Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ski day #3

No pics from Tuesday on The Big Mtn outside of Whitefish. Skied with dad, brother Tim and Old ski buddy Timmy G. Good snow coverageand we found some good snow off piste. We slowed Timmy down from his usual pace and still did over 20k vert in about four hours. Taking today off to hang out with the parents and the rest of the family. Hopefully take the girls up skiing tomorrow afternoon and evening.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Snowbowl day 2

Back up to the bowl today. Again by myself as the kids are getting gramma and grandpa time in. Felt decent but a little sore from yesterday. I did get a good leg workout yesterday with 3 runs from the top, 3 down Grizzly and two on the upper chair. Thus today was just 2 from the top, 1 down Grizzly and 3 on the upper chair.

Those that have been there can appreciate the above picture of the chicken chute runout. Last run of the day after coming down west ridge. My legs were turning into jello. A few more pics on the Flickr page.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Break training day one

5 hours of skiing laps at Snowbowl. If I remember correctly. 2600 vertical feet from the top. Half laps at the top of 1200. Decent snow, hard in spots, but beats riding a trainer indoors.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Can't wait for vacation

7 days from now, we should be sitting on a chair lift and not on the couch. I keep checking the ski reports and it looks like we will have perfect timing. The Big Mtn (never Whitefish Mtn Resort to me) is filling in nicely with a few inches a day. Here is their ski report video from Friday. Turn up the sound and check out John Dunnigan (local folk legend). His words are great!

"I'm dreamin of ways to survive, and I like deer meat with my minimum wage, it helps keep the dream alive."

"Meats in the freezer lets go skiing..."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Back to commuting

Test commute home tonight. Took the bus into work so I could be on time. Ride home through Waterworks Park and the Jolly Holiday Lights (better part of the commute in December). Most of the ride home was good, but need to find a safer way for the last 4 miles. Might try again on Friday, it depends on the overnight snowfall.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Look back at my last post and then forgive me for screwing up the bike riding in Des Moines. At that time, the forecast was for a few inches at most. We got 16" and now most of the bike trails won't be clear until spring.

I did go ride this morning for an hour looking for a clear route to work. 60th streets bike path is mostly clear and rideable, but EP True trail was not. I ended up looping back towards Jordan Creek and Ashworth to 156th and home. Somewhere near a 12mile loop. I hadn't ridden in 9 days so it was nice to get out. I spent the rest of this morning getting the rollers out and ready for training.

The pic is of the house and showing those out of state the remnants of the storm.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Base mileage goals

I've gotten back into training for next season. Laying down some base miles knowing that this decent weather will go away after Christmas. Since Thanksgiving I've ridden six of the past eight days for 187 miles. 29+ miles each of those six days. Tomorrow will be a short day but the next 10 days of the forecast look good enough to continue ridding outside. I'm hoping for 500 miles outside for December. I hit somewhere over 400 in November so if I have to ride inside during January and February, those base miles will carry me through the winter.

We did get temps over 55 on Monday and Tuesday, but otherwise it was been closer to 30 or 40. My new shoes are working great, but the fingers are still blocks of ice after an hour. I'll be pulling the mountain bike out and installing the pogies as those are the only way for me to keep warm.

Squirrel - saw at 4x4 pt buck on the ride home tonight. Behind the school just north of Walmart on 72nd. Could have been a 5pt, he was at least 6ft tall and my first instinct was "Elk", but then I realized that I was in Iowa. Tried to get the camera out in time, but he wandered off.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another exploratory ride

1st, this pic is the north end of the new trail mentioned yesterday. All done in concrete with two nice switchbacks.

Today I rode north through and past Grimes towards the mile long bridge. Time wouldn't allow me to cross, so I went south on Beaver Ave. I haven't been on this road since we moved here so it was a nice change of scenery. Turned west on 62nd and back home just under 2hrs and 30.5 miles.

One last weekend day for more training hours. Dirt or road? Dirt if it is dry.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

T-Day Ride

It's been a rainy week in Des Moines and the annual Turkey Day Mountain Bike ride was cancelled/moved to pavement today. So, when I woke up to strong winds and 30degrees at my house, I waited a few hours. It never really warmed up, but I hit the road on the cross bike at 11am and it was 34degrees with gusty winds at 20+mph. I wanted to get a good two hour ride in at a steady tempo.
The start of the ride had me headed north towards Grimes on pave and gravel, I was originally thinking of riding across the mile long bridge to Polk City, but I wasn't really dressed properly (hard to figure out each year). I ended up turning east on 62nd through Johnston and used the tailwind to push me into town.

