Sunday, March 30, 2008

Blue Marsh & Team Ride...

This morning I was planning on heading to Fair Hill for a pre-ride of the race loop, only its about 2 hours away and I woke up just in time to be late :) So instead of rushing around I hooked up with Mike for a loop at Blue Marsh - well Mike will tell you I was still rushing around since I'm always late, but only 3 minutes this time.

Conditions were excellent with only a few trees down to go over/around. After the ride we headed up to the Hamburg water reservoir to meet a few of the team members for a little climb up the Pinnacle. A hiker was kind enough to take our picture after watching me fumble around with the self-timer and how to setup the shot.

Spokes Bike Shop Team - (most of them) from left to right. Stanley - beginner, Austin (Mike's son and support staff), John - beginner, Aaron - beginner, Mike - expert & me - sport.

Time for me to take some time off the bike for a few days since I'm still feeling kinda tired, before the Team Relay.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Duck season, wabbit season??

Actually today was the first day of fishing season. This is one thing I never really understood, the only fun part seems to be drinking at 7am. I got outta the house early before work and did an hour ride at Jordan creek.

As I rounded the corner near the gardening area at Jordan, I could've sworn there was some sort of cult meeting going on. There were tents, campfires, and a bunch of camouflage clad fisherman. As I've never been a fisherman - what the heck are they hiding from?

Today would've been a perfect day for a bell, which is something I've never had on a bike. I got really tired of having to ask people to move please, plus most of them looked at me with the same confused look I had when seeing them out there by the hundreds.

Tomorrow I might end up going out to pre-ride Fair Hill or stay local and do a lap at Blue Marsh. I hope everyone enjoys the nice weather we're supposed to have tomorrow.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

tired legs..

I went for a road ride on Tuesday morning - 21.8 miles 1:22 ride time with only a 132 avg hr. I was feeling really sluggish and couldn't really get my HR up. Guess I needed to either do a recovery ride after Sunday or what?? I felt like I was working hard but just didn't have the legs for it.

I hope as the weather starts to warm up I start feeling more like getting out there on a more frequent basis. Although I'm sure everyone around is waiting for that day!


Monday, March 24, 2008


I went to get x-rays for my rib this morning since I had trouble even sleeping and breathing deeply. Turns out I don't have broken rib - just a pulled/torn muscle between two ribs. Still takes awhile to heal though, and the MASS Team relay is just 2 short weeks away. Then Leesburg, followed by Greenbrier, this should prove to be a pain in the *ss injury.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fit results...

I woke up this morning with a very sore rib that I had hurt last week then re-aggravated Thursday night. I planned on riding the Derby in Trexlertown, but was really considering bailing with it being 29* and being sore. I figured I had to get out and try the new insoles and bike fit to review the changes.

I met Steve S. at SMC, we were supposed to meet Bill Strickland there, but he didn't come out to play in the wind. We rolled out of the parking lot at 9:15 and I could almost instantly feel the difference in my pedaling with the Aline's. What I also noticed was how much easier it was to reach the hoods & drops.

After the ride I got back to the Velodrome and shot the breeze with Vegan Rob before he was heading out to the Sunday Bike Line crits. I headed back to SMC solo and felt pretty good.

Details - 52.7 miles 3:01 total time, 17.3 average. With a 20.2 average just on the Derby loop 32.7 miles, 1:36 ride time.

I think once my legs are fresh and a non-injured rib I will be able to determine the differences in the fit. But feeling the rib while standing and sometimes while breathing had to slow me down some - and this was about the fastest time I've done on this loop.

More details to come on the differences in the 29'er fit.


Bike fitting...

Friday night after the Lehigh/Sals ride I went to Easton, PA for a bike fit at the recommendation of Matt Miller. John Strom / Cycle Fitters, recently started a business doing bike fits, and A-Line insoles. I set an appointment to have both my road bike and 29'er fitted.

