Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Out-running the Storm

It was a beautiful spring day when I left on my ride at 1:30. I new the meteorologists had called for T-storms, but I didn't really care. I just wanted to ride. I opted for a gravel grinder today and the roads were in prime shape. Even the road grader was loosening up the road and smoothing the potholes out. After my interval session, I rode north over to Highland Rec. Typically known for its quickness in drying out, I decided to try the trail. Dry. No mud at all. I wasn't syrprised since I have heard other trails in the area are ready to roll. I was planning on riding A and B loops, but when the thunder was booming and rain was coming down, I decided I should shorten the ride. I chose the D loop, so I could pop out onto the road and cruise the 17 miles home. The skies to the north were really dark, but to the south it was still sunny. Just before I got to the road, the light rain went to heavy downpour. I threw on some armwarmers and hammered it down into Milford. Once I was at Wixom Rd, I had outrun the rain. Good, because it was coming hard. On the way home, I only encountered some rain once, but it wasn't too bad. It was a nice ride though. A few hours with no cars and rural back roads is something I enjoy.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Chickasaw Trace AMBC Recap

What a weekend. We left Friday morning at 6am and pulled into the park in Tennessee around 2:45 TN time (1 hr behind). Set up the camping stuff and then went for a ride. The trail was fast and flowy, just what my body needed. My adrenaline was flowing and endorphins were popping out like crazy. The first trail ride of the year, and it was a good one. The loop starts on a gravel road with a loose gravel switchback onto the paved road. Once on the road, you ride down a little bit before you shoot down a screaming fast downhill, into an open field and then on the singletrack. The trail had a good amount of rocks and root strewn throughout, but was very manageable. Later on in the trail was where most of the climbing was. You would climb, then decend on very fast, long, curving downhills. It was a fun loop and just what I needed after a long winter.

Saturday was more of the same. Took a pre-ride, but at a quicker pace than the day before. Hung out at the tent for most of the day relaxing and enjoying the 85 degree weather. Made a nice chicken linguine dinner and called it a night around 9pm.

Sunday was race day. My race was not until 12:30, so I had to sit around all morning. It felt like forever, but finally the time came. We lined up and 26 of us started in the Expert 19-29 group. The pace was extremely fast off the line to say the least. The group safely got down the steep dowhill without any crashes (there were nasty ones w/ multiple people in Sport). Since there has not been any rain in TN in 3 weeks, the clay base was very dry and dusty. My mouth was coated, and my lungs were burning. I had a quick lap, and knew I wouldn't be able to keep that pace. I was riding good, but felt like I couldn't carry much speed through the downhill corners. By lap 3, I was able to go through them better without as much braking. Just more trail riding and that should be taken care of. At the end of lap 1, I was feeling pretty good, but fairly hot.

Lap 2 came and went uneventfully. The lap was a few minutes slower, but I was still keeping a good pace. With a mile and a half to go in the 9 mile lap, I started getting some chills. I quickly drank the rest of my GU20 to try and stay hydrated and replenish the salt. It was hard telling where I was in the race, because there are so many people and other groups right after.

On lap 3, my body started to slow down. In the first half of the course where the trail is not as hilly, I could not keep my heart rate up. I was pushing hard, and my legs weren't even burning, but I could not keep a higher pace. I think it was a mixture of chasing too hard on lap 1 and most of lap 2, the 90 degree heat, and some dehydration. I drank my bottles, but it wasn't enough. The bottles were also warm, so I was not getting the cooling factor there. I am a hot weather guy, but going from 40 to 90 and full effort taxed my body a bit. My savior came in the middle of a scorching hot field where a guy was handing off cold waterbottles. I chugged the entire 16oz bottle and felt better. My pace picked up a bit there and I was riding better once i got to the hills. That was just at the right time, because I was craving a cold bottle and a cold pear to eat. Yeah, I am strange. By the end, I still had a bit in the tank. I passed a guy by outsprinting him on the final grassy climb into the finish. At the end I was hot and tired. The legs felt great, but riding 3 laps of the much rougher than MI course put much more demand on the entire body. I ended up 12th out of 26 and got a huge payout of $6.00!!! Hey, it payed for my waffle on the way home:-)

The new Kona Hei Hei Supreme bike worked good. It rides really well am I am still shocked at how well the Fox RP23 rear shock works. That rear travel sure did help down there. I could tell on day one that having the extra 2.5" of travel made the bike hook up much better.