The ride was good. The route down 62nd was new to me and I haven't ridden from the Trestle trail to downtown in a year or more. After hitting downtown, I decided that hot chocolate was in order to make it home. Caribou coffee on Ingersoll was the saviour and I warmed up for 20min.
I finished the ride by taking the Clive Greenbelt home. 34miles in 2:15. Not too bad for a slow ride on the trails.
Besides clothing, my biggest test of the day was my new shoes. I bought a pair of Specialized DeFrosters from Rassy's. They fit well and were comfortable given the temp. My toes got a little cold by the end of the ride, but given the wind and my poor circulation that probably wasn't unexpected. I need to experiment with vapor barriers to see if that helps.
At the end of my ride, I checked out the new trail that will link Hickman road and Douglas road near 142nd. The bridge is in and it looks like they are ready for the payment/concrete. Hopefully they can finish before spring.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Proud Accomplishment

Look what Hannah hung up on her bathroom mirror. She is obviously proud of finishing the kids race of the Dirty Duathlon last weekend. Race number and finishing ribbon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ski season is around the corner

I'm getting jazzed up for ski season. 10day Christmas trip to Montana coming soon, plus an Olympic year, one or two trips to Colorado if I'm lucky (Andy, you have the floorspace, I have a sleeping bag).

Found this clip from Audi. Note the knoll jump at :40, the weights at :48 and the balance ball skilz at :55, great athletes.

No updates from the weekend yet. Hopefully soon with photos. I took 2nd in the 45+ state cross race. Beat several others that had gotten the best of me earlier in the year, just decided that I had to go harder from the gun. Stayed with Todd G. for the first lap, then watched him ride away from me. Then was a volly at the Dirty-Du on Sunday. The girls both did the kids race. Maddie won the girls and Hannah did well (I think she was surprised at the pace). Pics coming soon.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Morning Commute

Second day in a row with a beautiful sunrise. Red sky in morning, sailor take warning......must be for the strong winds from the south. Last night I rode a northern stretch of the commute at 30+mph. Lots of "YeeHaw" factor doing that in the dark and on the bike path.
State cross race this Saturday and then Dirty-Du (volunteer) on Sunday.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Madison's version of heaven

Maddie is our little vegetarian. She starts each meal by eating her salad first. She always has seconds of salad as well. Tonight she happily finished the remains of what was left of the Caesar salad. As the title says it was her version of heaven.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Mike McMuffins

Mike McMuffins are the breakfast staple of trailbuilding. My old college roomie made these. You can guess his name.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

SpookyCross Race Report

Saturday the 31st and Sunday the 1st were the back to back dates of the SpookyCross cyclocross races in Des Moines. I participated in my first cross race at this venue last year and it was a blast, it was the same this year. Good courses and a good workout.

Saturdays racing was on the north side of Living History Farms. The course started by entering an easy looking field. However, once you entered the field, you find out that it had 4-6 inches of standing water. We are the 1st race of the day and by the end of the race, this section had 4-6" mud holes. The rest of the course alternated between fact MTB and fast roady conditions. Overall, I think this course favored a MTB rider and handling skills. I started near the back but quickly found myself in 4th or 5th position at the end of the mud. I decided to push ahead and wound my way through the field. I felt good during the race and actually worked my way up to 10th in the cat 3 field (they started 1min ahead of my group). I ended up 4th for the day in the 45+ category.
Sunday was at the main Living History Farm site. This course was longer than the previous days and appeared to favor a power rider. This time, they started the 35+ and the 45+ fields together. When the gun went off, I took advantage of the majority of the field fumbling for their pedals and took off. I quickly decided to throw caution to the wind and started sprinting. I figured, what the hell, I'll go out front and let the others chase me down. I was 4th going into the first field and only lost a few spots on that lap. I think that I finished the first lap in 6th and mostly held it there. I lost a few positions in near the 30 minute mark and ended up 9th out of the combined group. Another 4th in the 45+ group.

After these two races I ended up in 2nd overall in the series (45+). However, there were a few other fast guys that just didn't get the minimum number of races done. I'll remember their names for future races and try to pass them in the future to make my overall finish legit.

Cross is a lot of fun and I'll definitely continue to work on it. I need to work on increasing my pain threshold as my perceived pain is higher than the actual heart rate. Still a possibility of two more races. State Championships are 11/14 in Altoona and Jinglecross is the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Spookycross Video

This is a video from Nate. Start of the Sunday Cat3 race at Living History Farm. This shows the entire 1st lap, around 7:30 minutes, total race time was an hour, so repeat about 8 more times. Nate is experimenting with video from his Ipod as mounted from his handlebars.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Girls Night Out - 80s style

Beggars Night was this past Friday. For some reason Des Moines doesn't have the kids celebrate Halloween on the 31st, but they go out on the 30th. They have rules: the hours are 6-8pm and homes will have a light on if they are open for treats. The other tradition is that the kids have to tell a joke to get their candy. Best one of the night: What do you call a haunted wigwam (sp?)......a creepy tepee. On one hand, it's nice to have the set hours. On the other, it sure makes for an odd night on the 31st.
This year the girls dressed up as 80s girls. Heavy makeup, big hair and fun accessories.
This will probably be the last year for trick or treating. They went out with a few of their friends, but many of their friends stayed home and handed out candy.

