January 31, 2009

Ramping up

Although I have tried to stick to a few schedules in the last few years I have never been able to manage a rigid outline for my training. I also don't think that a rigid schedule is what anyone needs... Knowing your body and having fun are key for me ramping up the training. What better way to get ready for some races than with some friends on the trail?

The last few weeks I have been building my training volume during the week and finishing a "priority c" race on the weekend. It works for me. This week was cranked up just a bit more. Friday, I got in a swim and then finished the day with a quick 34 mile ride on the bike in just under 2 hours. I wanted to load up my legs before our Saturday ride. Little did I know we were heading into a time trial!


The big ride Saturday had a few groups heading up Blackstar. I was going to try to stick it out for the entire County Coup course with a few extra miles from the shuttle while a few others were doing the Blackstar/Motorway or Maple Springs routes. Ryan was up there with some dudes, Monique and Corby were riding with the M's and we saw nearly 100 hikers at the bottom of Holy Jim. I guess it was too nice of a day not to get out and take it all in. Luke, Justin and I headed up Blackstar and the pace was brisk! I was just trying to hang on to Luke's back tire and we got to the ball in just under 50 minutes. A record for me.

(Justin on his way to crushing it to the top)

I was stoked to be able to hang and chat it up with Luke and Justin. Awesome guys and super strong on the bike. Allison, Justin's wife was just ahead of us and managed to keep it that way to the end. Before I knew it we were descending Motorway and had reached our cars for a reload on water and food (just under 2hrs). Shortly after we got going again, riding up Maple Springs, I had my rear derailleur hanger get snapped off AGAIN!! This is the sixth time! My rear deraileur got sucked into my spokes and again my powercordz shifting cables held on!

Luke carried on trying to make up time on Justin and I didn't even know if I was going to have a spare... Luckily, I found one and about a half an hour later was making the trek up Maple Springs to Santiago Peak. Even with the tearing of my rear derailleur my powercordz were shifting super smooth all day and no issues. I cannot say enough good things about this shifting system! Back to the climb and a grind up to the peak. I have not been past 4 corners since last years VQ and forgot how far it was...ouch. I rode the rest of the way solo which was probably a good thing looking back...


Just as I was starting the decent down Holy Jim I got a flat. Then another one. Then I managed to get a tube working but only with maybe 20psi. It was an easy, easy pace down to the road where I eventually got a pinch flat and started my walk back to the car. I was so stoked after walking for 2 miles when someone offered me a ride back to the car (another 3 miles away). By this time I was out of water and had about 6 hours logged and just under 50 miles. The ab workout I got bouncing around in that truck on the way back was a nice finish to a killer workout!

Here are some stats from the ride.

While lunch and hanging out sounded great (a nap even better)...Monique and I were off to pick up our race packets for the Surf City run tomorrow. They were closing the expo at 5pm and we got a parking spot at 4:56 and snagged our race numbers just before they shut it down. Stoked! We did get some food and watched the sun go down over Catalina. Awesome! Now we have about nine hours until we ramp it up in the morning with our half mary.

January 28, 2009

The White Bros

I have been a big fan of White Brothers from the time I was a little grom riding dirt bikes. Making the transition to mountain bikes it was easy to see the quality carry over and their forks are the best around! I am stoked to announce them as another one of my sponsors this year! I have been rockin the "Rock Solid" 29er forks recently and can't say enough good things about it. Even after an all day beating at Temecula I am still convinced that it is the way to go.


For the longer and sometimes more technical trails I may be searching for some suspension.... So I am looking forward to getting a Magic fork in the lineup. So stoked to be riding with the White Brothers forks this year! I believe in the "magic" that they deliver! ;-)

January 26, 2009

Comments

I know people have asked me before but I just couldnt figure out how to get my comments enabled(going on 2 yrs now). Looks like someone (oops) was messing with the HTML and removed some of the template forms. I got them working now so drop me a note if ya feel like it. See ya out there!

12 Hours of Temecula - Take Two

Saturday was my second time joining the growing crowd at the 12 Hours of Temecula. I love this race! Last time was my first solo race experience and a pleasant surprise to walk away with a win. I learned a lot about how much teamwork it takes to make a solo successful and understand how much prep and recovery are required for such an effort. This time around I was teaming up with Wes Barton for a two person team attempt that would prove just as fun and demanding.