Overall, it was a good weekend of riding, racing, and enjoying the weather. It was a late night coming home, but well worth it. I had a good time and it is fun to see the other competition nationwide and compare. I felt pretty good for March.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Its that time

Time to race! The winter has finally passed, and the races are on the horizen. Race number one is this weekend down in Tennessee. I'll be leaving tomorrow morning early for the trip down. Streets and Maps says 9.5 hours, so that should leave us some good time to get a lap in before we cook and settle in. I am pumped to ride singletrack for the first time since November. I am looking foreward to working out the rust on Friday and Saturday before the Chickasaw Trace Classic on Sunday. It's going to be a long day Sunday. I expect to get back in the wee hours of Monday. Then up for classes. Four days of sitting through lectures and then I am free for North Carolina for 4 days. Woo hoo. A travelin' and ridin' man. It's gonna be fun. Oh yeah, something about temps in the low to mid 80's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On the new bike side, I fixed the brake problem. I got a nice hour forty five ride in on it yesterday. I felt like a fool riding on the dirt roads. I was hitting all of the bumps and holes I could find to see how the rear suspension works. I have been riding hardtail for a while, but I think this bike might just work quite well. I give a better review of it after the weekend. I suppose some riding in TN and Pisgah, NC will show the true strenghs of the bike.

Out until Monday. Look back for a race review. Until then, I'll be enjoying the singletrack and counting Waffle Houses!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

Wow, haven't updated in a bit. I have had a bunch to do lately. Last week I got some good riding in. The weather was nice for a few days, then got cold again. At least it was sunny out. I closed off the week wrapping up 300 miles. This week is active recovery with a race this Sunday. I was riding a bunch, had to work a bunch this weekend at the rink, then on top of that I had to finish a BIO project, write a paper on Foreign Policy(ugh), write a psych paper, and study for a BIO, Psych, and History test. On top of that, I had to plan and get ready for the trip to TN this weekend. Dang, thats a lot of time and work.

On the interesting side of things, I picked up my new Kona Hei Hei Supreme Frame today. It is sweet. I built it up, but have a little disc brake problem in the rear. Hopefully I can get that fixed for good tomorrow. I took all of the parts off of the Yeti, but I do have a new chainring, chain, and cassette that needed to be replaced. It does ride nice around the yard! The Fox RP23 rear shock works just like the Terralogic X forks. You can pound on it and it surprisingly doesn't move. Here is the built bike. All I need is for my new wheels to come in and it will be complete.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Gloomy with Humidity

That was what it turned out to be today. I swear I checked the weather doppler at least 5 times in 3 different sites before I ended up riding. It was so damn dark and cloudy that I was sure it was going to downpour at any moment. The air was also thick and made it feel really muggy out. I was still able to get away with only wearing shorts and a jeresy. Not bad for March 14th. Now time for reality and 40 degrees.

I tried some dirt roads today to see how they were. Good news is that some are dry, some are a little wet, but overall, a little more warm weather and they'll be perfect. I see some gravel grinders in the very near future.

I saw this bike leaning up against a pole yesterday, but today it was laying in the water.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Thank You Mr. Weatherman

Well, that was nice. Really, really, nice. A good taste of whats to come. Too bad the warm weather is going to leave us and go back to the 30's and 40's. With the temps in the 70's today, I opted for a nice long ride. I spent the first little bit working on some intensity, then rode tempo for the rest of the ride. Total ride time was 4:40, and I was in the sun the entire time!!! I almost felt naked when I started riding with only shorts and a jeresy. Can't get much better than that.
A work in progress...

Time to get back to reality and bundle up! Low 60's tomorrow, but it looks like it is going to rain. If it hold off until evening, I should be able to squeeze a ride in before the showers come down.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Wait for It

Here we go, out first taste of spring. Highs tomorrow of 68F and it might reach 70 in some places. I am going out after class and will likely see at least 4 hours. It might become more since there is a group going out a 6pm that I might catch up with. Time to work on those tan lines. It's no fun showing up at the first race looking albino. MTB is the choice for tomorrow. I rode in the drop for 60 miles today, wet, cloudy, then a glimpse of the sun when I was finishing. It turned out to be a better day than it looked. Can't wait for tomorrow, except for that 15-25mph wind!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Active Recovery

After 4 strong days of riding, I decided the best choice for today was to do an easy ride to flush the acid out of the legs. I spent an hour and a half riding around the more urban part of Brighton. Normally I ride towards Milford and the parks which is very rural and not much traffic or people. Today was something different. I had actually never ridden into d-town Brighton and around there. 10 minutes into the ride I was already down town. I did a few loops around the rich people's oversized houses and around Brighton Lake. I just spent the time taking in the views and seeing what people are up to. I was surprised to see 3 families taking a stroll through the neighborhood, but not surprised to see 2 suburbans, 1 escalade, and 2 Hummers drive by me! I only had one person honk and they were on the other side of the road. Hmm?

I found another reason why children are obese in these days. As I passed the railroad tracks in d-town Brighton, I noticed a mother and her son taking a walk on the sidewalk. Unfortunately, the son-about 5-6yrs ol-was driving a big wheels 4x4 vehicle. This was no normal big wheels, it was like double the size. Are they too lazy to walk, ride a scooter, or ride a bike. I know I have a much better time riding a bike than driving a car.