Loving sisters!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kids Stuff

Halloween/Beggar's Night is obviously coming up, so this past weekend was the annual pumpkin carving night. This time, the girls got to do the majority themselves (using real knives). Of course, Dad was nervous and had visions of cut off limbs or knives jabbed into their bellies. I hovered a lot and tried to actually let them do the work. Lots of fun and they look forward to it every year.
Hannah on the left, Maddie on the right

Maddie ran in the 6th grade cross country meet at the end of September. They had 40-50 girls on the line and a cool course that ran around one of the local elementary schools. Once lined up, the coach fired the starting gun and they were off. Another coach was driving the leadout Gator and lead them through the course. Maddie ran hard and slowly worked her way through the field. I think she ended up in the top 15 and ran a little over an 8min mile.
The final corner before the finish.

2/3rds of the way through the course.

Soccer is now finished for the year (Maddie) and Hannah is showing interest in joining again next year. Something about how physical the play is getting that intrigues her (we'll see). Both are still enjoying school. Lot's of friends, still in band and choir.
Holly and I finally broke down and bought them phones. Three hours after the purchase, Hannah had over 150 texts sent and recieved. Guess she wasn't joking when she said; "I really, really, really, reaaaaalllly, want one"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Race Report - Cattle Cross

I hadn't originally planned on racing this past weekend, but the family started heading different directions and I found out that I would need a 6th race for the local cross series. I made my decision around 12:30, loaded the car quickly and hit the road near 1pm. I had an hour drive and the start time was 3pm, so I wouldn't have much time to register and warm-up.

The drive was quick and the location was easy to find. I quickly registered and changed, grabbed the bike (had to quickly change out a flat front tire) and did a single recon lap. The course had us weaving across a shallow ditch a few times, then into and through a muddy cattle chute. After that it was another 150 yards into what I think was the horse barn (soft sand surface that required a short run). After that, there was one hurdle and mostly wide open through some grassy areas. A good course that I thought would favor the road cyclists and put me at a disadvantage.

The cat 3's took off, followed by the 35+ (10sec later) and finally, the 10 of us in the 45+ category (10sec later). As we sprinted the initial 100 yards towards the 1st ditch, I was sitting around 8th spot. I passed 1 or 2 and counted myself in 6th spot (I have this habit of counting my position from the leaders in the 1st couple of corners, it helps keep track of my placing because the various classes usually end up co-mingled). Then I had a bit of luck, Kim West had something happen during the 2nd ditch crossing and he took a hard left into the course tape, that caused a pause in the group and I was in 4th (what happened Kim?, I didn't see any raccoons). We headed towards the cattle chute and I was able to get past Laugs for 3rd. Steve Fleagle was leading (haven't caught him in any of the previous races) and John Adamson (Mr. 10 Leadville belt buckles) was in 2nd. I bridged up to John by the end of the lap and we had a good gap on those behind us. I drafted John in the one longer straight and hung onto his wheel to recover some.

I've been hoping/waiting for a race in which I could try to use tactics in order to decide the outcome. Thus, when John said that he was slowing down and suggested that I should pass if I wanted a chance to catch the leaders, I was leery. Was the older veteran using his knowledge to sucker me out of my plans? Should I just wheel suck and recover? I thought about it for what felt like an eternity (5-6 seconds) and decided to go. I put in a hard effort to get a gap (I've read about that in Velonews) and looked over my shoulder. I had shaken John, so I took off after Steve.

Now in our conversation, John had mistakenly thought that we were in 3rd and that 2 others were up the road. With us hitting the back of the 35+ racers it was hard to tell (was it his mistake or more cunning deception?). I went hard for another 2 laps and then started to die. Of course, John had probably planned all this and caught back up to me. He passed and I tried to stay on his wheel. It was just too hard and I looked at my watch. We had 25min to go in the race. I decided to let him go and save it for the last 15min.

When I finally decided to go, I was fortunate to be lapped by the cat3 leader. I caught his wheel in the fast section and used his momentum to make up some serious ground. I did try a bad line in the barn and lost some time, but thought I might catch John for the finish. It was fun chasing him down and we were both making time on Steve (who I could see looking over his shoulder). We had caught the guy that John thought was in our class (and confirmed he wasn't). At the end, I waited a lap too long. Steve won by 100 feet or less to John and I was another 50 feet behind John.

What a fun race! It's been at least a decade since I've been at the front of the race and fighting for a final podium spot. I enjoyed the mental aspect of this race and was glad that my form came back. I hope to carry some of that into the final races this weekend. Spookycross on Saturday and Sunday. Too bad that we are mixed into the other groups, because I bet the small but vocal crowd didn't realize how close our race was.

I do realize that the fastest two riders series (of the 45+) were not at this race, but it gives me hope that if I find a little more speed that I can still make it to the front of the field this weekend.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Post for my brother

Brother Tim calls yesterday and gives me crap for nothing new lately. It made me go into the archives and find this video of his batchelor party. He really gets it going at the 1:30 mark.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Taco Ride

67 degrees when I left work. 15 of us left the shop and hit the trails. 45 minutes later the lights came on. For some reason only a few of us remembered lights so most bailed and headed to Giffs Tavern. I chose to ride another lap of Denmans. I'm trying to get used to the MTB again. Three weeks of riding the cross bike with 50lbs of air pressure, skinny tires, and a rigid fork make the transition back to the MTB a little odd. It felt like the tires were 'bouncy' and slow.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Can you hear me now?

