Friday, December 21, 2007

I freakin' rock

Well, someone thinks so.

We haven't started yet so I have lots of time to screw this up, but I'll do my best not too.

These guys are doing something pretty cool and I'm psyched to be a part of it.

I think I might go ride my bike. I tried going out yesterday, but I just was not into it. I got an hour in and that was that.

To quote the great Cal Naugton Jr, I had a pretzel in my head.

Today is better.

Shake 'n Bake.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Slip n Slide

I don't know how the weather last weekend treated you, but over the weekend here the city of Allentown installed a gigantic luge track. The ground is completely covered with an inch or two of snow capped with enough ice that you just do not break through. Nothing to do but get out the sled.

The sled in this case is the sweet new Scalpel VPA will be sporting this year. BK hooked us up with a test bike and I mounted up the studded snow tires for a spin in the woods. Now, completely frozen trails aren't really a good test of the design since you don't need that new pivotless suspension when most of the rocks and roots have been filled in by snow and ice and you can literally ride basically anywhere you want - but its still a good time!

Well, its mostly a good time. If you've not been on studded tires for a couple years you forget just how low you can run them and how low you need to run them in order to get that good traction. You probably start with the pressure a bit too high and slide around a bit or even crash. You let a bit out, but still not as much as you should since you really don't want to tempt the flat tire gods. You ride some more and on an off-camber stretch you hit the ground hard.

At first you don't think much of it.
Then you start to slide.
And you pick up speed.
And you think, "I'll just grab a tree."
Then you miss it.
Then you start to slide a little faster
and faster.
Literally bouncing off a few trees
and grabbing for another one
with your legs since now you're getting a bit panicked
and maybe not thinking as well as you should.
You finally tuck up and just slam into a tree with your back
and come to a stop.
The bike got hung up on a tree further up the hill
or it probably would have bowled you over.
You have to break holes in the ice to climb back up.
You'll be sore tomorrow.
You're sore right now.
You let out some more air
the studs hook up.
Now that's fun.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I love it when a plan comes together

So it may not be quite as cool as the A-Team, I'm pretty psyched about this little ditty we've put together at work, especially on nasty rainy days like today.

Ry and I took a Cadence class this morning from the comfort of the porch here in Coopersburg!

While we're still beta testing the operation, we are close to our full scale launch of CadenceTV (Jan 1 is the plan) and soon everyone looking for a way to make the indoor training drudgery pass more quickly and get a great workout will be able to log in from their home computer and take class Live - or choose from a growing library of Ondemand Cadence workouts. I figured one of three people who reads this might find that useful since I'm sure all three of you are bike dorks.

Find out more about it at the place where I spend most of my waking hours - for more info. Again, we won't be live until the new year, but check the Cadence Blog for updates on our progress.

Of course I'm biased, but Ry's comment was that it sure made the hour pass quickly and that it was definitely a solid workout. Anyone who has to deal with weather like we have today in PA and has to get on the trainer is going to find this pretty fantastic. Can you tell I'm pumped??

Bonus---tune in Tue or Wed at 6:00PM and you get to see me on your computer! Now that should spike viewership - or crash your hard drive.

In case you have no idea

where Giant Douches and Turd Sandwiches come from you should go here, click play, and hang out a bit.

What do you know, its even timely what with the Iowa caucuses right around the corner.

I was listening to some chat this AM on NPR regarding Ioway and I got to wondering why we still use this method of selecting the pres candidates. Much like the Electoral College's shortfalls, it seems like we ought to be able to come up with a better way of doing things than having one state where less than 150,000 people participate have such a big role in choosing who we all end up voting for in the end. I know, I know, its not so much that Iowa chooses the candidate as much as perhaps bringing a surprise into contention or knocking a front runner down a notch, but between Iowa, NH and the rest there are very few of us involved. The caucuses probably boost or bruise egos as much as anything else, but the whole system is so far behind the times and technology that its rather silly. At the same, I guess that most of us don't give a shit anyway since so few of us vote so maybe its good that a few folks who actually care enough to get involved tell the rest of the country what we should do.

Every single one of the contenders is making a play on the internet and using avenues like MySpace and YouTube to plug themselves. There certainly must be a better way. Shouldn't we all have a bigger role in this? Shouldn't we care and not leave it to, as the boys at SP so elegantly put it, douchbags and turds?

Well, it doesn't matter, none of this is real anyway, is it?

Vote or Die M*F*

Here's a butterscotch candy.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Turd Sandwich

Fittingly, seeing as the last post was all about Giant Douches, how can such a little cat make so much stink? I swear he leaves behind the equivalent on one cat per day. By this I mean he takes huge stinky nasty dumps. For some unknown reason he has also decided to make the litter box at bottom the basement stairs his repository of choice. This was at one time the 3rd string crapper, but since Ryan moved in and has been making use of the stellar bike service area in the recess of the Kuhn basement the cat has taken to making the basement litter box his primary receptacle. The issue here is that the odor of his lovely deposits seems to first gather and then hang out and relax at the top of the steps and the main entrance to the house. YUMMY.

Either the cat really really likes Ryan and is hanging out in the basement so much because Ryan is always down there that the lower level box is just the most convenient OR he's trying to force Ryan out by leaving huge piles of crap wherever Ryan goes.

On to another perplexing topic. I mentioned a while bike that we got that Saturn VUE Hybrid gig and we've been pretty underwhelmed with its performance. We've determined that in order to get the mileage Saturn claims you can from their hybrid you have to drive exactly 45 mph and on dead straight dead flat highways and any time you stop you need to leave off the gas as far in advance as possible -2-3 miles is preferable - and always come to a complete stop. You have to come to a COMPLETE stop because this is the only time the engine shuts off (that's the "Hybrid" part of this baby, the motor stops completely when you stop).

Now, you would think this would be a benefit in stop and go traffic since its, well, stop and go. You'd also think that in places that have lots of stop signs and traffic lights you'd save gas. You'd be wrong -- on both accounts. See, "stop and go traffic" is a complete misnomer. Really, it should be called "go-as-absolutely-slow-as-you-possibly-can-without-stopping and go traffic." Seriously, pay attention next time rather than yappin' your jaw on the cell phone and see how often you come to a complete stop. Additionally, should you actually come to a complete stop and actually have your hybrid do what its supposed to do, if you stay stopped for anything more than 1 billionth of a second longer than the person in front of you you'll immediately attract the unbridled wrath of the drivers behind you and probably be cut off by some jackass in a mini cooper.

Kris and I were in traffic that was at a dead stop due to an accident. We hadn't moved at all for several minutes. A couple vehicles moved in front of us and we stayed stopped. The cars in front of us didn't move any more at all and there was no more than a 2-3 car gap in front of us. This giant redneck douche in a pickup behind us honked. At first we thought he was just joking around since traffic was a complete standstill. We quickly found out he was serious and from his reaction I'm sure that if he'd have had a gun he'd have tried to shoot us. I've never seen someone go so absolutely nuts - though without the audio watching someone yell, scream, and generally explode is quite humorous. Of course, I had to encourage his doucheness by waving and smiling at him...and laughing...and pointing. When traffic finally did move he cut off someone in the next lane and whipped around us to show us how tough he was. And I was definitely impressed. I could tell he was certainly tough.

Giant douche got stuck a mile late in construction traffic that's been mucking things up for months and since we're locals and know all the back roads we took the off ramp - though no more smiling and waving since I'm pretty sure the guys was a complete psycho. Hell, I kept checking the rear view to make sure he wasn't following.

Of course that's not really what's perplexing, that's just a very long tangent about a giant douche. What is perplexing is why Kristine can only get 23 mpg out of a vehicle that I can only get 26-27 out of (well that part is easy - Kris doesn't drive so much as she pilots the reentry vehicle) and is supposed to get 30-32 but never has, no matter how much I keep the damn little green light on, nor probably ever will.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Team DB

I've wrapped up cross season. I was hoping to visit Big Willie this weekend at his 'cross joint, but its been 10 days of no riding and getting fat and staying sick so I've pulled the plug. Its time for long stuff and to prep for the 100s. I was willing to put up with a week off from this bug, but 10 days is eff'ing stupid -- now I just wanna ride! Or maybe its skate skiing time. It's not drinkin' time cause I don't want to do this.