Keeping with my “focus” for the year I am going into some races with some lag in the body. I am still building my swim and run volume and have some bigger goals for the bike later in the year. I had just about 15 hours of training and racing in the week preceding the race including the Rio Bravo last weekend. All part of the "plan"

My goal for this race was just not to let down Wes with slow laps on one side and try my hand at the fastest lap on the other side of the spectrum. That set the high and low expectations for the race. Here we go!

We decided to switch up our strategy and go 2 laps in a row each to make sure we wouldn't go out too fast and that we would have a good warm up and break between our hard efforts. When we felt the timing was right we would switch to a single lap and go back and forth. These deep strategy ideas were exchanged just minutes before we started and changed a few times but it made us feel “ready” for the task at hand. Wes started us of (thank you!) and got to join in on the parade lap and the madness of the first lap crowds.

Wes making it look easy

Wes has quite a bit of experience on the bike. Not only did he just complete the BC Bike Race this year but has about 6 Ironman and 20 half Ironman races behind him. Needless to say he made a quick two laps and I was up.

Time to ease into it…

My first lap was way too fast. I saw Mike on the first climb and we started talking about how perfect the dirt was after the rain and how amazing the course was this time around. I was stoked and pushed on. I got caught up in the “race” and must admit I went out faster than I wanted to start out. A 40 minute lap and I was on to Lap 2 and I slowed a bit but felt much better. 42 minutes. I was warmed up and now Wes and I were already switching to every other lap.

About half way through my third lap I was chasing a quad to the ridge when I saw a girl in pink DOWN. I knew it had to be one of our girls and unfortunately it was. Melissa had went over the bars and flipped on her back. Agghh… I was talking to her and the guys helping her out but was urged to keep moving...

Melissa in good spirits -before and after the crash

She ended up getting an ambulance ride out of there but she is OK! …More on her status in the next few days but she didn’t break anything and she is in good spirits…just scraped and bruised. I pushed on and pulled in another 40 minute lap.

Wes and I started cranking through the laps at this point and my fourth lap was just amazing... Maybe it was the timing for the music in my IPod or the timing between being warmed up, not yet feeling the fatigue and flowing through the course like it was the back of my hand by now but I was “in the zone”. I remember railing a few turns and screaming “I love riding my bike”. Good times!

I also enjoyed the time between laps this time around. Solo is a strange experience and the 12 hours really goes by fast. . . It was nice to be able to chat with so may friends between laps and catch up. Pushing the 1x9 gearing was not as bad as I thought and when the fatigue started setting in later in the night Bernice was hooking me up with a high voltage massage. Thank you! That was the ticket!

Monique was taking things to new levels...again. How is my little girl getting so fast? On her second lap she pumped out a 55 minute lap and then followed it up with 57 minute lap. She is going to be ready for Vision Quest this year no doubt.


With about two or three hours left in the race we started doing the math and realized that Wes could get in one more lap to finish us off. Not only did he start the race two laps before me but he would end it an hour after me. Cant say how stoked I am to have Wes on my team and it was an awesome experience even if I only saw him for 10 seconds between laps ;-)

We held second place for the 2 person open category the entire race and got passed on the last lap by about a minute from a team out of Utah. These guys made up 6 minutes on the last two laps! We dropped to third and were still about 4 laps ahead of the next team.

Mike won the expert solo 40+ category again and we were all amazed at how the competition is really getting cranked up at these races. Awesome. The Downhill Darlings continued on while Melissa was in the hospital with Tiffany, Monique and Bernice still pulling the team to a 3rd place finish for the girls 4 person team.

The Downhill Darlings - Monique, Melissa, Bernice, Tiffany


Results are not yet posted but here is what I had for my watch

Pushing the 1x9 and riding a fully rigid for about 10 hours on those trails is going to need some rest but I am actually feeling pretty snappy today. It was just like a long day of intervals... No crashes, no major mechanical, no flats. I did come out of my pedals a few times and once was on a rocky decent on the ridge line. It was almost fatal...for my kids. I was standing when my front foot came out and I landed on my top tube and rode down the rest of the out bouncing on it. Thankfully I was bouncing on my inner leg... My cleats are well worn out so its time for a change. I also busted my bottom bracket bearing and almost lost a crank arm on one lap. I should have put locktight after switching my cranks the night before! Stoked someone let me use an allen wrench to tighten it up. Anyways...sorry for the long post. It was a long day but another good one!

