test the other night.  Here is what it looked like.  This is with

– L&M Seca 700 on my handlebar

– L&M Seca 1400 on my helmet

I will end up running 2 Seca 700’s on the handlebar and the 1400 on my helmet.  But this gives a feel of the night time laps.

enjoy.

Joe

Whistler Bike Park – I’m Not There!

Whistler Bike Park Is Open!!!!

If this doesn’t make you want yo go ride, nothing will!

Enjoy!

Bam. Just like that it is spring, and the Aztalan race is over.

That is how it goes.  One day it is snowing, and freezing cold, and the next day it feels like spring in Wisconsin.  Last week we had a snowstorm, and then Sunday it was 59, and the leaves started popping out.  Wow.  But, way more important as a sign of Spring was that Sunday was the 1st D16 HS race.

Its that time of the year again. Follow the arrows.

The 1st race is always a glorious thing.  Everyone comes out of hibernation.  People you have not heard from in 5 months are all of a sudden high on your radar again.  What never ceases to amaze me is that it all can seem so normal.  I mean, think about it, we have all been cooped up inside for months dreaming about racing our motorcycles.  We watch Supercross (which is a best a poor substitute for riding in the woods).  We go to the gym.  We ride our bicycles on the trainer.  We load up and go south to do a race (normally you do that and suffer, as it is the 1st time you have ridden a motorcycle in months).  We go out to the garage and watch last years enduro races on DVD while riding the trainer or working on our motorcycles.  All the while, ticking down the days till the 1st local race.  Sometimes it seems like it will never get here.

Bam.  Just like that it is here and we are back at it.

Ready for a new race season. That is Scott's bike with the #3, and mine with the #303 - new numbers this year.

This week we all figured the 1st race was going to be a mudder.  It has been raining forever, it seemed.  Last year, Aztalan was pouring down rain all morning of the race and the race was the most horrible mudder ever.  The dirt there is mostly clay mixed with rocks.  The combination is devastating on a motorcycle.  After last years race, it seemed that the whole motorcycle was throwaway.  Plastic, grips, tires, bearings, chain, sprockets, brake pads… ugh  it all had to be replaced.

As I said, we all figured it was going to be another mudder.  But, it turned up dry.  I am talking dusty dry.  Wow.  What a difference a year makes.

The crowd was huge on the line.   There were about 15 on our line for the +40 class.  A lot of guys who I did not know.   But, as the story unfolds, you will see that as it has seemed the past years – the race comes down to John and I.

On the line, I could not get my bike to start in gear.  I tried on the practice starts, but it would not crankup in gear.  So, I was forced to start the bike in neutral.  A neutral start normally does not mean good things.  With my Rekluse Core EXP auto clutch, I would suggest that the clutch plates need replacing.  I kinda knew that before the race, but opted not to replace them as I did not want to have the 1st ride be in a race.  I also stalled once during the race, so I am certain the plates need to be replaced.  But, in spite of my hampered starting technique, I got an excellent start.  3rd in the 1st turn and 2nd before we left the MX track.  The guy in front of me was clearly a Motocrosser as he was great on the track but not as good in the woods.  I did manage to pass him in the 1st lap and I started to put down my head.  But, he was not giving up and followed me hard for about 4 laps.

Aztalan is not a long lap, so you get to know the lap very very well.  A couple of laps in, John was suddenly with us.  I found out later, that he got a poor start and struggled to get through the rest of the field.  I also learned later, that we had completely gapped the rest of the group.  The race went on that way for about an hour.  The 3 of us together, me leading, but unable to break those guys.

good image of what the conditions were actually like on Sunday. Nearly perfect.

Aztalan is a great little race course.  Rollie always does a great job with the course.  He understands that a HS is not a 2 hour MX race.  Generally we hit the jumps backwards and join and leave the course multiple times.  Great fun.  There was only one little section that was just too tight for a few people to make it up, and had to be removed about 15 minutes into the race.

About an hour in, I made a mistake and gave up both 1st and 2nd.  John put his head down right then and then put a gap into the MX’er and I.

Eventually I got passed the MX’er and put a gap into him, but John was really going fast.  Really fast.  I did not have anything for him this weekend.  My hat is off to him.

In the end, John put about 30-40 seconds on me, and that was it.  The season is young though.  I will have my chances, and it will be a great season for John and I to race each other hard.

My fitness was super.  I have to say that Mary Grinacker has devised a fantastic program for me that has my fitness at a super level.

I did screw up my knee braces and dug bloody cuts into the back of my legs. Fortunately it was only a 2 hour race, if that was to happen in the 24 hour...ouch!

Artsy

Thanks a ton to all of our sponsors.

Vesrah

Suzuki

Bell helmets

Moose racing

Factory Connection

Kenda tires

Zipty racing

I did not make Steele Creek, but I AM going to Hell!

I was meant to be at Steele Creek.  I have already written that I should be there, but I am not.  I wish that I was a professional motorcycle racer, but alas I have a job.  Jobs get in the way of fun.  Steele Creek and GNCC racing is part of spring time.  I am kinda bummed though, as this is probably the only spring time GNCC race that I can make.

Every year spring comes around.  Birds chirping, snow goes away, days become longer, the MTB trails become clear of snow, bikes get dusted off, roads become clear of debris, April showers bring May flowers and all that stuff.  It is a glorious time.  Sometimes in past years, I have thought of one last ski trip or an early trip to Fruita or something like that.  But I have been preoccupied with one thing this year – Paris Roubaix.   I have been all about that one thing.  L’Enfer du Nord.  Oh baby.

2471-01

It all started for me last fall.  I had the opportunity to meet with the people from ASO about Trek staying involved with their citizen events during the Tour de France as we had been for the previous 3 years.  During the course of those conversations the Paris Roubaix citizen race, the day before the pro race, became part of the conversation.  ASO was going to put on a citizen race the day before.

It was going to be hard.  After all, Paris Roubaix is for the hardest of the hard.  If you win that race as a pro, you are the man.  ASO had the goal of showing a bunch of citizens exactly how hard it is, the day before the race. All the banners would be up, the barricades would be up, there would already be people in the forest preparing for the pro race the next day.  Holy cow!  I made the decision right then and there that I was doing that race.

I will ride in the citizen race on Saturday, and then with any luck I will see Fabian do this again on Sunday!