Hello, I'm new here. I'm a dork?

Speaking of stupid, when did one's value as a cyclist or the amount of enjoyment one gets from a ride become defined only by one's power file screen shot? I can't believe how many guys are posting powerfiles with captions along the lines of:

'My TSS was 327 on this one. That was a great ride! I'm a complete fuckin' dork. No, seriously, I am.'


'Check this out, I'm so cool, I'm doing 430 watts and I weigh 60 kilos. I'm going to be a pro and a complete douchebag for sure!! Er, I'm already a complete douchebag, but I'm sure I'm going to be pro. LOOK AT MY NUMBERS!!!!! I should be pro!!!! MOMMMMY, make them put me on the team!!'

So I might have taken a bit of literary freedom with the captions, but even if its not there it is definitely implied.

Now, I'm all for training with power. It works. Its great. It tells you stuff you can't see otherwise. I don't want to train without it. I like my athletes to use it because its almost like I go on the ride with them when I look at their files. I like the feedback. I absolutely encourage its usage.

But, it also only tells you a very small part of the story.

Here's perhaps some of the rest of the story; stop me if you've heard this before.

I work with this guy who used to be really fast. He might have even raced in Europe. He doesn't race anymore. He doesn't train much. He's put on a couple pounds. For all you Power Dorks his power to weight is way off what it used to be. His pure LT power is way down too. He's a few years older obviously. Compare his numbers to all the local 1s and 2s and he's off the back.

And yet, every week all season long he beats the pants off everyone at the end of the weekly race. If he doesn't win the sprint its probably because he was setting someone else up for it. He's smart, he knows how to ride, and he knows when to use what he has.

You don't just get to be pro by riding around with a high p:w ratio - you have to perform.

It'd also be nice if you actually win something before you start talking about how you're going to be a professional cyclist.

Dreams are great. Dream BIG kids. Don't be a douchebag about it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Now, I love riding my bike, but

Found this on velosnooz, Man admits to sex with bikeEdinburgh, Scotland

A man who admitted having sex with a bicycle in a Scottish hotel has been placed on the sex offenders' register for breach of the peace.
Robert Stewart admitted to the crime Friday in Ayr Sheriff Court and is to be sentenced next month, Britain's Telegraph reported Saturday.
Stewart was discovered last October by two maids who entered to clean his room during a stay at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr, Scotland.
The accused was holding the bike and moving his hips back and forth as if to simulate sex, a sheriff's spokesman told the court. The shocked witnesses told the hotel manager who told the police.

Hoarse Whisperer

I was hit hard by the biowarfare weapon that is the siblings' kids last weekend at the Oesterling Thanksgiving Feast and have been a walking wounded since Sunday night. There are few things that frustrate me as much as being sick. It just plain pisses me off. Add to the frustration of zero time at work to do work and I'm not a happy pup since I'm going to have to spend a ridiculous amount of non-work time working on work. The upside for everyone else here in Center Valley is that I literally can't talk so I'm not yelling at anyone or at the cats.

Did the MABRA Champs last weekend and did okay. Felt awful especially during the early part of the race - like I was going to vomit - and had no snap at all, but looking back it is obvious I was on my way to sicksville so its great that I got the chance to race. That followed a couple days of solid fun riding in the old stomping grounds where I found a lot of stuff that's a bit out of bounds to be just fine; a bit more that wouldn't take much to bring back - if you knew where to look; and something sort of new and interesting. So it was a good couple days of riding that I've not been able to build on, but at least got to do 'em.

I should probably take a note from Boo's playbook and go sleep so that I can recover from sleeping and to rest up before the next round of sleep...or at least shake this thing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Going Down

Its time for some poaching. We're headed back to the metropolis of Marysville for the holiday and I can't wait for a few days off and a few days of some of the best riding anywhere on and off road. I'm planning Perry Tours while I'm home and maybe a bit of the beautiful trails in the Marysville valley in and around the farm and hopefully a ride with the local boys on the Saturday morning group gig. Should be excellent. Of course, Kris probably has plans for me that I don't know about yet and it'll put the kibosh to all the riding I've in mind. At least I'll eat well.

For anyone besides me that thinks this is actually interesting, I didn't get completely destroyed this past weekend in 'cross at the USGP races, but I did get my downgrade!! Yes, congrats to me!! In USACycling's original awarding of cross categories I was given a Cat 1 license. At the time this wasn't even appropriate as I'd already not raced cross for several years and my road and mtb racing was on the decline as well, but whatever I didn't change it cause hey, I'm a cat 1.

When I started doing some cross racing this season I questioned an official along the lines of, "Is this Cat 1 thing going to be a problem?" I was told not to worry about it. Well, on the start line of the B race last Saturday where I'm assigned the 14th start position (this is huge, its a good spot to be in what with 80ish riders in the race) and where I'm already getting some good natured grief for sandbagging from my buds who remember a day when I was actually fast (I remember that day too) I get a little special call up from the staging folks. There seems to be an issue with my Cat 1 notation since this is a Cat 2/3 race.

I plead my case - "I'm old, fat, don't ride much, and haven't raced cross in forever!" It doesn't look good, I may not get to race... "All I want is a workout, I'm happy to start at the back." Still doesn't look good... Finally with some reluctance I get a "Okay, you have to start at the back and we better not see you on the podium." Yea right, like there is any chance of that.

I start at the back...somehow I make it into the top 20 and finish in 17th or so and was that ever fun. I really didn't think I'd move that far forward in the group but it seems that both my fitness and skillz are coming back a bit... Started about 45th on Sunday and hit 10th. Like Colin said the guys at the front are like the big bosses in video games and I'm too blown to pick up the special weapons on my way through the course or remember the secret codes. I new I was on a good day when I caught SlimmerMark who has been rockin' it all season. Now if only that little 14 year old punk would slow his ass down.

It's poachin' time!!

Here are some shots of my actually fast buds playing in the sand box and one off to a wicked fast start...

Hebe, Ferg, Yoz, and Leech, respectively

Thursday, November 15, 2007

yourPhone, myPhone, ourPhone, iPhone

iKeep asking myself, "Hey make a frickin decision, do iGet one of these things or not?"

iVe been him-hawing around about getting a phone with email capabilities for a while and of course all the fancypants stuff on the iPhone sure looks nice. That's the problem though isn't it? All this stuff looks "nice" and then you get it home and start to use it and find out its as big a piece of crap as the last widget you bought only it comes in a newer package with good marketing. It does seem that the few people iKnow who own one like it, and say it works as advertised.

All these questions keep running around my head though...Will iEver actually use all the functions? iS this thing going to stand up to living in my back pocket on road and mtb rides all year long? Am iAnywhere near cool enough to own an iPhone? Will it make me a better person? Smarter? Faster? Better looking? Do chicks dig it? Shouldn't iBe working on some race promo stuff, team sponsorship, or coaching instead of writing this? Why is my computer so damn slow - as in why is it that iTyped this 30 seconds ago and it is only now showing on the screen? Where the hell does "him-hawing" come from and why?

With my fancy new shoes though iThink an iPhone may be the best possible accessory...

iVe never owned an article of clothing iCould see my reflection in...until now.

Thank you Northwave and your sexy European style sensibilities.

iGotta go and my apologies to the good doctor.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

HSC 2008

I'm starting to put a few things together for next season. The HSC events are shaping up as follows:
April 5 - Intergalatic MTB Team Relay Championship - Oesterling Farm, Marysville
May 17 - Rocktober Challenge MTB Marathon - RB Winter State Park, Mifflinburg
Oct 11-12 - Iron Cross and IC Lite, Carlisle

The MTB Stage Race weekend will likely run July 4-5-6 and we're going to add some new twists like a Scot Trials event and a few other fun things this time around.