Funny that I can follow yesterday's post with this one......

My bike was in the shop to replace some spokes and subsequently the tubeless tires that I run were having problems holding air. I decided to burp the bead, add some more Stan's liquid and re-inflate. They seemed to have a slow leak so I thought that I would pump them up past 50 psi to make sure the bead was seated. Pump, pump, pump, 50 looks good, so 60psi must be better....pump, pump, pump......... BLAM-O

Can I hear you now? Only if you talk to me from the left side :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Anyone know anything about Smart Phones?

I've been trying to read up on what I need vs. what I want for me next cell phone. My requirements:
1) Has to be with Verizon as I need the coverage when I'm out west.
2) Good internet browser on a large screen.
3) Qwerty Keyboard or Qwerty Touchscreen, big enough for large fingers.
4) Good camera. I have a 2.0 which does fine. 3.2 minimum, but like some of the new 5.0mp.

I want to be able to update the blog, read and post comments to other blogs, take good quality pics and post to the blog or flickr, surf the majority of my internet sites. Music capabilities would be nice (on a 3.5mm jack), but I hardly use my iPod as it is

Oh, I would like to create/update Excel spreadsheets on the phone (bike training log, etc).

HTC Pro 2, Storm 2, something called the Imagio. All three are supposed to be out soon, but who knows. Anyone care to chime in?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

1st Real Cyclocross Weekend

Good weekend with friends and family. It all started with an old friend dropping into town instead of just flying home on his return trip (Penn State to Seattle). Nice to know that the Midwest is not always the "fly over" part of the nation. I showed Matt the city on Friday and then had him crew for me at my 1st cross race of the year. I raced cross one day last year at Spooky Cross and that was on my MTB. This year I was already and the hardest part was trying to figure out what race or "cat" to try. Cat4 is the beginners and juniors, but I know that the top guys would still be faster. On the other hand, Cat3 would be too fast, but maybe the field would be bigger and I could blend in. In the end, my decision was made on the basis that my racing age for cross is 45 (next year's age). Since they had a 45+ category, maybe I could have fun and actually race for a place.
My pre-race warm-up consists of using my fingers to open up the upper respiratory passages (thanks for the nice picture Matt). We had 10 old guys in this race and we started 1:30 behind the Cat3's. The 35+ started :45sec in front of us. The course was very hilly and I quickly found that my 39tooth gearing was terrible. I probably only used 3-4 gears the entire race. At the start, the top 2 guys took off and I only saw them towards the end as they lapped me. I was able to stay with #4 for awhile, but in the end couldn't reel him in. I thought I was 5th and the initial results had me as 5th, but the final results put me into 4th. I don't know if one of the 2-4 DNF'd, or if there was a problem, but I was happy with the result. The positives, were my dismounts, barriers jumps and the sand pit (I rode it each time). The negatives, were the bike gearing and some tactics.
Saturday had a steep run-up as shown above.

Saturday night was fun with more friends over for BBQ and the Penn State vs. Hawkeye game. I dropped Seattle Matt off at the airport on Sunday morning. I hope that the race action put the drive to get back on the bike into him (I'm sure it will). I then re-loaded and headed to the Sunday cross race. This course looked flat and fast. We picked up two new riders in the 45+ category and 11 of us took the line. I decided that I needed to push harder if I was going to see 3rd or 4th place. We went out hard off the line and 1st and 2nd place checked out. It was a race for 3rd and I was in 6th. I jumped on a wheel and it felt like he was towing me around, but 3rd was getting away, so I moved past into 4th and pushed harder. I held it for a lap before I made a mistake and was paying attention to my cleat problems and just drove off course. Damm!!! Lost two places before I could get back on course.

I was also gassed by this point, so I slowed it down and maintained for 10min. I saw Kim West drop out, so that put me in 5th (flat tire or crash?). With 20minutes to go, I was 100 yards back from 4th and put in a hard effort to bridge across. I was within 30yards and headed into the barriers. They were a tricky off-camber, downhill double barrier. It felt like you were approaching at 20mph. I unclipped my right leg and swung it over the bike, tried to unclip the left foot and I was locked in. After a big "Oh Shit", I locked the brakes and laid the bike down, sliding right up to the barrier. That was it....4th place was gone and I was tired. I ended up 5th. Tired, but smiling.

Saturday's sand pit.

Overall, it was a fun weekend. I learned a lot about racing cross and got a two really good hour workouts in. I need to get a smaller front ring and new pedals that shed mud better.