So since that day in October, I have been planning to be there on the start line, with a few thousand other people preparing to go into hell.  I have been riding crappy pavement roads, looking for dirt roads, riding the trainer etc…  I have been soliciting advice from teams and mechanics all over the world.  What do I ride, how do I prepare, how do I ride it the day of etc…  My mind is swirling with all of that advice.  Double handlebar tape, big tubular tires, keep your pace and your cadence up, do not under any circumstances slow down and down shift (downshift equals death), no watches or wedding rings as your wrists will break and you will have to cut the ring off your hands will be so swollen, ride the path on the side if you can, stay on the crown, do not change your line… I already am nervous and have butterflies in my stomach.  The great gang over at Rapha did a recce of the course a couple of weeks ago, you can see that here.

For the citizen race it is just 150k.  17 sections of cobblestone roads.  Roads that the Romans built or farmers or someone a long time ago.  They were not really meant to still be there.  But, they are.  And they are bad.  If you watch some of the video’s below, you will see what I mean.  Oh ya, it will also probably be about 45 degrees and raining.

If you are a cyclist, and anywhere near my age, you have grown up watching Fabian Cancellera, Francesco Moser, Gilbert Duclos Lesalle, Bernard Hinault, George Hincapie, Sean Kelly etc… tackling the hell of the north.  When I was just getting into cycling, I remember watching A Sunday in Hell movie featuring Eddie Merckx.  Now, I am going to ride the same roads and the same cobbles.  Wow.

Watch one or more of these to get the feel for what it will be like.  I did not make it to Steele Creek, but I am going to Hell!

Joe

The whole post – #Sandlapper #Nationalenduro

This blog post is just going to be a cheap ploy to show off my photos from the race.

If you read my previous 2 blog entries, you know that I just returned from the 1st National Enduro – down in South Carolina.  But, I also went down for a day of riding before hand.  I was lucky enough to be invited to Randy Hawkins place to do that day of riding.  Take a look at the previous blog entry here to see that.  You can find each of our race courses and type of terrain somewhere on Randy’s property.  It was amazing.  Sand track, outdoor MX track, woods, hills, creek jumps…everything.

Randy wishing us best of luck after being at his place

It appears to me that South Carolina is mostly sand. At least from the halfway point to the ocean, it is 99% sand. Now I actually really like South Carolina. The weather is great, the people are friendly, and they RACE motorcycles there. All the time. If you lived in South Carolina, you could race the GNCC circuit, the National Enduros, The National Harescrambles series and all the local stuff. There would be racing all the time. On top of that, there is also fantastic road cycling, and in the northern part of the state there would be great mountain biking. Why don’t I live there? That is another topic altogether. (Or is it because I love the view of snow as far as the eye can see into April?)

Enduro’s are very different from harescrambles racing, and for me they are really hard.  I am much better with the Harescrambles methodology of go fast for the whole period of time.  I can deal with a straight 2-3 hours of that better than I can the start stop of enduro’s.  Somehow, I just really struggle to get into the groove in an enduro.

For me there were 5 sections in this enduro.

before the start.

Me and my minute mates for the day

Section 1 was short. Just 8 miles. But, it was completely whooped out and holed out also. Tree roots, sand etc. My arms pumped up like Popeye. I rode like a complete squid. I bet I lost any possibility of a top 10 result in this section. Living in Wisconsin, and not riding since October is not good for your race fitness.

Section 2 was longer, but still only about 8 miles. But, it was rutted and whooped and sand and holes. My arms were still bad, but got better towards the end.

Section 3 was longer at about 15 miles. It was whooped and rutted and super tight trees and holes. Are you sensing a pattern here? I liked this section the least. This is the section that was filled with trees that you had to stop and wiggle your bars through as it was so tight. There were sections that were just a wall of trees that you had to just bash your way through. Tough.

Section 4 was the best section. Long also, but fun slowing trail with some tight stuff thrown in. This was my favorite section. But it still was a lot of sand whoops and standing.

Section 5, laying it down.

Section 5 was good also, but over too soon as it was only about 9 miles. It was only half jammed with and tight trees.  I busted this out, and went like I knew that I could.  If only I could have ridden the first 2 sections the same way I did this one and #4.

Section 6 was just for the pros and A riders. Of course, Mat and JD told me that was the best section. Dang.  Check the video below, it is short but it shows what the conditions were like.

Other stuff

Met the folks from The Atlanta Race shop. They are super. They have posted a bunch of pictures that I will grab and give them credit for in the bigger post. They also sported me a tshirt in a drawing.

They have a killer race van, and they put up a nice little story about the race here.

Mat cracked the top 20 in the pro class. Good on him.

– JD was 9th in 250A
– I came 13th in +50. I am ok with that, as I rode section 1 in 22nd place, section 2 17th, section 3 15th, section 4 12th, section 5 10th. I knew that I was bad in those first 2 sections, and that I got better. For sure I did.  Next time…

– The Wisconsin crew represented well.

– We drove straight home through the night.  I am crushed.

My hands are shredded.  Thats a dime size blister on the palm.

My hands are shredded. Thats a dime size blister on the palm.

Good morning race fans

My bike was great. It ran superb. The new bars were great (thanks Easton). The Washougal tires worked like a champ (thanks a ton Kenda), as always Moose gear is impossible to beat. Me new EVS braces are the bomb.

Before we left, we stopped in Columbia and had a burger. Ate it outside. We're not stupid.

Back to the great white north, and start the countdown to Steele Creek GNCC.  Many thanks to our friends @TheRaceShop for the hospitality and the recognition and for being really cool.  (Thanks for the shirt, btw.)  Most of the “good” pictures here are from them.  Thanks gang.

I believe there are new bikes coming soon!  That is going to be a bonanza of tweets and blog posts. Brace yourself.

Out.
Joe

Go to South Carolina, and ride yourself crazy boy!

The Mat is hearing that he is needing to be arriving on the driveway .  And so he does.

On Wednesday night, Mat came to my house.  He was packed up and ready to go to Sourth Carolina.  Yes, you heard me right, go to South Carolina and ride ourselves crazy and then do the 1st national enduro!  Heck yes, I said, I am will be wanting to do just that.  woo hoo!

If you just want the summary of the 1st 2 days of the trip, we drove a long way, it rained on the way, we arrived and then slept, we got up to nice temps and no more rain, we rode ourselves silly.

We had decided to stay overnight at my house, then leave at like the 3ish of AM.  I explained it away that I was old and needed my beauty sleep.  Yes, JD thinks I am a wuus now.