Once I finally found John's place, after making a wrong turn due to the GPS thinking a rode went through an area it doesn't, I was greeted by John from his garage/fitting studio. He's got a pretty cool setup going on his shop, very clean and professional atmosphere. John offered my a bottle of water and asked a bunch of questions, took some body measurements, and some range of motion tests.

Once all that is completed he checked for the need of the A-Line insoles but measuring arch drop from a seated to standing position. They have a really cool fitting stand for the insoles that shines a laser up your leg without the use of the insoles to demonstrate how far out of alignment you are. When you stand on the correct insoles the lasers are then shined again to show the correct alignment - what a difference.

After we were all setup with the insoles we moved on to the bikes. We loaded the road bike on the trainer, and John took some measurements of the bike for a before/after comparison. First thing checked was seating position - then all other settings are derived from the correct seat location. John then installed a really cool "Size-o-matic" stem which adjusts to every length and rise angles to get the correct position on the bike. So we shortened the stem by 10mm and flipped it from -5* to +5* rise, rolled the bars back a little and moved the levers back up to compensate for the bar angle. This really helped with getting in the drops and riding on the hoods much more comfortable, hopefully eliminating some neck/shoulder pain I've been having. Now the after measurement are recorded for future reference.

Next up, 29'er - we used a spare wheel with a road tire on it so the bike would fit on the trainer. More measurements, lowered the seat a bit and again shortened the stem 10mm as well. That should take care of some lower back issues which I thought were maybe caused by riding a hardtail.

When finished John showed me how to replicate these setting onto other bikes, which is really helpful. I was also told that if I have any issues for I believe a year that there wouldn't be any charge for corrections, another great benefit.

Check out John's website for more info and contact information. I think he is running a special right now!


double the fun...

Mike Carter and I decided to go out Friday morning and give him a tour of Lehigh. When we were starting is was still pretty damn cold - however, there was another guy there just starting out in shorts and a t-shirt?? We were all bundled up, winter gloves and hats. The conditions were amazing after the rain we had the day or two before, but Lehigh is always the best place to ride after rain (a lot of rocks) It seems like Mike really liked Superman (long switch back technical climb) and he made it through with only 2 dabs!

Then we planned on riding over to Sals for a loop. It was still a bit cold in the late morning, early afternoon so we drove over to Sals. On the way we stopped for some much needed fuel at WaWa. This loop was a little faster than the Lehigh loop, a little more flow here. After the switchbacks we went through the Boulder trail, Mike had a few dabs and I cleaned the whole thing, probably only the 2nd time I've cleaned it!

We only got in 18 miles in 3.5 hours with around 4000 feet of climbing. We both felt about as tired as a few weeks ago at Camp Hilbert.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Testing 1,2,3..

I saw this on someone else's blog then it turned up on the Dirt Devils list. I thought it was really cool, and I'm sure a lot of you have already seen it but what the hell.

These two are from another chapter in my life - which I have put on hold since cycling. With my hours at work it's very difficult to devote time to more than one two wheeled addiction in my life.

Both motorcyclists and bicyclists are invisible to the average person - lets fight back!



Today is an important day! I finally woke up early and started my riding before work routine that I was fairly gung ho about last year.

Dan and I did some hill hunting around Emmaus at about 6:30 this morning. I felt really strong on some fairly long steady hills, some quite steep. I'm glad Dan posted a ride for the AM as it's supposed to rain late afternoon through tomorrow.

Ride details: 15.28 miles, 2240 total ascent, 1:19 ride time


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sals in lieu of French Creek..

The weather man was calling for rain last night into this morning and they were right for a change. The plan was to do 2 laps of the French Creek race loop - plan was canceled due to weather.

Fortunately Dan posted up a Sals ride for 2pm, after the rain and let it warm up a bit. The ride started out at Dodson with 5 or 6 of us, Ian was lagging off the back after a long winter of not riding. We sent him out the road before the switchbacks, now the group is really starting to break up as Luby Jr broke his freehub - another one bites the dust.