50 Rattling Miles is up in the air. I definitely bit off too much this year and I have to figure out if I can make it work because I would like to promote a cross race again after having done a few this season. I will probably either revisit the farm or Marysville Lions Club or perhaps a new super secret possibility in Center Valley.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Thief Among Us

I've been missing the cap from a flash drive since mid-summer. I've not been too concerned about the cap, had my suspicions the cat might have batted it off the table, but it was the cap, who cares. I've been missing a flash drive since Iron Cross weekend. I figured it was my normal stellar powers of organization that led to it's disappearance. After I looked in every bag that I take with me to work; in the car; at work; around the house in all the normal places, I started to think that maybe the cat got it too. Of course this is a normal reaction when I lose/misplace something - someone or something else must have taken it so I wasn't really convinced and I figured it was actually gone.

I mentioned the cat thief hypothesis to a friend a week ago and he said, 'Yea right, have you seen your car/workshop/desk/etc.? Its not the cat.' Kris says I'm sort of like Pigpen only it's more mess less dirt.

I finally went on a determined hunt under the refrigerator, stove, radiators, furniture and anything close to cat play level to follow up on my suspicions.

I found:
17 small toy mice of assorted colors
2 large toy mice
1 spring toy
1 puff ball toy
1 catnip pillow
1 pen
1 pretzel
2 hair bands
1 beer cap
2 foil balls
1 Gu
1 moldy pistachio
1 screw on battery cover for a mini mag light
1 USB receiver for the remote computer mouse
1 rubber bumber from something
3 I have no idea
1 rock
1 USB drive cap
1 USB flash drive
A very pround Boo is pictured above with his haul minus the shit he already took back out it while I was completing my sweep of the house.

Now where'd I put my keys...

Welcome back to that same old place

No, not the blog. The cyclocross race scene. Its been a while. Three years since I raced one I think - well not counting Iron Cross, but that doesn't really count, its just not the same. Did two of 'em last weekend and got killed big time. Destroyed. But had a blast. Then spent one day helping to re-sod last week's course and another helping design and set up this weekened's.

Did two this past weekend and flatted three times in two races which had the upside of letting me ride a lap on Gunnar's bike while my tube was being cut out of my cassette.

Things got better this week. The placings certainly don't show it, but I definitely felt better on the course and in more control on the bike.

The season has about six weeks left. I'm sure I'll have it figured out in eight.

The best thing about this is that I'm remembering why I race which sometimes seems to get lost for me. Makes me think about bringing back the Rockville Classic at the Lions Club Park in Marysville too. Better yet would be if Kyle and Zach would get on that.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Speed is of the essence

I rode that last part of IC today after setting up the IC Lite course and oh my god is it fast out there. These are absolutely the best conditions we've had and this thing is going to be smoking fast. I was flying through sections that are usually a bit wet and the combo of all the hot dry weather of the past several weeks and that bit of rain yesterday and its grinnin' time. There are spots in the woods that were powder a few days ago that now ride like concrete with traction to spare. I was basically surfing sections of trail and could put my wheels pretty much anywhere I wanted. How much traction exactly?

I rode up both of what are traditionally the last two run ups on the course in way too big a gear.

The best conditions in five years. World Cup and World Championship competitors taking part. The biggest field yet with over 200 pre-reg'd. Iron Cross V is going to so completely rock.

I take that back

Okay, lets go over the last part of that IC course again. I thought we were cutting out a piece we're not so its more like -- following on from the earlier post -- a decent of Woodrow Rd. through two or three nasty switchbacks and then some fast double and single track to the right (west) before crossing Woodrow and taking on some Enduro Trails to the left (east). These trails are not exactly following the contour lines and there is a short run up mixed in before you get out into a wide open fast logged out area, through a deer fence, and into the last trails on the course. Ooops. Its all so very sweet tho.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Double your Pleasure

Yep, two in one day...hell, two in one month.

Rode the IC course two weekends ago and put this together for one of my athletes who was asking about the course. Thought maybe a few other people would find it useful.

The best way to probably break the race up is into the sections between the checkpoint.

From the start to CP1 you have the short course at Camp Thompson then a couple mile stretch of flat road leading to the first long gradual climb of the course that starts paved and turns to dirt. There is a bit of flat at the top and a quick descent with a couple loose turns before a an extended stretch of pavement that includes a 5-6 big rollers and then the climb back up to the top of the ridge and the KOM.

CP1-CP2 - long rolling stretch of gravel along the top of the ridge with one or two short climbs and fast descents and then the descent of Lippencote Tr. Lippencote is the most technical section of the entire race and will definitely cause a selection if the intial climbs did not. A long flat fast section of pavement leads around the end of the ridge and then begins a very gradual ascent up which turns to dirt and passes along a reservoir. When you see the reservoir on your right you'll soon turn left and onto the trail that leads to the highlight of the race - the run up. CP2 is at the top.

CP2-CP3 - (this is my favorite section on the course) - you leave CP2 and roll along the top of the ridge and then make a fast road descent leading to a gated double track climb that pitches up in the middle before leveling slightly and rejoining the ridge top road. A few more miles of rolling ridgeline -- watch for the 160 degree left that keeps you on the ridge top roads -- leads to a very short piece of pavement and a very fast dirt road descent. A right at the bottom has you along the base of the ridge on a slightly rolling paved road for several miles before turning right again and heading to the base of Hogshead (or Hogs Head depending on the map) and CP3.

CP3-CP4 - Begins with the longest and hardest climb of the race - 25-35 minutes from the very bottom Hogshead CP to the very top of Woodrow Rd. The climb does flatten out in sections but its a long grind - having energy here is a good thing. Up over the top and into a tricky descent made tougher with some new gravel culverts that have been added in the last week - be careful here! Keep your head up and look where you want to go. CP4 is on Woodrow at the turn onto the trails.

CP4 - Finish - The most trail oriented piece of the race, but most of it is completely rideable double track the last long run up marks the end of the trails. This section, for the most part, follows the contour lines of the ridge until you cross through a section of new plantings and drop down a short singletrack piece to Michaux Road where you encounter a short climb on pavement before turning left and descending to the creek crossing. From here its all uphill into the last run up and then a bit more climbing to the ridge top road. At the top of the climb its a couple miles to a right turn onto a paved descent (Rt 233) that drops you back to the park. You turn left at the bottom staying on the pavement and its two rolling miles back to Camp Thompson with a last bit of cross course to finish the race.

More later....

Guess whos coming to dinner?

Iron Cross is just a couple days away now and Mark Laser has been doing his usual bang up job making sure the rest of us who pull this thing together haven't just been sitting around on our butts doing nothing for the past 8 months. Mark does a hell of a job making this thing actually go and keeping us all focused and while I keep laying claim to the idea for this thing any idea is only as good as the effort that is put into making it real. Luckily for all of us Mark grabbed hold of this and made it happen - 5 years ago this weekend.

All this is starting to pay off. It looks like we're going to get some coverage in some mags you may have heard of -- look for a bit in Mens Journal and Cycle Sport early next year about our little shindig.

We're looking at a very solid field again with past champions and some new faces from across the pond. If you're not aware, the idea for this thing came from 3 Peaks, a crazy cross race in England that has been going on for years. The winner of something like the last six 3 Peaks races will be on the starting line on Sunday and the guy that won 3 Peaks before him will be as well. In fact, a quick googling of Rob Jeb, Andy Peace, and Stuart Bowers shows all three finished in the top 8 of last year's 3 Peaks.

So now that I'm googling -- Rob Jebb was on the GB Worlds Cross Team last year and finished 37th. Peace is a two time 3 Peaks winner actually and a consistent top 10 finisher. Bowers, the only thing he's done is represent GB in a few World Cup events.

That's right, the first World Cup crossers in the MAC region this year won't be at Gran/Wiss, but rather right here at IC. Now, if only some more of the MAC elite guys would show up - hell, no one gets lapped.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chopped Venison

Woke up Tuesday morning early enough to actually get some shizit done before work. Got out the mower, turned the corner to start mowin' and found half a deer in the front yard. Okay, it wasn't really in the front yard, more like on the berm, but a few choice parts did jettison themselves about and were subsequently sent through the mower deck.

