Skip navigation

Last year I had toyed with the idea of entering my first 100 mile mtb race. Some of my team mates had done the lumberjack 100 in Michigan and it seemed like a great format for a first ceotury. It’s 3 ~33 mile laps with support every 17 miles or so. 

As registration time approached this year I wasn’t sure I could get the time off work, so I didn’t even register. After a couple of stressful weeks at work I was sitting @ home one evening and saw an email pop up from a 312 team mate needing to sell his lj100 entry. My wife saw my eyes light up and inquired as to what stupid idea I was conjuring up. Needless to say the following morning I asked my boss if I could get the friday before off and bought the transfer! 

I’m excited and nervous @ the same time. I’ve done BT Epic twice now and managed 80 some miles in a 9 hour race, but never pushed the century mark. I think I can manage the nutrition and hydration, but the mental game is gonna take some prep!  

Since the doc cleared me to ride last week I figured I’d celebrate by joining a bunch of good folks for the annual waffle ride. The 20+ mph winds made some sections rough, but we made it. I opted for the shorter 70 mile option due to time constraints. We had a great time. I felt great and had no pain. 

On Friday afternoon I decided to try to get off work early enough to meet some team mates @ Independence park to get some time in on singletrack between the onslaught of spring rains. Five of us headed out for a fast paced lap. The dirt was awesome considering how early in the year it is. Fun was had, climbs were tackled and then it happened.

Three weeks prior we were forced to re-route a failing bridge or two and on one we added a little kicker just past the exit. It’s a very small little jump with a bypass to the right. Truth be told, it’s small enugh you could “suck it up” and hardly leave the ground at all even @ speed. 

As I came down the approach to the bridge I grabbed a couple gears and put the hammer down. I pushed into the lip of the jump and intended to clear the gap where the bypass meets back into the main trail. What happened next is anyones guess because no one had a go-pro. I came down a little sideways and got ejected. I landed with my back right side up against a tree with my head facing down and my feet in the air. I had lenses, a pump, and a multi-tool in my jersey pockets. None of those served me well when I slammed my body into the tree @ 24 mph. (according to my garmin) 

Everyone stopped and helped me diagnose and make sure I was fit to ride out. Right now I am four days removed. No bruising. Minimal swelling. Lots of pain. Debating on whether or not I need to go to the Dr. Hoping the swelling begins to go down tonight or tomorrow. 

As I talked to a good friend afterward and comiserated we decided I was long overdue for a bad wreck. Now I’m just praying that there is no serious damage and thankful that no bones are broken.

 UPDATE: After some concerning pains and lumps I talked to a team mate who is an ER Dr. He gave me some advice and some peace of mind. It’s been 6 days now and I’m beginning to feel less pain and more range of motion. Still have occasional boutsof “pins and needles” feeling around where my mini-pump smashed into me. I was able to do some hard efforts on the trainer last night, though. 

Edit: 

It’s now been one week since the wreck. The dull pain has subsided for the most part. Now it’s more of a pins and needles feeling that comes on occasionally. Feels like I’m on fire just below the swelling. 

As I write this I am entering day 11 of recovery. Went to the Dr. yesterday and had x-rays taken. No breaks or fractures anywhere. Spine is out of alignment…go figure. Severe hematoma, but no signs of other damage. He said to ice it as much as I can and to take it easy. It’ will be a long road to recovery. Still have the sensation of needles when I bend or tense the muscles. He gave me the o.k. to ride the trainer but only in zone 1. We’ll see how that goes. I can practically feel my VO2 max falling as I write this. 

Update: Nearly 3 weeks later (and one missed race) I’m feeling about 90%. Doc says I should be able to road ride next week. 

I guess 2017 started on time, but I’m a bit behind. Between the much warmer than normal weather and the new trainer a lot of time has been spent in the saddle and little has been spent on goal setting. I’ve added an interval regimen and a considerable amount of intensity to my training for early season. So far it has paid off. I’m at a point right now that I need to increase volume and lower the intensity a bit before picking it up again before race season.

I’ve taken some KOM’s early on and even set some personal records on trail even in single digit temps. Core work and the intensity have been paying dividends. Not sure yet how the players will shake out for the race series this year, but I’m planning to push it pretty hard.

There may be more goals to be set, but these are some priorities.

1. 4k miles. That’s a 76mile / week avg.

2. Break the 5 hour mark @ BT epic

3. Place in the top 4 overall in IHRS sport class.

4. Take second place or better in 30-39

Edit: 5. Since we just found out there’s an Indy TT this year I’m shooting for a sub 1 hour finish.

     Well, due to my injury I was not able to participate in the TT. That didn’t stop me from going out two weeks later and doing my own lap. I posted a 58:34 time! That would have won the intermediate division and taken 4th in the advanced class.

A long time ago in a galaxy without bicycles I started this blog as a way to keep track of my hunting escapades. One day I woke up and discovered the love of cycling and since then the number of hunts I’ve been on have been declining drastically. So far this year I’ve only managed to go out once and before we even got to our spot we spotted one and were unable to connect. 

This afternoon we headed out a little early and on the way up the road to the gravel pit I spotted one on the edge of the field about 300 yds out. There were trees between us and it just sauntered off pretty nonchalantly. We toyed with the idea of calling it off, but decided to give it a try since we were trying out Brent’s new e-caller. After 3-4 minutes of rabbit distress he threw in a little dog fight and a very healthy looking female popped out of the woods @ 80 yds. He took a nicely placed shot and hit the caller again hoping to bring in another dog or two. No dice on a second shot, but it was still a good time. 