The drive was, well long.  As usual, we made jokes along the way about the quad class at a GNCC.  Seems like that is what motorcycle guys do, invent new quad classes that they could compete in.  Ours is sponsored by Keystone beer.  It would involve drinking a beer each time through scoring and then doing another lap.  The winner would be the rider who’s last lap time was the closest to their first lap time.  Cannot decide if you need to wear a sleeveless tshirt for this class though.

On Friday, we rode at Randy Hawkins property.  It is an incredible thousands of acres piece of property.  Tons of people out there riding.  All the pros getting ready for the GNCC races and National Enduros etc…  Paul Whibley was there, Jordan Ashburn etc…  They were going fast.

I set up a small loop that was part sand track and part woods loop.  I had arranged to test 2 different tire combination’s.  I tri

ed my base tire just to get a feel for the trail in the morning.  Then went to the Kenda Washougal front and Millville rear.  I did 3 laps with different tire pressures.  Then I changed to the Washougal rear and did that at 3 different tire pressures.  I ran out of time and did not get to try the new Millville front, so that will have to wait for the next testing session.

I can say that I am pretty pleased with the Washougal front and rear combo, at 9.5psi.  I am planning to run that on Sunday.  Hope I do not flat.

At the end of the day, I saw Randy talking to the Factory Connection guys.  I got a few minutes to tell him thanks for allowing us to ride here.  I am sure he hears that all the time, but it was really cool for guys from Wisconsin to be riding their bikes on trails in February.

Today, on to Salley SC for the National Enduro.

March 13 is coming!

We do a weird thing. “We” would be referring to us humanoids. We futz with our clocks and move them around based on how it makes us feel. We want daylight later in the day, after we are done with work, so we created daylight savings time. I once had a dog, which is no longer with us, but he did not care if it was summer or winter. He was active in the daylight, and sleeping if it was dark out. In the summer he just got less sleep than in the winter, that was how he dealt with it.

You are probably thinking about now, so what. That is a dog, he doesn’t even have opposing thumbs, we change the time because we can. Have you ever seen a dog trying to adjust a clock? I did not think so.

I have looked into this. There are a lot of theories about why we have daylight savings time, most of which are not valid. There have been theories that it saves electricity, or that it made people healthier or a bunch of other theories. Almost all of them have been proven to not be true. (If you do not believe me check Wikipedia, after all we all know that is the source of all wisdom.)

I pulled this right from the Wikipedia entry on Daylight Savings Time “DST was first proposed by the New Zealand entemologist George Vernon Hudson, whose shift working job gave him leisure time to collect insects, and made him aware of the value of after-hours daylight.” Mr. Hudson was from New Zealand, and he proposed this to the New Zealand government in 1898. And go back and reread that quote, he proposed this to allow himself more time to collect and study bugs.

Now I do not really care much about bugs. In fact, my favorite times of the year are those times when the bugs are dead and the weather is warm in the middle of the day. But, I can identify with Mr. Hudson and his desire to have daylight to pursue his passions after work. I have also never been to New Zealand, but the fact that Mr. Hudson was from New Zealand reaffirms for me that it must be a great place.

If you haven’t figured out why I living for March 13 these days, that is the day that the clocks will turn over to DST. That means that on March 13, at my home latitude, the sunset will be at approximately 18:56. For all of us that are challenged by clocks counting beyond 12, that is almost 7PM. 7PM! Just think about that. That is 3 hour more daylight than when we were at the very bottom of that pendulum swing! On December 21, the sun was setting here at about 4pm.

That will allow an afterwork two wheeler ride. A road bike ride, or a ride in the woods on a mountain bike or, on my RMZ if the snow is gone.

Hang on everyone, we are just a bit away from paradise. That thought just gives me a glow today. (It’s the little things)

Joe V.

Red Bull: Gee Atherton vs. David Knight

Found this video on Red Bull.  This is really cool.

Gee Atherton, DH world cup champion

vs.

David Knight, World Enduro and GNCC champion

 

It is amazing to watch the line selections that the 2 vehicles have to choose.  The motorcycle has more pace in the fast sections, but cannot flow the turns as well as the DH bike.  The DH bike seems to be able to hit the slow technical spots with more pace than the motorcycle.  A DH bike can go better on downhills than a motorcycle.  It is purpose built, and can be pointed down easier.

Still, Gee’s lines through the rock field towards the end is impressive.

I could not get the video to embed in the post, so you will have to link out to it.  It is worth it though.

http://video.mpora.com/ep/pRUvdUU8j/

 

Joe

 

 

Weird “Science”

I started with the password “xxxxx” on my work email account, many many years ago.

We have a stupid system there that makes you change the password on a regular basis. I don’t even know how often. To frequently is all I know. Being of limited brain capacity, I just could not be bothered. So, I did what any of us would have done.

I added a 1 to the back of my password when I was told to change my password, giving me “xxxxx1”. I have been adding 1 to the previous number ever since (xxxxx2, xxxxx3 and so on), every time I have been prompted for years. Yes, I am that lazy, and that unconcerned with my computers security.

I am now on “xxxxx49”, and I am 49.

Weird.

I think it might even be science. At a minimum it’s a math thing, and math is hard.

Out.
Joe

Rays MTB Cleveland – opening day 2010

If you follow along with me, you might get the feeling that I like 2 wheelers.  I am not fussy.  I like them with knobby tires, with slick tires, with motors, without motors, mountain bikes, road bikes, offroad motorcycles and just about anything in between. You probably didn’t know that about me.

Also, if you have been following along, you might have figured out that I love everything about a little place called Rays MTB park (I am not a one track mind though, because I can also talk endlessly about Whistler, Fruita, Alpe d’Huez and a few other places – my family is already rolling their eyes now).  This weekend was the opening weekend for Rays Cleveland.  Rays Milwaukee is coming, but this was the season reopening of the original.

I have been going there for years. When Trek got involved last year, it gave me a reason to go that was not just to ride and have a good time. This year, Ray and crew way way way out did themselves.  They added what feels like about 25% more of everything.  There are more places to ride in the beginner room, in the sport area and everywhere.

There is a new sport jump line that was just crawling with newbie jumpers.

Matt Pickersgill (@mattpickersgill) arrived there on Friday evening, spent the evening at the park and then went back the next day and spent the whole day there.  Yow, is all I can say.