Next weekend is Take a Kid MTBing on Saturday and SugarBottom Scramble on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tandem Taco Ride

Taco Ride with Hannah on the tandem tonight. Lite turnout by the normal group but had lots of fun with Courtney, Nick, Brian and Al. We even did a few drive-bys for the photographer that was out there for a future article on Iowa trails.
Didn't spend much time at the tavern as it is a school night and Hannah didn't seem to like the taco. Thus we hit Wendy's on the way home.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Catching up on posting

I had grand plans to post a real race report for the 24hr race, but work was busy the following week as well as real life. Then the following weekend of racing came and went, then more work and life. Now I'm two weeks out so I'll just say that it was fun. Really, really fun. Not as physically hard as I expected, but more mentally difficult (keeping track of other teams and teammates). Great camaraderie among teammates, other teams, solos, duos, 12hr guys and gals, 24hr guys and gals. Just a great time. I'll be back again.

As I said, last weekend was the Sycamore and Hillside time trials. Both were IORCA series races that I needed to do well in. I started Hillside early in the morning by helping tape the course. Upon finishing, I had 45min before the start so I did a faster lap and missed any racer meetings. I lined up to be the 4th off the line and hit it hard. Previous years has this race as a 1lap race and I gave it all I could and really felt good about myself for leaving it all on the last climb. I sprinted through the line and turned left to recover. Then I heard the spectators and officials yelling for me to start lap 2. Huh!!!!! Oh well, it was my fault. The 2nd lap wasn't as good but felt OK. I think I finished 10th overall and around 6th in Expert.

The Sycamore time trail was going to be a 9min, all out sprint. I rode the course once and on my 2nd lap I hit the ground and broke a front spoke. Nothing hurt but pride. I went back to the car and removed the spoke and straightened the wheel. Shortly after the repair I hit the trail as the 2nd one out. I let it all hang out and felt pretty good about the lap. I ended up 4th or 5th overall and with that result, I believe that I secured the 35+ Expert point series. A successful weekend.

The rest of the catch up is in pictures below:
Maddie played goalie in soccer this weekend against Bondurant. They played well for the 2nd half, but were beaten soundly in the 1st half.
Hannah is my tag-a-long and is always willing to help out daddy (still a daddy's girl). I took advantage of that this weekend and taught her some responsibility (I think that is how my father would have put it). I felt proud for how hard she worked in mowing the lawn, plus she did a great job with very few crooked lines. Keep in mind that my mower does not have powered wheels. All leg power at the Griz household.
I took advantage of my birthday for a ride on the new cyclocross bike (what is cross?). This has been my other project for the past 3 weeks. All built up now and ready for race season. I explored a new trail project near the house and then worked my way down to Denmans for the obligatory new bike photo. It rides great and is way more comfortable than the Lemond.
This is the structure for the bridge on the upcoming trail in Urbandale. It will run from the end of the trail behind the retirement home that is near 135th and Hickman up to Douglas. It also appears that a spur will be headed towards the new regional park northwest of 142nd and Douglas.
BTW - another great win by the Griz. 49-17 over Portland State in the conference opener. PSU coach Jerry Glanville was not a happy man.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Prep for Take a Kid MTBing

We have been hard at work on the plans for this years Take a Kid MTBing (TAKM) day. It will be on Saturday, October 3rd at Greenwood Park (Ashworth Pool). You might remember that our 1st TAKM ride was there two years ago, we were forced out last year due to weather, but this is a great central spot with fantastic trails for the kids to learn on. A good spot for picnicing as well.
As you might remember, we (CITA) won a MTB from IMBA during last years TAKM. We will be giving away this bike at this years event. The picture above is from when my trusty mechanics assembled it. All kids that show up for our event will be entered to win this bike. Parents that sign up to be a CITA member ($20 a year) will get an additional entry.
In addition, the good guys at Strider sent us a bike to demo and give away as well. We will also have a few other Striders at the event for your littlest ones to demo (max age is 5). Those that demo will be given an entry to win the Strider.
Look for more information on the event in the next week. I've been talking to the local shops on making sure that each kid gets a water bottle as a way to remember the day.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Team Rassy's 24hr 4-man team winners!

I've uploaded a bunch of photos to Flickr, I'll let that tell the tale for now. I'll recap the event tomorrow as I've finally hit the wall. Until then I'll leave you with the photo of the 24hr 4-man team winners collecting the check. Team Rassy's. 30 laps total for the group which is somewhere around 240miles. A great race and a great time.

24hr race 10am update

10am update. We are 10 min away from lapping 2nd place. I'm done with my laps, we have Jason Alread on course and Nate Cline in the hole.

24hr race update - 6:15am

I woke up from about 2.5 hours of sleep and then finished the last night lap. 50min or so. Legs are feeling tired but apparently still doing good to only lose 5min on a night lap. The guys bumped up our lead overnight to near 30min. The 2lap each overnight strategy was good and I think it will payoff with faster morning laps for us. Hopefully we can catch and lap 2nd place so we can rest a liitle at the end.
BTW - congrats to Jason Dal for a 3rd place finish in the 12hr solo class.