Fortunately, I was able to complete most of my goals this year and even exceed some. According to Strava I managed 3686 miles and 201,000 feet of climbing. I am thankful for the health and energy to be able to do all of that and look forward to laying out some more ambitious goals for the coming year.

I don’t have any pics for this and all my buddies that have some haven’t gotten them to me. We did a late year ice coated snow peppered cx race @ Donovan park. I entered masters 30+ and cat5. As the first race started everyone was a little tense with the ice covered grass and little skif of snow covering. It was pretty slick, but by the time we made the first couple of switchbacks things started to get sorted out. I was sitting in second place to some guy I’d never met. 1/2 way through lap 2 I passed him and never looked back. I won the race by nearly 1/4 of a lap.
The second race was a little tougher. It had drizzled a bit more and the temp had dropped even more. (20°) I was following a guy pretty closely the whole race, and had the gas left to pass him but by lap 3 my shifter or derailleur had frozen up and I could no longer shift. That made for a tough race! Ended up taking second place by less than 100′.

Cyclocross really can be addictive! For the past couple of months I’ve been going to team cx practice and having “fun” and it’s made a noticeable difference in my power and speed.
The folks ovsr at Peoria Bicycle Club put on the WPP spooky cx yesterday and it was a beautiful fall day. I had texted throughout the week with a guy I’ve ridden with a few times who is a great competitor about our plans for the races. We elected to do a morning Masters 30+ race and then do the legit Cat5 race in the afternoon.
Since our first race was just a warm-up and course check we started in the back. We did a fair amount of talking for several laps and taking notes out loud on the course conditions. As the race went on we noticed we had passed a bunch of people. We ended up taking 3rd and 4th places.
We enjoyed a few calories while we watched the open and women’s races. As start time approached we lined up near the start. We were not gridded within our categories, so we found our way to the front line of the cat5 group. Cat4 riders took off 30 seconds ahead of us. As our start whistle blew we launched into action. By the time we were 3/4 through the first lap I had caught up to the tail of the cat4 guys. We wrangled for position for the first couple of laps before the pace picked up and we started to thin out the herd. I knew there was one other cat5 guy ahead of me, but didn’t know if there were others because we had wormed through so many of the cat4 riders.
After a horribly difficult sprint to the finish passing two other riders it was finally done!
Ended up taking 3rd in the cat5 race and 6th overall. We had passed all but three of the cat4 guys!
It was lots of excruciating fun! Two weeks before we can do it again.

image

image

Friday morning we loaded up with all of our bikes and gear and headed toward the sleepy little town of Steelville, Mo. Mark and I pulled into Bass River Resort about 3:00 and checked into our cabin and waited for the rest of the fellas to arrive. We spent some time watching some stunt/trials riders warm up for their show.
We had a great evening telling stories and prepping the BT newbies for the following days festivities. I managed a little bit of very poor sleep due to grabbing the wrong sleeping bag from the closet at home.
At 8:30 Saturday morning we took off from the start. Andy and I had placed ourselves about mid pack @ the start line. We had both set the same ambitious goal of a sub 5 hour race. As we took off up the gravel road and hit the first hill I passed what felt like hundreds of riders. I continued to pass people until we ducked into the woods around mile 3. Since this was my second time @ the race there were some visual cues and markers that helped me remember where we were and what was coming up next. I breezed through the first checkpoint and only stopped long enough to rearrange the food in my pockets. As I began to wind through the woods the climbs didn’t seem as bad as they were last year. Several times I found myself behind folks that were pushing a granny gear up the hills so slowly I could not sustain it. Finally managed to pass several slower packs and got to moving again. I stopped @ Berryman to grab some food out of my pockets and took off right behind Andy. On the long climb up to the third station I passed another racing acquaintance and made sure he was doing alright. Stopped at the aid station and took on some water and ate a bit. Only burned about two minutes there. That gravel road leading to the big downhill before the three sisters seemed to go on forever and I was trying to gain ground, but only managed to pass two guys. Once we made it to the sisters that changed. I made it past several folks as they walked those climbs. Even the sisters didn’t seem as bad as last year. I’m chalking that up to my increase in fitness. The tail end of the race after we pass the resort was uneventful. I managed to clear the big concrete step up this year too. I knew as I crossed the gravel road to hit the last stretch before the finish that I wasn’t going to make my goal. I crossed the finish @ 5:14. I’m still happy with my improvement over last year. (45 min) No flats helped with that result. Ended up 26th in my age group and 99th overall! Gotta say I was pretty stoked about a top 100 finish.
I plan to start a little further up next year and try to avoid some of those slow folks.

image

image

image

image

image

Since it’s our anniversary weekend I thought it would be a great idea to go do a night time cx race in Beardstown. My beautiful bride was kind enough to accompany me and cheer me on.
The course was a little shorter than normal in order keep us in some light. 23 men left the start line and somehow I ended up in the front row. There was only one sharp short climb, several off camber sections, a flyover and two passes through a sand pit. The course was super fun and very fast. I ended up in 5th place overall. A very acceptable finish for my 3rd ever cx race and first one on a proper cx bike. All those nicht of team cx practice have paid off!