January 23, 2009

out of the box

"Nothing new on race day" A rule that every racer should live by but if I am going to try out the 1 x 9 gearing it is perfect timing to make the switch the night before 12 hours of racing tomorrow. So with that I started the cut...or grind.

(you cant find it....grind it)

Inspired by Paul and Mike who are both some of the fastest guys I know (and both riding 1x9 setups) I know it is time to test it out in a race. When I rode the Temecula course this week I never got out of my middle ring anyways so it should be a gentle transition. I am just not going to have an option to go "too" slow and if I am not racing solo this time around I should try my hand at the fastest lap of the day.

(simplified and race ready)

So with that I dropped my front derailleur, shifter, cable and housing. Gridded my big ring into a bash guard and lost my granny up front. Although I had a chain stop up front my seat tube was too wide at the bottom (due to the carbon connection) and so I got ghetto on the front chain guide. I mended a tire iron to a light mount and secured with zip ties. Nice! It has plenty of vertical coverage so when my Q ring gets delivered I will have plenty of space up and down the tire iron to keep my chain where it should be. Ghetto fabulous!!

(somewhere in there are some 44 teeth)

"If you don't get out of the box you live in the box" - Now its time to get some sleep and rest up for the big ride tomorrow. We have a nice big group and it looks to be a dry and fast day!

January 22, 2009

Preride Posture

Yesterday was another full day for me... I had a meeting at 24 hour fitness in San Diego and ended up seeing Jennifer there. I should have known when I saw the Cisco Networkers bag! Her office was all decorated with amazing bike pictures from some epic trips. Represent girl! What a small world.

As I headed down south I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to check out the "new" Temecula course. I know that they had removed the Damn climb for the fist time and I was interested to see how much climbing and new sections were added. Pleasant surprise!


This is probably the coolest of trails linked together that I have seen in the 12 hour course. Way more single track and not too many scary technical sections. The climbing feels like it is spread out a bit more throughout the loop and some bridges and tight switchbacks keep your mind working and enjoying the course.

Maybe it was the rain but the trails felt a little more smoothed out from the last time I was on them and the sand sections were nice and packed. I started my first lap in the middle ring and then never had a need to move it out. . . Maybe I will give Pauls inspirational 1 x 9 setup a go for the race? As it looks now I am racing with Wes Barton but if we had 3 people I would give it a go fo sho... Its a good time to test it out anyways


I know we have a few "out of towners" and friends doing the race so I took a lot of video shots from the new sections. Not very pretty with one hand riding and zero suspension on my ride but it should help them to get a feel for it. I will post it up here when I get it strung together.

On the way home I stopped off for another pool session at the 24 hour fitness in San Juan. This is one of the best pools at a 24 hour. It is outside and you can literally watch the sun set as you are swimming. You can even see the ocean and "glow" from the edge of the pool. Amazing.

When I finished up at the pool I was in perfect timing to catch the OC Tri Club meeting in Irvine. Jessi Stensland was the guest speaker and her inspiration and knowledge was spot on. A swimmer turned pro triathlete and has been killing it at the road races for years...PLUS she is racing the 12 hours of Temecula this weekend with the Intense Bike crew. Killer!

Jessi shared a ton of areas to keep in check and some core moves to keep you balanced. It is all about the little things you focus on that make a big difference in your performance on race day. Posture is key. If I can take that away I am set... Posture!! She has a lot going on and her blog is a great place to get some technique checks and be entertained . . . You can check it out over here http://www.gojessi.com/

See ya at the race this weekend!

January 19, 2009

Rio Bravo Results


The Rio Bravo Rumble is the only race I have done four times now...It was one of the fist races I had ever done and solidified my passion for off road multisport. Starting with the run is painful but mixing up a few sports and the dirt is what it is all about for me!