Rays Cleveland is about 110,000 square feet of indoor space that has been converted to a mountain bike playground.  There is an XC loop, a skate park for BMX bikes, tons of north shore freeride style lines, jump lines, a sport section, an expert section, a beginner room, an expert jump room called the rhythm room, a pump track…  the fun just goes on and on.

When we arrived on Friday, there was really not anyone there yet.  We were there to help get ready for the opening evening with the local mountain bike clubs.  Matt is a computer expert from our computer system at work.  He spent most of the time that evening training the employees there and helping them sort out bugs in their system.  It was good he was there, as I certainly could not have sorted that for them.

There is a new demo area there, where they are demoing new Trek FS bikes.  Remedy, Fuel EX and Scratch Air were big hits.  Lots of people trying new bikes over the weekend.

Then we went back on Saturday, where the crowd was out of control.  It was so huge.  I have not seen that many mountain bike riders all in one place other than something like a big race or Crankworx in Whistler etc…  Wow.

We rode a bunch and then had to bust out to make our flights back home.  I cannot wait for Milwaukee next weekend.  You now know where you will find me on Sunday every weekend this winter.

World Championship of Wisconsin HS racing!

Two Suzuki’s on the top step of the podium today at Dyracuse, the last D16 race of the season.  Scott (@vesrahoffroad on Twitter) won the AA class, I won the +40 class.  This is the first time in 5 years of going to races together that we have both won on the same day.  And, we did it at Dyracuse.  It feels good to win here.  Neither one of us have ever won this race before.

Dyracuse is a great sandy old school MX track, surrounded by about 2000 acres of woods.  The lap did part of the MX track and then into a section of pines that has been replanted in rows.  It is 5 minutes of completely whooped out sandy singletrack through the woods.  Up and down hills, zig zaging around the trees.  It is hard and got really bad by the end of the race.  Really really rough and the whoops got really deep and very squared out.  After that section we went back out onto the MX track to finish the lap, then back into the woods.  This section of woods started out with fantastic black perfect moisture dirt.  Then into a super tough off camber long stretch that was filled with really tough rocks.  Hard.  Then onto a little Supercross track and then finish the loop and back onto the MX track.

Scott got a great start and then holeshot into the woods first, then I got the holeshot and got to the woods first on my line as well.  2 Suzuki RMZ250’s, with both of us in orange Moose Racing gear.  It was beautiful.

I struggled on the first lap in my race in the rocky section.  I got caught behind a slower rider from a wave ahead of me on a steep uphill section.  The guys behind me went immediately around me and the other stuck riders and at least 3 people from my wave went through.  I rode really hard and caught up to Roger Bird who was in 2nd.  I was behind him for about half a lap.  He was going pretty well, but was definitely going slower than i wanted to.  He was pushing hard, too hard, and he bounced off a tree and went down.  I slowed to a stop to see how he was doing, but he was fine, so I took off in pursuit of the leader.

I found him about a lap later and worked to get by him.  Once I did, I tried to put my head down and check out, but he was glued to me.  That is where he stayed for 3 laps.  Then on the 6th lap, he took a smarter line around a rocky section and got by me and he tried to check out.  He was going well, but then on the last lap I came around a turn and there he was stuck off the side of the trail.  I assume that he had crashed there.

I finished out the lap and came across the line in 1st.  Finally.  It has been a long season with a lot of 2nd place finishes.  I started the season by winning and now I have ended the season winning. I ended up 2nd overall again to John Buechner.  He is very strong, and really fun to ride against.  We are about the same speed, but he seems to make better luck for himself at the end of the race more than I.

My Suzuki RMZ worked great, Mark at Vesrah makes sure that the brakes are great on it, my Moose gear worked flawlessly, my Bell helmets are the best fitting ever, AJ at Victory Circle Graphix keeps the bike looking great, my Rekluse Core EXP clutch makes it almost impossible to stall…  Everything worked like a champ.

I cannot say enough about my fitness help.  Mary Daubert gives advice, Kathy Mock has written training programs for me, and Mary Grinaker works out with me once a week to check my progress and keep me on the right track.  For a guy that is going to turn 50 in a few months, I am doing pretty well with all of this.  Thanks everyone.

Now onto one more race for the year.  The Ironman GNCC at the end of the month.  I hate to say it out loud, but this is going to be the year that I crack the top 5 in my class there.  I am fit, my bike is great, I am riding well…  Yep, this is going to be the year.

Out for now.

Joe

Dude! Can you come and get me? I think I need stiches… Again!

Poor Chad! The title above is the last words that I heard from him today.  He was on the phone with one of his friends here in Marquette, Mi.

Chad Landowski went to high school with my oldest daughter Ali.  He now lives in Marquette, and goes to school there.  Marquette has fantastic mountain biking.  Chad is a mountain bike freak.  Chad works at Trek in the summer, helping Dwayne build trails on our property.  His heart belongs in Marquette and on a mountain bike.  Unfortunately, for Chad he rides with more gusto than he sometimes has skill.  He has no shortage of heart…that is for sure.

We have been riding all week here, and Chad joined us today for a ride.  He fell at least 3 times – hard, during a 3 hour ride.  The first was a stiff washout in a turn.  The 2nd time was by clipping a tree with his handlebar and ending up far down the side of the hill.  The 3rd time was the charm though.  He did, who knows what, and rag dolled down the hillside in the rockiest and toughest section on the whole ride today.  Bad luck.

Chad, after the 3rd accident. Getting ready to head to the clinic for some stiches.

Dean also crashed hard today. Yep, those are tire tracks.

Doug from Vio sport rocked the Session around the XC trails

Safety store - Marquette.

Room filled with fun.

Motly crew. Looking over towards Marquette Mountain, which we would love to be riding on.

We spent 3 great riding days at Marquette.  The trails there rock.  The local crew has done an amazing job with them.  Every time I come up here they get better.

To celebrate a great work week, we went out to dinner at what turned out to be the best restaurant in Marquette.  L’attitude is great food with a great atmosphere – right down by the lake.  Then, we went to the beach and built a fire and sat around telling stories.  There was lots of laughter, too much beer drank, a football tossed, people wrestling on the beach (yep, very high school I know), Riley telling masturbation stories (another story in itself).

What was really funny with it was the police showing up at about 10:30, with a complete camera crew in tow, and kicking us out.  I think they thought they were going to be busting up a bunch of underage drinkers, and that was maybe what the film crew was for?…I do not know.  That shuffled us over to Flanigans bar for some Karaoke.