24hr race - 1:30am update

I just finished two night laps and then ravaged a bowl of pasta. We started our 2lap each strategy about 3hrs ago and now I get to lie down for about 4hrs. Hopefully catch at least two hrs of sleep. As of 1:30am we had a 13min lead. It was bigger but Nate had a light issue. He obviously did a great job in somehow finishing with next to nothing.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

24hr 9pm update

Coming up on 9pm. Still riding strong and still taking one lap pulls each. We are still in the lead and think it's by 12min. 2nd place still holding strong so the pressure continues. Squirrel is leading the 24 solo comp and still looking good.

24hrs 6pm update

Coming up om the 6hr mark and we are still clicking off steady 45min laps. Our team is in 1st place by approximately 10min, but the 2nd place team is good and will keep the pressure on. My next lap will be partially in the dark. Sounds like fun!

24hours of Seven Oaks

I'll try to post frequent updates. The race just started. A good turnout with probably 75 starters. 12hr and 24hr solos and teams. Jason was our starter and went out like a rabbit. Took the lead for us. Now we have to hold it, which is our strategy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Look what I found

in my garage...perhaps one of the little gnomes dropped it off on his way over to gnomefest.
Swapping most of the parts from the road bike. Other parts from Rassy's. Still need to decide on what to do about a crankset. Mine is an Ultegra 39/53 with Octalink bottom bracket. I could just swap the big ring and run 39/46 or something similar. But for the cost of a ring and new bottom bracket I could be halfway to a cross specific crankset with a better bottom bracket.
I also need a 27.2 black seatpost (hopefully lightweight). Anyone have a post, crankset or front derailler?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Opening weekend of Futball

Sunday was spent in Ames for Maddie's soccer game. Hannah was kept occupied with the camera and the glider that kept on doing laps from the nearby airport. Maddie had a good 1st game of the fall season. 1 assist and lots of minutes.
They won 4-3 and played well as a team.

We then moved over to the ISU Cyclone soccer stadium. The Griz were playing the clones in Women's soccer and we had to show them the love. We were only able to see the last 20min as their game and Maddie's had started at the same time. The Griz were down 1-0 when we arrived, but seemed to have the upper hand and were pressing hard. Then a fluke goal rolled across and the game ended 2-0. As they left the field, I called them over for some autographs (the girls were too shy to do it on their own). I think that the Griz were a little dumbstuck.....why would they be asked for autographs 1500 miles away from home? However, when they came over and saw our Griz gear, they quickly warmed up and treated the twins to 10 minutes of their time. The girls sure appreciated it, THANKS TO THE LADY GRIZ!
In hindsight, it was pretty funny. The Cylones had left the field and were milling around with boyfriend and parents and the griz were getting all of the attention of the autograph seekers (all 2 of them).

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Night Ride at Center Trails

Put the word out for a night ride to test the lights before next weekends race. Had two that wanted to join the fun. However Pete ended up getting out early which was a good thing because he called and informed me that Denmans was dry and rideable (thanks for the call, I wouldn't have guessed).

I rode from the house and met Brian in Denmans near 7:45 and then we headed towards the pool to see if anyone else had decided to join. We were a little late to the meeting spot but didn't see any signs of life so we headed towards rollercoaster with the lights finally getting turned on. Just as we started the climb, Jacob appeared out of the dark and joined in the fun.

Three amigos on the 1st night ride of the summer (for me). Coaster, extended hillside loop, Denmans, J11 back to a short hillside loop and done.

Riding home with Jacob he invited me in for a quick beverage and 15min later I was riding the Greenbelt home. 38miles total and the new lights worked great!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Seven Oaks Race Recap

Like Rick, I had the best intentions of writing a race report early last week. I also keep watch for others race reports and can't wait to hear how it went for them. I should be more prompt in mine.

The girls opted out of being my race support and I really don't blame them. While it is nice to have them there to cheer me on, I realize that they only see me for a fleeting moment and then sit and wait for another 45min until I come around again. Racing is exciting for the participants, but not so much for the spectators. I arrived at Seven Oaks near 10:30, registered and took my time getting ready. Jason and I headed out to ride the beginner loop and I stashed a spare bottle for the middle of my race. I felt good during the warm-up and thought I might have a pretty good race. Seven Oaks rewards those that have dirt skills and can stay on the bike the most often. I quickly drank a Monster (bad idea) and got lined up with the others.