In 2006 I was just trying to take it all in and survive the race... Then in 2007 I trained for it and was stoked to take the win and followed that up last year with another win and still feeling like I could do a lot more. What I like best about this race is the people and environment that gets put in place on race day. The kids race, family and friends enjoying the green hills of the Rio Bravo. It has also always served as a good indication of how I am feeling fitness wise and mentally going into the racing season. This year was spot on! Despite how the race ended up this year I feel ready for a great year of racing. . . faster, stronger, wiser and more motivated than ever. Ready for some suffering with the best of them ;-)

We started as "usual" with a nasty 10K trail run over some tough hills. Funny how the mind forgets just how challenging some parts of the course can be. I maintained pace with the top 3 runners in the biathlon and struggled through a pace that was unfamiliar in recent months. My goal was just to keep the leader within site and I ran in just a couple of hundred yards or less behind the leader. I didn't blow up and made a 6:38 pace. OK. Get me on that bike!!

I was waiting for the run to end about 100 yards after I took my first step. . . I was surprised I could keep that pace but it is a good indication for what I need to focus on in the coming months. Now on the bike I felt at home... I started reeling people in from the individual and teams up ahead and pulled into the #1 spot by the end of the first climb. My legs felt great and although my heart was still on the recovery from the run it managed to pull me to the top of the hill. Time for some descents and recovery.

I had my same bike last year but this time I was rockin' the rock solid fork. Awesome! Really ideal for this course. Once we started the downhill we all fell into some surprises. As I rounded the next hill to the valley decent I saw bike tracks spread out like a fanning rake. Part of the challenge of being a front runner is that it is not always a line to follow around the course. Especially when the course is not really marked! There were a few people spread out who were doing the mountain bike only race ahead of us so I followed the majority of the group. Some people followed me and some made their way across the valley. When I got to the front of this group I realized the trail we were on had NO bike tracks in the dirt. I looked back to the guys and said "I don't think this is the right way huh..." They looked at me and said "yeah we are totally lost". . . DUDE!

Long story short, we all made our way back to the dirt road at the end of the valley that led back to the transition. From here we had one more lap (the run course) of 6 miles to finish off the race. I stopped and talked to the race director, Brian and let him know that everyone was way off course. I guess they were not allowed to put anything in the ground so we were only going to get the pained arrows in some spots. Its all part of racing...sometimes. I finished up the last lap and crossed the line in first but was one of the few people open to taking a penalty for going off course. There was more to the event than the results so I headed out to takes some pictures and cheer on some of the other racers out there. Monique was crushing it!


I made another loop and had a good time of the day. I know I had a lower run time but the bike results were changing as people were going back and forth with Brian. I was OK with any result as long as they were going to keep it consistent. I really just wanted my shoes back!

This years race was all about seeing where I am at in training, having some fun and keeping my build towards some bigger races later in the year. Mission accomplished so with that Monique and I hit the trails and the pool the next day.


Good times in Bako and some progress into 2009.

January 17, 2009

Rumble Ramble

Well, the rumble went down and as expected there were surprises to be found around every corner. This is the only race I have done four times now and it is always a good test of fitness for early year racing. Switching to "race pace" is always a good reminder for training in the early months. I don't think I had ran that hard for months and the only "on foot sessions" I have logged over 4 miles have been on snowshoes. That pace was way off from a running race pace... I was stoked however to still post a PR for this 10K run course @ 41 minutes but the bike was a surprise.

(the bike course at large)

Everyone was getting lost with the course not exactly marked on the back side loop and it was switched from the last few years format. No worries. My legs felt great on the bike and I was waiting 41 minutes just to get on that bike! ;-) I crossed the line first but was one of the few willing to take a penalty for going off course. Results are not up and who knows how it will shake out... I was more bummed that someone made off with my Salomon Speed Cross shoes after the race. I had 17 miles on them including the run today! Oh well...I guess someone needed them more than me.

Monique was the star of the day...destroying her previous years pace on the bike and run and looking good doing it. This is one of the fist races I witnessed her still crushing it to the very last second. No complaints and hunger in her eyes...She is ready this year.