Yep, I rocked the Journey.  Don’t stop believing baby!

The girls. Ready for a night out.

Great restaurant "L'Attitude" in Marquette. Worst chairs in the world though.

Now I am off to Crystal Falls for 2 days of HS racing!  Wish me luck!

Out,

Joe

Friday Videos – some great ones here

It has been a while since I put up much on the blog site.  I have been super busy with work.  2 trips to France in July, our worldwide sales meeting etc…  Wow, time have flown by this summer.

I have not done as  many races as I had wanted to.  But, fall is coming and for the months of Sept and Oct, I will be racing almost every weekend.  Looking forward to that.

Anyway, here are a few gems that I have found on the web.

That first one is a great little video that I found of a kid who can rip on a no pedal bike.  Impressive.  You can see where the next generation of kids that ride flow courses will come from.

That is my favorite bed intruder cover.

If you were wondering where that came from, this is the original made from the  raw footage from the news story.

Whistler DH this week.  Wish I was there.

One last video to show why we all want to go to Whistler.

That is it for me today.  Racing starts again this weekend, so we are psyched to get back to writing about racing.

Joe

Whacky Week in France!

I am in France.  I have been in France for a week or so.  Funny thing is that the trip was supposed to be just a few days.  Ok, here it is.

I left Wisco on Saturday last.  That alone was funky, because originally I was supposed to leave on Monday.  Monday failed because I realized after the fact that I would not be able to help with the media intro on Monday if I did not arrive until Tuesday.  That fact forced an earlier change to the schedule, to leave on Sunday – arrive Monday and go straight to the media launch to do my part.

During the days before the weekend last, I decided that was cutting it close.  So, on Thursday we made the decision to adjust my schedule and arrive on Saturday.  At that point, because of my shoulder, I decided I would not be able to do the L’Etape du Tour the following Saturday.  So, I made a plan to get the media stuff done on Monday, join Ben at the TDF to get the things done that I wanted and then head home on Wed.  Not.

I landed on Sunday, and hopped a rental car to catch up with Ben at the TDF.  On the way there, I had the French radio station on and could tell that Lance had crashed and then cracked on the way to Morzine.  Uh-oh.  When I arrived at the RadioShack team hotel on Sunday  afternoon, he was at the base of the climb – chasing hard and down by a minute.  It got worse from there.  I sat in a very sombre room, while we watched him loose another 10 minutes and eventually finish 12 minutes back of the leaders.  The TDF is over for him at that point.

But, he later that day makes a really great statement that he will not quit and he will continue to fight on for a good result during the middle and to help his team through the week.  That was classy, and I was proud of him for that.

Here is Ben doing his thing after the Sunday stage. He tells me this is hard work.

I got to see Ben in action with the team, talk to Allen Liam for a bit, meet Liam from the Father and Son tour website www.fathersontour.com.  It is a really cool little effort that Bill and Liam have made.  It supports Livestrong and it tells the story of a father and his young son riding around France and soaking in all that is cool about the TDF.  Plus, they are both Trek and RadioShack team fans, and I have to love that.

Me and Liam from http://www.fathersontour.com - check it out!

Monday was the rest day at the Tour.  Ben and I had work to do, that we will talk about eventually – but not here yet.  Finished that up, and then drove over to Chatel for the media intro and my presentations there.  Wow – Chatel.  What a great place.

This is the view out of my window one morning in Chatel!

There are ski lifts going in all directions, bike trails all around, a freeride bike park, kick ass ski terrain, road riders all over the place… Wow.  I want to live here.

In fact, Liz and I are thinking about renting a house in Chatel for a month or more this winter.  Liz could be a little French girl for a month, and I could work in Europe for the month.  Also, we could wake up to a powder day and decide to blow it all off and do some skiing.  Ya, I think that sounds great.

I think this will be one of my new bikes for next year! New Scratch.

So, I screwed up the date of one of the meetings that I was supposed to have.  That killed my Wed departure.  Ok, I will just go home on Thursday.  Then, Ben got a call that our next meeting got moved to another location and on Thursday, so we got on a plane on Wed and headed to our Thursday meeting.  We needed a follow up meeting on Friday, and that pushed my departure to Saturday.

It is Friday midday now.  I am only about 50% that I am on that plane on Saturday morning.  I will know later today.

I left the house with the pair of jeans that I had on, 4 tshirts, 4 pair of underwear and 1 pair of shorts.  It is getting a bit thin after almost a week now.  Hmmm…  I bet being around me is getting a bit ripe.

Not sure when I am going home.  It has been a whacky  week.

out

Joe

Friday Video post

I have just a small stash today. This was meant to go up on Friday, but it did not make it.  Nonetheless, enjoy.

Here is what the Trek race department does.

Here is another one that shows just how bad it was at the Ohio GNCC.

This is a pretty good Whistler video.  It isn’t  a professional thing, but it does a pretty good job of showing what my week in Whistler next week will look like.  (I am not sure that it is the best Whistler video ever, but the guys that made it think so.)

Hope that makes your “Friday” better.

off to the races.

Joe

1st race is in the bag!

Aztalan has left the building.

The first race of the year is always a great thing.  It can be sketchy, because it is April and you just never know what the weather will do.  But, whatever it brings it is always just a great thing to get it going – for crying out loud.

Finally! We get back to racing on this stuff.

It has been super dry around here.  I mean, like mid summer dry.  Last week on Wed, Scott and I went to Dyracuse to ride and it was 75 and almost dusty.  This week, the guys at Aztalan were telling me that it was super dusty out there.  Well of course, a super pile of storms came through and dropped more than an inch of rain.  Aztalan went from being dusty to snotty slimy muddy.

Oh ya. I am going to race this thing! Yep.

That would be me above sporting new Moose Racing gear, and that would be my sweet Vesrah Suzuki hoody that I was warning that I would be wearing.

So the dirt at Aztalan is a mixture of 50% clay, 10% sand and 75% small rocks.  That adds up to more than 100%, because that is what it adds in weight on your bike when you race in the mud there for 2 hours.  There is so much rock jammed into every little nook and cranny of the bike.  I swear my bike weighed 300lbs at the end of the race.  I absolutely could not even lift it up on the stand.

There wasn’t any standing water on the race, but there was everything from pudding mud to snot on glass to the kind of mud that just turns your tires into huge doughnuts of mud.