The usual suspects were there including 4-5 really fast guys (I only plan on seeing Cam, Jed, Kent, Aaron and Jay at the start). I marked a few others that are in the 35+ category and we were off. The group spreadout quickly and got in line for the 1st singletrack climb. Funny how the experts really seem to understand where they fit in the line (speed wise). I was 12th wheel as we climbed and I felt good. All of us were still bunched together until the 1st switchback climb after the bridge on the backside. Bullerman was in front of me and riding strong until we hit the tight singletrack. A gap quickly opened in front of him and although Steve has the fitness, I could tell he wasn't comfortable on this section. I made a sketchy pass on the inside of a downhill switchback (thanks Steve) and pushed ahead to catch-up. I thought that I had dropped the group behind me, but on the next sustained climb I could feel them on my wheel again. Obviously these guys can climb better than me. I tried to push it harder on the technical sections and usually opened a small gap. Then Steve would power up to me. After awhile I asked if he wanted by, he stated that I was faster and would stay where he was. Wouldn't you know it, shortly after that I would bobble on a rooty uphill and have to hop off the bike. Steve got buy and I ran to quickly stay in touch. As luck would have it, we were just hitting the top/power section of the course and he motored away. I should have tried harder to stay with him, but I just didn't have it.

It was here that the Monster started to play with me. I was 30min into the race and couldn't tell if I had stomach problems or was dehydrated. I couldn't decide if I should drink or not. I paced myself through the start finish and was already behind Steve by 1:20. It took 1/2 of the next lap to get my body back to normal. In that time, Brad Patty had quickly caught and passed me. Again, I tried to stay with him, but couldn't hang on. Near the end of lap two I felt better and was able to push harder. I let it all hang out and thought that I was catching those in front of me. At the end, I don't think that I made any headway, but I did feel good about the effort.

Overall, I finished 13th out of 15. 2min behind Brad, 4 behind Steve and 6-8 behind those that I should be shooting for. I did get some small victories in this race. My lap times were consistent (something that hasn't been happening). 45min, 47min, 46min and my heart rates stayed higher for longer 173, 170, 169 avg for each lap.

I also learned to stay away from the Monster before the race. Overall, I'm happy with the way that I've been learning and progressing with each race this year. It was a big jump to move up a class, but I wanted the longer race times and in the end I will be faster/stronger for next year.

I couldn't figure out how to download the pic, but good race photos from Angy. I am photo #31.

Next up is the 24hrs of Seven Oaks. Racing with Rick, Nate and Jason. Looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kids MTB Video

Back in June I posted a short version of the girls on MTBs from vacation. I then worked on cropping a few smaller videos together, here is the result.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cool Trail in Michigan

I found this video a while back, but forgot to post. It is from Copper Harbor, Michigan. From what I understand, the boardwalk trail connects two trails that were separated by a section of woods that would have made it hard to construct a normal trail. Cool looking trail with some "flow".

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

1st day of Middle School

Late posting on last week's news. I was in Sioux Falls for week from Sunday-Friday night and then racing over the weekend (update later). In the meantime, the twins started 6th grade on Wednesday. The traditional front step picture for this year is above. Funny how they are growing up and gaining independence and yet they wanted to dress as twins. Holly even asked them that morning if "they were sure". I'm sure they were nervous and this was their way of getting comfortable.

Of course, the day went off without a hitch and they are now completing enjoying the new routine. Lockers (with locks and combinations to memorize), home room and class rooms to find for each period, Ala Carte lunch and larger menus.

Before we realize it, we will be planning for senior pictures and graduation. Time to enjoy them while they still let us in their lives.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ouch part III

It doesn't seem to quit from Ahquabi. Jason and I went to Boone on Saturday morning to pre-ride for this weekend's race. On the first downhill my fork was bottoming out so I locked it out and finished the lap at an easy pace. I added air to the fork and we started lap two. Halfway into this lap I had the same issue. By the time I was at the car the fork was leaking oil from the bottom.
I had hit a large hole last weekend and remember being surprised that I hadn't done any damage to the rim. Obviously it wasn't completely damage free.
I dropped it at Rassy's hoping it can be fixed by the weekend.
Laps were good and the course is in pretty good shape. Looking forward to a good course.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ouch part II

I haven't been on the bike since the race, but I pulled it out last night to wash it. I noticed and then remembered that I had a seat problem during the race. I didn't think it was as bad as this...(click the pic)....the nose of the saddle was a good 2 inches too high.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

19 years ago today

Holly and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary today with a dinner at Phat Chef's. Some nice quiet conversation and good food.
Looking back, we had some great years and some fantastic times. We are truly blessed to have each other and a pretty good life on top of that. No complaints from me. It dawned on me during dinner that we have now been together for twice as long as she has been alive (more, but who's counting). It was our 2nd or 3rd date when I took her out for her 19th birthday. It was a big night because 19 was the legal drinking age in Montana at that time. Dinner at the Mustard Seed and a hastily drummed up party compliments of a few buddies.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Odd race for me today. At the end I hurt more than I have in any of the races this year, but during points of the race, I thought that I could go faster (but I couldn't). Then when reviewing heart rate info, I was pleased about several of the laps and yet others were wimpy.

I placed 3rd in the Cat 1 Masters category and I think 10th or 11th overall. I did match my 1st lap goal of 32min, but lap two dropped too far in time. Lap3 was much better, 4 was ok and 5 sucked. I haven't seen the full results yet, but I think that I came within 3-5min of a few that I was marking. Everyone was hurting, it was hot and humid.