After the race, a feast and a nap...Monique and I headed for the local trails after the race to get more time in and enjoy the sunset. Time to shake out the legs from that run ;-)

January 16, 2009

get r' done

This week feels like a loooong one for me... I did not start feeling the life back in my legs again until Wednesday and I have had a full schedule at work. Just trying to get r done and start the weekend. We have a three day Sales and Engineering conference in Laguna this week for my work and now my brain is zapped just like my legs were from the weekend. I am just lucky I have such a cool job and flexible schedule most of the time. Live IS good. ;-)

(the view from our conference...not bad)

If you know me, then you know I am passionate about a few things... I love my friends, bikes and COFFEE! Good coffee! I have had the pleasure of drinking some 53x11 coffee through hammer nutrition in the past but when I found out about their rider support and started talking to Evan, it was a natural choice to want to ride for the 53x11 coffee team this year. Not only is their Fair Trade coffee certified Organic and tastes great but they give back to the sport and roads with clean up crews and more. You can check it out over here.

I got my kit in the mail last night and am stoked I will have it to race in this weekend at the Rio Bravo Royal Rumble. Perhaps we will be getting more going in SoCal for the 53x11 team...hmmm, more on that later. We are heading north today for a weekend of "gettin' r done" in bako! We are planning a full weekend of some riding on the local trails with some old friends up there and maybe a swim and a run mixed in too!

January 12, 2009

tinker tinker through the night

After giving a spin on Paul's bike a few weeks back I have really been thinking about going 2 x 9 on my bike or maybe even a 1 x 9 setup. Do you really need that many gears on most x-country courses anyways? Could a single Q Ring do the trick up front? Well, if I am going to try out some new stuff and tinker around with my bike now is the time this early in the season. Friday I had my bike in parts and was trying to get something going to test it out on the weekend rides...

It didn't quite make it. I moved over my SS crank but it was just not going to fit and then I tried to use my road bike and ditch the big ring but the bottom bracket spindle was too short... To make a long story short the idea is on hold for now ;-)

Saturday, I got up @ about 6ish to meet up and ride the GMR (Glendora Mountain Road) to Mount Baldy with the M's (Monique, Mandy and Marius). It was a perfect morning to a long day. The skies were clear because the wind was blowing like mad at the top. I had my cross bike with my panniers loaded up and Monique in tow... My legs were on fire! Great training!


By the time we reached the Baldy Village the only thing we were going to order was some cheese burgers and fries. Oh, that felt good when we were sitting but it was hard to get going again. We ended up getting back to the cars in just under four hours. Great company and a great ride. Mandy showed us some yoga moves, Marius attempted his first stretch all year and then Monique and I were off to Big Bear.

By the time we got to the Big Bear lake the sun was just setting... An amazing moon was already out! They say that the moon this weekend was the biggest it will apear all year. Hope you got to see it! We were in town for a snow shoe hike that Paul and Karen were hosting and to everyones suprise there were about 45 people that showed up. It was a pleasant surprise to see some old and new friends there too. Yet another strange place where we ran into Beth Dressel! We were stoked to be able to try out the Kathoola flight deck system that P&K had stacks of for demo.


Very cool stuff! You have the best of both worlds with a cramp on style boot and snowshoe deck for the pow pow. Because your shoes slide into the boot you can get a better fit and the extra installation kept my feet nice and toasty. Snapping in and out for the snow conditions is just genius.

After the trek, we were off for some stories and recovery drinks with the group. We decided to stay with Ryan and Amy for the night and we are so glad that we did (cooool people). We got breakfast and some conversation before Ryan headed out to ride with the guys in the Big Bear mountains anywhere where snow was not... We were off for another drive to Temecula to finish up the weekend and celebrate Emerson's very first B-Day party. It was classic.

video

January 09, 2009

Update

Well, I am happy to announce that I was able to get things going for sponsors this year! I am still working out the details with a few but I am honored to be representing some of the companies who make products some of the best gear out there! With the amount of time put into training and endurance races it makes a huge difference to have the right stuff that you can depend on.

The first is Power Cordz. I have been using their shifting systems for over a year now and they are flawless! With all of the times I have broken off my dérailleur hanger and even had my rear dérailleur go through the spokes. . . the cables have held up to get me home or finish the race. Amazingly smooth, cool looking and will please even the most devout weight weenie.