It really didn’t do much to the mud to have the C class, or the Vintage class or the RGN class, race before us.  Sometimes, that race before us busts up the mud and gets us down to a better racing surface.  Not today.  It was just as mucky for us as it was for the 1st race today.

The RGN class of racing is pretty cool.  They race a bunch of different disciplines of racing during the year.  The key is that they have to do it on the same motorcycle for each discipline.  MX, Supermotard, Road racing, Drag racing, Harescrambles, Enduro, Trials etc…  Most people choose an MX bike, and change the wheels for the other disciplines etc…

There was a guy in the RGN class racing a KTM adventure bike. Seems like a good way to ruin a nice motorcycle.

Our race started at 1:30, as advertised.  It was raining a little bit when we started, and it would keep that up for the whole race.  I got a good start in 3rd at the 1st turn.  But, at the 2nd turn, the 2nd place guy stalled his bike and blocked my line.  I was shuffled back a few spots at that point. Unfortunately, I would not see the front anymore today.

I made my way back up to 2nd place at one point, but as I said I just could not seem to find the front today.  I am not exactly a mud specialist.  Actually, after a year of GNCC racing I really don’t care much for the mud.

I eventually fell back to 3rd, as some local MX’er made good and beat both John and I.

Liz was there and took a bunch of photo’s.  Enjoy.

Scott putting it down

Pretty Muddy

If I was just going a bit faster

I really should open my eyes

Also there was mud

Gratuitous ass shot

Pretty much what everyones bikes looked like after the race.

How I feel about mud racing!

There are a bunch more photos at SpiderwebMX facebook page.  Take a look.

Out.

Joe

Perfect dirt – big crowds – 4 hours!

Yow! If you are a rider, and live in Wisconsin, you were at Dyracuse riding Saturday.

The first day of the local riding season is always a beautiful thing. People come out of the woodwork. I mean it has been a long dormant season. So the first days that Dyracuse is open brings everybody out. The quad riders the freestyle pant cigarette smokers, the serious mxers, the one or two lap blitzers and the serious woods riders.

The parking lot was full yesterday. If you were a rider in Wisconsin, you were riding yesterday.

Some years, the trails are completely dry already.  Some years, the motocross track is perfect and the trails are underwater.  Some years, the trails are partially covered in snow.  Some years, it is a balmy 29 degrees for the high.  Yesterday, the dirt was absolutely perfect.  Perfect moisture to have loads of traction, yet zero mud.  The temperature was a high of 65.  It just does not get any better than that.

It is no secret, that I have been struggling with my bike of late.  I have been trying different things.  I guess it is the season for that.  But, with just a few weeks till the race season, I was starting to get impatient.  So, yesterday I rode with the bike all the way back to where it was last year.

– stock exhaust.

– bars and grips from last year.

– tires I was familiar with

– suspension set up from last year.

– brake levers at the foot

etc…

Everything fell back into place yesterday.  I went from very out of sorts on the bike, to very comfortable again.  It was great.  The bike turned where I wanted it to, it did what I expected it would do on bumps, it had the throttle response I was expecting etc…  My bike was spectacular yesterday.

I put in about 4 hours of riding time.  An hour to get started with, then about 2 hours in the middle and then a break to make some adjustments and then another hour or so.  Felt really great.  The photos below show that even after 4 hours of riding, my bike was in good shape.

Out,

Joe

10 Reasons my job does not suck

Sometimes my job doesn’t suck! This week was one of those times.

I was out at the new RadioShack cycling teams first camp in Tucson. If you are a cycling fan you know that this might be the strongest cycling team that has ever been built. It is all built with the singular focus of dominating the Tour de France the summer, and placing everyone’s hero, (Lance Armstrong) on the top of the box again. If you are not a cycling fan, you should be and you better become one because this summer is going to be epic. If you cannot become one today, I am sorry but you will just have to gut it out through this blog post.

Reason #1 that my job doesn’t suck.
On Wednesday when I arrived I went straight to the F1 meeting. The F1 group is the name for the group of people and companies that have come together to help the team achieve its goal. As I was late arriving, the only seat left was between Johan Bruyneel (the all time greatest cycling coach with 9 TDF wins to his credit) our man Ben Coates (full time Liaison for Trek to the team) and just to Johan’s right was Bart Knaggs (President of the company that owns the team) and Allen Lim (one of the most highly regarded sports performance gurus for any sport). I was so out of my league.

I do not profess to be any kind of expert, like the other people in the room. I was in awe.

Reason #2 that my job doesn’t suck.
On Wednesday evening, Ben and I personally got to show the new RadioShack team bike to Lance. He was the first person to see it in real life, outside of Trek employees.

Reason #3 that my job doesn’t suck.
A team like RadioShack has an impressive budget. I am talking Formula One team budgets or GP motorcycle racing budgets. As a result of that budget they have the best of everything. The best of performance efforts, the best of food and the best of hotels. Here are some shots of where we stayed with the team this week.

Reason #4 that my job doesn’t suck.
Eldon “Fat Cyclist” (fatcyclist.com) raised a ton of money this week for Livestrong and World Bicycle Relief and we get to help him give away a couple of bikes as a result.  Follow the link and read the whole story, it is about 6-8 blog entries.  He is a great guy and a super funny writer.  We got to give away the bikes that he talks about in the story.  He also has a surprise waiting for him for when he gets there.  Ben and I got to put that in motion while we were there at team camp.

Reason #5 that my job doesn’t suck.
On Thursday I got to go for a 2.5 hour ride with the RadioShack team. The link contains photos and the story at Velonews.  I spent more than 30 minutes riding next to Lance (no I did not knock him down, and yes I was very nervous that I might). He and I talked the entire time. And, it wasn’t me doing all the talking. I wanted to ask him about the goings on in the bus with Alberto last year, but didn’t. We did talk about bikes, politics, the TDF this coming season, his chances and a bunch of things. Wow.

Reason #6 that my job doesn’t suck.
I also got to talk to Chris Horner for a bunch of time during the road ride.  He is a hoot.  We talked about cars, and about how many bikes he has in his garage for him and his kids and his wife.  He gets a kick out of being the mechanic for all the kids in the neighborhood that he lives in.

So we were talking as we were going up a longer climb.  It was a good pace, I could talk and not breathe too hard.  I was trying not to give it away that I was going at a good clip.  After about 3 minutes of talking back and forth, I finally looked to Chris’s right, and he has his hand on another sponsors back pushing him up the hill.  The whole time we have been climbing, he has been just yacking away with me and still pushing someone else up the hill.