Somewhere between the Boulder Trail and the Three Bitches we picked up a really strong SS Redline rider - this guy was rocking the climbs! Finishing the loop back at Dodson for a refuel and lap 2, unfortunately the others had to head off to other Sunday things. Dan, SS'er, and I headed back toward St. Lukes at a fast pace, dropping off the SS'er for his commute home. We then went out to finish the 2nd loop at a very brisk pace.

Earlier in the ride was saw some assclowns riding dirt bikes and ATV's at Constitution, as we rolled through again the police were there questioning/arresting? the ATV'ers. Dan was running on empty both time and legs, so we boogied the Spanky bypass and took the road up from there back to the cars.

Just as I was driving home it started raining, what great timing! I got in just under 3 hours for the day and was really digging the new bike, while trying out some lower tire pressures with the Stan's wheelset.

Bed time now.


Friday, March 14, 2008

New job?

I think I'm gonna start looking for a job as a weather man. Its probably the only career where you're able to be wrong a majority of time and still get paid.

Today I love the weather men for being wrong this afternoon - what do they know anyway?? It was supposed to rain from the afternoon on, wrong. Thankfully they were wrong, as I got out for about two and half spectacular hours on the road. The weather was amazing - almost shorts and short sleeve jersey.

After the ride, I got a well deserved massage (no, not the happy ending kind) after the long race and week at work. I'm feeling great now, got some good chinese take out and some chocolate.

Kim mentioned chocolate covered coconut eggs, and coincidentally my wife had just brought some home from one of her co-workers. Boy are these things good, she also got some peanut butter ones too!


Wednesday, March 12, 2008


It seems the promoter got everything all straightened out with results. They had some issues with the clock going down during the Enduro race, and skipped laps for a few people. After all the dust has settled these are the results.

Enduro - 5 hours

Matt Morrison (Spokes Bike Shop) - 21st out of 43 - 7 laps in 5:06
Mike Carter (Spokes Bike Shop) - 13th out of 43 - 8 laps in 5:43
Liz Allen (Saucon Valley Bikes) - 10th out of 10 - 2 laps in 3:39 (mechanical)

XC 4 laps - Pro/Expert

Steve Solt (South Mountain Cycles) - 16th out of 28 - 4 laps in 2:26


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

tired and sore..

Now I'm tired! I really wanted to do a recovery ride yesterday but I just stayed off the bike and stretched. My quads a still quite sore from the race, I guess it is from cramping up because I don't ever remember having pain like this after a race or long ride.

Trying to get in some riding is really difficult this week with weather. Looks like end of the week & weekend is gonna suck here. Guess I'll try to get in some gym time or some trainer stuff to keep active.


Monday, March 10, 2008


Camp Hilbert - 3rd Annual 3/9/08

Mike Carter and I had planned to head down to Richmond, VA for the 3rd Annual Camp Hilbert race. We had heard how nice it was down there last year by Solt and Pete - they had 70* weather last year and a dusty dry course.

Well as all well laid plans go - this one got messed up. Originally we were gonna leave Mike's house at about 7pm on Saturday night, which would put us in VA at 12pm (really 1am - with DST) So I talked to my boss about leaving early - 2:00. All was going well as I headed home to pack the "toaster", I got everything in and was moving the bike around to make room and BOOM - another Stan's explosion with the Kenda Small Block 8. After about an hour and half of cleaning the wheel, bike, and car - I mounted a Maxxis Crossmark with a tube and was on my way. I arrived at Mike's house at about 5:30ish, loaded all his stuff and drove off into the 50mph winds and rain that we were having.

We made a few wrong turns along the way, but all was well as soon as I turned on the voice in the GPS - which Mike affectionately called "bitch" for the rest of the weekend. We rolled in to the motel (which I thought we were staying in a hotel) at about 10:30, we were given a high tech key-card, so we were thinking it couldn't be all that bad of a room. Not so much the case, smokey smelling (non-smoking room), towel rack falling off the wall in the bathroom, and probably bullet hole patches in the wallpaper. So a few bed bugs and 5.5 hours of sleep later we checked out left for the race.