Friday, March 09, 2007

70 in a 40

Obviously this is bike related. I ended up riding 70 miles on the mountain bike today. That was my plan, but sometimes that gets nixed when the weather is cold, crappy and cloudy. Today was the exact opposite. Temps in the low-40's and bright, sunny skies. I felt like I hadn't been able to ride in this environment for years. I did weat tights, because it was in the 30's when I left, but tomorrow is another story.

I am looking a doing a good recovery ride in the pm since it is supposed to rain in the morining. Tomorrow is the start to working on the tan lines. I should be sporting the knee warmers and NO booties!!! I'll still have a base layer up top w/ a jeresy, but I am hoping that soon the clothing will be dwindled down. I love the days when all it takes is throwing on a jeresy and shorts and heading off. I'm sure tomorrow I will go over everything I am wearing 10 times because it will feel so weird. Sunday is upper 40's and should get a good ride in early before I have to go to work in the pm. All of you dormant bikers should come outside, it's really nice.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

XXXXXX is in the air

I am not going to jinx it, but I think "it" is on its way. The temps today were still in the 30's, but we are going to hit 40F tomorrow and keep on creeping up into the mid-50's next week. Oh, yeah. Can someone say jeresy and arm warmers. Wooooooooo hooooooooo. Another clue that "it" is in the air is that I saw 4 other cyclists today. Sure, I was in the highly populated ILRA, but I have not seen another rider all winter long since November. Sure, I saw two in January, but 50F is not winter. I was looking off into the woods when I looked back at the road and saw a rider zip by the other way. I was so shocked that I literally jumped. After a few laughs later I felt like an ass for not waving. Yeah, the title is Brent's MTB Life not Roadie Life.

So this better hold out. A couple more good weeks of riding and I'll be able to test my skills. My overall fitness feels great, but once all of the extra clothing and booties are off, I will have a better clue. All I can say is that so far I am happy with it.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


It came out today! Even though it was 25F when I rode, it felt much warmer due to the fact that the yellow ball of fire came out for the first time in a while. The legs were quite snappy today. I felt good and am looking foreward to my legs feeling good again tomorrow. Spring is at the end of the tunnel. All we have to do is get through this cold spell for a few days and then we should be good to go. Temps in the 40's and maybe 50F for early next week! Unfortunately I think it is a little too late. I am leaning to believe that my first singletrack riding will be on my pre-ride down in TN in a couple weeks. Hopefully I'm not too rusty on my tech skills, or the course is tame.

If the sun shines again tomorrow I think I will be able to get some more time in than expected. With an open sky, the days seem a little longer so more time for me to ride. I have a long day at school tomorrow=more time cramming to get a ride in.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Dang, is it gusting out there or what. This morning we had pockets of snow, strong winds, and blizzard-like white-out conditions. Luckily by around noon when I was heading out for my ride, the snow stopped and it was clear. That was a good thing because I sure as hell didn't want to get hit today and I really didn't want to ride the trainer. The snow was gone, but the wind never died. The good thing about that though was the awesome tailwind. I would be slowly moving while trying to keep a high cadence, and then I would turn around and zooooooooom. I felt like a Mazda...zoom, zoom, zoom! The hardest part about the ride was trying to stay on the road. Some of the wind gusts had me all over the place. There were at least 5 times where I was leaning real hard just to stay upright while turning the wheel inward. It was quite a good full body workout.

Hopefully the wind dies down a bit tonight so I don't have to suffer in it too much tomorrow. Okay, one last rant. We are in March now and the avg temp should be like 40F. It's 32F here today and a high of 31F tomorrow. Come on, just give me 40F, it would feel sooooooo nice. I also find it easier to ride in warmer temps and I feel much more motivated to ride harder and longer when the temps are up. The sun would be nice too!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Spring Break!

Well, that doesn't look too promising. It's been snowing/sleeting/raining all morning long. It has been coming down extremely hard and the wind has been whipping good too. It looks like a trainer ride is in store for today. I sure as hell am not riding in that type of crap outside.

Since I haven't had school this week, I have been able to get a few rides in. I put in a good ride on Tuesday around Northville, South Lyon, Brighton and Milford. The roads were a bit wet, but nothing a fender and fair of AmFibs couldn't fix. Yesterday I took a trip out to a much more metropolis area to ride with Randy. It is much different out there than it is around here. After crusing around there for a while, I have a greater appreciation for where I live. I can cruise out my driveway and ride rural roads with few stops signs, lights, or cars. The pavement is all smooth and you can pedal for hours on a road bike. A half mile down the road, I can hit dirt which will take me to many different areas of singletrack. It's a pretty nice central and rural location.
I'm looking for this rain and other precipitation type stuff to leave so I can go ride outside. Riding a trainer is not what I want to do during my spring break. And why is Spring Break at the end of February-that's just dumb. Give me a week off in April so I can go shred some singletrack!