I hate it when that happens to me.

Reason#7 that my job doesn’t suck.
Thursday evening was the sponsor dinner.  It was a big banquet room with assigned seating.  There were big round tables.  Outside the room, you found your name tag and it told you which table to sit at.  I was at table ten, sort of in the middle of the room.  Seated to my left was Axel Merckx (Eddie Merckx son, ex racer and coach of Trek/Livestrong) and to his left were Justin Williams (sprinting hope for the Trek/Livestrong team) and then Taylor Phinney (Son of Davis and Connie Phinney and current pursuit junior world champion).

During dinner, Axel was telling racing stories while Justin and Taylor made fun of him.  Axel told stories of rooming with Mark Cavendish on Tmobile and a bunch of other racing stories.  He told the story of Mark Cavendish first year as a pro racer, being told that his numbers would never allow him to be more than a pack filler racer.  Axel told the story of his first classic win and Cavendish immediately calling the trainer that had told him that and asking “how do you like my numbers now?”

Taylor is crazy.  He never stops talking.  He makes fun of Lance on stage.  He laughs at the music selected for the rider presentation and basically keeps everyone around him in stitches.  Ben once called me after Taylor made him play 4 hours of video games with him.  And of course since Taylor was 19 at the time he just destroyed Ben for 4 hours straight.

Reason #8 that my job doesn’t suck.
This week Ben and I got to work closely with Lance this week to develop the plan for the bikes that he will ride this year.  We are going to kick of something really special in a month or so.  I know that you have probably seen the RadioShack team bike by now.  If you have not, here is a link to the gallery of photos on Trek’s facebook page.  The team will start racing these babies’s in Australia in a few weeks.  But, there is another plan for bikes for Lance.  And that plan is big – really big.

Reason #9 that my job doesn’t suck.
The RadioShack team hotel had the best oatmeal known to mankind.  Oh yeah.

Reason #10 that my job doesn’t suck.
I got paid to do all of this, this past week.

The RadioShack team. Here it goes. This is going to be fun.

At the end of the presentation of the team riders, Lance had the microphone and this is his quote.  “I don’t know where you will be in July, but I would recommend being in front of a television – it is going to be epic!”  I think he is right.  The Tour de France is going to be the best race we have ever seen in our lifetime.

I know where I will be.

Out – Joe.

Cycling week/weekend #2

Taiwan road bike ride

This past week I was in Taiwan. Working all week, it is halfway around the world and when you have been there a bunch, you tend to want to just get through it. The days get long.

But, I have been planning an extra day lately, just to get out for a ride. So, Friday we planned a big ride in the mountains outside of Taichung.

There was a pretty good group of us.  8 riders.  Mostly expat Americans, but also 2 Taiwan nationals.

We left the hotel in Taichung at 7:30.  The roads were wet, as it had rained overnight.  We looked at the skies and they were ominous, but we decided we really wanted to get a ride in anyway.  It was misting a bit, and we probably should have taken that as a sign.  We didn’t.  I left the hotel without a vest, without a jacket.  It was 70 degrees, afterall.

We had the usual experience getting out of the city.  Taichung is over a million people, and the hotel is pretty much right in the middle of it.  But, unlike American cities, a million is not that big.  People live in apartments, and there really are not any suberbs.  So, there is traffic but getting out of the city doesnt really take that long.  The traffic can be pretty intense.  There are a ton of scooters and cars and bikes and buses and trucks and people everywhere.  The normal laws of traffic do not always apply in Taiwan.  People just tend to do whatever they want to.  It all seems to work, but it makes riding a bike there a bit hairy.

It was misty as I said earlier but it was warm and just as soon as we got to the edge of the city, the traffic fell away.  But, the road also went up pretty much  from the edge of town.  The route for the day included 3 big mountain passes.  The mountains are not super high in  Taiwan, the island is at sea level afterall.  But, the mountains a really really steep.  The second climb was the steepest and the hardest.

After the first climb it started to rain – hard.  I am talking ocean tropical rain.  Big huge rain drops.  The wind picked up and the temperature started to drop.  The temperature dropped not to really cold, but so that when soaked on the 2nd descent, it felt really really cold.  We quickly went up the 3rd climb and that warmed us all up.  But, it was still raining.  In fact it rained the rest of the ride.

3 hours in the rain.  By the time we got back to the hotel, we were all pruned and tired of being in the wet.  I am afraid that I made a huge mess of the hotel lobby with my wet and disgusting bike and gear.  I trashed the hotel room as well.  Sorry.

I had to pack my wet gear in a plastic bag and head to the airport after that.  I can tell you that when I got home, the inside of my suitcase was – ewe.

 

Mountain bike ride on Sunday.

So back at home and we are still enjoying the great fall weather.  Today was about 50 degrees for a high.  It rained just once early in the week, but the cool temperatures and the regular rain has made the dirt completely epic at our trails at work.  The leaves are all down, and the traffic on the trails has made the ribbon of singletrack just perfect.  Wow.

Liz and I went out with our friends Aaron and Kathy Mock.  We rode for almost 3 hours.  It was really incredible.

So, the month has not been much for riding my motorcycle, but the mountain biking and road cycling has been spectacular.  Next weekend is the mountain bike race in Arkansas.  I hope that I do not shred my face again like I did previously.  Eiter way, it will be fun.

After the Arkansas trip, it will be time to get back to specific training for the coming race season.  Time to work with a trainer and set up a program and get after it all.

Joe

Taiwan bike rides

Been in Taiwan all week.  Heading to China next week.  Big work weeks.  Lots of stress, loads of work time, loads of hotel time etc…  Never a lot of fun.  People ask me all the time what it is like to be in Taiwan.  I usually say, drive by the dump in your part of the world and smell the air, that is what it is like most of the time.  Not always pleasant.  But, the people are really nice and it is not a bad place to do business.  Not sure I could live there, but I don’t really mind so much  going there for work – other than the week or 2 that it takes out of your life.

I also know that I could not live there as there is zero possibility for riding an offroad motorcycle.  Couldn’t tolerate that.

But, I have figured out a way to get out for a bike ride while I am there.  In fact, the island is really mountainous and there are little roads into the mountains all over the place.  There are also a bunch of bike industry expats there, and they want to get out and ride.  So, after working our tails off for 3 days, we had a couple of bike rides planned.  One for early morning before work on Friday and a long one for Saturday morning.  This the story of those.