Colin and I have been leading a cross class on Tuesday nights and its a heck of a lot of fun. Last time we hit the loop where they hold the Philly 2-day race and tried to make everyone barf up a lung with some intervals before progressing to the whole dismount/mount thing that is essential to cross racing. I'm always excited by the progress I see my athletes making and so far everyone is progressing real nice, getting more fit, eliminating hitches on the remount, getting comfy with the dismount, and getting psyched up to race.

I'm thinking about trying some cross racing this year. It'll work on my biggest weakness for sure with all the high intensity and that ought to help out for next year. Actually, I suppose my biggest weakness is that I'm not actually getting to the races this year, but we're (Cadence) doing this combo thing with CycleOps at a lot of the cross races this fall and that should let me get to at least one per weekend.

We'll be coming out to the events with a warm up tent featuring trainers from CycleOps that everyone will be able to use to prep for their races. We'll have a Cadence 'cross warm-up protocol for anyone to use and will also lead a lap of the course to preview with folks a few times throughout the day between the races. We're working to put together a PowerTap demo for the races too. Riders will be able to race with a PowerTap and then one of the coaches will go through a short analysis with the athlete post race. Pretty cool.

It is sweet when work and racing come together this well.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Until next time

Thank some deity all my solo (by solo I mean Kris, my folks, her folks, my great team mates and some good friends) race promos are done for the year. I'm feeling some great relief at this and even enjoyed cancelling out the cross relay though I'm sure it'd be great fun.

I'll be helping out a bit with the STXC finals at Bear Creek and then there is Iron Cross and IC Lite and the boys from Philly Cyclismo have asked me and Yozer to help with course layout at an event they're planning for late Nov/early Dec at Spring Mountain, but no more solo stuff. I have to figure out next year...I have all these ideas about cool events and things I'd like to do, but I want to race 'em too. Its basically impossible to do both unless I quit my job and promoted full time and raced on the weekends I didn't promote. Working weekends and promoting makes for too much. I'd be all for this gig except there is no money in race promotion when you're generous with awards and swag unless you land mad sponsorship and that ain't easy (or I suck at it/don't like doing it).

I saw Jac Frech at RB Winter last weekend and am going to be bugging his ass about taking over the RB Winter event. He's the guy that used to promote the Spring Mtn MTB race and owned Tailwinds bike shop, but he's now up in the Lewisburg area and just opened up a rock gym in Milton, Look him up if you're up that way and tell him he should run RB next year.

I'm trying to talk Kris into this little gig - no luck yet, but its over my birthday so there is hope.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

TIme Flies

Three weeks ago the first next post was going to be the Wilderness 101, then last week about the two sweet rides last weekend at RB Winter and central PA, then this week just some whining about not riding, we'll go in a different direction tho now and touch on the other stuff lower down a bit.

Kris graduated last night (cue the balloons and streamer cannons). Where the hell did the last two years go. She's officially a PA now. Good thing too since then I'll have medical staff on site all the time at my race events. Yep, thats why I was behind this from the get go, so that she can take care of banged up bike racers and then no one can worry about a ambulance being on site.

So, what's next? I thought a 29er tandem mtb from Ventana would be perfect, but Kris is thinking we ought to get a house instead. I don't think we'll be able to do very many 50 mile mountain bike races on a house. She's really thinking dog first (with a house not far behind mind you) and is all over petfinder trying to find a match. I love the idea of that site, but man there are few things as sad as seeing a photo of some sweet dog and then being told, "you have 7 hours otherwise this dog will be euthanized." A very macabre Ebay sort of thing going on there.

Going back a bit, the 101 kicked my ass. My riding and training has been crappy since the stage race weekend due to a number of factors -- lets call them life -- and I suffered like I haven't suffered in a long time in those hills around state college. I looked back and my volume on the last time I'd put in a WEEK with as much riding as I did in one day at the 101 was the week of the previous hundred in Michigan a short 7 weeks prior. I need to get my life to cooperate with me a bit more.

Got back on the wagon after recovering from the 101 and put in some great rides last weekend at the site of my next race promo in Bald Eagle State Forest at RB Winter State Park with Rob L. and

You know what, I'm going riding, more later.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The eye of the beholder

"hmmm...Do you think somewhere there is a listserv for cage fighters where
dads are protesting about their kids being forced to watch ads for programs
where anorexic drug addicts in their underwear race bicycles around France?"

Nothing like perspective - or a lack of it.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

All Shook Up

I've emerged from my cave after that whole stage race thing. I was sleeping for 10 hours a night and not feeling like I was getting rested or recovered at all --- and not really wanting to do anything but sleep more. That damn thing took more out of me than I thought. Now I'm fat again or more or continuing to be - however you want to put it - super awesome.

I just finished putting together a bit about the 50 Rattling Miles for yinz, watching Fletch, and walking through some cat vomit. All in all its been a pretty good evening.

Kris is back in town after spending last month on a Harrisburg rotation and starting her very last rotation this week. Pretty crazy that we're almost through this phase and she's been at this for two years. Don't know what's next 'zactly, but we're working on a few things.

Look for 50 Rattling info and perhaps even a map(!) in the next few days on High Speed Cycling. Head over to bikereg to sign up. You can put it on Mr Underhill's credit card.

Fletch F. Fletch

Monday, July 02, 2007 MTB Stage Race and Festival Highlights

So it's pretty much all wrapped up. Results are posted on and the last bills are being paid. We had a really sweet weekend all around with wonderful weather, fantastic racing, and just a great feeling of camaraderie.

A few of the bits about the weekend that stood out for me:

My Wonderful Friends and Family
Let me say it one more time... I get a lot of the credit for this thing and you all know how I like to be the center of attention, but the amount of enthusiastic help and support I get from my folks, Kris's parents, my sister Susi and her husband Doug, Kris' brother Matt and Matt's friends John and Wes, my friends and teammates, our sponsors like, World Cup, Memphis Blues, and Ted at Sutliff Hummer - all of whom contributed greatly to our event, and my wonderful wife, Kristine, is pretty unbelievable and I could not do this without each and every one of them. This isn't my event, it is our event and we hope that you feel like its your event too.

Great freakin' racing
Almost 60 riders scored points in the Elite A field in one or more of the stage race events (even me!!).
At least four of the overall stage race wins were determined by hard and fierce racing in the STXC. This means that in those categories at least two if not three or four or even five riders came into the STXC with a shot at the overall win! It doesn't get more exciting than that and we saw some really great racing tactics played out - particularly in the Sport A and Expert A STXCs where team work played a role in the wins.

Fun Events
Both the Slow DH and the Bike Toss were bigger and better than ever with three heats and a final in the SDH and lots of spectators and Men's, Women's, and Kid's winners in the bike (or wheel if you're a little one) toss. Its great to see more and more people trying something that seems, well perhaps pretty stupid at first, and really getting into it by the end.

Dominating Performances
It is pretty impressive to win all four events in your category in one weekend. Both Gunnar Bergey and Leif Lucas took home victory in all four of their races this weekend. Congrats gentlemen -- you've proven you're ready for the next level.

Mother Goose
Thanks Andy, Mike, and Frank.

Parity in Racing
What I like even more than Lance like domination is to see something like what happened in the Elite A race where we had a different winner in each of the stage race events. Ryan smoked the Night ITT, Brandon flew up the climb, and Wes rode away in the STXC, but Aaron Snyder rode the most consistently and ended up taking the overall win. That is sweet stuff.

Alaina Rocks...Again!
Once more Alaina Dietz came out to the weekend and once more she walked away with a podium spot. Over the past four years she's done this in the Beginner, Sport, and Expert B categories. She continues to demonstrate that women kick ass and can compete with the guys. Alaina thanks for your continued support of our little shindig. You plain rock.