Congrats to Rick on the Cat2 open win. Has to be his best race yet. Also congrats to Jed, I heard a story of a two singlespeeder sprinting (uphill) for 2nd in the Cat1 race. Apparently they locked bars and both fell over. It turned into a running race for the finish. If this is true, I hope someone has video, sounds great!

I saw lots of photographers on the course, if someone knows of links to photos, let me know.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ahquabi Recon

No pics, I was having too much fun! I drove down to Ahquabi to recon the course for this weekends race. My plan was to do a 70% lap and then one close to race pace. I wanted a time to set my race goals against.
Let's just say that Bruce Brown (race director) has found another .5mile or more of trail and although you won't be climbing up the rr ties, you might be cursing him even more once you reach the top of that hill. A great addition to the course. :)
Thanks to Chad V, and Nathan C. for showing me the proper route. Can't wait until Sunday.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Gone Tubeless

After a lot of research and emails to those that have done it before me, I finally decided to go tubeless on the 29er. I dropped by the shop this afternoon and bought a Stan's kit as well as new WTB Nanoraptor tires. I even skipped the Taco Ride tonight in order to get them mounted up (need to allow as much time as possible for testing).

Overall, it went fairly well. The front tire, took a little over an hour. It would have went faster, but I forgot to read the directions on how to mix the soap/water testing solution. Maybe you could skip that part, but I was following directions to see how hard this might be. Since I was running across the street to the neighbors to use their air compressor, I made several trips.

Just about the time that I was going to give up, the bead decided to pop in place and hold air. As I was placing the Stan's liquid into the tire, I was wondering if the air-up was a fluke. Fortunately, it went as easy as pie and I was successful.

The rear tire was much easier and I completed that one in about 30minutes. By tomorrow morning, I'll know if I was really successful, or if I have two flat tires.

I'm looking forward to testing the ride. I've knew they would be slightly lighter (no tube), but it didn't occur to me just how noticeable it would be (I've forgotten that it feels like 29er tubes have a pound of rubber in them).

Possible ride at Denmans tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Weekend Recap: Ingawanis Races

We loaded the wagon up to the gills and headed out on Saturday to Waterloo for the weekend. Holly had found us a room at the local casino online, so we took a mini vacation. Three bikes, bike gear and the bags of three girls almost had me attaching the ski box to the roof rack.

We arrived near noon and checked into the hotel. The plan was for the girls to enjoy the pool while I went to the Ingawanis Boy Scout camp to check out the race course.
I happened to show up as they were starting the time trail. Race Director Jeremy asked me if I was racing, but I told him that I was only looking to pre-ride. I changed and hoped on my bike as the last rider headed out. 30seconds later, I heard "Tom, 1:30 to your start time". I figured I might as well test the legs and lined up with a grand total of 2minutes for a warm-up. I rode at about 90% and enjoyed the course. I ended up with a decent time, but the local hotshot "kids" turned in times near 2min faster. At least the Taco Bell that I had enjoyed 45min before didn't come back more recon lap and I was back to the hotel for dinner.
We enjoyed a pancake breakfast at IHop and went up to the course. I had been talking to the girls about doing the Kids Race, but they were pretty apprehensive. Maddie had decided to do the race, but Hannah was against it. I took them on a pre-ride and it only took Hannah one lap to get into the mood to join in the fun. Holly quickly registered her and we put her number on the bike just in time for the racer's meeting. If you look closely, I think you can see butterflies in their stomachs on the above picture.
At the gun, it was obvious that I need to work with them on their starts. The two Snoop boys left them in the dust. However, they quickly caught back on. They did two laps of a small singletrack course. Maddie finished second and the last climb made it difficult for Hannah to catch up to 3rd place. Overall, I think they had a blast. They seemed to have a good sense of accomplishment after the race.
Sisters, enjoying the fact that the race is over.

My race wasn't as strong as I hoped, but it didn't go bad either. We had 11 men and 3 women on the line. I went into the singletrack in 10th place and behind Robin Williams. The pace seemed hard, but doable for the 1st half of the lap. In fact, the top 11 had moved away and were still within 10seconds of each other. Then (for some reason) I decided that I couldn't hold this pace and started to back off. I held what seemed like a decent pace and let the others go. This seems to be typical of my Cat 1 starts. The end of lap 1 and the rest of 2 were at this pace. Lap 3 and most of lap 4 were at a pace equal to the 1st lap. Lap 5 was just looking over my shoulder and maintaining my place to the end. I finished at 8th male and 9th overall. At least I was 1st in the 35+ category.
I'm learning a lot about racing for longer than the Cat 2 races. I also have to have more confidence and just push myself harder. The heart rates don't lie and I haven't really pushed as hard as I am capable of. I'm learning that I don't need to "save" anything in the middle of the race to finish.
Next up is Lake Ahquabi and I've been studying my past results as well as the results from last year at Ahquabi. I've set some higher goals for myself and will have them taped to my stem as a reminder. If I can hit these time goals, then I should be closer to the middle of the pack (that seems to leave me behind).