Fridays ride consisted of battling our way out of Taichung city center, to the edge of town where the riding gets much better.  When I say battling, I really mean it.  You have to fight for your space among all the scooters and crazy drivers and small delivery trucks, cars going the wrong way on one way streets etc…

This is actually one of the quiter moments getting out of town.  It is a national holiday after all.

This is actually one of the quieter moments getting out of town. It is a national holiday after all.

Friday is a national holiday here (May day weekend), so we figured that the streets would be much lighter traffic than normal, and we were going out at 7am.  The traffic was lighter than normal, but in 100 miles of ride at home I am certain that you see fewer cars there than you do in 2-3 miles here, even on a holiday.

At every intersection, you are sure to be way outnumbered by scooters.

At every intersection, you are sure to be way outnumbered by scooters.

We made our way on this ride out of town, and then the riding gets much better.  We rode along a closed road by a river heading towards the mountains for 10 or so miles.  It was nice, more like riding at home, no cars, no scooters etc…  Then, we bumped back onto the normal roads in a small village outside of Taichung and turned right, and faced a wall of a climb.  The climbs are not super long here (you can see the tops of the mountains from the bottom), but they can be really steep.  This climb pitched up pretty quick.  It went on for 3-4 miles then tops out with a nice view.

That is me and Mark Pippin, at the top of the biggest climb on Friday.

That is me and Mark Pippin, at the top of the biggest climb on Friday.

We then came down the other side, and it was just as steep.  I am talking both brakes on, crummy pavement, tight and twisty, blind corner type descending.  I always like descending, but I must say that on a road I have never been on, on a borrowed bike with the brakes set up wrong way around for me (being an admitted motohead, I ride with my right hand running the front brake), I am not as fearless as I would normally be.  Preservation gene kicking in and all.

We got to the bottom of that valley and turned up another climb.  At the top of that we descended back down to the same little village and then we were back on the closed river road pounding along in our big chainrings.  It was good fun.  We stopped at a Starbucks (I know, corporate coffee) on the way down, and I know we make a scene there with our cycling gear.  It is pretty funny hearing the Chinese barrista say “Grande Latte”with her Chinese accent.

The round trip on that Friday ride was about 50kilometers.  Not too bad for a morning ride before being in the office for the rest of the day.

Saturday’s ride will be twice as long and with even more climbing.

When you get out early on Saturday, it is actually pretty quiet on the streets.

When you get out early on Saturday, it is actually pretty quiet on the streets.

My friends there have a morning text message system that alerts everyone to the ride time and the start location.  So, the bike bell sound on my phone went off in the middle of the night, confirming a 7am start at a spot 2 blocks from the hotel I stay at.  Sweet!  That means I can roll out at 7am, and still be within the international standard 5 minute rule to the start of a ride.  I rolled up with a banana in my mouth and no coffee in me.  That is ok, because it is also an international standard that a weekend morning ride ends at the Starbucks.

The corner meeting spot.  Right in front of Love World.

The corner meeting spot. Right in front of Love World.

We headed out the same basic direction from the city center that we did the previous day.  From Taichung, the China straight is one way, and the mountains inland the other way.  That means that all rides pretty much take the same road out of town, and the road home for the last couple of miles is also the same.  The island of Taiwan has gone cycling crazy it seems, as we saw at least 200 cyclists heading out in that direction as we were heading out.  It goes slightly uphill from the center of town, so it gives you a great warmup on the way out and a whip it up section on the way back in.

We headed up the first climb, and the temperature was already getting up to around 75.  The sun was beating down on us, and the humidity was up so you could feel the sweat starting to come out of your pores already.  We all settled into a climbing rhythm and it was not long until we were all silent and spread out up and down the climb.  One of the things that is really weird is how much clothes the locals wear when they are riding.  They seem to want to stay out of the sun completely.  They will even have a bandanna over their face that isn’t covered by their sunglasses.  It is a little bit strange, makes them all look like they are going to rob a bank or head across a desert or something.

This guy didn't have his face covered, but he is covering the rest of himself up in spite of the heat.

This guy didn't have his face covered, but he is covering the rest of himself up in spite of the heat.

They also ride these little wheel bikes and folding bikes.  You do want to tell them that they would go a ton faster if they would ride a real road bike.  But, it isn’t just a few of them on bikes like the one above.  A LOT of them are on those.  hmmm.

So we headed up a 2nd long climb and then a 3rd climb and finally the 4th climb was the biggest.  It went on for a good 10-12k, had a bunch of really tough sections, the pavement quality varied and there were a ton of blind corners.  All of that is not so bad going up, but the same conditions exist on the descents as well.  Makes the riding exciting.

Sometimes the road is like this, but not always.

Sometimes the road is like this, but not always.

More often than not, the road is more like this.  Narrow, and blind.  Pretty cool scenery though.

More often than not, the road is more like this. Narrow, and blind. Pretty cool scenery though.

There is another weird thing that is true in Taiwan.  Dogs are street savvy on the one hand, and on the other hand really really casual about the road.  They get out of the way of traffic, they seem to understand that the road is dangerous.  You do see lots of dogs with just one leg etc…  I guess they either learn, or they are not around.  But, at the same time they seem really not worried at all about the traffic.

This dog has decided that the side of the road is his.  He didn't even move when we rode by.

This dog has decided that the side of the road is his. He didn't even move when we rode by.

This dog is just sitting in the road and not concerned.  I guess he just figures the trucks will go around him.  Or not.

This dog is just sitting in the road and not concerned. I guess he just figures the trucks will go around him. Or not.

We made our way down one last descent back into the village outside of Taichung, and then rode the big ring all the way back to the meeting place and then around the corner to the Starbucks.  100km ride, 4 climbs, one of them really respectable.  I feel pretty good.

Gotta end the ride at Starbucks.  Doesn't matter where you are in the world, some things are just accepted as the way it is done.

Gotta end the ride at Starbucks. Doesn't matter where you are in the world, some things are just accepted as the way it is done.

Artsy riding shot.

Artsy riding shot.

The local collector, and his trailer of "goods".

The local collector, and his trailer of "goods". You cannot forget you are in Taiwan, after all!

Tomorrow is Sunday, heading to China, no more riding on this trip.

Out.

Joe