We arrived at the venue to find Solt and Liz alreading unloading their gear, so we hooked up with them and went registration. Turns out almost everyone was doing Enduro - same as Mike, Liz and myself, Solt was doing pro/expert. We found a nice place to set up out pit area and got dressed for the 28* start - brrr it's supposed to be warmer here??

The promoter was also doing a Run race before the bike, so the start was pushed back about 20 minutes. They let the Sport riders go off first, then Enduro men, then women. I probably went out a little too hard off the start trying to stay in touch with the faster riders [mistake] Mike was trying to catch up to me and got caught up in some traffic, but then figured he should dial it back a notch. He caught to me about the time I realized I was going too hard with very little warm up, so we rode the next two laps together.

After completing the second lap it was time to shed some gear, and take a quick break. Mike went right out for his 3rd lap, I shortly caught him about half way through. However, by lap 4 I was starting to cramp pretty bad, despite my constant drinking and eating. I rested for probably 8 minutes the next lap and ate half a PB&J, stretched a bit and starting feeling a little better. The cramping still continued on, so I just took it a little easier and it would go away for a little bit then come back again - I'm probably done about this point.

I came in for my 6th lap at about 4:20 kind of tired and sore, I sit down again for a few minutes and go out for my 7th lap. I felt pretty good for this lap, somewhat like a 5th wind or something. As I came through the start/finish area I saw 5:06 on the clock - damn I should've picked up the pace a little more or rested less and I could've gone out for my 8th lap. I don't really think I was up for an 8th anyway. After Mike came from his 8th lap we packed up and got on the road - the promoter was having trouble with results and Mike and I figured we didn't podium and took off.

All in all, it was a great venue and we all had a lot of fun. For my first lap enduro I'm pleased with my ride - I was going out planning to 8 or 9 laps based on last years results. Apparently the course was run backwards this year which is a little slower.

7 laps in 5:05ish, 4000 feet of climbing and about 42 miles (garmin lost signal)

Here's the aftermath - now I really gotta clean the bike.


Friday, March 7, 2008

Early season racing & bike update...

The 29'er is all setup with the new Stan's wheelset total weight is down to 22.66 lbs from 26.66 exactly 4 lb loss. I'm pretty impressed with the weight the way the bike is setup right now. I have only had a chance to ride it in the snow and ice, so on to part 2 of the post!

Mike Carter and I are heading down to VA for some early season enduro fun. The race is the Camp Hilbert series - which I'm told is very fast and usually pretty dry. It's supposed to rain on Friday into Saturday but 50's and dry on Sunday!! Should make for some decent riding - at least it is not snow or ice covered trails, which I'm pretty stoked about.

Race report to follow in the next few days.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

More riding..

The plan for the day was to meet up with some of the Bean's race team for a tour of French Creek - plan foiled by lack of child care for the ride leader. On to "Plan B" - head to Emmaus, meet up with some much faster riders for a trip to Trexlertown for the Derby.

Starting out was kinda tough, with my legs quite tired from Friday's ride. After settling in to a nice pace my legs starting feeling a bit better and I figured maybe the Derby won't be TOO bad after all. After the ritual cruise around the Velodrome parking lot - waiting for "The Animal" to call to ride - wait no Pearson? The whole group left in disarray without our usual ride leader :)

Once the pace kicked up at the "turn" I wasn't really able to hang on to the group - so I just went at my own pace, which was pretty hard without having a pack to break the wind. I got back to the Velodrome to meet the group for the ride back to SMC. Surprisingly I felt a 2nd wind - and decided to grab some espresso and head out for a bit more riding. Duane was headed out towards Kutztown - and I convinced him to ride over to the local training crit at the industrial park to watch some local fast guys on a 1 kilometer course. A stop at Wawa for some fuel, some good races and we were back in Emmaus - I got my 80 miles in I'm heading home and Duane still had about 6 miles to ride home.

Now I'm tired, I might actually get to sleep at a reasonable hour - probably now.

Good night


Life and Updates...