Rob the Lumberjack
Most of you missed this and I wish I had Ry's camera to video it for you, but at one point I decided to finally remove "the branches" since we must have had a lot of tall riders on the course this year. So off I go with the chainsaw to eradicate some zombies with support from my troops Ray and Ry. We get out there and we're not getting the saw started. Ray's big heavy ass is able to break off one of the branches, but we ain't breaking the other one. what. Well, along comes Rob. Rob's a landscaper. Hey Rob, feel like giving this thing a shot. Sure. Rob fires 'er up and ride off. Branch 2 come down with out hitting Ray or I on the head. Thanks Rob!

The After Party -- I got to do something I've not been able to do very much at all this year and hang out with my team. I don't think I realized how much I miss these people. Its worth all the work for the weekend just to be able to let loose with these guys after you all go home. Go here (sorry, but you're not invited - members only...and we do have the jackets.)

Holy crap, I got top 10 at something. I just suck mostly.

You Saw It Here First

presented by SUTLIFF HUMMER
book your travel arrangements now

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Zombies Beware

Pickle and I were out practicing with the zombie dismemberment devices today and have most of the nasty overhanging flora cut back so that you all don't scratch you poor wittle arms on the briars. Heimster was out again and though he looks like he got in a bit of a scuffle with a zombie last weekend was adding yet more volunteer time to the cause. Had young Zach out on the course too and he and Howdy were experimenting with the possibility of crushing zombies with the large rolls of hay scattered about the joint. Pops was out all day on the big orange machine patrolling for marauding bands of zombies and Kris has yet to find any zombies pre-registered for the event.

All in all I think that we're pretty much safe for the weekend though the small pond just off the house is looking a little nasty so who knows what might crawl outta there.

BTW, if you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about go visit and catch the hell up.

Gas powered hedge trimmers rock.

I can't wait for Sunday at about 5 PM.


Who wants to get in on this talent show gig? Saturday night after the band. Open mic. With celebrity judges. Get your act together and let me know your coming and its on. Remeber that there is also some liquid courage available on Sat night so email me and let me know that you're doing it!

Stage Race Q&A

A couple Q's that have come up recently and my answers...


Dear Mike
The sensors we had on our bikes at the Danville race proved to be a problem for some racers. They sometimes break off when you crash. I know of 3 cases of that happening. One was a friend of mine and he refused to pay the $35 they wanted for it. These sensors are used for road bike races and our new race timers probably used them in the past for that. I think it might be an even bigger problem for racers like myself who plan on doing all 4 races. Maybe taping them on would help.

Thanks. I believe they have some ankle straps availble and they can be zip tied on as well. However, the racers are responsible for the sensors and will be signing a form that designates this.
I kinda hate to do it because I'm pretty happy go lucky about things mostly, but I am going to be a hard ass about it and I will not count people who do not return the sensors in the results nor will I allow them to race future HSC events until the sensor is returned or paid for.


I am a little confused. I signed my son up for the stagerace which I thought included the cross country but now I am not sure. Idont want to get there and have to sign up and pay late fees. Thanks

Hey there, - yes, if you reg'd for the stage race it includes the XC too!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

This is freakin' cool

Did you see this yet? Its on the race website at -- can you guess what the t's will look like? Big big thanks to Zach Williams at Red Tettemer for this cool design.Stage Race Coming SOON!

Race to the Stage Race and Festival

Seems like my stage race is actually in the day's leading up to the stage race. The prologue is over and now the main stages begin as we finish cleaning and setting the course for this coming weekend's events.

The Heimbone made the trip out on Friday to help with the course and gave poppa Kuhn a hand clearing part of the hill climb course and getting the leaf blower out on the twisty turny bits adjacent to the big field. Howdy did what is probably the final mowing of the camping areas and we're ready to set the stakes this coming week. I'm expecting the World Cup boys to come armed with various implements of destruction this Wed night to do the final cutting back of the overgrowth. Also, I got the night ITT course marked with those reflective arrows and did a test run on the XC, ITT, and Hill Climb courses.

The HC course has been slightly improved since last year with some road work on the upper dirt portions offering a few more line choices when the going gets steep and a bit of fill making the final bit on the farm slightly more manageable.

The XC and ITT courses are riding super fast right now. The trails almost seemed pavement fast due to the sunny and dry conditions we've had recently, but the front wheel definitely wants to wash out if you get off the hard packed course.

This weather keeps up and we're going to have some very fast times.

Friday, June 22, 2007

How big is it?

Some of my team bubs, Hebe and Wes, came out yesterday to lend me and pops a hand with some course work. Those of you who seem to think I have too many logs on this course can thank these boys for taking a few of 'em out of your way. After we finished up the boys put in a lap on the course and Hebe's fancy dancy GPS thing said, "Wes & I doubled back on a few areas, but not much more than 1/4-1/3 of a mile. Distance was 6.59 miles. Elevation gain was 1045 ft. Thanks for dinner, that was very nice."

If we get the 90 degree + weather next weekend its looking like - Beginners - 1 lap, Sports - 2 laps, Experts 3 laps (for the most part).
6 and a halfish miles and 1000 feet of elevation per lap. I'm glad I'm not doing the endurance race.

Yummy, yum, yums

Kyle Hammaker's folks and family members do all the cookin' for the stage race weekend and use the funds they raise to help offset some of Kyle's race expenses as he travels around the country. Here is the menu for next weekend:

HOT DOGS.................1.00
CHICKEN SANDWICH..........3.50
FRENCH FRIES.............1.25
BAKED POTATOES............1.50
PASTA SALAD...............1.50

PASTA DINNER..............7.00
served Friday and Saturday night


BOTTLED WATER..........60
CANNED SODA............60

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Stage Race Update

A little over a week to go to the stage race and things are falling into place. If any of you have a desire to do a little course work, a few of us will be at the farm Thur and Fri this week to do some trimmin' and rakin' and markin'. Drop me an email at kuhndog1 at earthlink dot net if you wanna help out a bit.

Please remember that the only pre-riding of the course is on Wednesday evenings as part of the World Cup Ski and Cycle (Mechanicsburg, PA) group ride complete with waiver. If you want to get in on the the ride next week - or any of the rides the rest of this summer - give Lee, Dave, or Greg a call at 717-730-9402. Also be sure to tell 'em thanks for supporting this event! They rule!

Monday, June 18, 2007 Team Grows

Check it out, a new Team Member!! Congrats Zack and Christa!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The view from the VUE

Coming to you live from the VUE en route to the hotel in Cleveland on the way home. This mobile internet deal is pretty sweet, no? Levi has all the cool toys.

Speaking of cool toys, forgot to mention that I grabbed some new gear for the bike for this race. I put some of those Rotor rings on the bike the other day to try and I stole Ray's old wheels from Zack. Zack doesn't have his 29er yet so he hasn't had use for the hoops. On the day I borrowed the wheels he and his wife Christa welcomed their first kid into this world -- Gavin was born on Thursday and Z won't be on his mtn bike ever again so I'll probably hang onto those wheels for safe keeping.

Got into Mannistee later yesterday afternoon and put 10 miles or so on the course. Lots of twists and turns and basically nothing else. The climbs are mostly short punchy ones which are the opposite of my favorite kind of climbs. Actually, climbs in general are the opposite of my favorite types of climbs, but these are particularly in opposition. Can't say lots of twists are turns for 100 miles are really my thing either, but we'll give 'er hell.

Ran into Ernesto on the ride fresh off his 2nd at Big Bear 24 Hour Solo last weekend. I was hoping he was actually not-so-fresh off of the effort, but he rode a solid race today...more below.

Grabbed a room for the evening. Michelle wanted to camp. Us tough guys said that we'd prefer feather beds. We settled on Super 8, which is sort of like camping inside. It was fine really, but it did not come with the choice of soft or firm pillows or the "no handguns allowed inside" sign as did our lovely Holiday Inn from night one - so we were roughing it a bit.

Early morning this AM to get to the race on time and then stood in line for one of the four port-a-johns available to racers until start time. If you don't know, port-a-john rental joints will tell you 1 toilet per 100 people per day. So, the promoter was probably about right - 400/4 = 100 --- EXCEPT that all 250 racers and their support staffers needed to visit the joints at exactly the same time this morning. Note to promoter - get some more freakin' toilets.