I have had the Power Cordz installed on my road bike now since I got it and will soon be converting over the rest of the quiver. Can't wait!

Training -
Tomorrow, we are off to the GMR ride (55 miles and A LOT of climbing to Baldy ski parking lot) and then up to Big Bear for a snowshoe hike under the full moon. Another great start to the weekend! After that, it is on to three solid weeks of building more volume and some "priority C" races every weekend to gauge fitness and have some fun. This will also crank up the intensity a bit with the races at the end of the week.

When I recover from this weekend, and have start my first build phase we are heading north to finish the weekend at The Rio Bravo Rumble!! This is always a good check for my running and biking fitness since it starts with a 10K trail run and follows it up with 16 roLLing miles on the mountain bike. It is always a wake up to start the race with a run!

The following week I am teaming up with Wes Barton for a duo at the 12 Hours of Temecula. We should have a 15+ group with a mix of teams and solo's. A big day of fun on the trails and I am looking forward to testing out a few options on my bike(more on that later).

The last weekend of the month is our Surf City Marathon. I am running the half with Monique but Keevin and Chuck are sticking it out for the full 26.2 miles. I will be wishing them luck and taking some pics at the finish. Again, I am going into these races with a full week of training because I am focused on a few bigger fish in the following months. . . but it is still going to be a lot of fun being out at the races...Here we go!

January 07, 2009

Some Racing Choices for 2009

Although I have had my ongoing spreadsheet for the last few years now with races and places I thought I would post up some good links for races this year. Maybe something you could give a go? Here is my top off-road favorites.

First....The big one! Conquer the Bear!!!

Mountain Bike
Cross Country Endurance Trail Running Paddle Races
I could race an entire season of just mountain biking and maybe next year that will be my only focus but the Xterra and California Mulitsport races will be my "A" races for this year. The training is going quite well for the early season and I am sticking to what I know works for me.

After three years of racing, I am also reaching out for some sponsors this year. Looking at the almost 70 races I have done in the last few years alone at about $100 per race is a little scary... Add the travel, maintenance for 11 bikes(moniques and mine), 4 boats, etc, etc. and I will need all the help I can get! There are also a lot of companies out there that I would be honored to represent so hopefully I am not too late in asking for help this year.

January 04, 2009

F O C U S

Holiday is over and 2009 is already showing good signs of a BIG season of racing and another year of time on the trail.

Last year I made some huge progress in my training and racing. . . Huge progress in my life and that resulted in some huge gains in my training and racing! Looking back, I am glad that Monique and I made some changes in our lives . . . scary at the time but you never know until you tri. Just like a wise friend recently told me, “If we don't go outside the box, we'll live in the box.” Mid way through 2008 we decided to move back to the OC and it was a HUGE change to our lives at every level. We are stoked to be home and so close with our friends and family now and we have grown so much from the experience. I am not even going to attempt to sum up the ‘08 year but it was one of the best years of my life and every month of 2008 just got better and better. Live is good! Monique and I got in so many trips and met so many new friends that we feel truly blessed.

It has been three years of racing for me now and it has become a bigger focus in my life. Lifestyle changes made it stick and I am looking forward to the training habit, relationships and travel lasting many more years….. My little blog moved me to focus on what I love best about being on the trail and learn some great lessons over the last few years. People and the trails are a true passion for me and I am looking forward to spending time exploring much more of each in 2009!

So, my one word as far as racing, heading into this next year is “focus”. I feel fortunate to have raced a plethora of different events over the last few years and found a passion for off-road multisport. Last year, I also learned a big difference between racing and racing to win. It hurts much more! ;-) It also requires much more of a focus on multiple levels and the journey is a much more rewarding one when you can put together all the pieces and have your best race (that is winning). Even if you are in last place and you have done all the work and raced your best race, you win. Now, that is HARD to do! That is why I am so pumped about this year! I have never had more of a focus and seen the pieces in place in order to have a successful season of racing. I have the most amazing people to train with, goals clearly defined, the volume and experience to use from last year and motivation to stick to my plan. How it all plays out will be part of the fun. . win or loose I am focusing on the year ahead.