I haven't been really updating you all lately - as I've been a bit preoccupied mentally with a death in my family - my grandfather of 86 years old. He lived a very full and wonderful life. I only share this with you to remind everyone to cherish the moments they have with loved ones and friends - as sometimes you don't know when those moments will be gone.

On to the updates - obviously much less serious.

This is a view up the icy climb on the Pinnacle / Hawk mountain from Reservoir Rd. I got out for a short hour and some climb to the Helicopter pad and down some singletrack before I left for the viewing and family stuff on Thursday.

After the funeral on Friday, I decided to go out for a long road ride. I figured I would try to beat my longest year to date ride of 53ish. I just installed a new battery in my Ipod and with a fresh charge I headed out towards Emmaus, roughly 27 miles away, for a stop at SMC for some coffee and to see if anyone else was riding. I met up with Hans, who had just flown in from Kansas City on a 3 week business trip. He was itchin' for a ride so we headed out Mountain Rd which happens to be on my way home (thankfully). After some conversational miles Hans turned off to do some hill hunting and I headed back towards home. I got to my road at about 58 miles (only a 5 mile increase over YTD) so I blew right past the turn and headed out to Spokes to get in a few extra miles - and an extra caffeine gel pack. Arriving back at home I had clocked just shy of 70 miles in about 4 hours ride time. About 4400 feet of elevation gain and a 16.6 average speed - I'm pretty happy with that for my longest ride ytd.


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Full Metal Jacket..

Here's an email/story my best friend asked me to look over and post to the blog. I found it very interesting, therefore I hope everyone else enjoys it.

I thought since there was some mention of the great Stanley Kubrick film - what better excuse to post a pic of "Leonard / Private Pyle"


I'm sending this to you to post to your blog (if you are ok with that). I wrote this other day. This is my dedication and congratulations to the rider that you have become. I am thoroughly impressed, my friend!

"This is my bicycle. There are many like it, but his one is mine. I always wanted to start a story like that. I guess it works if you're writing something like, "Full Metal Jacket," but this isn't a story of a bicycle; yours or mine, or even a rifle, as the quote originally stated. It is more a story of the relationship one has with, not their bicycle, but bicycling and how some, if not all, of the relationships of bicycling inter-mingle and somewhat overlap. It is about the multitude of feelings, good, and yes, bad, that this relationship can bring from one's soul. But before I reach the Pinnacle, no pun intended, let me give you the backdrop to the story.

We've all been there, feeling as if there was nothing better than riding a bicycle; bicycling. Feeling as though, no matter what place we were in, or speed we were traveling, riding was perfection. I'm not sure how, or even why, it happens, but you feel something so different while on a bicycle. Something that takes away or changes the elements. Somehow shows them for what they really are; takes away their power. Rain is just wet. Heat is warmth; replenishment; cleansing. Apologies, but I feel the story getting away from me again; we were at the backdrop.

Think back to a wonderful ride that left memories well beyond it's days. Think of that feeling and I will match it with so many I cannot count them all or at some point I stopped counting or counting became unimportant. Think back to how you can rewind it and play it again; moment by moment, each pedal stroke, each pull of the brakes. Your body in rhythm with everything around it. I feel what you are thinking and it feels, at least to me, like my story, my thinking, my feeling, is so much more heart felt.

I lived cycling and it lived me. Yes, I'm speaking in the past tense, because something beautiful happened. Something so beautiful it could only come from the deepest happiest sadness. My ability, desire, enjoyment of, and to, ride was surpassed by another. And not just any other, but a friend, not only of mine, but of cycling. No, the story does not end here. The story and the feelings that many who read this, more than likely, share with me, continue on.

For those of you who are not still living the moments spoken throughout my story; those spoken from the heart of cycling that we all share, cry a tear of the ultimate sadness, the happiest sadness, in congratulating, with a bit of jealousy, a friend who has taken over the reigns of the sheer unadulterated joy of cycling. Let us share in his joy through our own memories of days like the ones that he now owns and hope that he enjoys them and keeps them for later days when he stands where we now stand."

Let me know what you think and if you end up posting it.

Your best friend,