Race started at a nice clip and I was sitting on the back of the front group of 9, but I'm still thinking I'm not really fit enough to take chances and dig deep early so I layed off the gas and drifted back a bit. The next group caught me soon after and I did the same thing. Gaaaaahhh, I don't know, maybe I'm too concerned with the points chase and I should give it a little more early on to see if I can hang onto it and move up a few places. So now I'm riding outside the top 20 and settling in to my pace.

Turned out my pace just wasn't quite enough today and I finished outside the top 10 in about 14th (we didn't stick around to find out for sure). Levi's day ended early with a crank arm that parted ways with his bike about a lap and a half into the race. Michelle kicked some serious ass and came home in 3rd. Like I said, she's the tough one on this trip.

Just pulled into the HIXpress and I'm going to bed. Final leg of this thing tomorrow.

Friday, June 15, 2007

On the road again

Half way there and hanging near Cleveland. Did the typical 1 hour later than I planned to leave departure since we're definitely operating on KST (Kuhn Standard Time), hit a bit o' traffic on 80 - where one must question why there need be 200 foot long construction zones every 3 miles - before grabbing Michelle and smooth sailing since.

The big excitement on the trip has been the design, fabrication, and construction of a credit card retrieval system. As if the VUE isn't sucking up enough of my hard earned cash it ate my credit card not long after our departure from Allentown. In order to get it back we had to, much like that deal on pinnochio, delve into the belly of the beast to get it back. We did it the hard way first and Levi was considering pulling apart the vehicle bit by bit. Yet another triumph of duct tape.

Toaster waffles and OJ for breakfast...that's all devoured and its time to go.

Travel accommodations and breakfast for our show provided by Holiday Inn Express. Yapping provided by me.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Leaving for MI today and the Lumberjack 100. Taking two traveling companions with me and buggin' out late this afternoon. Lots to get done before we leave, but looking forward to the trip. It has been a pretty long time since I piled in car with other bike nuts and drove some ridiculous amount of miles in order to race my bike. Looks like it'll be about a 12 hour haul to get there - half today and half tomorrow will hopefully bring us into Mannistee with time to check out a bit of the course and stretch the legs on Friday. Here goes nuthin.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Righties on this side, Lefties on that

"Sorry, I don't mean to be a complete ass (just mostly an ass), but I think this is ridiculous...with the title of "expert" should come the realization that you're there to RACE your bike, not be guaranteed a prize for finishing.

Beginner and sport level racing is for growing the sport -- that is the FUN for them. Expert level racing is for competition and getting your ass kicked so that you get faster. In expert level competition the competition and racing hard should be what is FUN!! It should be drive to push yourself harder and further than you thought you could. Expert level racing should be about facing other fit racers on the start line and giving it everything you've got to win. Expert racing should not be about showing up with expectation that just by finishing you'll get a prize or get on the podium. That is not what expert is for."

The above is a bit from an email I wrote to the other MASS promoters regarding yet another call to split expert racers up into even more categories.

Perhaps I'm annoyed because in the past two days I've spent hours and hours trying to get bikereg set up for the stage race weekend with the 32 separate categories we run in the MASS races plus the 4 enduro categories plus the stage race weekend options for a total of 2.7 million different options.

I know that it feels really great to do well and get on the podium in a race. Its been a long time since I've been anywhere near the top of a race on my own and it is really frustrating to put in time and energy and not get what you hope out of it. But, where is the satisfaction for experienced competitors in finishing 5th out of 5, or even 1st out of 5?? You put in all that hard work and then to have a result gift wrapped for you before you even start isn't very satisfying really. It also doesn't fool anyone - your friends can read between the lines. Yea, it looks nice on a resume and it might give your team more points in the team rankings, but why work so hard for something that you're guaranteed to get just for showing up? You might as well eat donuts for every meal and just ride the races to finish --- it doesn't matter at all since there is no competition. Don't you want to know that even if you got your ass handed to you that you rode harder than you thought you could and did things you didn't think you could do? That doesn't happen if you're not pushed for it.

If you're not getting satisfaction from the effort you put forth and you need external reinforcement by finishing on what amounts to a basically false podium or receiving an award then don't do this racing thing. Ride your bike and enjoy the outdoors and stay fit and healthy, but don't race for prizes.

Race for you -- not for what you might be given, but rather for what you might learn about yourself.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Did I mention...

that the date has changed for the Rocktober Challenge Marathon and it is now scheduled for Sunday September 9? The date change moves it the to day after one of my all time favorite races - the Laurel Classic in Tioga State Forest near Wellsboro - and combining the two events would make a pretty sweet late season get away weekend. It'd be tuff too. I can almost guarantee XRay will do the double. Now if I can only find a way to get to both... You can even plan your trip through these nice folks.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Stoopid is as Stoopid does

I'm pretty pumped after yesterday. Did a long 50 miles in Rothrock yesterday in the Stoopid 50 MTB Marathon. First off, the boys at Mt Nittany Wheelworks and Shenandoah Mtn Touring did another bang up job on a cool event. Them bubsers rawk. Plus it was pretty sweet to 120+ riders give this thing a go as its a new avenue for the MASS and having the riders come out and support it was beautiful. I'm hopeful we'll see similar if not larger turnouts at the rest of the MASS single lap marathons. Yes, the events are a little remotely located, but they sure are worth the drive. Thanks Chris, Frank, Jim, Harry and all the rest!!

It was a butt-kicking 50 miles with lots of beautifully made, but pain inducing singletrack -- the entire NMBA crew does a heck of a job with new trails and even the stuff that was cut recently rode pretty well. The best part of the day was catching up with a bunch of great people I'm not getting to see nearly often enough these days.

Of course my teammates were there and Wes and Ray put on a great show to finish 3rd and 4th overall (taking home 1st and 2nd in the SS class at the same time). And before I go any further - congrats to Brandon and Aaron for smokin' it today! Ry would have put in a solid ride too as he was tuned up for this race, but a little house moving incident has Bubser suffering from a bad back now. Chip K was putting in some miles before taking on TransRockies and is worried that he'll now have to drag Ry's carcass all over the Canadian mountains for the week. Some of the boys from Gettysburg came up to spy on the marathon goings on in Rothrock to make sure that Michaux is still king of killing riders and Keefer ended up with a nice top 10 spot. Good to catch up a bit with Buck, Tom, and Shawn while my slave work crew at Marysville - Andy and Craig - had sweet rides too. Well, Andy did anyway with a 6th overall while Craig musta just been drinking beer. Taylord was riding great and its good to know that he's not suffering from the Freshman 15 and I'm glad to see (no-longer-quite-as) Young Nick P out riding, though with his impending departure for Boulder I guess we won't see him too much more. Of course Marc and Buddy represented and it was great to catch up with them after the goings-on. I even ran into the Henry Clan sporting some vintage Team Harrisburg gear out poaching the well marked course. I miss seeing these guys week in and week out and while I coulda hung out and run on at the mouth for hours I did ride a bit...

That part went fine. I started with a plan to not ride too hard as 100 last weekend plus 100 next weekend had me a bit concerned and I just wanted to have fun on this one. I was riding very comfortably in 6th or 7th about 2 hours in when things started to deflate. My Watch Them Blow tires and tubes let me down for the last time with a slow leak. I rode it for a bit while chatting with Keefer and then stopped to change it. The brand new tube went in and promptly came right back out as it already had a hole in it. Back in goes the original and I pump 'er up as hard as I can get it. Another 5 minutes on the bike finds Scott, Dave, and Linda Henry hanging out at their truck and so I stopped to see if they had a floor pump. We chatted a bit while I re-inflated. I rolled out and not two minutes later was in aid station 2 (DOH!). I then probably looked pretty stoopid as I completely deflated what appeared to be a perfectly good tube and changed it AGAIN.

By this time I've moved entirely into fun mode and ride the next couple hours with a few hard efforts here and there, but also hanging a bit with Taylor and Topher and a few other folks. I took some breaks here and there and in general reveled in a gorgeous day in the woods. Don't get me wrong, more than one time I came around a corner to see more and more rocks stretching to the horizon and mumbled unseemly things about the Stoopid course and its designers as I was certainly lacking flow and mo' on the rocks. But, I don't think I over exerted for next weekend which was the main goal. I'll put in a couple efforts on Monday and Tuesday and then taper into the weekend...we'll see I guess. Next up -- more HSC event news!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Insomnia or just avoidance behavior

I don't know what it is, but I can't seem to go to sleep -- ever. Its 12:15 in the AM, I'm supposed to be to work at 9, check out some friends at the TT at 8, drive to state college tomorrow evening to race 50 miles off-road on Sunday, and not only have I not eaten dinner yet, but there is a bike that needs cleaned and some bags that need packed. I do this a lot. I'm up late ALL the time. 3 am last night, 2 am the night before... I've been like this for as long as I can remember. Mom would tuck me in and turn off the lights and as soon as that door closed I'd turn on the flashlight, hide under the covers, and read for hours until I fell asleep with the flashlight on and the book on the pillow. This burned up a lot of batteries by the way.

Its not that I physically can't sleep, it's that I'm not interested in going to bed (but man do I love to sleep once I'm there). And its not as if anything overly stimulating has to be happening in that space between my ears to keep me up either. Anything that distracts me from going to bed is enough - changing some stuff around on the blog is the culprit this time. At the same time I don't find these hours to always be productive (though its not unusual for me to build training for my athletes this time of day). It could just as easily be that I'm trying to figure out the solution to the Rubik's cube, which is really useful since I don't even have a Rubik's cube. Too bad I can't use this time for good. Curing cancer. World peace. Hell, Kris would be happy if I'd just clean the house.

HSC Event Updates

Within the next 24 hours reg info for the Mountain Bike Stage Race and Festival Weekend, 50 Rattling Miles MTB Marathon, and the Rocktober Challenge MTB Marathon will be active on Let your friends know and send me money.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Turn left at the big rock

Looks like things are moving along for the Lumberjack in MI in two weeks. I've duped a different friend into going out to do the race so that I can have someone drive while I sleep. I've tried driving and sleeping at the same time and found that it usually doesn't work out that well.

This one is a 4 x 25 mile lap course so a little different than my previous 100s and a format I'm a little less excited about only because one of the things I really enjoy about 100s is the adventure part of a big single lap. Yes the courses are well marked so you know you're headed in the right direction, but there is something enjoyable (to me) about being in the middle of one of these things and thinking to myself, "I have absolutely no idea where I am or how to get to where I'm supposed to go."

I get a kick out of the "safety net" that marathon mtb promoters attempt to use by handing out maps with registration. Keeping in mind that we're typically out in the middle of frickin' nowhere and an awful lot of dirt roads don't have signs at trail intersections -- or road intersections for that matter. Even if there are intersection signs the course maps are not only shrunk way down in order to fit on an 81/2 x 11 sheet of paper (remember, its a 100 mile lap!) but also often appear to be copies of copies and are basically illegible. Add to this the fact that if you're looking at the map you're probably pretty far off course and therefore have to figure out where the hell you might be on the map to even begin to find your way back - and given that you can't read the map that is almost impossible. Finally, finish this off with the fact that you might not want to talk to the locals - cue banjo - and you're pretty screwed, but at least you have a map. Of course, as a promoter myself I'd do exactly the same thing since its a damn fine way to help cover one's ass.

Of course, the courses don't typically change a lot year to year and so after you've done a particular 100 once you (sort of) know the course, but the adventure aspect is still there. Who else wants to drive me to MI and do one of these things (even if it is a lap race)? I could use more nap time.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Mohican 100

A little more on the Mohican 100 since no one asked.

The Wilderness 101 is still tops in my book, but the Mohican was a really nice ride. It was well worth the drive and is one I'll certainly put on the schedule for next year. The singletrack - the Mohican state park mountain bike trail network in particular - was a lot of fun for the most part and while I've been gun shy on this race in the past due to course marking concerns I found the course pretty darn well marked.

The race started hard. A neutral-ish start (neutral-ish is when the lead moto goes hard enough to actually split the group on the way to the start and then doesn't stop to allow everyone to regroup..) contributed to an early pace that was a good bit harder than I'm used to 100s starting. I'm thinking to myself, "self, your ass is going to get kicked today," but I set my pace and give the old, "those guys are going to blow up and come back to me" speech to myself to get back on top things, tuned up the diesel, and settled in for a long day at the office.

Nate D and I rode together for an hour or two at the start of this thing as it was his first 100 and I was definitely willing to pass along my "knowledge" of these things to him (mostly though it was just a ploy to have someone to share the driving, tolls, gas, and room expenses). We had some fun riding together until nature called and Nate answered and we didn't see each other for about 7 more hours - musta been a long conversation. Some of this early riding took us along trails that were just spectacular. One section in particular was nothing but ferns as far as you could see through the woods with just a winding singletrack barely splitting the scenery. Super sweet.

I did end up riding a good bit with Jeff from VT riding for IF. J & I were PDQ thru CP2 B4 I crashed hard and spent a long time trying to catch back up. I rung my bell pretty well on the crash (thought breakfast was coming back to visit for 30 min or so) and that contributed to a second crash just before checkpoint 3. And I do mean JUST before the checkpoint. I didn't realize how close the CP was and as I was a little, umm, frustrated by my loss of focus and subsequent dirt surfing I released a little steam after the impact. Well, as I stood up and looked down at the top of the tent and the 15 or so people helping out it was pretty obvious that the expletive that escaped my lips was heard by all. This of course led to some smiles and chuckles as I rolled the last 50 yards down the hill, smiles from me too as this seems to be something that happens to me now and then. Crash hard, curse loudly, pick self up, remount, ride 50 feet around a blind turn and there are 20 people. Wonderful. I'm such a dumbass.

It is here that I actually realize why the race started so hard. See there was a 100 miler and a 100K going on today and we all started at the same time. I didn't really think about it much, but had figured the 100Kers would start after the 100milerers. Since this was not the case it quickly became apparent, even to my slightly concussed noggin, that if half the group you're starting with is racing just over half as far they'll probably go out a bit faster than you. The motivator was that if many of those guys were 100K racers I was doing a heck of a lot better than I thought and began to contemplate a possible decent finish...up to this point I was figuring I was around 20th-25th. With the 100Kers in the picture maybe a top 10 was possible.

Jeff and I saw each other off and on throughout the day - he'd get a little ahead, then I'd get a little ahead, then we'd spend some time go through such ups and downs during the course of one of these 8 hour gigs that it really has to be your pace as just a little too much at any time can really doom you later.

I thought I'd actually rid myself of Jeff after CP4 with about 20 miles to go as I just sort of set my pace and road away from him. I spent a good bit of the time from there to CP5 by myself and caught one rider on the crazy fishing trail that was just a few miles from the finish line. At this point I thought I was home free as I was feeling pretty good. Then I started to cramp. Dammit!! 97 miles into the freakin' race and I start to cramp. Then we hit the mud. Now there had been a little wet in the woods all day, but this was deep and sometimes very sticky mud. And I was cramping. And guess who comes up from behind. Yep, there is my new friend Jeff. He catches me just before the final big obstacle - the Dam. We come into the base of the Dam and all I see in front of me is a 5 story tall wall of dirt with a little tiny ribbon of trail leading to a staircase. Did I mention my legs were cramping? So now Jeff and I are walking up the Dam and I'm doing my best to hide any sort of impending full on leg locking writhing in agony cramps from him hoping that they might miraculously pass. Of course they don't and Jeff is able to put about 20 seconds into me as I struggle to get back on the bike. With maybe 3 miles to go we hit the last decent hill and the only way I'm able to ride my bike is to stand up. I found that by standing I could ward off the leg cramps and so, for the last 10 minutes of the race I'm mostly standing on my pedals trying to keep Jeff close. While he does get me on the line I'm still pretty happy to roll across in 9th.

I meant to write it in this blog after Cohutta back in April that I should perhaps train for these things and I'll say it again. That's two top 10s with not much in the way of training well for 'em and with getting a bit too fat before this last one. Lumberjack is in two weeks so there isn't much I can do before then, but I do love the 101 so maybe I can pull my stuff together by August and actually look to be truly prepared for it. That would be something new.

It certainly seems that Ryan, Garth, and the rest of the crew responded well to previous concerns. While breakfast left a bit to be desired the post race food was yummy and plentiful and that's all I need (well, a little ice cream after a 100 wouldn't hurt).

BTW, my sum total of knowledge for these sorts of events? Sleep a bunch leading up to it. Ride your pace. Eat (and drink) a lot. I'm really good at the riding steady and I love to eat. As Meatloaf said, "Two outta three ain't bad."

MMM, ribs

Nate D and I took the fast VUE to Ohio this weekend for the second of the NUE Series events - the Mohican 100 - and enjoyed a bit over 8 hours of sweet trails and sweltering heat. That's two down for me and since I've now somehow or other squeaked another top 10 finish out of a 100 I guess I better get plans together for a trip to MI for the Lumberjack in two weeks.

I'm pretty sure that I cracked a rib yesterday too. Seems that I'm having trouble breathing deeply and I crashed hard enough yesterday to see stars, earn myself a splitting headache for 30 or so minutes (which reactivated on crash #2) , and get nauseous. 2+2 = cracked rib me thinks. Should make the Stoopid that much more. More later.

HSC events

Wondering whats happening with the upcoming HSC summer events? Me too. I'm thinking its probably time I should do something on them. There actually is a lot of stuff done behind the scenes already, its just that I always have these grandiose plans to make everything look all pro and stuff and end up shoving it out the door at the last minute. I'm quite sure the door will hit me in the ass again.

Look for info on the MTB Stage Race and the Lykens and RB Winter Marathons this week.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Durpitee Durp

Holy crap I suck. April 12. Well, at least nothing much has happened since then. Lets see if I can catch this thing up...vacation...Cohutta was surprising...missing cat...getting fat...Cat Classic was fantastic...40K went no kittie. That'll do it, welcome back.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

New Tricks, Old Kuhndog

Just a few days and we're outta here for Asheville. "Discussing" with the wife our departure day and time with the nor'easter headed this way. I'm pushing for a speedy getaway while she's thinking it'd be prudent to hold off. My guess is she'll win, but feel free to keep cheering for my side.

Team Relay results are up. I'm learning new things every day -- like how to take an excel file and convert it into html so it doesn't look like a big pile of poo on the web.

For my next trick I'm going to learn how to put photos on this thing and host it on my race promoting page. No help from the audience please. Updates from Asheville I hope.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Team Relay Pics

Here are some shots of the Team Relay mayhem at the farm this past weekend.

One is done

So I don't have the results up yet, but the Team Relay gig this past weekend we did at the Oesterling Farm was a blast if I do say so myself. For me, the best part is that I don't suck quite as bad as I used to. My suckage can change quickly tho so I'm trying not to get to excited about it. Now I'm scurrying around trying to get these next events into order. It looks like most of the duckies are lining up nicely, but I'm still waiting for confirmation on the GS Camp we're using for the start/finish of the Rattling Creek event.

Getting ready for vacation -- which will hopefully be a week of great riding and some time to do more on the races -- in Asheville, NC with a short jump into TN to hopefully do the first 100 miler of the year at Cohutta. Here is my preemptive excuse...since its coming at the end of a week where I'm hopefully putting in lots of miles and lots of climbing I'm not expecting much but a damn good time. I'm hopeful to get Kris back on a bike too while we're down there. Every now and then she makes a little noise about racing that thing again. Man I'd love to see that.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Team Relay Championship Coming Fast

Thirty five teams and counting. I'm pretty pumped. I thought 25 max this first year. This weekend's MASS Team Relay Championship is going to be a blast. I don't know how it got to be two days before the first promotion of the season for me, but here we are. I'm not going to lie to you. Its mostly smoke and mirrors, but I think you'll have a good time. Just please be patient with my scoring team since its the first time any of us have tried an event quite like this. 43 Hours to go.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Who is bringing the chips and cups? And another 15 milliseconds for me.

You'd almost get the impression I know what I'm doing with some of the progress being made on the upcoming MTB Team events. Here's a run down from the week:

Booked the guys at Runners High for the MASS Stage Race and Festival Weekend to provide fancy pants chip timing for all the stages this year. We might have to make a couple little changes to the courses to accommodate things, but I'm hoping this will lead to faster and even more accurate results. It may also give the MASS a chance to test the system for events for future events. The boys at Tour de Tykes are booked for the system too so who knows, maybe you'll get a chip with your reg pack in 2008.

The big Team Relay Championship Cup is on its way as well. I hope everyone gets pumped up by this thing and we create a tradition of fighting it out for this perpetual team trophy each season. (Perpetual trophies are ones that get passed from team to team each season and are engraved with current and past winners and as the tradition continues you add more space to the trophy to add more teams.)

Bill Deputy of was out to the farm with me this week and we did a little tour of the joint for next weekend's race. The course was being cleared of debris while we were taping and is tough to see in spots, but you'll get the idea. Think fast, tight, and anaerobic. The 15 more seconds you'll find right here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

From here to there

Kris and I are shopping for a new vehicle as its time to retire both of the Saturns in the near future. With the commute to Philly for Cadence and due to the fact that I haul way too much crap down and back with me every time, we've been checking out hybrids and wagon-esque vehicles. Weseem to have things narrowed down to Subaru Outback (or Legacy) wagons, Mazda 5 wagon or the Mazda crossover, or the VUE hybrid. The VUE is really probably on the top of the list since it gets pretty stellar mileage (28/32 and long as you don't drive like a bat outta hell) and has the low emission deal going since it shuts off at idle and runs on the battery. Since we've tree huggers that hybrid thing is a good hook. Course I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up getting elevating the smug alert should we get one.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

15 miliseconds of fame

Got me a published article in the latest edition of Liberty Sports about training and such! They did a little bit of modification, but I suppose that's what editors are for. Thank god I don't have one of those for this. It looks like I'll be doing more articles on training but these will be destined for intead. I'm pretty excited to have the chance to do this, now its just about making them solid (but not too long, and man can I go on and on).

I did number 2

There it is. Post Number 2 in less than a week. I'm so proud of myself it hurts.

Teams are coming in for the MASS Relay and I'm pretty stoked. I can't wait for this thing to roll. And to see if this whole handicapping thing actually works. Looks like I'll be giving up a spot on my beloved VisitPA squad tho to make room for The Legend for this race. With Yozell and Hebe coming on board this year we're stuck trying to divide 4 into 9. I'd love to race this with my bubs, but there will be more chances for that.

What there might not be a lot more chances to do is race with EuroNate since he's definitely headed back to Spain in June. So it looks like its a little Cadence Connection squad instead with The Kid, VeganRob, Nate, and moi.

Planning to hit the roads for a couple hours with Ray tomorrow, thinking maybe its time for another round of Goldmine+. Picking up the new 29er tomorrow too and dropping my SS off for some touch up welding with Wicked Dreamz. Gotta get out on the trail tomorrow for a spin with and a little vid for the relay too. Nothing like planning way to much for one day.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ry, you asked for it

Albeit two months ago, but here it is. I'm back and I'm committed. Got a whole load of stuff coming up that needs rambled on about. The MASS Team Relay Championship is happening in a few weeks and there is lots to do there. Then there is getting everything in line for the other three MASS races this summer, trying to bring the series itself up to a new level, and getting back into some semblance of form.

Basically thats what you're gonna hear about the next few months. Me bitchin and moanin about how I have all this to do. Just remind me that I bring it on myself and then tell me to shut the hell up and go ride my bike.

Lately I'm alternately psyched and down as I've been dealing with a hip injury that left me lame much of last year that I thought I kicked after 15 months, but after a 6 week hiatus its back. Hell, I was even reducing the size of my ass I was so pumped. The ass is back, but I'm back on the bike again trying to pump that TSS score. Good times.